Press-Republican

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April 13, 2014

A ride through time

Newly created War of 1812 Bike Trail enables cyclists to learn rich history of community while enjoying scenery of Plattsburgh area

PLATTSBURGH — As winter continues to melt away to warmer weather, locals will see more and more bicyclists on area roads enjoying the scenery and the cycling experience.

“The bikes are now out,” Don Wickman, the new director of the Kent-Delord House Museum, said from inside the more than 215-year-old house. “I’ve been watching them go by on a regular basis.”

A new bike path developed together by Wickman and the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau will enable locals and tourists alike to learn more about the history of the Plattsburgh area while giving small businesses increased traffic.

The 22.4-mile route takes cyclists through 19 sites that tell the story of the War of 1812 and its Battle of Plattsburgh.

The stop-offs include four forts, two cemeteries, three museums and other landmarks, both well- and lesser-known.

Wickman, who became director of the Plattsburgh museum in December of last year, had the idea for the bike trail last September.

He and his wife, Betsy, were traveling to the Battle of Plattsburgh festivities for the first time.

“Not knowing parking, we parked at Clinton Community College and biked up,” Wickman said. “We’re going by all these sites that are now on the tour and saying, ‘Doesn’t this make sense that we’re cyclists, it’s part of the trail here. It seems like the perfect tie-together for the War of 1812.”

‘GREATER INSIGHT’

The experience of developing the trail was an education for Wickman, he said. 

“It provided me with a greater insight of Plattsburgh’s War of 1812 sites as I learn more about the community,” he said, adding that the route offers “a great combination of history and exercise.”

Before he was named director of the Kent-Delord House Museum, Wickman was a teacher at Community College of Vermont, a substitute teacher at the public schools in Rutland, Vt., and a freelance writer. He has owned a home in Keeseville since 2008.

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