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'Bike Through History' on the

Northern Central Railroad Trail

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The Bike Through History program was conducted by members of the NCR/Hereford Volunteers. Ten official rides were offered - plus one 'unofficial' ride and a Moonlight Ride- and then we had a picnic. The following notes were taken for each of the events:


MAY 21 -

Our special introductory 'Get Reacquainted' bike ride was this evening originating at Sparks.. It was not in the schedule, but it was advertised to those participants from previous rides who were on our e-mail list.

Four people showed up, but only three of us participated.

It began raining at Sparks at 6PM and continued until about the time we were scheduled to leave & then the rain stopped almost completely, although it felt rather raw.

Participants were Allen, Lee & Ruth.

Steve, who had shown up about the time it began raining, decided not to attend, but he does plan to return & ride with us next week.. He has has been a very regular participant in our program over the years, & also he has agreed to be a speaker sometime this season.

So the three of us - Allen, Lee & Ruth - left from Sparks at 640PM, biked to Corbett, stopping briefly, and then on to Monkton where we turned back.

There was no program planned for this event.

The new '509' signal mast and banner at Glencoe looks Super!!

We returned to Sparks at 755PM and were off the trail.


MAY 28 -

Our first official BTH of the year originated at Paper Mill Road.. There were 19 participants in the beginning, and one more joined us en route, for a total of 20.. The weather was mild with temperatures in the mid-60's and getting cooler as the evening progressed.

Participants were.. Dot, Frank, Mary, Richard, Michele, Gary, Howard, Nancy, R uth, Annabelle, Ben, Cindy, Bill, Lena, Don, Dave, Lee, John, Steve and Allen.

We left from Paper Mill about 6:35PM and headed directly to the Gunpowder River Bridge for announcements & introductions, and everyone had a chance to speak.

We then rode non-stop (except for one quick-repair stop en route) to Sparks where Duvall Sollers was waiting for us.

Arriving 7:15PM with 29 minutes slotted for Duvall's lecture about NCR and Sparks history plus some info on the nature center itself, which Duvall delivered in splendid style, we departed from Sparks at 7:45PM.

We proceeded directly to Glencoe where we stopped at the new '509' signal for a discussion on some of the history about that particular artifact and the work that was done to display its prototype once again at that location.

Next we rode non-stop to Phoenix where a family from the ride currently living in Phoenix in what was once the general store told us some tidbits about their community.

Some of the participants left our group by this time, but when we arrived in Ashland at 842PM there were still eight of us left. At Ashland, Nancy, a rider who lives in Ashland, told us some things about Ashland, and I gave a brief narrative about some of my reminiscences of the place from the days of the Parkton Local.

We arrived back at Paper Mill and were off the trail at 9:02PM.


JUNE 4 -


This was the very first rainout since the NCR/Hereford Volunteers undertook the program in 2006.


JUNE 11 -

Nineteen participants attended our June 11 BTH ride from White Hall. They were.. Richard, Michele, Marvin, David, Judi, Jean, Carolyn, Elizabeth, Lee, Ruth, Steve, Anne, John, Seve, Howard, Kathy, Richard, Nancy and Allen.

We left southbound from White Hall at 6:35PM to Hicks-Wilson road where we had introductions, and then we returned north to White Hall arriving 7:00PM where Richard Anderson gave us a 15-minute show-and-tell about Owls.

We then moved on to Parkton where two of our younger participants read to us two paragraphs of the sign about Parkton.

From there we moved further north to the spot along exercise row where there is a huge sycamore tree next to Little Falls, and with nine volunteers we formed a circle to demonstrate how big around a mature sycamore tree can be, a BTW tradition.

North of Walker we stopped at the bridge crossing the mill race where one of the participants read to us the sign.

Finally we arrived at MP-15 where we discussed a trivia question about who had been our first U.S. president.

(By historical accounts, the first president was actually John Hanson of Maryland, not George Washington, as Hanson served in the capacity of President of the U.S. in Congress Assembled following the adoption of the Articles of Confederation in 1781, which was before the Constitution was adopted by which Washington became president.)

We were back to White Hall and off the trail by about 8:45PM.


JUNE 18 -

Our ride this evening was from Bentley Springs and it had been lightly raining for about half an hour before the time of departure, but we had 17 participants which included six staffers from the NCR/Hereford Volunteers, including Tom Breen on his very first BTH ride, wearing his Volunteer Bike Patrol uniform.

Some folks were reluctant to bike in the rain, but what convinced them to do so anyway was the fact that we would be biking less than half a mile south to MP-15 where we would turn around and head back.

At MP-15 we had introductions where everyone had a chance to speak, and this was followed by a discussion by Lee Fleishman on bicycle safety, he speaking from personal experience that helmets are a 'necessity.'

