Gettysburg Cycling Tips – Guest Post, John Banks Blog

When John Banks invited me to write an article for John Banks’ Civil War Blog, I jumped at the chance to share my “10 Gettysburg cycling tips for adventurous learners.It was published on October 26. I hope that you enjoy it. (If you are not familiar with John’s colorful and well-written Civil War history blog, you will find plenty of interesting stories and photographs on his website.)


As an introduction to my Gettysburg cycling tips, let me first say this…

Bicycling Gettysburg is a subject near and dear to my heart. And yet there’s a yearning that is difficult to explain. There’s a pull.

First, when I bicycle Gettysburg, there’s a natural pull to connect with hills, trees, rocks, and even pavement. I feel alive and free. I am free to ride, free to explore, and free to learn. But also, I feel free to smell like I’ve been playing in the dirt (and quietly proud about that).

In other words, I enjoy the physical expression of personal freedom. Muscles move, lungs move, and my eyes dart about looking for some new vantage point from which to understand the human story of Gettysburg 1863.

Second, though, when I am not bicycling Gettysburg, I wish otherwise. l feel a pull to leave New York and head south. I miss the Gettysburg landscape. I miss its countless opportunities to connect not only with the land but with our nation’s history. So, besides feeling personally free, I also think about what “freedom” means in a national context.

A New Birth of Freedom

November 19, 1863

Next month, we celebrate the 155th Anniversary of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address at the dedication of Soldiers’ National Cemetery. In 272 words that packed a punch, President Lincoln expressed the meaning of the carnage of Gettysburg — the site of the bloodiest, most deadly conflict in the Western Hemisphere.

President Lincoln promised that this nation “shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

One Day after Election Day 2018

Today, one day after a national election, all of these things are in my mind — bicycling, freedom, Gettysburg, Lincoln, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, e pluribus unum. I want to hop on my bike and ride. Unfortunately, it will be a few years before I can move south to Gettysburg to indulge my impulses.

Gettysburg Cycling Tips … The Big Tease

Finally, what about those Gettysburg cycling tips? Click here: “10 Gettysburg cycling tips for adventurous learners.

Below, please enjoy a reproduction of some of the photographs that you will find in my October 26 post. Follow this link to understand how each photograph connects to a practical tip for exploring Gettysburg National Military Park on a bicycle.

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View from Little Round Top, looking southwest.


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Union Maj. Gen. George G. Meade Equestrian Monument, Cemetery Ridge.


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Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee Equestrian Monument (on top of Virginia State Monument), Seminary Ridge.


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Union cannon on Cemetery Ridge facing the Codori Barn and Seminary Ridge (in the distance).


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Looking west from the Copse of Trees on Cemetery Ridge. The Virginia State Monument is visible in the distance.


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Looking east near the Virginia State Monument. Can you spot Meade’s Equestrian Monument (left side of the fence, in the distance), the tree at The Angle (right side of the fence), The Copse of Trees (right of The Angle)?


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With a good set of maps, you can use Gettysburg’s barns, ridges, roads, and tall historic monuments to stay oriented on the battlefield.

Please click here to visit John Banks’ Civil War Blog to read how easy it is for “bicycling historians” (and other outdoor adventurers) to learn-by-doing at Gettysburg National Military Park.

Take a ride back in time …

If you’re in the mood to watch a few video clips, try one of these:

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