PENNSYLVANIA, USA — For many cyclists, there is nothing better than gravel riding, and riding on unpaved roads and trails has increased in popularity in recent years.
"During the pandemic, we saw such an increase in people wanting to be outside. No better way for me is on two wheels," said Sullivan County Commissioner Donna Iannone.
Iannone is an avid cyclist, and about two years ago, she had the idea to put a bikepacking loop through the Endless Mountain region, which includes Bradford, Sullivan, Wyoming, and Susquehanna Counties.
Bikepacking is a multi-day trip where you carry all your gear on your bicycle.
"We want to boost commerce with this trail loop, so we want to bring them into our downtowns and things like that while they're out exploring the Endless Mountains," said Cain Chamberlin, head of the Endless Mountains Heritage Region.
The 415-mile loop was established using existing dirt and gravel roads in the four-county region. Organizers believe this will help make the Endless Mountains a destination for cyclists.
"Highlight a lot of our heritage sites along the way — our museums, historical societies, our restaurants and lodging, our overlooks, state and local parks — all the things here in the endless mountains that we're trying to bring people to," Chamberlin said.
"To showcase what we have to offer. It's 400 miles, 36,000 feet of climbing. People can stay at our hotels, bed and breakfasts, or they can camp," Iannone said.
To help and encourage cyclists, Dandy Mart is installing repair stations at its convenience stores along the trail. Cyclists will be able to pull off the trails, repair their bikes if necessary, and get a bite to eat.
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