By then it had mostly stopped raining, and when we returned to Bentley Springs we were treated to a nature show-and-tell by Richard Anderson using two stuffed mice, a shrew, cotton rat, mole and vole as props.

Next we biked north to Freeland where Michelle Anderson read the history sign to us.. It was at this point we noticed that there were blue skies overhead and no more rain.

We then biked north to the state line, and we formed a circle at the state line for our annual reading aloud of the Gettysburg Address, with everyone participating by reading one or two sentences apiece from thespeech sequentially.

Lee Fleishman volunteered to be the 'caboose' biker as we returned to

Bentley Springs, and we were off the trail by 8:50P.M.

Participants were.. Steve, Richard, Richard, Tom, Michele, Norman, Nancy, Howard, Laurie, David, Barbara, John, Steve, Lee, Marvin, Ruth and Allen.


JUNE 25 -

There were 16 participants this evening on our ride from Freeland to Glen Rock, but at no time were all 16 of us together at one time inasmuch as one biker dropped out at the beginning, and two joined us en route.. Also, some bikers turned back early.

We left from Freeland several minutes late and we biked directly to New Freedom where the museum at the train station was open.

We left from New Freedom after a stay of 15 minutes, and we biked non-stop to Glen Rock where we relaxed with Italian ice, a BTH tradition.

On the way back up the hill we stopped at the 'Building the Railroad' sign, which Marvin Yaker read aloud to us.

Our agenda was limited this evening because of the length of our journey.

We got back to Freeland and were off the trail by 9:20 P.M.

Participants were.. Jim, Anne, Sandy, Jane, Kevin, Marvin, Steve, Eileen, Ruth, Lee, David, Gary, Kathy, Richard, Michele and Allen.

This completes the first half of our BTH program for this year.. Attendance has been 72, which compares to 110 in 2007 and 104 in 2006.. We did have one cancelation in the first half this year which will partly explain the drop in participation.


JULY 9 -

It had rained in a heavy dounpour about an hour earlier, but there were mostly blue skies overhead as we began the second round of BTH rides this evening from Paper Mill Road parking lot with 13 participants.. This included four committee members and seasonal ranger George from DNR.

We had a pre-ride show & tell by Richard Anderson about weasels, which was very informative.

We then rode north to the lime kiln, making our first-ever stop at that particular location, and we had introductions, announcements, and we heard the trivia question of the day pertaining to the various states comprising the Chesapeake Bay drainage basin with the promise to share the correct answers later in the ride.

Biking north we stopped south of Phoenix to see the former alignment of a third track that at one time went around the west side of the hill where the other two tracks went through a deep cut, and then we stopped again where the third track had rejoined the other two tracks, and took note of the foundation of the Phoenix northbound waiting shelter.

Stopping next at Sparks we read the historical sign at that location, George described his duties with DNR, and we had a brief discussion about the NCR/Hereford Volunteers.

Our northward destination was Glencoe where we stopped at the '509' signal and discussed how this signal had come to be created and by whom, and to let the participants know that yet another prototype had just been constructed and is operational with lights at Monkton station.. All were invited to come to the next NCR meeting to see the new signal in person and to meet Tom Bryant.. Also, we shared answers to the trivia question..

Two participants left us at Glencoe and five others left us at Paper Mill, and the six remaining biked south to Ashland and then back to Paper Mill where we were off the trail by 9:10 P.M.

Participants this evening were.. Marvin, Ingrid, Steve, Richard, Michele, Lee, Ruth, Jerry, Rick, George, Liz, Amy and Allen.


JULY 16 -

Our ride originating at Monkton was attended by 16 participants & we left a few minutes late to allow all who were attending to park their cars.. The lot at Monkton was full & there was a large gathering there having a picnic.

We reassembled at the bridge between Monkton & Corbett, a more peaceful setting than the chaos at Monkton, for introductions.. The following people were there.. JoAnne, Stacey, Ruth, Alan, Eileen, Peg, Marvin, Gary, Norman, Steve, Mary, Dan, Lee. Jerry, Mud and Allen.

Next we biked south to Glencoe where Steve gave us a description of his 2002 invention for a variable transmission for use on bicycles.. He had an illustration and a patent, but has never built a working model.. He explained that, in theory, the device would work OK, but would likely not be very popular due to its weight, cost of construction & be out of favor to most bicyclists.. Unless he can find a sponsor, it is unlikely that a prototype will ever be built, he said.

Returning to Monkton we stopped at the station which David Rusk had opened for us & we remained there until 8:03PM at which time we biked north to Blue Mount to get a look at the former train waiting shelter that had at one time been in position along the railroad just south of the crossing.

Finally, we stopped at Hicks-Wilson road, and it was here that we discussed the mural that will be created at the Sparks Nature Center.. Four people had dropped out prior to this point and one more left us afterward to bike back to his home in Parkton, leaving 11 participants to return to Monkton and we were off the trail by about 9:00 P.M.


