Cycling through history in Newark

July 10, 2013 by  

On Friday, June 28, a Newark, Ohio organization called CycLicking held its first bicycle ride, leading a group on a tour of several earth mounds; the work of the long-vanished Native American civilization known as the Hopewell culture. The tour covered 5.5 miles and took approximately three hours, during which time participants visited the Great Ellipse, Great Circle, and Octagon mounds.

CycLicking is an organization that deals with “all things biking in the county”, according to Todd Fortune, who is the Transportation Planner for Licking County. The group hopes to serve as a place where people can share ideas about the county’s bike paths and everything that pertains to them. CycLicking sponsored the ride, but the organization does more than hold events. It hopes to awaken interest in these local landmarks and the history of the culture that produced them.

Two of those involved in the ride around the mounds, known as the Newark Earthworks, were Bill and Pat Weaver. They narrated the ride, explained the history of the mounds, their geometry, and the part they played in the astronomical observations of indigenous peoples. Bill taught in the Licking Valley schools, and served as a principal in the system. His wife Pat is site manager at Flint Ridge Memorial State Park and, on June 25, the couple welcomed 80 tribe members from the Eastern Shawnee Tribe, located in Oklahoma.

CycLicking leaders want to get the word out about their organization, so they could work with a flyer printing expert to create a mailer to go to local residents, describing their mission and listing future events.