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Following Lee's Army north...by bicycle. Need help!
 JerryInLodi member offline
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posted 1/26/2006
at 6:23:05 PM
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My wife and I get two weeks off in the fall, middle of October. We're considering following Lee's Army north From Fredricksburg through to their highpoint at Gettysburg and part of the return south.

Some veteran tourers have told us we'd be wasting our time, that the entire area from Richmond through Gettysburg is now one giant suburb of Washington D.C., traffic clogged and blighted with strip malls, fast food mills and housing tracts.

Others have said that it's possible and could even contain some pleasant riding if one knew the roads.

What about it you Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania cyclists. Are there peaceful roads that one could use to connect the battlefields?

 Cdale56 member offline
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posted 1/26/2006
at 7:09:55 PM
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Jerry,

The Baltimore Bicyling Club's Civil War Century includes Gettysburg and Antietam. I have done the metric and the 100 mile centuries and I do not think that there is any better cycling territory anywhere.

Maps of routes:

www.baltobikeclub.org/cwc/index_01.html

Coincidentally, I am at this moment looking on line at this book:

Bicycling Through Civil War History: In Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia by Kurt B. Detwiler

John
post edited on 1/28/2006 at 3:59:16 AM

 Slow_Moe member not displaying online status
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posted 1/26/2006
at 7:50:09 PM
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Jerry,
That sounds like a cool trip. Here's another website which I'm sure you'll find interesting ...

tomrevay.tripod.com/projects/CueSheets/CivilWarBikeToursCue.htm
post edited on 1/28/2006 at 3:59:27 AM

 RioFastRacer member offline
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posted 1/27/2006
at 4:11:53 PM
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Jerry if that Historic ride doesnt pan out then come visit our area in Deep South Texas. We have open roads with history here also. Palo Alto Battles with Zachary Taylor.

www.aztecclub.com/grant/grant7.htm
post edited on 1/27/2006 at 4:11:35 PM

 velo4two member online
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posted 1/27/2006
at 7:20:46 PM
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Jerry:

I have the cue sheets we used for the 1999 Eastern Tandem Rally that was based in Gettysburg. I can send them to you. contact me at t2moseman@juno.com if you have an interset. the Gettysburg battle field ride has a spiritual feel. You can sense the significance of the area. There is also a music store in town that local musicians get together on Friday nights to play Blue Grass music. Near by there is a lot of great riding in rural Lancaster County PA.

Rodney

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posted 1/27/2006
at 7:59:06 PM
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Jerry: There are a lot of decent routes around the Gettysburg area.

Are you interested in trying to re-trace the steps of the Army of Northern Virginia in June 1863, or just try to connect as many Civil War sites as possible between Fredericksburg and Gettysburg?

The Civil War Century mentioned before is a nice route that hits South Mountain, Antietam, and Gettysburg.

I do think that you could probably come up with a decent route re-tracing Lee heading west from Fredericksburg over the mountains to Winchester/Berryville and then north toward PA. I could probably help with the area between Sharpsburg, MD and Gettysburg, but, I don't know much about the roads down in VA.

 JerryInLodi member offline
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posted 1/27/2006
at 9:48:51 PM
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Actually, yes, I wanted to actually trace his route, not just visit the sites. I'd probably have my panniers full of books like Bruce Catton, Michael Shaara and Shelby Foote and would be willing to sacrifice the clothing space for the meditation opportunity that the books would provide in the exact locations where such terrible tragedies occurred.

A second trip in a year or two would follow the last gasp of the Confederacy in Lee's retreat from Richmond to Appomattox.

We probably wouldn't spend as much times in museums as might be expected. Instead, I'd like to walk the battlefields, stand on Little Roundtop with Chamberlain with his 20th Maine Volunteers, be present where Jackson received his name, "Stonewall" at Fredericksburg, crouch in the "Bloody Lane" at Antietam, and of course, march Pickett's charge at Gettysburg.

It would be less of a trip about miles and more of a trip about moods.

I'll know more when my wife's and my fall schedules come out. We work for different school districts. If our calendars agree, I'll start doing more research now that I know that the area is not one entire blighted overbuilt suburbia.

 5am member offline
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posted 1/27/2006
at 10:42:28 PM
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Jerry, it is possible to do what you have in mind, though I'm not sure two weeks will entirely be enough. I did a quick search for a map of the confederate forces troop north from Fredericksburg to Gettysburg and those men for sure did some marching. The terrain from Fredericksburg toward the mountains is "flat" but in Virginia that includes strongly "rolling" and ever rising terrain heading westward toward the mountain passes. Once in the valley areas heading north and then into Maryland and lower Pennsylvannia, I'd say you'll be testing your legs and your stamina though in October the weather and the geography will be beautiful to behold. Tending toward being cool though, especially in higher climes.







A couple of starting points for your research would be:

Va. Dept. of Transportation's bicycling Virginia website

Virginia Bicycling Federation

and Bicycling Links & Resources in and around the D.C. area, Va. and Maryland.

I'd also take a look at this book Road Biking in Virginia for a good book with nice routes particularly in the areas heading north once you're through into the Shenandoah Valley and heading north towards Maryland.

I'd also highly recommend Crazy Guy on a Bike as a great resource for finding people who may have done a similar trip or biked in the areas you're interested in.

There is definitely a way to do what you want to do, though beware that as you've probably been told, your areas of interest are heavily populated and heavily traveled and the terrain can be difficult too. I'd recommend more of a drive/bicycle trip, but if you're determined to do it all by bike I think it's readily doable. You can email me at 5am@myway.com if you want to discuss it more.


 Slow_Moe member not displaying online status
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posted 9/10/2014
at 10:14:28 PM
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Bumping this old thread in hopes that JerryinLodi is still around???
I am trying to plan a trip out east to see some of the civil war battlefields in a few weeks and do some riding while I'm out that way. I'm wondering if you (Jerry) made that trip and if you have any suggestions? I'm not planning to do a bike tour, but planning to drive out there & establish a couple of homebase campgrounds somewhere in Maryland & Virginia. If you (or anyone else out there) has any suggestions for good routes around Gettysburg, Antietam, Harpers Ferry and Fredericksburg, I'd appreciate the info.

 Denny_Voorhees member offline
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posted 9/11/2014
at 2:43:32 PM
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I have ridden the Gettysburg Battlefield on Numerous occasions over the past 15 years A bicycle is a great way to cover a lot of ground and really connect with the park. I have also ridden about 3/4 of the civil war century, and the roads it uses are fairly quiet, although there are several very good climbs on the route.

 smoab member offline
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posted 9/11/2014
at 6:29:55 PM
post #10 viewed 1671 times
As part of your ride you could ride the C&O Canal trail out of DC it passes right bye Antitem As well as Fort Frederick
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