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'Bike Through History'

on the

Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail

(Northern Central Railroad Trail)


Activities of the 2012 program included..

May 23 - Our 'Get Reacquainted' ride took place this evening, beginning at Sparks. It began raining lightly about 35 minutes before the ride was scheduled to begin, and thunder could be heard off in the distance. Five people showed up for the ride, but two of them left upon arriving because of the weather. By 6:30PM it had stopped raining, and the three of us who were still there chose to ride south, which we did until just past the Phoenix road bridge, at which point it began to rain rather hard, and more thunder could be heard. We turned and arrived back at Sparks (still raining) by 7PM, and we were off the trail.It was fun. And the rain didn't bother us very much.. After all, it's only water.

May 30 - Eighteen (18) people, including two NCR volunteer staff, participated in this pleasant evening's activity from Paper Mill. At least ten (10) in the group were newcomers. We left promptly on-time and assembled on the bridge that crosses the headwaters of the reservoir for introductions. Each participant was asked to say something germane to the program, and all of them did. Richard Anderson, our president, gave a brief description of our organization's focus, and he shared a tentative design for BTH t-shirts. We then biked northward making history stops at Phoenix, Sparks and Glencoe before turning back. On our return ride we stopped once again at the bridge to see if there were any beavers swimming about, but we saw none. Finally we arrived in Ashland for a history stop & closing remarks, and we were back at Paper Mill and off the trail by 8:50PM.

June 6 ­ Eighteen (18) people participated, including five association members. We met at Bentley Springs - over-filling the parking lot - on a cool, pleasant evening. We departed southbound about three minutes late, stopping at MP-15 for introductions. Returning north we stopped briefly at the signal just south of Bentley road for an explanation of its significance, and then stopped once again at Bentley Springs. Richard Anderson had brought along the mount of an American bison, and we had a discussion on the bison's historical habitat and its importance to Native Americans before they were overcome by the new settlers who almost drove the animal to extinction. (Did you know that the bison was once native to Maryland?) Next we biked to Freeland where we stopped for a reading of the history sign.. Two participants left us at this point. Our northward advance ended at the state line.. It was here that we assembled in the grassy area just east of the trail, formed a circle upon the state line and took turns reading Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, one or two sentences at a time.. (This is a BTH tradition.) Finally we returned to Bentley Springs, stopped several times as one of the bikers had a slow-leaking front tire & the need for it to be inflated, and we were off the trail at 8:40 PM.

June 13 - Twenty-three (23) participants attended our BTH event on a gorgeous, comfortable evening from Monkton. This included five (5) NCR Hereford volunteers. Richard Anderson served as our leader, and I served as caboose. We left Monkton about 2 minutes late and biked directly to Glencoe for introductions. We then headed back north, stopping briefly at the bridge south of Corbett, and we arrived Monkton at 7:15PM. We were met at Monkton by members of the Gunpowder Garden Club who gave us a show & tell of the gardens. They were Randy Low, president; Lynn Irwin, chair of the container gardens; and Carmela Veit. It was such a lovely evening nestled within such pleasant surroundings, it is as though we might never want to leave. But we did leave, and at 7:44PM we were en route north once again, stopping briefly at the Little Falls bridge in Blue Mount (but there were no beavers), and finally arriving at Hicks-Wilson road for closing thoughts, departing at 8:10PM. We biked back to Monkton and were off the trail by 8:30PM. Many thanks to the Gunpowder Garden Club for their honored participation.. This has become at Bike Through History tradition.

June 20 - It was a clear but hot, steamy evening with temps in the mid-90's as we met at Freeland for our fourth official BTH event. Thirteen (13) people attended, including two (2) NCR volunteers and two (2) DNR staffers. We began with introductions at Freeland, and then we left at 6:40PM and biked north to the state line for a discussion about the Mason-Dixon line. We then biked to New Freedom, Pa., to visit the train station museum, but it was closed. From there we biked north to the borough of Railroad (called Shrewsbury on the PRR timetable), and then we turned around & biked back to New Freedom and went to Bonkey's in the old movie theater for ice cream. We returned to Freeland & were off the trail by 8:40PM. (By this time, it was about 10 degrees cooler.)

