Some of the Greenway Gyrls on the Schuylkill River Trail outside of Philadelphia.
The Greenway Gyrls even have their own logo!
Tell Us ...
In March, we asked you to tell us about friends you've made on a rail-trail. Of those who responded, three met on our own annual Greenway Sojourn ride!
Teresa Rose — Nanuet, N.Y.
I have met some of my closest friends during the Sojourn. I was alone on my first bike tour, the 2005 Sojourn. It was something I had always wanted to do but was afraid to try, and my best friend talked me into signing up (you only live once ... ha!). So I fought back my fear and packed up. On the second day, I met Gert, Michelle, Barb, Terry, Jean and Mark. Every year since then, almost all of us have come on the Sojourn.
Some can't make it due to work schedule or recovering from a operation, but mainly we all try to get together for the yearly bike tour that Tom Sexton, director of RTC's Northeast Regional Office, puts together for the Sojourn. We all e-mail each other to check on who can make it, or talk each other into signing up again, and help convince each other we can do the longer miles or bike whatever hills there are on the trips.
Even on the one year RTC did not have a Sojourn, we decided to get together and rent a cabin and bike the Pine Creek Rail Trail (plus kayak the creek and do some hiking). What a surprise we had when the following year the Sojourn was on the same trail! So yep, we all signed up to do the Pine Creek Rail Trail again without hesitation.
Because we have all kept in touch, we get together other times of year as well, such as biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, camping trips in Pennsylvania, covered bridge rides and biking local rail-trails. Friendships made on the trails, talking about where we have been and would like to go, the excitement of completing a week-long bike trip in new areas of Pennsylvania, and biking on trailways that are ever expanding—that's the Sojourn to us.
We call ourselves the Greenway Gyrls (including Mark, who is the Greenway Guy). We have gotten older and wiser, even lost weight during all our training rides during the years. We even made hats and a bag with our name on it for the tours!
The Greenway Gyrls:
Gert and Michele, from Rebersburg, Pa.
Terry, Jean and Diane, from Rhode Island
Barb, from the Philadelphia area
Mark, from the Pittsburgh area
Leslie, from Connecticut
Marge, from New York City
Leslie Siwakowski — Bridgeport, Conn.
I was "reluctantly" introduced to the Greenway Sojourn by Teresa Rose, who is an experienced biker and Sojourner. I say I was reluctant because I was new to biking and seriously questioned my biking skills. Can I do the miles? The hills? Can I camp each night and still bike the next day? What do I bring? What the heck is a shower truck!!!!!??
With only knowing one other person at this event, I was a bit skeptical of my social inclusion skills as well. But Teresa introduced me to a wonderfully accepting group of men and women, from many different states, who all took me into the fold, under their wings and allowed me to become a member of the 'unofficial' group called the Greenway Gyrls.
That was two Sojourns ago. The upcoming Sojourn in July 2011 will be my third. I'm now part of this semi-elite group, not only for biking, but also for hiking, camping, kayaking or simply just hanging out, swapping stories and enjoying each other's company.
Even though any one of us may experience a rough, busy, stressful or even uplifting year during the time between each Sojourn, we all look forward to receiving that first advanced notice e-mail of the date for the next time we can meet up on the trail.
Were it not for RTC hosting this event, these lasting friendships may not have been realized, and the Greenway Gryls (and Mark) would have just been a distant idea.
Marge Kelly — New York City, N.Y.
I'm one of the Greenway Gyrls. I met everyone in 2008 and have continued every year with the Sojourn. We even get together other times during the year. They're a great group, and I'm so happy to bike with them every year, including the 2011 Sojourn coming up this summer.
Wayne Dumont — Somers, N.Y.
I did not make a friend, but last year on the North County Trailway in northern Westchester, N.Y., I had trouble putting one of my cross-country shoes in the binding. A gentleman walking toward me helped me by holding on to me while I put the shoe in the binding. He didn't give me his name, but I thanked him and he went one way and I went the other. I will not forget that.