Hundreds of cyclists -- and a huge travelling entourage -- will call Schroon Lake home for several days over the summer as part of a tour of the Adirondack Park.
Schroon will host the kick off to the annual Cycle Adirondacks event on August 19, with riders spending three days and two nights here at the beginning of the tour. Riders then head north, to spend two nights each in Keene and Saranac Lake, before returning to Schroon, according to Tammy Whitty Brown, the Executive Director of the Schroon lake Chamber of Commerce.
“We hope the riders will spend a lot of time here in Schroon, eating at our restaurants, going to our pubs and spending their money here,’” Tammy told Schroon Laker today
The announcement was made today by ROOST (Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism) and the nonprofit Cycle Adirondacks 2017 organization at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake.
The event has been described by those who have taken it as an “amazing bike ride through some of the most natural beauty in the US -- meets glam camping”.
Organizers say this year’s ride will feature incredible locally sourced dining, excellent entertainment, delicious NY craft beer and wine, over-the-top amenities, “not to mention outstanding organization and support with the same personal guest experience and community connection our riders have come to love. In other words, ‘The Ultimate Cycling Vacation.’” Sign us up!
Cycle Adirondacks debuted in 2015, and is sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Their goal is to conserve the world's wildlife and largest wild places, including the Adirondacks. The ride is designed to take cyclists through different parts of the Adirondacks and connect to several areas that highlight the work of the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Tammy said the planning of the event had been months in the making, when folks from Cycle Adirondacks were considering locations for this year’s ride, and one of the organizers, Doug Haney paid Schroon a visit last summer.
“Doug and I had met on a committee a few years back. We immediately recognized each other and I knew why Doug was here. I told him “I want this event to happen”.
“He replied that this was his first time to Schroon Lake and had no idea what great amenities the town had to offer. He said: ‘I've been up and down the Northway hundreds of times but never really stopped in here!’
“Doug said to me do you think you can make this happen? I said I will do everything I can.”
Tammy reached out to several key figures in Schroon Lake including Town Supervisor Mike Marnell, to get the town’s permission as well as Steve Gratto, the principaL of the Schroon Lake Central School, to secure their grounds for camping. She also checked in with a local attorney, Mark Granger, to up clear any potential legal issues regarding permits. Tammy later learned ride organizers are responsible for all permitting*.
“The way this works is organizers it will come into Schroon on the Friday night before the ride starts and set up their tent city, in the field behind the school. Check in begins Saturday at around midday. Saturday is the first of two nights that they will be in here. That night there will be a chuck wagon and entertainment for the riders. There are two rides that weekend. This is a very organizedevent. They bring in trailers with showers, and trucks with all the amenities.”
Organizers said participants in this year’s ride get a chance to take part for as few as three days or as many as six. On days when the tour is not moving between hubs, bikers can choose short or long rides or take a day off for hiking, canoeing, shopping or other activities.
The Wildlife Conservation Society provides guests with a guided interactive experience while on the route and in camp. Tammy said the town would benefit in multiple ways.
“This will bring hundreds of people to Schroon Lake for the start of the ride. They will be all over town, checking out what we have. They just won't be stuck in the campground at the school.
“As part of each ride, there is a fundraising component from the riders who give back to the community. I don’t know what project we have in mind as of yet.”
Last year, more than 300 took part in the biking excursion, and 280 community members from all over the ‘Dacks served as volunteers, according to Doug Haney.
Cycle Adirondack bikers traveled 404 miles last year and ate meals in several communities. At the Keeseville stop, for example, 410 farm-to-table meals were served.
“Year after year, our guests have raved about the time they spend in our communities, and we’ve listened," Zoe Smith, director of the Conservation Society’s Adirondack Program, said in a news release.
"The new format is designed to provide more ride distances and options, more off-bike activities and, best of all, less packing up and moving."
Haney's says 87 percent of those who took part last year said they would ride in Cycle Adirondacks again, and 60 percent said they would visit the Adirondacks again.
The ride was created as a low-impact tourism opportunity, meant to strengthen the natural-resource-based economy. Last year it drew people from 35 states and provinces.
ROOST President James McKenna said the event "has not only supported the efforts of the Wildlife Conservation Society in our region but has elevated awareness of the welcoming communities, the gorgeous landscape and the outstanding road cycling opportunities available all across the Adirondacks.”
2017 EVENT SCHEDULE
Aug. 19: Check-in, dinner, explore - Schroon Lake
Aug. 20: Out-and-back rides (two distances, optional) - Schroon Lake
Aug. 21: All Ride - Schroon Lake to Keene Valley
Aug. 22: Out-and-back rides (two distances, optional) - Keene Valley
Aug. 23: All Ride - Keene Valley to Saranac Lake
*This story was updated on Thursday, January 26 at 10am to correct an editorial mistake. Mark Granger was originally identified as the Town Attorney. He is a lawyer in private practice. Schroonlaker.com regrets the error.