JULY 17 -

Our first Moonlight Bike Ride since 2003 was staged Thursday evening, July 17, beginning at Monkton and terminating at the Falls, a.k.a. Snake Pit, & then returning to Monkton.. There were nine bicyclists on the ride plus two attending in the DNR truck.

We began at 8:30 P.M. with a nocturnal animal demonstration by Richard Anderson with stuffed critters which were passed around.

Following introductions & safety instructions we left from Monkton at 8:55 P.M. and proceeded to the Little Falls bridge just south of Blue Mount Road where we stopped to look for beavers - but there were none - and we rested a bit before continuing onward.

Our next stop was Graystone, where we shared a story about a train wreck that had happened here the evening of June 7, 1934, when a northbound Parkton-bound passenger train derailed with its engine, tender and one coach spilling over the bridge, killing the engineer, fireman and a passenger.

We arrived at the Snake Pit at 9:48 P.M., and we dwelled for about 10 minutes with a discussion by Christina about the park, Don about his father-in-law's farm adjacent to the property at that location and general chit-chat.. It was also noted that next year will be the 50th anniversary of the final trip of the Parkton local, as well as the 20th anniversary of the dedication of Monkton station. We left from that location at 10:04 P.M.

A bright moon shone through the trees as we ventured south.

We rode non-stop to Monkton, which we arrived at 10:37 P.M.

Marvin Yaker provided refreshments afterward in the station.

The participants riding along behind in the truck were Christina and Marvin.. Earlier in the evening David had opened the gates for us.

Bikers included.. Ingrid, Steve, Allen, David, Charlie, Richard, Don, Bob and Beckie.

The ride was very enjoyable and considered a success, except for the disappointingly low turnout.


JULY 23 -



JULY 30 -

There was a threat of rain & thunderstorms this evening; in fact, there had been a rather nasty cell that went through the Lutherville & Cockeysville area about an hour earlier, but there was no rain at Bentley Springs.

Only three bicyclists showed up for the event, plus Duvall Sollers who graciously agreed to be our keynote speaker.

The bicyclists were Barbara, David & Allen.

We biked south to MP-15 & then back to the new signal just south of Bentley Springs to look at it, & then back to Bentley Springs itself for Duvall's talk about Bentley Springs, which was very interesting.

Following this we biked north to Freeland where Duvall met us once again and talked to us about Freeland.. This, too, was very interesting, and we appreciate Duvall taking his time to participate in the program.

We did not bike north of Freeland.

When we got back to Bentley Springs it was almost dark, & we were off the trail by 8:50 P.M.



The ride was on a pleasant evening, warm with low humidity, but we only had seven participants, including two staff.

They were Steve, Don, Marie, Barbara, Lynn, Lee & Allen.

We made stops at the state line, Flickerville, the Seiling Furniture sign & finally at Railroad, before turning back.

Regrettably, one of our bicyclists lost balance and fell while crossing a set of railroad tracks north of New Freedom Station on our return ride southbound.. The injuries were treated on the scene by a neighbor, and later the participant went to an emergency room and there were no fractures, but there was a rather nasty flesh wound along the right forearm.

This was our last BTH ride of the season.



Our second annual Monkton station picnic was 8-13-08.

Conceived as an end-of-season picnic for the Bike Through History participants, it is also an affair for trail volunteers, NCR members & park staff.. More than 25 people attended.

Only about six non-staff BTH participants attended (but we appreciated seeing those who did).. We were also honored with the presence of the Gunpowder Falls State Park volunteer equestrian rangers, who had scheduled a meeting that same evening at the station.

It had been a splendid late summer day - until about half an hour before the event, when it began to rain, so we opted to bring everything inside the station.. Having the picnic inside the station worked quite well, and there was plenty of room for everyone.. There was plenty of food, too.

More than 25 people attended the picnic, but just 25 names were recorded during our introduction session, which also included brief comments from everyone, the singing of four songs, and a sales blitz for raffle tickets.

The songs were Roll Out the Barrel, Puff the Magic Dragon, My Grandfather's Clock, & America the Beautiful.

Meanwhile, the equestrians graciously decided to meet on the back porch (by then, it had stopped raining) so the rest of us could have the run of the station, which we greatly appreciated.

Those attending included Allen, Sarah, Ronda, Beverly, Christina, Barbara, Ingrid, Steve, Dan, Laurie, Tom, David, Sandy, Nancy, Bill, Linda, Ruth, Lee, Bob, Bill, John, Richard, Mary, Tess & Marvin.

Much appreciation to all who made this year's program such a great success.

Here's looking forward to the 2009 season.


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Click Here for Program Notes from 2007

Click Here for Program Notes from 2006

Click Here for Program Notes from 2005

Click Here for Program Notes from 2004

Click Here for Program Notes from 2003

Click Here for Program Notes from 2002