Cahawba hosts bike tour

Published 1:01am Wednesday, March 28, 2012

From tulips to daffodils springing up and dogwoods in bloom, to the balmy, temperate climate, spring is the ideal season for taking a walk and enjoying nature’s scenery. Springtime may also be the time to take out the old bicycle and travel places never-before-seen.

Old Cahawba Archaeological Park in Orrville will host its third B.Y.O., or Bring Your Own Bike Tour Saturday, March 31 from 10 a.m. to noon. The fee is $4 for adults, $2 for children 18 and under and $3 for college students, military and seniors ages 65 and over. Participants are also encouraged to bring their own bike, water and snacks for the four-mile trek.

Tour leader Jonathan Matthews said the tour, which is also given the last Saturday in September, is a great way to explore Cahawba’s natural history — including graveyards and ruins.

“The spring and the fall are really pleasant times to tour Cahawba,” Matthews said. “We initially get between 10 to 20 people; most of the people are outside of Dallas County. Not everyone is an avid bicyclist (but) it’s a way to kill two birds with one stone — you can get exercise, and take out your bike and see places you’ve never been. It’s a real, family friendly event.”

The tour, Matthews said, will start at the park’s Welcome Center, located at 9518 Cahaba Road.

“We can’t cover the whole park but we cover a good bit of ground … the ground is flat,” Matthews said. “Be prepared with sun screen, bug spray, bottles of water and snacks.”

From recumbent bicycles, where one lays back and reclines on the seat, to bicycles built for two, Matthews said he’s seen all different types of bikes during recent tours. Matthews believes the tours are a great way to get motorists out of their cars.

“We’re always interested in getting people to get out of the cars to see the relic landscape,” Matthews said. “Most people who visit Cahawba stay in their cars and read the (historical) panels from the comfort of their car.

“When one visits Cahawba, one can see visible reminders,” Matthews said. “It could be as simple as an impression in the ground where a house used to be … subtle clues your average visitor overlooks. It (the tour) teaches them that at Cahawba, the history is all around them, written in the landscape — history in its natural state.”

For those who can’t make Saturday’s tour, Matthews said another tour would be given Sept. 29.

For more information or directions to the park, call 872-8058.

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