PHOENIXVILLE - The 25th annual Freedom Valley Bike Ride will be held on Saturday, June 19. Cyclists may begin their ride in Phoenixville.

Begun as a fundraising project to support the Schuylkill River Trail, the ride now travels the trail it helped build. The FVBR features a variety of loops, from a nine mile fun ride for novices to longer tours that are popular with bicycle clubs.

Three starting points, in Philadelphia, Rosemont and Phoenixville, make it easy for people from across the Delaware Valley to participate.

More than a thousand riders are expected to take part, making it the largest bicycle ride in Philadelphia.

"The ride is a family-friendly event in a beautiful setting," according to Alex Doty, acting executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

Registration is available on the day of the ride and more information can be found online at www.bicyclecoalition.org or by calling 215-BICYCLE. Helmets are required for all riders at the event.

Bicycle Coalition President Dennis Winters says biking is booming in the region - both on the road and on bike trails.

"We are in the middle of a cycling renaissance," says Snowe. "Over a quarter of adults in the Delaware Valley will ride a bike this month." Many of those riders will use the Schuylkill River Trail, extending from the Art Museum in Philadelphia to Valley Forge National Park.

With the addition of trail sections completed last year, it is now possible to ride 45 miles from Locust St in Center City to the Green Lane Reservoir in Montgomery County on a bike trail.

"The Freedom Valley Bike Ride is a great way to enjoy the Schuylkill River Trail, whether you are new to the trail or a regular user," says Doty. "We provide rest stops, good food and mechanical support in case of a breakdown - as well as the company of a thousand other cyclists!"

In addition to the Schuylkill River Trail, the ride winds through back roads in Philadelphia, Montgomery and Delaware Counties. The ride has five rest stops, offering drinks, snacks and a longtime Freedom Valley favorite - tomato pie.

Mechanical assistance is available to all riders throughout the ride.

Registration fees support the work of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Bike Map and the new Regional Bicycle Map, 160 miles of bike lanes in Philadelphia, installation of 1,000 bike racks on all major streets in Center City and University City, clearing cars from the West River Drive for bikers, roller bladers and runners on weekends, increased bike access to SEPTA trains and subways, and installation of 2,200 Share the Road signs. To find out more or to join the Bicycle Coalition, visit www.bicyclecoalition.org.

The Freedom Valley Bike Ride will be held onSaturday June 19, 2004 from 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. Multiple starting points are in Philadelphia at Lloyd Hall on Boathouse Row, in Phoenixville at Reeves Park and in Rosemont at Austin Park (next to the Rosemont train station).

Day of registration costs $35.

Children 12 and under ride free; helmets are required.

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