Archives for posts with tag: bicycle

The Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) is 22.5 mile long rails to trail that runs from Pearre Station, Maryland on the west end to Fort Frederick on the eastern most end.

The trail is paved and being a rails to trail trail it is relatively flat. During our ride we saw cyclists, walkers and an in line skater. I imagine in the winter this would also be a good cross country ski trail. (Not sure if they clear it of snow.)

Canal access in Hancock from the Western Maryland Rail Trail

My wife and I chose to start in Hancock and ride to towards Pearre Station. We had learned from talking to friends that this was the more scenic portion of the trail. The portion heading east parallels 70 much more closely. You can see the trail from 70 in several sections. Yet this section also has more access to services so if you are a thru traveler this section may come as a welcomed relief, as may a paved trail. The Western Maryland Rail Trail should certainly be considered as a route option for those riding the Great Allegheny Passage and C & O Canal between Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.

Parking and Access

Access to the trail is very easy with parking just off of Interstate 70 in Hancock. We parked at the first WMRT lot that was signed off 70 in Hancock. We rode during a weekday and the lot looked to be used primarily as a Park and Ride lot. Access to the trail was easily found at the end of the lot. As we rode into Hancock there was more parking, free parking looked limited but there was a metered lot. This was about .4 miles from where we parked.

Heading in this direction Hancock is one of the last places to access services. The services are marked by signs on the trail which is super convenient. On the western end of Hancock is C & O

Services Signage

Bicycles in case you need anything. Others who have ridden the trail tell me services are more plentiful east of Hancock but the section we rode is much more scenic. We did pass a trail side B&B during our ride and some houses had coolers with bottled water if you needed to top off.

Hancock provides access to both the Western Maryland Rail Trail and the C & O Canal. It is also home to a visitor center for the Canal with a lot just prior to the one we parked in for the WMRT.

The Ride

The view just gets better.

This is a unique rail trail as it is very scenic with cuts through stone etc. following the old rail bed. Lots of energy was used in creating this trail when it is was being built. The trail is in pretty good shape with the usual ripples in the trail from roots breaking the pavement but it isn’t terrible. There are lots of historical markers and even a B&B along the way. Distances are marked with white posts in one mile increments.

 

We rode to Pearre on the western end of the trail and returned the same way. We had a little side trip down a road to a valley to view a waterfall we could hear from the trail. The trail end is a crossing over place to the canal at Lock 56. There aren’t many places to cross between the trails in this section but it is possible in some areas.

Western Maryland Rail Trail

Enjoying the scenery on the western Maryland Rail Trail

The WMRT runs “above” the Canal in this portion and it does so for the entire length. While we rode an out and back on the WMRT one ride option would be to ride the C & O Canal for part of your ride and then “loop” back on the WMRT. This would make your return ride a little easier on the paved Western Maryland Rail Trail versus the gravel surface of the C&  O Canal. Plus you would get two perspectives from your ride.

The trail is on the narrower side then some rails to trails but plenty wide to ride and pass other cyclists. We saw lots of wildlife along the way and had a great day of riding. While this Western Maryland Rail Trail would be fun to ride any time of year I imaging the fall foliage would be spectacular. We’ll certainly be back to check out the rest of the trail and enjoy the foliage.

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The bike hasn’t changed much in its basic shape over the years. It certainly gotten better and a lot more choices in styles etc.

Bicycle History

A little history of the bicycle again from Wikipedia:

The first verifiable claim for a practically used bicycle belongs to German Baron Karl von Drais, a civil servant to the Grand Duke of Baden in Germany. Drais invented his Laufmaschine (German for “running machine”) of 1817 that was called Draisine (English) or draisienne (French) by the press. Karl von Drais patented this design in 1818, which was the first commercially successful two-wheeled, steerable, human-propelled machine, commonly called a velocipede, and nicknamed hobby-horse or dandy horse.[8] It was initially manufactured in Germany and France. Hans-Erhard Lessing (Drais’ biographer) found from circumstantial evidence that Drais’ interest in finding an alternative to the horse was the starvation and death of horses caused by crop failure in 1816, the Year Without a Summer following the volcanic eruption of Tambora in 1815).[9] On his first reported ride from Mannheim on June 12, 1817, he covered 13 km (eight miles) in less than an hour.[10] Constructed almost entirely of wood, the draisine weighed 22 kg (48 pounds), had brass bushings within the wheel bearings, iron shod wheels, a rear-wheel brake and 152 mm (6 inches) of trail of the front-wheel for a self-centering caster effect. This design was welcomed by mechanically minded men daring to balance, and several thousand copies were built and used, primarily in Western Europe and in North America. Its popularity rapidly faded when, partly due to increasing numbers of accidents, some city authorities began to prohibit its use.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_bicycle

Image Information: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4406665

So now that we have a little of the background stuff out of the way we’ll be sharing quotes and talking about some famous people who ride bicycles.

Our customers celebrate the bicycle every day and so do we. For the month of June we’ll be celebrating the bicycle a little more than normal. This month is extra special this year, June 12th is the 200th Anniversary of the first bicycle ride. During June we will be sharing fun facts and such about the bicycle. It is our hope that you enjoy them and maybe share them with your friends. Riding bikes is super fun and so is talking about them.

We’ll start today with Wikipedia’s Definition of the bicycle:

Bicycle

The early bicycle.bicycle, also called a cycle or bike, is a human-poweredpedal-drivensingle-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A bicycle rider is called a cyclist, or bicyclist.

Bicycles were introduced in the 19th century in Europe and as of 2003, more than 1 billion have been produced worldwide, twice as many as the number of automobiles that have been produced.[2] They are the principal means of transportation in many regions. They also provide a popular form of recreation, and have been adapted for use as children’s toys, general fitness, military and police applications, courier servicesbicycle racing and bicycle stunts.

The basic shape and configuration of a typical upright or “safety bicycle”, has changed little since the first chain-driven model was developed around 1885.[3][4][5] But many details have been improved, especially since the advent of modern materials and computer-aided design. These have allowed for a proliferation of specialized designs for many types of cycling.

The bicycle’s invention has had an enormous effect on society, both in terms of culture and of advancing modern industrial methods. Several components that eventually played a key role in the development of the automobile were initially invented for use in the bicycle, including ball bearingspneumatic tireschain-driven sprockets, and tension-spoked wheels.[6]

Wikipedia Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle

Link to image information: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=727702

The bicycle sure has come a long way hasn’t it!