Bicycling through history


A bust of John Rankin at his grave. The Presbyterian minister is said to have sheltered about 2,000 runaway slaves who sought refuge at his home in Ripley, Ohio.

A bust of John Rankin at his grave. The Presbyterian minister is said to have sheltered about 2,000 runaway slaves who sought refuge at his home in Ripley, Ohio.

Friday’s New York Times carried an interesting story on a way to combine bicycling with the study of history — two of my passions.
The story, “A Bike Trail That Traces the Way to Freedom,” was about a 2,000-mile bicycle route along one of the most-used paths of the Underground Railroad, which runaway slaves from the pre-Civil War South traveled northward to Canada, ferried from safe house to safe house by kindly strangers.
The route, from Mobile, Ala., to Owen Sound, Ontario, was mapped by the Adventure Cycling Association, based in Missoula, Mont., which is the organizer of my planned bicycle journey along the southern tier of the United States from San Diego, Calif., to St. Augustine, Fla.
John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth

An article in the current issue of Adventure Cycling Association’s magazine, Adventure Cyclist, describes another bicycle ride along a historic trail — the escape route of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln, from Ford’s Theatre in Washington, through Maryland to the Garrett Farm in Virginia, where Booth was killed by Union soldiers on April 26, 1865.

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1 Comment

Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, Journeys

One response to “Bicycling through history

  1. zack

    Well, it’d be interesting to do those trips later, after your big cross-country jaunt (yes, think of it as a jaunt when you’re staggering up steep hills or caught for hours in unrelenting rain – it’ll put a nice spin on things), but I’m sure you’ll find all kinds of historic things along your route, of both the typical and eccentric varieties. And inform all of us in the process!

    Sorry I missed the ride today – I woke up just before my dad left, and by the time I got my act together, I was too far behind to possibly catch y’all anywhere and chose to go east on the trail. Went out past Gateway Park and then down through east Fort Worth on my own bike routes to visit some friends. Going to Austin tomorrow and will take your biking tips into consideration – if you have anything else to recommend, shoot me an email!

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