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Underground Railroad Bicycle Route opens for touring

The route covers 2,058 cycling-friendly miles from Mobile, Alabama to Owen Sound, Ontario.

By Carla Majernik

The entire Underground Railroad Bicycle Route is now officially complete and ready to ride. The newly-printed route maps showing cycling-friendly roads, historical interest points, and camping and lodging options along the way have just arrived at our Missoula headquarters and we couldn't be more thrilled to make them available to you.

Starting in Mobile, Alabama, you can now pedal the scenic, history-steeped bicycle route for 2,058 miles clear to Owen Sound, Ontario. But, whether you embark on a day ride along the route or make a trek from start to finish, you're sure to be in for a treat of the mind and senses. None of this route would have been possible without the feedback, support, and on-the-ground guidance of you, our invaluable members.

Though many people contributed to the creation of the Underground Railroad Route, special recognition is due to longtime member Chuck Harmon, of Dublin, Ohio, who worked tirelessly on the Ohio portion of the route. We are also proud of our ongoing partnership with the Center for Minority Health at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. They have helped us in many ways with the route and continue to work with us to promote the route and bicycle travel in general as a healthful, enriching activity available to people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Dennis Coello, our veteran photographer and writer whose story about the route will be running in an upcoming issue of Adventure Cyclist, says, "We've all heard the story of slaves who escaped to freedom, but here's a chance to feel that story &emdash; and to experience a continent along the way."

We're inaugurating the Underground Railroad Route with a special self-contained ride along the entire route. Another way to experience the route is to join the fully supported Underground Railroad Celebration, ending with the 145th Emancipation Festival at the route's terminus in Owen Sound, Ontario. Also, for our Pittsburgh-area members, tune in to the "Bicycling Through Black History" television special about the route, airing on February 17 on WPXI (NBC affiliate). Check your local listings for details.

If you'd like more information on the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route, you can visit our UGRR project pages or contact Ginny Sullivan, our New Routes Coordinator, at gsullivan@adventurecycling.org or (800) 755-2453, ext. 229. But most of all, get out there and enjoy all that this route and bicycling has to offer. See you on the road!

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