Free Wheelin’


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A couple of weeks ago, the Blakely Borough Recreational Complex was one of the launching points for boaters heading to RiverFest.

This weekend, it’s the starting line as cycling enthusiasts from around the area head out for a day of healthy activities.

Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area (LHV) and Heritage Valley Partners Inc. will sponor the fourth annual Heritage Explorer Bike Tour and Festival Saturday, June 15, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine. This year, at least 800 riders and 150 volunteers are expected.

The tour offers riders the choice of four out-and-back routes that go north on the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail and also through neighborhood streets, passing through as many as 17 municipalities. Station stops will be available along each route with free water, snacks and activities.

If you plan to attend, here’s some quick information you should know.

Safety

Bikers are encouraged to use bikes that can handle packed-gravel surfaces, since much of the trail is not paved. Experienced bike marshals will patrol the course, assisting riders where needed and ensuring safety throughout. Each street section and crossing of the routes will be marked and staffed. Riders under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Registration

The fee is $30, $20 for seniors, students, and members of the military, $45 for families of as many as two adults and four kids younger than 18. Teams of as many as six adults can register for a fee of $100. Payment can be by cash or check; no credit cards can be accepted on the day of the event.

Proceeds from the Heritage Explorer Bike Tour and Festival will benefit the continuing development of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail.

Festival

The Festival will run from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. Admission is free and it is open to the entire community, including non-riders. It will feature live music and other entertainment, food and a variety of demonstrations, vendors and exhibits. There will also be a basket raffle.

For kids, there’s the kids’ area, with age-appropriate entertainment. The festival will offer two special events for those 10 and younger: the Blakely Lokie Bike Rally and the Heritage Explorer Festival Youth Run.

The bike rally will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., circling the park with interactive station stops along the way. Tricycles and training wheels are invited. The Heritage Explorer Festival Youth Run, for kids ages 5 to 10, will begin at noon. Both events will offer prizes.

Sponsors of this year’s event include; Keystone College, WNEP TV, Fidelity Bank, Geisinger CMC, Gentex, Cedar Bike and Paddle, Scranton Running Co. and the Lackawanna County Commissioners.

Call 963-6730, ext. 8200 or visit HeritageExplorer.org for more information.

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