When most people think “vacation”, Pennsylvania coal country isn’t usually what comes to mind. Then again, most people don’t know what we know.
Winding through the mountains and scattered among the small towns here are some of the best cycling roads in the world. The views are unparalleled, the
countryside undisturbed. The roads are smooth and empty. With only a few exceptions, you will most likely encounter just 2-3 cars per hour. And that’s just
the appetizer. There’s so much to see and do out here that we’re confident, (maybe even a little cocky) you’ll consider this one of the best riding experiences
of your life. Especially if you like roller coasters.
The Coal Cracker Ramble ain’t no Tour de Patti-cake. This is the real deal for experienced cyclists who thrive on physical challenge. The climbs are shorter than out west, but more frequent and generally steeper. If you’re a tourist this may be
the hardest thing you ever do. Still, we’re confident you’re going to love every minute of it. Make sure you bring your camera. The fresh, unpolluted air, satin
roads and sock-dropping vistas will make every day unforgettable. You can travel at your own speed. Our expert SAG vehicles are always nearby.
Because this is coal country, there are no hotels. We’ll be camping. Because this is Scamp ‘n’ Rascal, you won’t mind that at all. That’s our motto, remember? “Ride hard. Rest easy.” Bring your tent and sleeping bag. We’ll carry everything. As for
food, delicious catered hot meals will keep you stoked and ready to go. Then there’s the wine tasting, the catered rest stop, the paddle wheeler, Amish country
and the amusement park.
While you don’t have to be a professional racer to ride the Coal Cracker, this ride is definitely not family friendly. Tandems are not recommended. Triples are.
We're so excited about this ride! We'll meet you at the host hotel, after you're registered and have had a chance to check all your equipment. Look
for us in the lobby when you get back from dinner. We're kicking this thing off with a grand party to say hello.
Eat what you want for breakfast. You'll burn it off by noon. After a relaxed warm-up we'll get to our first climb of the day: Hawk Mountain, a part of the
Kittatinny Ridge. You might want to pause at the top to enjoy the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, but don't dawdle too long. There are four more big climbs beyond this one. Thankfully, there are long, incredibly beautiful
valleys between them, simultaneously letting you recover while encouraging you to pick up the pace. We'll catch up with you at the Galen Glen Vineyards, with their spectacular views and even more spectacular wines. We're foregoing our taboo against wine & cheese rest stops. We've planned a catered lunch here, along with tastings of the delicious GG
wines. (If you find anything you want, our SAG vehicles will bring it along for you.) After lunch we'll meet you at Locust Lake State Park, home for the next two nights.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Approximately 65 miles, ridge and valley riding
By now you're probably already spoiled by the silky roads, beautiful views and the amazing lack of cars. Although today is technically a layover day, who wants to rest?! Instead, we're riding up to Eckley Miners' Village, deep in the heart of eastern Pennsylvania's coal country. This abandoned town preserves a way of life which dominated the anthracite region for over 140
years. Speaking of dominating, today hills rule. Gone are the long, lovely valleys. The countryside here is a gnarley tangle of mountains running off in all directions. Today, if you aren't going up, you're going down. It's as simple as that.
Breakfast & Dinner
Approximately 55 miles, very hilly terrain
Up and down. Up and down. It's obvious you like roller coasters so we thought we'd take you to some real ones. That's why we're leaving Locust Lake and heading over to Knoebels Grove. The route today is less extreme than yesterday, but while maps of this area look flat, maps of this area tend to lie. The rolling countryside is unbelievably beautiful, criss-crossed with meandering streams and pastures. There are even 5 covered bridges along the way. Yet as fun as this is, just wait 'til you get to the end. Our campground for the night is also home to a terrific free-admission amusement park!
Breakfast & Dinner
Approximately 60 miles, rolling terrain
We might have stayed another night at Knoebels except we found something even cooler we want to share with you. We're heading west to get there. The closer we get to our destination, the more spectacular the scenery becomes. We're back to ridge and valley riding today, with sweeping panoramas and breathtaking descents all the way down to the
Susquehanna River and the famous Millersburg Ferry. It's thought to be the last wooden paddle wheel ferry in America. We're camping for the night on the other side of the mile wide Susquehanna - just because we can!
Breakfast & Dinner
Approximately 70 miles, ridge and valley terrain
This may be our last day, but it's certainly not
our "least" day. There are five ridges, like folds in drapery, lying between us and the cars. We'll travel
on roads that don't appear on any map with views that should be in every album. There are covered bridges, stone barns, horses pulling their wagons to market and barefoot kids kicking their scooters uphill. It's a
hidden world in these mountains; one at least a hundred years behind the times. Keep your camera close at hand today. Tourists don't get to see this
world. Tourists don't even know it's here. Once we're through the hills, there's still plenty of sight seeing to be had. Perhaps you'll picnic at the Golden Age of Air Museum. Hopefully you'll visit Road Side America to
witness one man's miniature obsession. Stretch the day as long as you can, but it will still end too soon. It's amazing how flat the world has become while
you've been gone!
Approximately 85 miles, very hilly to rolling terrain