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'Bike Through History'

on the

Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail


2013 Activities . . .

June 5 - Paper Mill Road ..

Our first official ride of the season was attended by 40 participants, a new record. We departed on-time and proceeded north to the Gunpowder bridge for introductions, then non-stop to Sparks for a creature-feature on the American bison by Richard Anderson, and then to Glencoe to get a look at the wayside railroad signal. Finally we biked south to Ashland (MP-0) to read the history sign, and then back to Paper Mill.

June 12 - Bentley Springs ..

It was a mostly-cloudy evening with the threat of thunderstorms. Still, we had a turnout of 22 people, and there were no storms. We began by biking south to MP-15 for introductions, then back north. We stopped at our initial starting point and were treated to a creature-feature by Richard Anderson about mammals and swans of the Chesapeake Bay region. We then continued north to Freeland to read the history sign, and next to the state line where we rendered our traditional responsive reading of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and finally returned to Bentley Springs.

June 19 - White Hall ..

It was an especially pleasant evening for a bike ride, and 31 people attended. First we biked south the Hicks-Wilson road for introductions, and then back to White Hall for a show-and-tell of an original 34-star American flag made between 1861 and 1863, still in reasonably good condition. Our next stop was the place known as the 'Snake Pit,' and then Parkton to read the history sign about the town and the train known as the Parkton Local. Heading further north we stopped near exercise spot 11 for our traditional 'ring around the sycamore tree' demonstration. Next we biked north to bridge 30-23 to read the sign about the millrace spanned by the bridge, and finally to MP-15 before returning to White Hall.

June 26 - Monkton ..

There was a thunderstorm watch in the area but we had our ride anyway, and there was no rain. Nine participants attended. We left on-time from Monkton, stopped at the bridge south of Monkton for introductions and safety messages, and then biked south before we turned back at Glencoe. When we got back to Monkton we were met by three costumed-in-purple members of the Gunpowder Garden Club who gave us an inspiring tour of the station gardens. Heading north we stopped at Blue Mount for a glimpse of the old train waiting shelter, and finally to Hicks-Wilson road where we were posed a trivia question about our National Anthem before heading back to Monkton. (Art, our oldest bicyclist, will celebrate his 94th birthday on August 12.)

July 3 - Freeland ..

We met this evening at Freeland for our fifth official ride of the season. It was a sticky, humid evening with the threat of thunderstorms, but we had our ride anyway, and there were no storms. Six people attended. We biked north to New Freedom, Pennsylvania, where we stopped for a look at the rebuilt train station, enjoyed ice cream at Bonkey's, and made an impromptu tour of the carnival in progress before returning to Freeland.

July 10 - Sparks ..

Twenty-seven people attended our ride this muggy evening with a chance of thunderstorms, but we had no rain. We began with a brief creature feature by Richard Anderson. We then biked non-stop to the bridge south of Corbett for introductions and a discussion by Nancy Berger about clouds. At 7:32 P.M. we met at Monkton Station for a talk by members of the Gunpowder Garden Club about the planters around the station. With a little time remaining, we biked north to Pleasant Valley to read the history sign, and then reversed direction back to Sparks.

July 17 - Parkton ..

It was a hot and muggy evening, but it felt rather comfortable on the trail. We met at Parkton with 15 participants. First we biked north to Dairy road where we had introductions, announcements, updated the participants on an appearance of the 34-star American flag before a Frederick Keys baseball game, and read the sign about the yard and wye track at Dairy road. Returning to Parkton, we were treated to a creature feature by Richard Anderson about fish. We then biked south to White Hall where we read the history sign. Next we biked to a point below Blue Mount near MP-9 to take a look at the old railroad spur alignment which was used for shipments of stone from the quarry near White Hall, near the Gunpowder Falls bridge of Big Falls road, to the Northern Central line where we were standing. Michael Catalano gave a talk about ideas to link existing trails into a continuous network, with reference to how this old spur line might be used to link the TCB trail with the blue and white hiking trails that follow along the banks of the Gunpowder Falls from the Big Falls road bridge north toward Prettyboy Dam. Next we biked north to Blue Mount road and then along the road to get another look at the old spur alignment, and then back to the trail, returning to White Hall.

July 19 - Monkton (Moonlight Bike Ride) ..

It was a hot and muggy evening in Monkton, and ominous clouds appeared overhead. Then we had some wind, thunder and rain. Twenty-one participants showed up. Promptly, at 8:30 P.M., the time we were originally due to start, our bikers assembled inside the station for announcements, safety messages, and a creature feature by Richard Anderson about owls. We also enjoyed refreshments (intended for after the ride, but offered at this time as the ride was being delayed). Meanwhile, we tracked the storms on a couple of our members' smart phones, and then it appeared that we would have an opportunity to begin the ride at 9 o'clock. So we set out northward, making some stops along the way for equipment issues, and finally to the snake pit before heading back south. At White Hall we stopped, faced in the direction that the moon would have been had it not been cloudy, and rendered our traditional sing-along ('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 Four-Leaf Clover,' 'I've Been Working on the Railroad,' and 'America.') On our ride back there were additonal equipment concerns, but while we were stopped it was duly noted that the moon shone through, very faintly. Back at Monkton, we were off the trail by 10:55 P.M.

July 24 - Phoenix ..

Our final ride of the season.. It was a pleasant evening, and 37 participants were in attendance, including a group of Cub Scouts. Larry Reese, our organization's vice-president, was this evening's leader. We biked south to the Gunpowder bridge for introductions, then to Ashland where we toured the community, and then north to the lime kiln south of the Gunpowder, then to Phoenix to read the sign, and finally to Sparks for closing announcements. Returning to Phoenix we were off the trail by 8:40 P.M.

Our Wednesday evening rides this season were attended by 187 participants, an average of 23.4 per ride, a new record. Also, there were 21 in attendance on our moonlight ride.

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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.)

Allen Brougham, chairman Bike Ride Committee

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