By Rachael Weitknecht
The Ironton Rail Trail, which was originally home to the Ironton Railroad, is a beautiful 9.2-mile trail in Lehigh County. The trail itself winds through several wooded areas and along a creek, while additional scenery–such as rows of old cement kilns and remnants from the railroad–remain on display. The trail hosts many events throughout the year including the Trot for Trykes 5k, 10k, and 1-mile races, which benefit Lehigh Valley Steel Force, a Friends Chapter of National AMBUCS, Inc.
Lehigh Valley Steel Force is an organization of volunteers committed to providing AmTryke® adaptive therapeutic tricycles to children and adults with disabilities in the Lehigh Valley in order to promote health and wellness by providing the gift of mobility. Each year, the races draw approximately 150 participants who spend the morning running along the Ironton Trail before enjoying the presentation of adaptive tricycles to a group of eager children and adults. Once presented with their bikes, the recipients have the chance to participate the 1-mile fun ride along the trail to test out their new wheels.
The race, which is now in its eighth year, has been held on the Ironton Trail each spring. We are privileged to have such a beautiful, scenic backdrop to host our event and distribute bikes to a most deserving group of individuals. The gifts many of us take for granted are ones that our bike recipients finally get to cherish as the result of hard work from dedicated volunteers, runners, and sponsors who help make our event a success.
Each bike recipient has a unique story; however, many of the individuals who have received bikes at our race remember the trail as the first place they ever rode a bike. For some, it was the first place they ever experienced independent mobility. On a trail known for its history and beauty, each spring brings us another opportunity to give the gift of ourselves so that others may know the freedom of riding and the joy of experiencing nature from the driver’s seat.