The Iron Tour has distance options of 11, 20, 32, 50, 62, 75, and 100 miles for road courses, and a gravel ride of 70 miles with approximately 40% on gravel. There’s something for every type of rider, from a short ride through breathtaking countryside to a century route that visits numerous quaint villages and historical landmarks. The start and finish location at the Kimberton Fire Company Fairgrounds provides an excellent launch into unspoiled country and a great place to gather afterward for fun and food. Distances and elevations might vary some depending on the tracking method used.
Cue sheets are made available to preregistered riders during the week before the event.
7.5 Mile Conservation Ride- New this year to commemorate the 20th anniversary!
Since the first Iron Tour in 2002, all of the proceeds raised by the 19 rides have gone directly to conserving land in northern Chester County through the work of the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. Those funds were instrumental in forever saving 4,167 of the 13,350 acres of open land that French & Pickering has protected since its beginning.
As a celebration of the 20th year of the Iron Tour, French & Pickering is excited to present a limited special addition to this year’s ride. The first 20 adults to register for this celebratory ride will bike a course led by Conservation Director Pam Brown. The ride will start at 10:00 a.m., on Sunday, June 12. A road route has been designed that will cover 7.5 miles. Along the route, we will discuss properties that are protected with conservation easements held by French & Pickering, as well as properties with other methods of protection. At each stop, we will explain the significant aspects of the property, the reasons why it so important to our community to protect the property, and the process involved in creating the easement. Where possible, landowners will personally share their reasons and experiences. One of the easement sites will serve as a short rest stop with beverages and snacks. Afterwards, riders can enjoy lunch at the Kimberton Fairgrounds.
We look forward to a shared and fun way to learn more about how French & Pickering, through conservation easements, preserves our land, water and other natural resources.
11 and 20 Mile Rides
The 11 mile ride is great for families and those reacquainting themselves with their bicycles. The 20 mile distance has some hills. At the midway point for both rides, you are treated with a rest stop at the Vincent Meeting House just past the charming village of Yellow Springs. Named “Yellow Springs” by the Native Lenape, this spot is steeped in history. Because of the healing waters of the tributaries to the Pickering Creek, Yellow Springs was a fashionable spa before and after the Revolutionary War. The first military hospital in the nation’s history, commissioned by George Washington, was built here. Learn more about Historic Yellow Springs. Elevations: 11 mile – 474′; 20 mile – 1085′.
32 Mile Ride
The 32 mile ride is a great intermediate ride for those wanting to take in more of northern Chester County’s historical scenery. The route includes two covered bridges and a rest stop at the Vincent Meeting House just past Historic Yellow Springs. After pedaling through the quaint village of Birchrunville, you head north to a rest stop at North Coventry Elementary School before rejoining the longer distance rides for the last 10 miles to the finish. Elevation: 1831′.
50 Mile Ride
After the rest stop at the Vincent Meeting House just past Yellow Springs, you head west through the territory where many colonial iron forges and furnaces flourished. If you are up for taking in a little more exceptional scenery with a few more hills, this ride is for you. There are four rest stops along the way. Elevation: 2937′.
62 Mile Ride
The 62 mile ride follows the same path as the 75 and 100 mile courses for the first 41 miles. After the rest stop at Warwick Furnace Farm, you head north through parts of French Creek State Park to the rest stop at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site — a preserved Iron Plantation. This ride offers the perfect combination of picturesque pastures, woods, hills, and valleys. Elevation: 3699′.
75 and 100 Mile Rides
These rides start off to the east, as far as the edge of Valley Forge National Park, and then to the Vincent Meeting House (Yellow Springs) and Warwick Furnace Farm rest stops. (Please note that the first rest stop is 24 miles out from the start of the ride.) From Warwick Furnace Farm, both courses head south, the 75 mile course for an additional 18 mile loop to Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. The century ride adds an excursion that skirts the Pennsylvania Dutch Country with a rest stop at Hibernia County Park, the site of an early iron forge which later became the prosperous Hibernia Iron Works. You may pass a horse and buggy along the way! From Hibernia, the course goes north to Hopewell Furnace before you return to Kimberton for the post-ride celebration. Elevations: 75 mile – 4161′; 100 mile – 5665′.
Gravel! – 70 Mile Ride
This leg burning, chest pounding ride will take you on, up, and over some of the most beautiful and challenging terrain the French and Pickering Creek watersheds have to offer. The ride will head west from Kimberton to tackle the gravel and climbs found around Birchrunville, yes we are talking about Flowing Springs, Hill Top, and Saw Mill. Continuing down through Ludwig’s Corner before taking riders through more gravel and elevation gain on their way to the Warwick Furnace rest stop. From Warwick Farm, the route will follow an on-road portion of the other ride routes before breaking off for gravel going up to the Hopewell Furnace rest stop. From Hopewell Furnace, and with much of the climbing behind you, this route continues north for a scenic descent through French Creek State Park to the gravel sections of the Schuylkill River Trail. Riders can enjoy the change in pace and hit the last rest stop at North Coventry Elementary School, before finishing out the last gravel section from Parker Ford to Phoenixville. The final section rewards riders with the Rapps Dam Covered Bridge spanning over French Creek and a fun section of double track on the French Creek Trail.
If this sounds like a challenge you want to complete, then sign up, but you better bring your adventure and your climbing legs for this epic 70-mile, 6,525’ elevation gain ride on the best scenic gravel, roads, and trails in the area!
Recommended bikes for this event – Cyclocross, Gravel, & Touring with a treaded tire, minimum width 30mm or 1.25” Road bikes are not recommended due to the terrain covered, and mountain bikes are not recommended due to the length of the ride and the amount of on-road sections.