A Chicago-area man is at the tail end of a bike ride — a long one: more than 1600 miles, so far.  He’s retracing the path Abraham Lincoln took on his Inaugural train trip, and on Monday, he made a stop in Philadelphia.

img 6054 Retracing Lincoln's Train Route By BikeKYW’s Ian Bush reports life certainly has changed since 1861, but Don Pollack (left) says pedaling really takes him back:

“It put me into a 19th Century pace, which was really key in understanding Lincoln and really that time period.”

The artist and professor started his journey early last month from the front door of Honest Abe’s home in Springfield, Illinois.  He’s biked nearly to all of the stops America’s 16th president made on the way to assuming that post in Washington — including Independence Hall:

A lot of people didn’t like him at the time — a four-way run for presidency.  So hearing death threats, Lincoln made it a point to stop here in Philadelphia and raise the US flag.  From that day forward, as his gesture was to show the union would be preserved, the 34-star flag is now referred to as the Lincoln Flag.”

He’s collecting photos for new paintings, raising money for cancer research, and working to build awareness of the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Civil War:

“I think what’s amazing — from my experience, Lincoln is not a civics lesson for eighth graders.  It’s actually a living idea — the notion of Liberty, and things that we just take for granted sometimes or just assume it’s a foregone conclusion.  I think it’s really important that we realize that this is something that we’re constantly building and we have to safeguard, because I think really the world looks to us — and to Lincoln, in a lot of ways.  He’s a character that is somebody that’s really a role model for people around the world.”

Pollack expects to complete the trip at the end of the week in the nation’s capital.

Check out his blog for more details.

(Photo: KYW’s Ian Bush)