Popular Tolsdorf Trike Challenge Returns to Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic


The wildly popular Tolsdorf Trike Challenge will once again take place on West Chester’s Gay Street as part of the Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic on Saturday, August 12, 2017.

Open to businesses, organizations and any group of five who feel they have the right stuff, the tag-team competition has become one of the most popular of the day’s events.

Besides the glory of victory, the winning team will have their name engraved on the prestigious Trike Challenge trophy and each member will enjoy a VIP experience at the exclusive Crit Club located in a prime viewing area at the start/finish line.

There, they will enjoy a lavish buffet and beverages as they celebrate their victory. Anyone interested in taking part should contact the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce before Friday, August 11.

TPL_8047webThis series of five-person tag-team elimination races is for men and women 18 and older. Each team must have at least one member of the opposite sex. Last year’s competition drew 12 teams; even more are expected to enter in 2017.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Fame Fire Company No. 3, an all-volunteer fire company in West Chester. Complete details and registration are available on the website.

A well-choreographed hand-off is the key to victory

Last year, after three tries, victory finally belonged to team Kelly’s Sports of West Chester. “We’ve competed every year since it first began back in 2014,” says Steven Kelly, Jr, Vice President of the sports equipment center, referring to what is arguably the most unusual competition in the Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic race-day lineup.

And because of its uniqueness, it’s also one of the most entertaining events.

Last year’s victory was the result of three years of honing a technique that won the day and the Kelly’s Sports team has no intention in having to hand it over to another winner.

TPL_8080webThe first year, Kelly really didn’t know what he was getting into. “I thought we were going to be riding Big Wheels,” he says, and was surprised when he saw the adult-sized trikes. Just as surprising was the fact that victory does not necessary go to the fastest riders.

“Speed is just one element,” said Mark Yoder, president of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, the organizer of the Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic, “But it’s really about how well the riders hand off the trikes to their teammates.”

Chris Tolsdorf, president of Tolsdorf Oil Lube Express, the event’s sponsor, agrees, saying, “a good hand-off is one that doesn’t involve swinging the trike into the shins of your teammate.”

Easier said than done. “Those things are really heavy,” said Kelly. “And once they got moving, it was hard to slow them down because there are no brakes, which makes the exchange a real challenge.” Last year Kelly’s team perfected their hand-off strategy. It is elegant in its simplicity: each rider gets off the bike on the left side and rotates the trike, while the next rider stands on the right, ready to immediately jump on.

It worked. After three years of trying, Kelly’s Sports’ persistence finally paid off: they took home the coveted championship trophy. “That trophy is going nowhere,” boasted Kelley, “we will be back at it again this year, so people beware.”

Trike racing is just one of many attractions that will make up West Chester’s popular day of racing action and family-friendly events. The West Chester Dental Arts Kid’s Race kicks off the fun at 3:30 P.M. with such popular attractions as the Community Festival, Kid’s Zone, Market Street Block Party and more open to the public at 4:00 P.M..

The Tolsdorf Trike Challenge takes over the streets at 4:30 P.M. followed by the Rothman Institute Amateur Criterium and the Brumbaugh Wealth Management Pro Women’s Criterium before the Iron Hill Pro Men’s Criterium at 8:00 P.M. closes out the evening.

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