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50th Anniversary National Meet
This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Wheelmen and the bicentennial of the Draisine. The Pennsylvania and Delaware divisions have been working hard to design a meet worthy of these great milestones taking in both the physical and personal history of our club's founding.
Westtown School is the oldest coeducational boarding school in the country and has a bucolic rural setting just West of Philadelphia at 975 Westtown Rd, West Chester, PA. The school is accessible from routes I95 and I76 off of route 202. All of our events will conveniently be in the same building on campus where we will sleep and dine. Please remember to bring your own pillows, towels and linens. The dorm has wide hallways with lounges, but the air conditioned bedrooms are small. Bikes can be stored in rooms, hallways, or in a locked room in the gym. Since there are no restaurants nearby we encourage you to sign up for the meal plan. Meals served in the dining room are prepared by the kitchen staff with local ingredients, some of which are even grown on campus.
The terrain in this part of the country includes hills so be prepared to do a little walking consistent with our bicycling forefathers navigating challenging conditions of all kinds in the days before the better roads movement. But don't let that discourage you!
The Century ride on Thursday will be a single out and back loop incorporating rail trials and passing through Valley Forge National Historical Park, the Centennial Grounds of Fairmount Park where the high wheeler was introduced in 1876 and down to the iconic Philadelphia Art Museum of "Rocky" fame and back again. For those less ambitious we will have a short fun ride around campus and there are many notable attractions for non-riders such as the Brandywine River Art Museum featured in an early meet, Longwood Gardens and tours of QVC.
The center piece of the meet will be the recreation of the 1967 Founders Ride from Kennett Square, PA to Hoopes Reservoir, DE on Saturday. Despite some changes to the area over 50 years we will very closely follow the approximately 10 mile route and itinerary of the original ride and a shuttle bus option is available for non-riders to experience the whole tour. Riders will need to transport their bikes by private vehicle to the start in Kennett Square.To limit traffic, however, we ask that no one take their own car through the tour route. From the start we will ride the back roads of the tour with a stop at the Marshall Steam Museum at Auburn Heights where there is a wonderful collection of old cars. An option is available to tour the mansion there too. The Founders Ride proceeds to Hoopes Reservoir, DE where the founders stopped and voted on the bylaws establishing the Wheelmen. Due to modern security constraints we are prevented from entering the grounds, however we will stop on the road with a clear view of the area where the founders met. Our next stop is a rendezvous with the Wilmington & Western Railroad at the Wooddale Covered Bridge crossing. With just a 5 minute stop we will efficiently load bikes and people onto a flat bed and passenger cars for about an hour and a half train ride. The train will return to Greenbank station where some of our group will provide a public demonstration and others may wish to tour the Greenbank Mill next door.
Through shuttle and cooperative car pooling we will transport riders back to their cars in Kennett Square so they can drive back to the station to retrieve their bikes and accompanying riders before returning back to Westtown. There will be volunteers watching bikes during this time. Given the challenges of narrow roads, hills and the need to keep time to catch the train, this ride is not for beginners, tricycles or slow riders. The founders completed this itinerary with a group of 12 men on high wheelers. To accommodate our larger numbers we will have multiple smaller groups with staggered starts through the tour and slight variations such as the time and place of the lunch stop.
We encourage those with pictures and memorabilia of the Wheelmen from over their years in the club to please bring it to display and share. We will have a locked room set aside to display these items.
Saturday's banquet will be a fine affair with Celtic dancing, a panel discussion of Founders moderated by Dana McNair and awards presentation.
Also included in the meet will be a historical talk by Carey Williams on the Draisine, the flea market, games, Krazy Kats events, an ice cream social, attractive mementos and more. For registration questions contact David Gray, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you this Summer!
Check out the 50th Anniversary Online Registration
Early registration extended to April 30 to accommodate the delay of the Newsletter. Those using paypal will be reimbursed the difference in fee if registering before April 30.
Check out the 50th Anniversary Print and Mail Registration
Check out the 50th Anniversary Meet Schedule
Check out the 50th Anniversary Meet Quilt Raffle