READING, PA — On September 8 and 9, the City of Reading will host the Reading Radsport Festival to benefit the Reading Recreation Commission and other local organizations. The two-day community cycling event will include live music, as well as races for kids, citizen cyclists, and professional cyclists traveling from all over the country to race in Reading.
“We are honored to be one of the principal sponsors of this exciting new event,” said Eric Schippers, Senior Vice President of Penn National Gaming. “With two nights of first class professional racing, entertainment and other fanfare, and with proceeds helping to fund local charities, the Reading Radsport Festival will provide a positive ripple effect across our community. We can’t wait to see who will be crowned the King and Queen of Mt. Penn on Friday night, and to witness the heart-racing thrill of a world class criterium, as riders barrel down Penn Avenue while patrons cheer them on from one of West Reading’s many taverns and restaurants.”
The Radsport festival will raise funds for the Reading Recreation Commission and other community organizations.
“The positive benefits of hosting an event like the Reading Radsport Festival are two fold — helping to create positive futures for our youth through the Reading Recreation Commissions award winning programs and promoting Reading as a thriving cycling community,” said Daphne E. Klahr, CPRP, Executive Director of the Reading Recreation Commission.
Festivities kick off at 5 p.m. on Friday, September 8, with a parade and ribbon cutting ceremony, hosted by Lower Alsace Township, to celebrate the completion of the Skyline Drive Project. The parade will start at the outlook below the Fire Tower and end with a few speeches and the ribbon cutting at the finish line of the hill climb.
“Lower Alsace Township is excited and honored to be part of the Reading Radsport Festival as the opening dedication of the new Skyline Drive,” said Corrie Crupi, of Lower Alsace Township.
Mt. Penn Hill Climb racers will start at 6 p.m from City Park. and will use the same course as the Pagoda and Duryea motorized hillclimb events, the Mt. Penn Hill Climb will start in City Park, where professional men, women, and citizen cyclists will race up the climb in three categories. The professional women and men will race for $500 in cash prizes, while the fastest citizen cyclist will have the chance to win a Radsport winner’s jersey. Members of the community can watch the start of the hill climb while enjoying the Uptown Band & Friends in the park, and getting dinner from several food trucks. Kids who want to show off their skills can enter a wheelie contest or try their luck in a Street Sprints competition, right in City Park.
The Radsport Festival continues on Saturday, September 9, with the West Reading Twilight Criterium. This exciting race will feature professional men and women, and amateur men, racing at speeds up to 40 miles per hour for multiple laps around a 0.8 mile course in West Reading. Races will start with amateur men racing at 5 p.m., and then continue with a kid’s race before the professional women and men take to the course. The featured men’s and women’s events will be held under lights and will send athletes around three high-speed corners and through a roundabout for their chance to win a portion of the $10,000 prize purse for each race. The finish line will be on Penn Avenue at 6th Street, providing some of the course’s best spectating.
The Reading Radsport Festival is sponsored by the Reading Eagle, Penn National Gaming, Pretzel City Productions, WEEU, Edwin Barbey Charitable Trust, and is still accepting new sponsorship — We want you to join the Radsport Festival as a Community Champion!
“I’m really looking forward to our city hosting a cycling event that the whole community can participate in. Whether it’s entering the hill climb as a personal challenge, watching the professional race fly by on Penn Avenue, or just listening to the music at the Friday night event at City Park while the hill climb goes on, there is an experience for everyone,” said Peter Barbey of the Reading Eagle.
The Radsport Festival will feature $21,000 in total prizes, plus a $500 prize to the professional rider who has the best combined result in the hill climb and criterium. “We are very excited to be working with the Reading Recreation Commission to bring professional bike racing to town this September,” said Radsport organizer Kacey Lloyd. “Berks County has an unmatched
cycling tradition and a community that loves bike racing. Bringing high-level, high-speed racing to this community is a natural fit. We’re grateful for the chance to bring this fun community event to Reading and to support Reading Recreation’s important work, by showcasing the country’s best athletes in an exciting, high-stakes race.”