Pedal Through the Past: A Cycling Event Through Three National Parks

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Date: July 25, 2014
Contact: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, 304-535-6029

Saturday September 27, 2014, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, and the Harpers Ferry Historical Association will host Pedal Through the Past: A Cycling Event through 3 National Parks, Harpers Ferry, Antietam Battlefield, and the C&O Canal. This event will feature public history stops and interactive media along the way. Experience the scenic beauty and history of the region up close and personal. The ride is self-paced and supported with rest stops, lunch, restrooms, and SAG support; support and gear. This bicycle ride will benefit the David Larsen Memorial Fund, Public History Internship Program at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The David L. Larsen Memorial Fund is administered by the Harpers Ferry Historical Association. Event begins at 8am.

The ride begins in Harpers Ferry NHP and takes participants north along the Potomac River, crossing in Shepherdstown,Wv, into Maryland through Antietam National Battlefield and returning south to Harpers Ferry along the C&O Canal. Following a map, route markers and trip sheet with QR codes, cyclists with smart phones can link to a series of informative videos at 10 stops along the route. You may choose your route. The 40 mile ride is best for the experienced cyclist or you may choose a 31 mile ride that includes gentle hills. Both routes include rest stops with snacks & water, bathroom facilities, lunch, and both depart at 8:00 a.m. 

To set the tone for the journey, riders will first encounter “John Brown’s Fort,” a controversial icon forever linked to Brown and his daring 1859 raid to end slavery. With Lincoln’s election in 1860 and the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Brown’s dream of an army marching to free four million enslaved Americans became a reality. 

Traveling 18 miles north, riders will learn about Jefferson County’s pre-Civil War free and enslaved African Americans. During this early 1800s industrial period, water-powered canals, river boat transportation and cement milling were all achieved through enslaved labor. 

Returning southward along the Potomac River, riders will be offered stories of the 1862 Battles of Antietam and Shepherdstown, exploring how African Americans endured and survived a changing tide of war along an international border between two warring countries. 

The post-war period will feature Jim Crow stories from the early 20th century—a time historians consider the nadir of the Civil Rights era—and African American education at Storer College. 

To register to ride, visit

For further information, call Harpers Ferry National Historical Park at (304) 535-6029.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


(304) 535-6029

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