READING, Pa. - It's the consolation prize for what would have been the Reading 120 bike race.
Both professionals and amateurs will take to their bikes during the Reading Radsport Festival, an event that includes the Mount Penn Hill Climb.
The racer get electronically chipped, and their official time starts on Duryea Drive. Then, it's two miles of full-tilt cycling past the Pagoda all the way to the finish line near the William Penn Memorial Fire Tower atop the mountain. The race spans 2.2 miles.
"Not only the terrain that's difficult, it's the fact that the athletes are trying to push themselves to complete that terrain in the shortest amount of time possible," said Kacey Lloyd, the race's producer.
Volunteers keep the wheels turning, because the race benfits a great cause: the Reading Recreation Commission's kitchen at South Third and Spruce streets. They serve between 500 and 900 meals daily.
"We are just crammed for space. We don't have a walk-in refrigerator," said executive director Daphne Klahr. "Right now, we use coolers to store milk to serve the kids. We pack it in ice."
Proceeds from the festival will help pay for a walk-in refrigerator. Klahr calls the idea a "game-changer." The group said the festival offers something the Reading 120 could not.
"I think the Reading Radsport Festival is bigger and better than the Reading 120 would have ever been, because it is for the community, organized by the community, and benefiting the community," said Klahr.
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