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Pedal through Civil War History on the Schuylkill River Trail Bike Tour Series: Cycles & Cemeteries Ride

The September 21 ride along the trail incorporates a unique mix of cycling and history, with guided tours of two historic cemeteries where Civil War notables are buried.

Take a ride along the Schuylkill River Trail and through the gates of two historic cemeteries where you can visit the gravesites of Civil War notables, including Gettysburg Generals Meade and Hancock.

The Schuylkill River Heritage Area is hosting the second ride in the Schuylkill River Trail Bike Tour Series on Saturday, September 21. The Cycles & Cemeteries Ride will take cyclists along the Schuylkill River Trail from Norristown to East Falls, with visits to Montgomery Cemetery in West Norriton and Laurel Hill Cemetery in East Falls.

Ride options include 14 and 28-mile distances, and all participants can take guided or self-guided tours of the cemeteries on foot.

The Schuylkill River Trail Bike Tour Series is a three-year series of annual rides that was introduced by the Schuylkill River Heritage Area last year. Each fall, a different section of trail is featured. All the rides are intended to raise awareness of the connections that can be made from Schuylkill River Trail to regional historic sites.

The Cycles & Cemeteries Ride is being held in partnership with Laurel Hill Cemetery and Montgomery Cemetery. The event will begin at Montgomery Cemetery, where, prior to the ride, participants can visit four interpretive stations with information on Civil War Generals Hancock and Zook, Civil War nurses and the Grand Army of the Republic.

Cyclists will then pedal 14-miles to Laurel Hill Cemetery in East Falls where lunch will be served. A Civil War documentary video will be screened marking the 150th anniversary of the events of 1863 leading up to and following the Battle of Gettysburg. Guided and self-guided tours will take participants to the gravesites of the many notables featured in the video, including Gettysburg General George Meade.

Participants can choose to ride back to Montgomery Cemetery , take a bike/passenger shuttle back to their cars, or provide their own transportation from the Laurel Hill Cemetery. The Cycles & Cemeteries Ride is the second ride in the bike tour series. The first, the Rails and River Towns Ride, was held last fall and took over 100 cyclists along the trail from Pottstown to Birdboro, with historic walking tours of two villages.

The final ride planned is the 2014 National Parks of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area Ride, a two-day event that will take cyclists to three national parks: Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Valley Forge National Historical Park and Independence National Historical Park.

“Our goal in establishing the Schuylkill River Trail Bike Tour Series is to show people that they can travel along the trail to connect to visitor sites and regional history,” said Kurt Zwikl , executive director of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area. “Cyclists who participate in the Cycles and Cemeteries Ride will not only experience an enjoyable ride along the Schuylkill River Trail, but they will be introduced to some fascinating local history.”

Cost for the Cycles & Cemeteries Ride is $35 per person before September 5, and $40 after that date. To secure a spot on the shuttle for you and your bike you must pre-register and pay an additional $10. Non-riding friends and family members of participants can opt to purchase lunch and cemetery tours for $15 prior to the event. Registration closes September 18. There will be no day of registration. Event is rain or shine. Ride limited to 250 riders.

Price includes lunch, well-marked route, cemetery tours and refreshments. Free t-shirts are included for all who register by September 5. All proceeds benefit the Schuylkill River Heritage Area, Laurel Hill Cemetery and Montgomery Cemetery.

Ride support and complimentary pre-ride bicycle safety checks will be provided by TriCounty Bicycles, of Pottstown. Due to the width of the trail, no bicycle trailers will be permitted. To learn more visit www.schuylkillriver.org. Register online at: http://srhabikeride.eventbrite.com/.

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