My next cycling project will be "The (Covered) Bridges of Madison Chester County." There are 15 of them spread throughout the county and my plan is to ride my bike to see them. It’s not that I have any great interest in Covered Bridges. It's just that there are 15 of them spread throughout the county. As the old saying goes, "it is something to do."
According to this website there are 197 covered bridges in Pennsylvania, and of these 15 are in Chester County. Here is a map showing where they can be found. Two of these bridges are ones that I see every once in a while on my regular bike rides. There are three others at are fairly close to home and won’t be too much trouble to see. The other 10 will take some planning and would probably be an all day trip via bicycle. I estimate that, in all, it will take me 7 or 8 trips covering 300 to 400 miles to get the job done. Or in other words, a nice summer project. So, to get things started, yesterday I headed out to The Gibson and Harkin Bridges which are to the northwest of West Chester.
The Gibson Bridge
Only five miles away, this bridge is the closest one to West Chester. It is along Route 322 going to Downingtown. It was built in 1872 and restored in 2003. It gets a lot of use still. In the 20 minutes or so that I was there about a dozen cars went over it. From underneath the bridge the ka-thunk ka-thunk of the tires rolling over the big timbers made a pretty cool sound.
The Harkin Bridge
This bridge sits in an odd place over a drainage ditch next to a busy road. It looks pretty out of place when you first see it. In fact, it is very much out of place. It was built in 1854, then rebuilt in 1881. Then in 1972 the area was submerged to create Marsh Creek Lake, so the bridge was moved to a new location in the newly created Marsh Creek State Park. Then in 1998 the bridge was bought by Upper Uwchlan Township, who, in 2006, chose to move it to its present day location to be part of the Upper Uwchlan Trail System. Who knew?
Ride lots and stop often!