With the addition of the Markell Trail in Sept., 2018, the corridor between Delaware City, DE and Wilmington, DE has been a drawing card for regional cyclists. Throw in the Castle Trail, a 16-mile dedicate bike/walk/run path that runs between Delaware City and Chesapeake City, Md., and riders have an abundance of safe riding options along wide-shouldered roads and dedicated bike paths that are mostly flat and parallel water.
The annual River Towns Ride, set for Sat., Oct. 2 (9 am start), brings attention to the growth in cycling interest for this area. While the recreational ride doesn’t include the Castle Trail, it does provide an opportunity for cyclists of any ability level to visit three historic river towns (Delaware City, New Castle, Wilmington) while earning medals for distance completed. For out-of-towners, the chance to ride the Markell Trail is a highlight. The 5.5-mile dedicated trail connects Historic New Castle to Wilmington’s Riverfront and includes a unique ride over the marshlands of the Russell Peterson Wildlife Refuge. During their rest stop visit in Wilmington, riders are encouraged to pop into the DuPont Environmental Education Center and enjoy a panoramic view of the Refuge as well as the city skyline.
Riders can plot their own course and begin their ride from any of the three River Towns. By checking in at the three rest stops in each town, riders get credit for the portion of the course they just completed. Bronze, silver and gold medals are awarded based on the miles covered.
“I’m a serious rider, but I love this ride because it allows me to ride with friends who don’t ride as often as me,” said Tony Danman of Chadds Ford, PA., who has participated in the River Towns Ride five times. “I’ll ride with my friends for most of the day. They stop when they’ve earned a silver, and I’ll keep going to get my gold. Then we all meet afterwards in the park, get a beer and a sandwich, and listen to the live music. It’s a great way to spend a fall day as the riding season nears its end.”
Indeed, craft beer by Dogfish Head, live music by What The Funk, and food truck cuisine will greet riders in Delaware City’s Battery Park when this year’s ride is complete. In addition, Delaware City has a variety of free family activities in the park, from games to inflatable attractions.
“We love this event because it reinforces our tagline, which is a healthy, active, outdoor lifestyle,” said Main Street Delaware City President Tim Konkus. “Cycling, birding, boating, fishing, hiking….we have a lot of outdoor activities to offer.”
Those interested in riding should not delay. River Towns limits the field to 500 cyclists and a sell-out is expected. Visit RiverTownsFestival.com for more details or to register.