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Riding the Underground Railroad

2013-02-12

This year, Adventure Cycling Association is offering an incredible guided bicycle tour that celebrates 300 years of history along the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route (UGRR).

The Underground Railroad, the resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, encompassed a collection of routes that freedom seekers used to escape the bondage of slavery. Adventure Cycling developed its cycling route and its guided tour to memorialize this historic corridor, honoring the bravery of those who fled to freedom and those who aided them, and to provide the means for cyclists to experience this pivotal chapter of U.S. history up close.

The Underground Railroad (UGRR): North to Niagara van-supported tour is an easy, scenic bicycle ride through some of America's most important historic sites along the U.S. section of the 2,008-mile Underground Railroad route. "I think it is one of our best trips; it encompasses all there is to love about bicycle travel," said Adventure Cycling Tours Director Arlen Hall.

The guided cycling tour begins in Mobile, Alabama, a port on the Gulf of Mexico and major hub for slavery during the pre-Civil War era, and cycles through 300 years of history, visiting The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, Fort Blakeley, The Shiloh National Military Park, Fort Donelson National Battlefield, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, the Heritage Center and Oberlin College, cemeteries where notable abolitionists and freedom seekers are interred, and historic exhibits and sites honoring those associated with the Underground Railroad.

Freedom seekers often used waterways, as well as the North Star, to guide them as they escaped. The UGRR: North to Niagara tour weaves north from Mobile Bay through the Tombigbee River Valley, with its massive black gum forests, bald cypress swamps, and wildlife refuges teeming with bird and animal life. It traverses the Tennessee River Valley, and through Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, crossing the state lines of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Upon crossing into Ohio, the tour leaves the river to meander between Kentucky, Indiana, and through Ohio Amish country where some 40,000 Amish live amid the rolling hills of five Ohio counties. Then, the tour turns true north, skirting the Canadian border and the shore of Lake Erie, coming to an end at Niagara Falls.

The UGRR: North to Niagara tour departs Mobile, Alabama on April 14, 2013, and arrives in Niagara Falls, New York, on May 24, 2013. For more information about this and other Adventure Cycling tours, or to reserve a spot, contact the Adventure Cycling Tours Department at (800) 755-2453, ext. 3, or tours@adventurecycling.org. You can also find more information or sign up online at www.adventurecycling.org/tours.