Marion Center High School now offers a new club for high school students, appealing to both the athlete and the scholar. The group just recently completed a 13-mile bike tour of Gettysburg with Gettysbike Tours.
The club was established this spring with a mission to “encourage lifelong learning of our nation’s history and instill healthy habits.” History Buff Bikers seeks to provide and encourage high school students with firsthand experiences by traveling to local historical sites and events while utilizing mountain bikes; physical activity, exercise and fitness while traveling through historical sites and events; development of character and responsibility in learning about chosen historical events as well as caring for the bicycles; and learning and utilizing safety techniques when on the bicycles. Safety, historical education and physical preparedness are the top priorities.
Marion Center faculty members taking part in organizing and advising the club are Paul DeHaven, Monica DeHaven, Chris Peters, Mark Magolis and Glenda Cribbs. The McCreery Foundation provided the funds to start the club, and the club picked up several sponsors: State Farm Insurance Agency (Bill Thompson), Indiana Schwinn Cycling + Fitness Center, Rodney Grettler and Wood Chevrolet Inc.
The club is open to all Marion Center juniors and seniors with a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher, a grade of 93 percent or better in their physical education and history classes, and the ability to ride a bike as well as attend safety clinics held at the school.
The History Buff Bikers made their first trip to Gettysburg the weekend of June 1. The bike tour was led by Bob Steenstra, licensed battlefield guide and owner of Gettysbike Tours.
Why bike it? “Bicycling is, quite simply, the best way to see the battlefield,” Steenstra said. “It is too large to walk it in a timely fashion, and in a car or bus you speed by things too fast to really see them well. ... To really understand a battle, you need to know the terrain, the lay of the land. When you power yourself up the hills and ridges, and feel gravity propel you down, you gain a real appreciation for the high ground and why the battle developed the way it did.”
The History Buff Bikers plan to set out on more trips through the summer.
They also anticipate touring Antietam National Battlefield sometime in the coming school year.