By JEFF MEYERS
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The 2013 edition of the annual Mayor’s Cup Bike Ride will make history while raising money for the community’s health-care needs.
The ride, sponsored by the Foundation of CVPH Medical Center as a fundraiser for the foundation’s Travel Fund, will mark the first time the Terry Gordon Memorial Bike Path and the Saranac River Trail are used together in an official capacity.
“It’s a great connection between the two routes,” said Phil Von Bargen, who works for the Town of Plattsburgh Planning/Engineering Department and is an avid cyclist.
He helped design the three separate routes this year’s Bike Ride will follow.
“It gives participants an opportunity to use both trails within the City of Plattsburgh without requiring much traffic control.”
Cyclists have the options to follow courses that run 22, 50 or 70 miles.
The ride begins at CVPH Medical Center, with half-hour staggered times depending on what course cyclists choose.
Participants will pedal down Prospect Avenue and then pick up the Saranac River Trail behind Plattsburgh High School.
They will then cross the Saranac Street bridge and travel a short distance on city streets to the entrance of the Terry Gordon Bike Path.
“This is a great way to bring awareness (of the two city recreational trails) to the community,” Von Bargen said.
All three courses head south on Route 9, with the 22-mile group stopping at AuSable Point State Park. The longer routes loop through Peru and past Keeseville before returning through Port Kent and back to Route 9.
“The 70-mile ride is a bit ambitious,” Von Bargen said. “It’s a technical ride with some considerable climbing. You need to be prepared physically.”
A part of the route for the 70-mile course had followed Highlands Road, but it is closed due to flooding following recent storms. The revised route will head to AuSable Forks via Green Street and Dugway Road.
Vonbargen, a staunch advocate for public access to recreational opportunities such as cycling, teaches an adult-education program that emphasizes safe cycling along roadways.
“It’s a healthy daily activity,” he said of the sport. “That’s why it is important to have an established area to bike.”
He called the 22-mile route a “terrific course for building endurance” and said he would like to see a series of maps designed to promote area cycling trails like those being used for the Mayor’s Cup Bike Ride.
“Cycling is becoming a popular tourist draw,” he added, again emphasizing the quality cycling opportunities across the region.
Bicycle mechanics and first aid will be available along the ride routes. Rest stations will be set up to offer bananas, water and granola bars.
Helmets are mandatory.
The CVPH Travel Fund provides financial support to local families who have to travel out of the area to receive medical care not provided at the Medical Center, said Michelle Senecal of the CVPH Foundation.
“It’s used quite a lot,” she said, noting that 33 families received about $15,000 in 2012.
Families must have a household income of less than $60,000 to be eligible, she added.
Riders using the 70-mile course will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by the 50-mile group at 9 a.m. and the 22-mile participants at 9:30 a.m.
Registration starts at 7:45 a.m. on the Medical Center’s front lawn.
A barbecue for participants will be held from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the same location. Family and friends can purchase a lunch ticket for $5.
Email Jeff Meyers:firstname.lastname@example.org
STILL TIME TO RIDE
The 2013 Mayor's Cup Bike Ride, to support the CVPH Foundation's Travel Fund, takes place Sunday beginning at 8:30 a.m. at CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh. Day-of-ride registrations are $45; $35 for riders younger than 18 and older than 65. For more information, contact Michelle Senecal at 562-7169.