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'Bike Through History'

on the

Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail


2014 Activities . . .

June 4 - Paper Mill Road ..

Our first official ride of the season was attended by 45 participants, a new record. We departed on-time and proceeded north to the Gunpowder bridge for introductions, then non-stop to Sparks for a welcome by our association's president, Carmela Veit, inside the newly-reopened Sparks Bank Nature Center. This was followed by a creature-feature on foxes and coyotes by Richard Anderson. We then biked to Glencoe for closing remarks, and then back south. In the curve south of Phoenix, we encountered a snapping turtle taking its time crossing the trail.

June 11 - Bentley Springs ..

It was a mostly-cloudy evening with the threat of thunderstorms. Still, we had a turnout of 26 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 beavers. 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.

June 18 - Monkton ..

There was a thunderstorm watch in the area but we had our ride anyway, and there was no rain. Thirty-nine participants attended. We headed south from Monkton directly to Glencoe for introductions, then back north to Monkton. When we got back to Monkton we were met the president of the Baltimore County Master Gardeners who presented a show-and-tell on the gardens at Monkton station. Heading north we stopped at Blue Mount for a glimpse of a beaver swimming in Little Falls below the bridge, and finally to Hicks-Wilson road for closing announcements. Once back at Monkton, the participants enjoyed refreshments.

June 25 - White Hall ..

It was a muggy evening with a forecast of thunderstorms, but 30 people attended. There were no storms. First we biked south the Hicks-Wilson road for introductions, and then back to White Hall for a creature-feature on turtles and snakes by Richard Anderson. Our next stop was the place known as the 'Snake Pit,' and then on to Parkton to examine an original cast iron railroad mile post. Heading further north we stopped near exercise spot 11 for our traditional 'ring around the sycamore tree' demonstration, and then to MP-15 for closing announcements.

July 2 - 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. There were no storms. Fifteen people attended. We began with a creature feature by Richard Anderson on critters of Maryland. We biked north to New Freedom, Pennsylvania, stopping briefly along the way to look for cast dates on rail next to the trail, at Flickerville to see where the interlocking tower once stood, and then we got a look at the Steam Into History train which was staged just south of the center of town. We then enjoyed enjoyed ice cream at Bonkey's, and made an impromptu tour of the Lions Club carnival in progress before returning to Freeland.

July 9 - Sparks ..

Twenty-seven people attended our ride this muggy evening with a chance of thunderstorms, but we had no rain. We began with a show-and-tell by Nancy Berger on rocks found in Maryland. We then biked south to the Gunpowder Bridge between Phoenix and Paper Mill for introductions. Continuing south we encountered a fallen tree blocking the trail just north of Ashland, but with considerable effort we were able to portage our bikes and ourselves through the mess to the other side, and finally we took a biking tour of the community of Ashland before heading back via Paper Mill Road until we reached the trail once again.

July 11 - Monkton (Moonlight Bike Ride) ..

It was a clear evening in Monkton, and 20 people attended. We began with introductions and a creature-feature on owls by Richard Anderson. We set out northward, making a stop at Blue Mount to look for beavers (finding none), and then to White Hall for our traditional singalong, singing to the moon. We then headed north to the Snake Pit before heading back to Monkton where we enjoyed refreshments.

July 16 - Parkton ..

It was a beautiful, clear evening, a first for our Wednesday evening program this season, and it felt splendid on the trail. We met at Parkton with 30 participants. First we biked south to the Snake Pit for introductions, then back to Parkton for a creature-feature by Richard Anderson on raccoons, groundhogs, foxes, bats and other critters. We then biked north a very short distance to learn about Parkton and to examine evidence of the one-time watering station for steam locomotives. Next we biked north to a bridge spanning a one-time millrace north of Walker. Finally we biked north to the replica signal south of Bentley Springs where we discussed the functioning of the signal, and then biked back to Parkton.

July 23 - Phoenix ..

This evening we staged at Phoenix for our final ride this season. There were dire forecast of thunderstorms, which we could see in our smart phones, but 26 people attended. We headed north, knowing well that the approaching front would likely reach us before we got very far, and indeed we heard thunder off in the distance before we even reached Sparks. After a brief introduction at Sparks, we decided to head back. This, then, was the very first event this season to be cut short because of weather, although in seven of our eight Wednesday evening rides there had been the potential for rain.

Our Wednesday evening rides this season were attended by 227 participants, an average of 28.4 per ride, a new record. Also, there were 20 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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