Tuesday, May 11, 2010

So Much More Than A Bike Ride Through Valley Forge National Park

The first bike ride of the year is usually challenging. It’s a process of waking up muscles that haven’t been used all winter and trying to adjust to sitting on skinny bike seats. This year was no exception. We couldn’t even remember how to get the bikes secured to the bike rack! Ah, but life in a small town pays off when our Mayor shows up to help out.

Off to Valley Forge we drove. It was a beautiful day, despite the 25 mph wind and the (mostly) uphill trail that we took. We biked past the joggers, the walkers, past the kids flying kites in the field, people walking dogs, past children holding grandparents’ hands, and deer grazing in the open....back into history.
Here is a park in the middle of suburbia but one would scarcely know it. There are vistas where you can see ridge after ridge of fields and trees – 3600 acres of them. Somehow it seemed appropriate that it was windy, and we could only imagine how cold it must have been in the winter of 1777. It was on one particularly steady climb that we came across a quote that seemed fitting: “It is beyond description to conceive what the men suffered”. Actually, we felt a little suffering ourselves...as we switched from gear to gear and finally walked the bikes up a hill.
We came upon Washington’s Memorial Chapel – which seemed to beckon us inside to say a prayer of thanks. It’s a beautiful Gothic Revival building that also houses the Carillon and Justice Bell.
This bell was used in the women’s suffrage movement. The clapper was chained to the side and not rung until women had the right to vote.
So many sacrifices took place in Pennsylvania...all so that we would have the freedom to fly a kite, ride a bike, or worship at a church.

2 comments:

Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor said...

One of my favorite parks, I used to go riding there too but on a horse:)

Arlene said...

It has been some time since I visited Valley Forge. Having lived many years in Delaware and Maryland before moving to Florida, those were my old stomping grounds. zlovely spot for a bike ride.