Strausstown Loop - Blue Mountain via 183




Bike Ride

1888 ft

Begins in:
Strausstown, PA, United States
Created By:
Most of the ride is virtually traffic free (10 passing cars were counted in the first 30 miles during our last trek). This loop starts and ends near the intersection of 183 and I-78 in Strausstown, just north of Reading and Blue Marsh Lake. The ride starts from the parking lot of the Sickafus Sheepskin / gas / hotel. Inside the shop is where one can find the amazing newspaper, the Myerstown Herald, featuring &quot;Lunkheads&quot;, &quot;Creeps&quot;, and &quot;Losers&quot; in the headlines as the perpetrators of assorted crimes and misdemeanors.<br><br>The first half of the ride hugs the southern base of Blue Mountain, out to Swatara Creek and past I-81. This segment features gently rolling hills and a constant view of Blue Mountain, lurking on the right. The Blue Mountain Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) is on the left side of the road a few miles into the ride, a striking paradox in the land of pickups and trailers.<br><br>After crossing the Swatara Creek, the next portion of the ride swings around Blue Mountain on the west, though not without climbing some little hillocks along the way. At the town of Suedburg, the loop turns east, along the northern base of Blue Mountain. This stretch includes a densely wooded hill climb, followed by a long descent through farmland.<br><br>Ultimately, the ride reaches Route 183, where it turns south and follows 183 up and over Blue Mountain. The ride culminates with a screaming downhill to the parking lot.<br><br>This ride has become a personal favorite. It started out as an out and back early season training ride, staying on the south side of Blue Mountain but never venturing uphill. The evolution of the ride took place over several subsequent rides. The first attempt over Blue Mountain was via Rte. 645. This has a very steep section near the top, and an even steeper section on the downhill side with a sharp left turn. The next few attempts over Blue Mountain were via Rte. 501. This road has a narrow shoulder, and many vehicles roaring past, with trailers with ATVs whizzing by inches from your side. After several rides, it was deemed too dangerous a route, given the fast-moving wide and long traffic and narrow / non-existent shoulders. Finally, the transit of Blue via 183 was attempted. This is the safest and most gradual climb of the three transits, with wide shoulders and good visibility. The descent is mostly straight with excellent visibility.<br>
Starts From:
Bike Ride


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Climb Details

Rating Start/End Points Length Start/End Elevation Avg Grade
Cat 5 20.42 mi/21.85 mi 1.43 mi 437 ft/608 ft 2.3%
Cat 5 29.13 mi/31.87 mi 2.74 mi 489 ft/858 ft 2.6%
Cat 5 41.76 mi/43.51 mi 1.74 mi 597 ft/799 ft 2.2%
Cat 3 45.44 mi/50.29 mi 4.85 mi 674 ft/1,407 ft 2.9%

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