June 27 - There were 19 participants this lovely evening from White Hall, including 4 NCR volunteers and 2 DNR staffers. A special welcome to our newest NCR member, Larry Reese, who attended with his sister and his son. Today, June 27, was the 53rd anniversary of the last trip of the Parkton Local, an event that was recognized this evening. We began at 6:30PM with a demonstration on the use of a 'train-order stick,' a device used in railroading for the delivery of orders and messages to trains prior to the use of radios.. Andrew Reese, 12, simulated a moving train as he ran past the train-order stick, using the proper style, to receive the message. At 6:38PM we headed south to Hicks-Wilson road for introductions. We left Hicks-Wilson at 6:58PM, headed back north to White Hall, arriving 7:05PM, where we stopped for a creature feature. Richard Anderson gave a very educational show & tell on Bats, and explained how vital they are to our everyday life.. (Bats really are our friends.) We then headed north to Parkton where we stopped for a discussion on the Parkton Local. Following that we headed north to the exercise area where we demonstrated the potential girth of a sycamore tree with eight people stretched hand-to-hand in a circle.. (This is a BTH tradition.) We concluded our ride at MP-15 where Don Minogue, leader of the Sunset Scramblers, described activities along the Pennsylvania portion of the trail, and we had our closing thoughts. With this, we have now covered every inch of the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail in this year's program, and there are three rides remaining. We were back to White Hall and off the trail by 8:50PM.

July 11 - Twenty-four (24) participants attended this evening, originating at Sparks. This was our largest attendance in the program so far this season. We began with introductions, followed by Richard Anderson's creature feature on turtles. We then biked northward to Corbett for a brief discussion, & then we went on to Monkton. It was here that we visited the station for about 15 minutes, and then we biked further north to the Little Falls bridge just south of Blue Mount. In all, we covered about 10.4 miles round-trip. We were back & off the trail at 8:52PM. Our next ride will be July 18 from Parkton.

July 18 ­ Ride canceled due to rain.

July 25 - This pleasant evening we originated in Phoenix with 19 in attendance. This included one DNR staffer and five NCR members. We began promptly with a talk by Sally and Sharon from the Manor Garden Club who discussed things about the plot at Phoenix and its membership in the Bay Wise Gardens program. The bikers then biked south to the Gunpowder Bridge for introductions and trivia questions. Following this we went south to Ashland where we read the sign and took a biking tour of the town of Ashland. Returning north once again we stopped briefly at the Gunpowder bridge to watch a blue heron, and then on to Sparks for closing announcements. The 2012 Wednesday evening Bike Through History program was attended by 134 people, an average of 19.1 per event. This was the second best average in the 7-year tenure under the sponsorship of the NCR/Hereford Volunteers. These figures exclude an unofficial 'get reacquainted' ride staged prior to the program, and the annual 'moonlight' ride staged just after the end.

August 1 - The weather report was sort of iffy - scattered thunderstorms expected - but I'm happy to report that things cleared up nicely for us. Fifteen (15) participants gathered at Monkton station for our annual Moonlight Bike Ride. We began with a creature feature by Richard Anderson on OWLS. At 8:50PM, following our safety announcements, we departed north. We were followed in the park truck by 2 seasonal staff members MATT and KELSEY. The gates had been previously opened, and we proceeded non-stop to White Hall. At White Hall we had introductions, and after that we assembled in the north end of the parking lot - with all of us facing south with the truck turned around and behind us to shine the headlights - we serenaded the moon which had just risen above the trees. Selections were.. 'By the Light of the Silvery Moon.' 'When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain.' 'In the Good Old Summertime. 'Mockingbird Hill.' 'I'm Looking Over a 4-Leaf Clover.' 'I've Been Working on the Railroad.' 'America.' We then biked further north to the Snake Pit, dwelled for about 5 minutes, turned and headed back south. We stopped once on the bridge south of Blue Mount to allow everyone to catch up, and we were back at Monkton and off the trail by 10:40PM. Refreshments were available in the station, and folks socialized for about half an hour.

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('Bike Through History' is conducted by volunteer members of the NCR/Hereford Volunteers Association.. The Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail - formerly the Northern Central Railroad Trail - is located in northern Baltimore County, Maryland, and extends for nearly 20 miles from Ashland to the Pennsylvania state line.. Its route is the former right-of-way of the Northern Central branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad.. Passenger train station stops along the route included Ashland, Phoenix, Sparks, Glencoe, Corbett, Monkton, Pleasant Valley, Blue Mount, White Hall, Graystone, Parkton, Walker, Bentley Springs and Freeland.. The trail is maintained as a portion of the Gunpowder Falls State Park.. Northward into Pennsylvania, the trail is known as the York County Heritage Rail Trail, maintained by York County.)

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