Saturday, August 04, 2007

Crazy Guy on a Bike

Several months ago, Chuck Harmon got me interested in the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route, a bicycle route that runs from Mobile, Alabama, to Owen Sound, Ontario, following one route used by escaping slaves to find freedom in Canada. Chuck, a colleague at OCLC, is an avid cyclist and he laid out the Ohio section of the route. He is also an avid library user.

Chuck and I fleshed out ways public libraries could be involved in the route as "conductors," helping individual riders with a place to get out of the weather, find information about the area through which they were traveling, maybe even check their e-mail or read the day's newspaper. He and I started a message board on WebJunction about the route. One excellent entry from this site traces how the Erie County (Pennsylvania) public library has incorporated the route into their outreach.

Now, Chuck is on a one-week ride of the final lap of the route, from my old hometown of Buffalo, New York, to Owen Sound. His journal is on a site for cyclists called "Crazy Guy on a Bike," and he's doing a wonderful job talking about the ride. (Full disclosure: Chuck invited me to ride along, but my schedule at work has prevented me from getting away. Besides, I am bone idle.)

The route is a collaborative effort of Adventure Cycling Association, The Center for Minority Health, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, the National Park Service's Network to Freedom, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and WebJunction.

1 comment:

A Midnight Rider said...

I stumbled on to your site searching references. The world proved to be small, again because my son and I are riding from your old hometown of Buffalo, to Utica beginning Saturday.

Also we are planning the Underground Railroad tour for 2009. Go figure.