January 21, 2013
Today, as I take a moment to remember the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and reflect on the impact of his work on our society, I am again very grateful for the sacrifices that he, and those before him, made on my behalf.
Over the years, I have learned that I can only truly be fulfilled as a person by cultivating an understanding of the past, deepening my respect for our myriad of cultures and my appreciation of the beauty surrounding us, and engaging in caring communities. Through cycling, I have grown in all these areas.
Cycling around the U.S. makes a person physically strong, but also vulnerable to the weather and encounters with others. You meet people in their lives where they are; you can see and feel their joys and sorrows. My closest and longest lasting friendships have come from the people that I have met while traveling by bicycle. During these journeys, I have also seen spectacular scenery and learned a great deal of history as well.
This year, Adventure Cycling is offering an incredible tour that offers beautiful scenery, optional historic sites, and opportunities to interact with locals on the road, in a cafe, or perhaps in a local celebration. I think it is one of our best trips encompassing all there is to love about bicycle travel: the Underground Railroad (UGRR): North to Niagara tour.
The Underground Railroad was a collection of secretive routes that freedom seekers used to escape the bondage of slavery. Adventure Cycling developed the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route to memorialize this historic corridor and provide the means for cyclists to experience this important chapter of our history up close.
The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park and Fort Blakeley
The Tombigbee River Valley
The Shiloh National Military Park
Fort Donelson National Battlefield
Historic sites and museum exhibits honoring those associated with the Underground Railroad
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House
National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center at Wilberforce, Ohio
Cemeteries where notable abolitionists and freedom seekers are interred
Heritage Center and Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio
If the history does not interest you, the Underground Railroad route is also filled with scenic views, awesome riding along quiet roads, recreation areas, rail-trails, and geologic wonders. You will encounter:
Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico
Tombigbee River Valley, with its massive black gum forests, bald cypress swamps, and wildlife refuges teeming with bird and animal life
Tennessee River Valley
Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, which includes Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley
Little Miami Scenic Rail-Trail in Ohio
Ohio Amish country where some 40,000 Amish live amid the rolling hills of five Ohio counties
Oberlin, Ohio: a pleasant town with a beautiful college campus and famous Music Conservatory
The shore of Lake Erie in Pennsylvania and New York
Thundering Niagara Falls
Photo by Dennis Coello.
ON THE ROAD is written by the tours team -- Mo, Paul, Madeline, and Arlen -- tours specialists and intrepid bicyclists, covering all things related to Adventure Cycling's tours Department. Check out our 2013 Tours!