Plan a Battlefield Bicycle Tour in 4 Simple Steps
You may be surprised to discover that your greatest challenge to planning a battlefield bicycle tour has nothing whatsoever to do with bicycling or historical tourism. What is it then? It is predictable things like getting time off work, having money for a modest vacation, being healthy enough to travel or bicycle, and — for some people — not having a companion (and needing one).
Basically, planning a battlefield bicycle tour is not much different from planning any vacation. Sure, there are a couple unique twists to consider, but Civil War Cycling can help with that.
There are four simple steps to plan a battlefield bicycle tour. They are as follows:
1. Pick a Battlefield
The U.S. National Park Service website provides a way to “find a park by state,” but the search results will include all national parks. U.S. military parks are a small subset of the full list.
Fortunately, you probably already have an idea of what battlefields you might like to visit. I suggest that you surf the web in the same way that you would for any vacation — and get a sense for what you might enjoy doing.
As a personal example, here’s the “bucket list” that I have been working:
- Gettysburg National Military Park (PA) – My favorite! Dozens of rides completed!
- Antietam National Battlefield (MD)
- Chickamauga/Chattanooga National Military Park (GA, TN)
- Shiloh National Battlefield (TN)
- Vicksburg National Military Park (MS)
- Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park (VA)
- Stones River National Battlefield (TN)
Carmen Avenue, Culps Hill Area, Gettysburg
2. Identify Logistical Options
You Need a Bicycle
People tend to get stuck at this step. To plan a battlefield bicycle tour, you basically have two options. The first option is to research the availability of bicycle rentals near the battlefield that you intend to tour. Many bicycle shops offer rentals that include helmets. Google it.
The second option is to transport your own bicycle. If you are within driving distance of the battlefield (and you have a car), then your research will go down the path of how to transport and store your bicycle. If you need to take a flight to the battlefield, I recommend pursuing a bicycle rental option before taking the very expensive and complicated step of airlifting your bicycle. (That’s something that I’ve never done, and I don’t think I would ever want to hassle with it.)
Did you miss this post?
Trek Hybrid Bicycle on Hancock Avenue, Gettysburg
You Need a Place to Sleep (and Eat)
I wanted to title this section, “You Need a Hotel,” but there are plenty of people who “bikepack,” which means that they setup camp. Although I would enjoy combining tent-camping with bicycle touring, I have not done it. I know how to find bicycle-friendly hotels <smile>.
Did you miss these posts?
- “The Ultimate Guide to Selecting a Bicycle-Friendly Hotel“
- “The Ultimate Guide for Packing and Carrying Food to Bicycle a U.S. Military Park“
3. Just Say “Yes!”
Like many things in life, the hardest part of planning a battlefield bicycle tour is deciding to do it. Most people don’t find vacation planning particularly difficult. It’s mostly a matter of finding time and working within a budget.
Once you commit to the idea of bicycling a U.S. military park, it’s really not hard to pick a battlefield. And once you know whether you are renting a bicycle (and from where) or bringing your own (and how), it’s really not hard to execute that plan.
Just say “yes”! And then follow the “5 Tips for Planning a Great Civil War Bicycling Adventure” that I summarized in a previous post.
4. Enjoy Your Ride
I’m almost embarrassed to mention this last point. After all, of course you will enjoy your ride! That’s the whole point of planning your Civil War bicycling adventure.
Did you miss these posts?
- “Memorial Day and a New Burst of Freedom – A Bicyclist’s Perspective“
- “Decoding a Complex Battlefield Story – Shifting Your Mental Gears on a Bicycle“
Looking back on steps 1-3, above, I hope you agree that planning to have fun on a bicycle is not hard. You might even agree with me that the planning steps can be fun, too!
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