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'Bike Through History'

on the

Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail

(Northern Central Railroad Trail)

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MAY 25 - PAPER MILL: Our first ride of the season was attended by 19 participants.. We left at 6:36P.M. and biked northward to the Gunpowder Falls bridge at the head waters of Loch Raven Reservoir for introductions.. Then we proceeded directly to Sparks for a visit to the Sparks Bank Nature Center.. NCR/Hereford Volunteers members Duvall and Barbara Sollers graciously entertained us for half an hour with talks on history and nature as it applies to the rail trail.. This visit is a time-honored Bike Through History tradition, and a fitting way for us to begin our season.. We then biked north to Glencoe, remaining briefly, and then returned to our origin, Paper Mill.. A number of our bikers left the group at this point, but some of us continued south to Ashland (MP-ZERO) before biking back to Paper Mill.. We were off the trail by 9P.M.

JUNE 1 - BENTLEY SPRINGS: It was a warm and muggy evening as 13 participants attended.. We left promptly at 6:30P.M. and biked southward to MP-15 for introductions.. We then returned (stopping briefly along the way to examine mountain laurel and one of the replica wayside signals) to Bentley Springs.. Here we were treated to a 'creature feature' by our organization's president, Richard Anderson, on beavers.. Next we attempted to bike non-stop (nearly three miles) to Freeland, but there was a delay en route due to bike trouble.. Once all of us had arrived at Freeland, we decided to turn back.. We stopped briefly at the entrance to Camp Bee Tree to read the sign, and then on to Bentley Springs.. We were off the trail at 8:25P.M.

JUNE 8 - WHITE HALL: It was rather hot and muggy with temperatures having topped out at about 100 degrees earlier in the day.. There were 20 participants, a surprisingly high number considering the weather.. The shaded trail, along with the breeze generated by biking, kept us comfortable.. We began by biking southward to Hicks-Wilson road (near MP-10) for introductions, and then back north to White Hall.. Richard Anderson then provided us with a creature feature on snakes.. Next we biked to a point north of Graystone, where a neighbor has snacks and drinks for sale on the honor-system next to the trail, and then on to the 'Snake Pit.' (The Snake Pit is a nickname for a rocky area along the Little Falls south of Parkton where there are rapids and a trail sign about snakes.) The copperhead is poisonous, though not usually deadly, and it is found in rocky habitats in this area.. Leaving there we biked north beyond Parkton to the 'exercise area,' near a large sycamore tree, and it was here that we formed two 8-person circles to demonstrate the recorded girth of a sycamore.. This demonstration is a Bike Through History tradition.. It is said that in colonial times, new homesteaders would hollow out a standing sycamore tree for use as temporary shelter while a permanent home was being built.. From here we biked to a bridge across an old millrace north of Walker to read the sign and discuss the hydraulics of a millrace in the grist mill process.. Finally, we reached MP-15 for closing comments before heading back to White Hall.. We were off the trail by 8:50P.M.

JUNE 15 - MONKTON: This evening we were blessed with near perfect weather, and there were 23 participants.. Our group left on-time and biked directly to Glencoe (near MP-5) for introductions.. We then returned to Monkton where we were met by our vice-president, Carmela Veit, who gave us a talk and walking tour of the spacious gardens at Monkton station.. From Monkton we biked north to Blue Mount for a brief reminiscence of the train known as the 'Parkton Local' along with a glimpse of the former waiting shelter for the stop at Blue Mount which long ago was moved to private property nearby.. Finally, we reached Hicks-Wilson road, where we were shared a trivia test on Maryland State symbols (its bird, flower, tree, etc.) and closing remarks before heading back to Monkton.

