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Biking Boosts Tourism

The Lehigh Valley is a great place to explore on two wheels, the region's tourism boosters say.

Bureau seeks more two-wheel tourism. Sunday, August 07, 2005 By PETER HALL The Express-Times

The Lehigh Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau hopes a recent effort to map out the best cycling routes will prompt more residents and visitors to hop on a bike.

In July, the regional tourism marketing agency released a map of eight routes to help cyclists explore the country byways of Lehigh and Northampton counties.

Tracey Werner, of the convention and visitors bureau, said the tourism marketing agency developed the map over the last year in response to frequent inquiries about good locations for cycling.

A group of Valley cycling enthusiasts led by the Lehigh Wheelmen Association sat down together to trace out choice routes for pedal-powered adventure.

"The concept was to come up with a really well-rounded batch of rides," said Tomias Hinchcliff, owner of Genesis Bicycles in Easton, who helped develop the map.

Ranging from leisurely rides along the Lehigh Canal Path between Allentown and Easton, to a challenging 35-mile trek through the countryside of Lehigh and Berks counties, the map includes routes for riders of all abilities, Hinchcliff said.

Some of the routes, such as the 50-mile Gap Gallop between Palmer Township and Wind Gap, are best suited for swift road bikes. Others, including the 6-mile trail system in Allentown's Jordan Creek Park, are better suited for rugged mountain bikes, he said.

Steve LaBrake, the owner of Saucon Valley Bikes in Hellertown, said he's seen an increase in visitors interested in biking the Lehigh Valley.

"We definitely get people coming into town from out of the area and want to know where to ride," LaBrake said.

The new map fills the need, he said.

"This is definitely an asset. We've got something to offer people now," LaBrake said.

Hinchcliff said the map is good for business because it shows people there are places to cycle in the region. Genesis includes a copy with every new bike the store sells, he said.

The convention and visitors bureau spent $10,000 to develop and print the map, Werner said. Copies of the map are available at bicycle shops and hotels throughout the region.

Reporter Peter Hall can be reached at 610-258-7171 or by e-mail at

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