Ohio River Trail & Underground Railroad Pittsburgh Spur
The Ohio River Trail Council supports the development of the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route which is a national project that the Center for Minority Health collaborated with the Adventure Cycling Association. This 2,100 mile bicycle route, from Mobile, Alabama to Owen Sound, Ontario, follows one of the historic Underground Railroad trails that escaped slaves would take to freedom. The goals of this project are threefold; to encourage greater diversity in recreational bicycling, to improve the health of Black Americans through biking, and to encourage interest in African American cultural history.
Pittsburgh, Pa is the home of the Center for Minority Health (CMH) at the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh played a vital role in the Underground Railroad history. Due to the many roads leading in and out of the area and the rivers which represented natural landmarks to follow to freedom, the city became an important stop for freedom seekers making their way north. It was also a strong hold for the abolitionist movement and Blacks themselves became active in securing the freedom for enslaved Africans.
This portion of the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route is called the Pittsburgh Spur. The present route begins at the Senator John Heinz History Center where travelers can view the Underground Railroad exhibit and African American collections before crossing the Allegheny River and following the Three Rivers Heritage North Shore Trail. Point State Park, where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers join, can be seen as cyclists follow the shores of the Ohio River. The route crosses the Ohio River three times before reaching Monaca, Pa, the corporate office of the Ohio River Trail Council, then heads north, following the Beaver River through the community of Beaver Falls toward Mercer, Pa.
This 152.5-mile Underground Railroad, Pittsburgh Spur connects Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route at Erie, Pennsylvania. The route begins at the Senator John Heinz History Center and quickly crosses the Allegheny River to the 3.5 mile North Shore Trail. Across the water, cyclists have a view of Point State Park, the tip of Pittsburgh's "Golden Triangle" where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers join. Cyclists continue along the North Shore trail which borders the shores of the Ohio River and takes them through the most urban section of the route. Underground Railroad sites, historic markers and museums dot the route with the highest concentrations in Pittsburgh and Mercer. Rolling hills make up the terrain in western Pennsylvania but most of the route is on fairly low-level traffic rural roads and highways.
"Biking Through Black History"
WPXI-TV the NBC affiliate in Pittsburgh produced "Biking Through Black History," a 30 minute Black History Month special highlighting the creation of the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route (UGRR). This route was realized through an innovative partnership between Adventure Cycling Association and University of Pittsburgh's Center for Minority Health. Learn more at http://www.adventurecycling.org/ugrr.
- Biking Through Black History - Segment 1
- Biking Through Black History - Segment 2
- Biking Through Black History - Segment 3
- Biking Through Black History - Segment 4