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Cycling the Saranac

          (DoNorth/Tim Behuniak) The sun sets. The lake’s reflection mirrors the sun’s orange, reddish-hues as the clouds gather. Isaac Hardy adjusts his helmet. His red-and-yellow checkered skinsuit stands out on this cloudy day. Gracefully, he mounts his bicycle and glides down the Saranac River bike trail. To his left, college students shuffle across the grass to kick the soccer ball into the goal. To his right, a man fishes in the river. The deep-blue waves crash against the boulders. A man wearing thigh-high rubber boots stands by one of the boulders as he diligently waits to catch…

 

        

(DoNorth/Tim Behuniak)

The sun sets. The lake’s reflection mirrors the sun’s orange, reddish-hues as the clouds gather. Isaac Hardy adjusts his helmet. His red-and-yellow checkered skinsuit stands out on this cloudy day. Gracefully, he mounts his bicycle and glides down the Saranac River bike trail. To his left, college students shuffle across the grass to kick the soccer ball into the goal. To his right, a man fishes in the river. The deep-blue waves crash against the boulders. A man wearing thigh-high rubber boots stands by one of the boulders as he diligently waits to catch fish. Birds fly over the scenery. Despite this, Hardy’s vision lies on the path in front of him. He maintains focus as he rides through the trail and reaches his destination: the Max Moore Memorial Treehouse.

The Saranac River bike trail has served as a place for leisure walks, family gatherings, educational lectures and, of course, bike riding.

“It’s always been bike friendly,” President of Friends of Saranac River Trail, Jesse Feiler, says.  

Friends of Saranac River Trail is a non-profit organization that focuses on developing and promoting the tourist, recreational, commercial, historical, and natural opportunities of the Saranac River Trail.” The trail, according to Feiler, was created by a partnership between SUNY Plattsburgh and New York state. It encomposses the university’s campus and extends to the wheelchair-accessible Max Moore Memorial Treehouse. This is the same location Isaac Hardy heads to.  

As the leaves brush past Hardy, he recounts the time he went across America via bike. In Summer 2016, he pedaled with a friend from York, Maine to Newport, Oregon.

“It took me 52 days,” Hardy says. “The trip averaged out to 76 miles a day. On our max day, we did 140 miles.”  

He decided to take up cycling as a hobby in fall 2015. He found his father’s old bike in his garage and fixed it. To this day, he still uses that bike. Hardy often prepared for his arduous journey on the bike trail by biking twice a week in good weather – at most 100 miles. When he’s not traveling across the country, Hardy studies at SUNY Plattsburgh. He is an Environmental Science and Exhibitionary Studies major and a Spanish minor. As an avid cyclist, Hardy says that the Saranac River Bike Trail has expanded and made the path “more people-friendly.”

The addition of benches, bike locks and entrances has opened up the space for community members. The bike trail attracts guests from different parts of the world. Jesse Feiler says apps exist on smartphones that allow visitors to plan their trip to the river and create their own path to travel on the trail. Visitors from Canada, China and Greece, among others, have traveled to witness the beauty of the bike trail. During seasonal visits, cyclists can go to events in the community that focus on the importance of nature and how someone can protect his or her environment. On the first Saturday of June, the Friends of Saranac River hosts a trail cleanup event in honor of National Trails Day. Photo campaigns are held to show off the participants’ hard work. Other events involve informationals with topics such as invasive plants, trail development, public health edible plants and water pollution.  Feiler says that these talks provide positive ways of gathering information.

“We have a remarkable trail,” Feiler says. “It has valuable assets to our community.”

In the future, the bike trail is expected to expand to 27 miles. For now,  Hardy and others like him will have an intimate scenery to look forward to.

Issue 8: Winter/Spring 2017

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