‘Bell to Bell Bike Ride’ Online Registration Open; First Registrations Have Started to Come in

VALLEY FORGE, Pa., April 14 /PRNewswire/ — Online registration has begun, and the first cyclists have already signed on for the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau’s second annual “Bell to Bell Bike Ride” on May 29, 2005. The ride links two of the region’s most recognizable and significant landmarks – Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and Valley Forge National Historical Park. Registration for the ride will close on Friday, May 27.

“Cyclists can register online; they can pick up a brochure and registration form at the Welcome Center at Valley Forge or at a bike shop and numerous other regional locations, or they can call our toll-free line, 1-866- VF VISIT, and have one sent to them,” said Bureau President Paul Decker.

This year’s ride has been designated the kickoff for the Wachovia Cycling Series, a week of cycling events throughout the region. The “Bell to Bell” ride is the only one which is a recreational event – the others bring in competitors from all over the world to vie for purses that range up to $142,000.

Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell is an international symbol of freedom. The “Bell to Bell” ride was designed to call attention to its lesser-known cousin, the Justice Bell. Forged in 1915 to promote women’s voting rights, the Justice Bell is a full-scale, 2,000-pound replica of the Liberty Bell. It traveled around the country with its clapper tied to its side, symbolically silent until 1920 when women won the vote with ratification of the 19th Amendment. This year is both the 85th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the 90th anniversary of the Justice Bell, which is permanently displayed in the carillon tower at Washington Memorial Chapel.

“The ‘Bell to Bell Bike Ride’ is a great experience for bicyclists of all ages and levels of experience,” Decker said. “We expect it to attract local cyclists as well as visitors to discover the region’s recreational assets as a natural gateway to our historic sites.”

To encourage out-of-town visitors, special hotel packages are being offered with rates starting at $79 a night, a shopping discount card at King of Prussia Mall, regional trail maps and biking getaway gifts.

Last year’s ride drew 300 participants, ranging in age from small children trailed in buggies by their parents to age 77. They came from as far away as Tennessee and Florida, though most were from the tri-state region. The Bureau has again engaged Norristown-based Threshold Sports, producers of the internationally recognized Pro Cycling Tour, to organize the “Bell to Bell Bike Ride.”

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