JUNE 22 - FREELAND: There were 11 participants this warm and muggy evening with a risk of thunderstorms.. We began with a creature feature by Richard Anderson on turtles.. Then we biked northward to the state line (the Mason-Dixon Line) where we stopped in the park next to the trail for introductions.. We then formed a circle upon the state line and each of the participants sequentially recited a portion of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.. This activity is a Bike Through History tradition, symbolizing the 'healing unity' implied by the Gettysburg Address, orchestrated alongside the very spot that Mr. Lincoln had traveled by train across the nominal boundary between South and North in 1863 to deliver his speech.. Continuing on the New Freedom, Pennsylvania, along the York County Heritage Rail Trail, we paid a visit to the New Freedom Train Station Museum.. Finally, we biked over to a former movie theater, now an ice cream stand, where we bought some ice cream before returning to Freeland.. We were off the trail promptly at 8:30P.M.

JUNE 29 - SPARKS: The weather was quite pleasant this evening as 16 participants attended.. We were treated to a show-and-tell on butterflies by Nancy Berger.. She also awarded two door prizes to participants who correctly answered questions.. We then biked southward stopping at the Gunpowder Falls bridge at the head waters of Loch Raven Reservoir for introductions.. It was here, too, that we noticed a pair of beavers swimming in the waters below.. At Ashland, the most southern point on the trail at MP-ZERO, Nick, a fifth-grader, read to us from the history sign.. Nancy Berger, who lives in Ashland, then took us on a biking tour of the community.. On the return ride we stopped once again at the Gunpowder bridge and saw (we assume) the same two beavers.. Returning back to Sparks, we were off the trail by 8:40P.M.

JULY 6 - PARKTON: Our ride began in Parkton on a warm evening with 13 in attendance.. Richard Anderson presented a creature feature on the weasel family.. We then biked southward, stopping briefly to observe a blue heron, and then reach Graystone, our southern destination, for introductions and a report on a fatal train accident that had occurred here in 1934.. Next we biked north, stopping at two locations in Parkton to discuss the Parkton Local.. It was a commuter train that had served communities between Parkton and Baltimore, a distance of 28.8 miles, until it was discontinued in 1959.. North of Walker, Don Minogue, leader of the Sunset Scramble bike group in York County, recounted seeing a weasel-type animal at this location several days earlier.. We reached our northern destination, MP-15, for closing comments, and then returned to Parkton and were off the trail by 8:40P.M.

JULY 13 - PHOENIX: Our final ride of the Bike Through History season was attended by 14 participants.. We began with a 'train-order stick' demonstration.. A train-order stick is a device once used for delivery of written communications from the ground to crew members of moving trains.. Two of our young participants ran along the trail, as though they were a train, and received the message provided.. It was a lot of fun! Next, Richard Anderson gave us a creature feature on the 'musk' family.. We left Phoenix at 6:55P.M. and biked our way northward, stopping at Sparks for introductions and to read the history sign.. Next we biked to the community of Corbett.. After discussing some of the history of the area, we biked several hundred yards along Corbett road to get a roadside glimpse of 'Shadowlawn,' an elegant Victorian house c-1889.. Returning south once again we stopped briefly at Sparks to say goodbye to one of our bikers, then again at Phoenix to say goodbye to another, and those remaining continued on to the Gunpowder bridge to look for wildlife.. Returning back to Phoenix we were off the trail by 9:15P.M.. Our 8-session Bike Through History program this season was attended by 129 participants, an average of about 16 per event.

JULY 15 - MONKTON (Moonlight Bike Ride): It was not included in the official schedule, but by word-of-mouth we had organized a Moonlight Bike Ride beginning at Monkton at 8:30P.M.. It is was a clear, delightful evening, with 20 in attendance.. We began with a creature feature by Richard Anderson on owls, a brief introduction by Paul Roberts, park ranger, Gunpowder Falls State Park, and a safety briefing.. Then we biked northward, stopping at White Hall for introductions, and then on the the 'Snake Pit,' our northern destination.. Heading south we stopped once again at White Hall.. The full moon was just rising above the trees, and we staged a sing-a-long.. Facing the moon, with the ranger's truck behind us to give us light to read the words, our selections were:

Many thanks to all who made this year's Bike Through History program such a great success.

Allen Brougham

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