Philly Bike Expo Summer Camp hosted by Nittany Mountain Works

The Philly Bike Expo Squad visited Central Pennsylvania last weekend where Nittany Mountain Works showed off the epic riding that waits in the ridges and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains.

Philly Bike Expo Summer Camp hosted by Nittany Mountain Works
We're not on Forbidden Drive anymore, Ello.
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Conceived in 2018, the Philly Bike Expo Squad is a dynamic group of riders who are ambassadors for inclusivity in cycling. The PBE Squad is not concerned with speed, distance, type of bike, riding surface, location, or who you ride with. One thing all members have in common is a love of riding bikes and a passion for sharing high stoke. If you see their Pactimo jerseys around, you know you're in for, above all else, a good time.

Last weekend, the Squad travelled to Central Pennsylvania and were hosted by Nittany Mountain Works to bear witness to the epic resources that are preserved in and around our state's public lands.

From Friday through Monday at their home base, Mountain Wheelclub, Evan and Helena graciously prepared hearty meals, stoked the campfire, recited local lore, and prepared a variety of routes for the weekend's excursions. I drifted coolly off to sleep under a thick blanket of stars while imagining I could decipher the coyote pack's songs.

Breakfast burritos and percolated coffee would fuel Saturday's excursion beyond Sandy Ridge and through Black Moshannon State Park. Pavement gave way to chunky gravel and, thankfully, climbing gave way to descending. Right when I thought my body was broken, I gripped the drops for a ten-mile descent while I watched hawks fly overhead and pondered how I'd never been to Happy Valley.

At the midway point, we toured Nittany Mountain Works' solar-powered factory, where they sustainably produce bike bags and climbing crash pads from USA-sourced materials. NMW is flipping the prevailing production paradigm by prioritizing the well-being of workers and the environment while locally manufacturing exceptionally high quality products at attractive prices. We filled our tummies with snacks and stuffed some extras into our pockets to power the trip back to base.

Idyllic country roads led us back to the ridge for a long but gently graded gravel climb. The rocky downhill tested us further by rattling bones and drivetrains. Regrouping at the base, we howled over the situation and grabbed hand-up pizza slices from our friends in the support vehicle.

There were four different rides Sunday morning to cater to every ambition. This writer opted for the "Short Loop" through Rothrock State Forest, which featured a fern gulley on our host's property, sublime views atop Tussey Mountain, and gnarlier descents than the day prior which prompted me to take two breaks going downhill!

The ridges and valleys of Pennsylvania's Appalachians are a refreshing respite from the city summer and feature stunning scenery, heartfelt hospitality, and serene but serious cycling. Philly Bike Expo and Nittany Mountain Works are two firmly rooted organizations whose partnership encourages a deeper connection between people and place. Whether in Philadelphia or in Phillipsburg, the bicycle remains the common denominator.

Philly Bike Expo is an annual weekend-long cycling festival featuring exhibitors, seminars, presentations and events from across the wide world of cycling. It was founded by Bilenky Cycle Works in 2010 as a way to promote cycling culture for healthier lifestyles, cities, and the planet. PBE has grown to one of the largest cycling consumer shows in the US. Support their sponsors and mark your calendars for the event occurring March 16-17 of 2024.