With the rising costs of fuel oil and a need for healthier living, it shouldn’t be hard to convince anybody that hopping on a bike this summer would be a good idea. I’ve always been convinced that Europe has it right. Bicycle riding is an integral part of transportation and lifestyle for so many European countries; a direct correlation can be drawn to their healthier weight averages, stress levels, and cleaner cities and motorways. Not only that, traveling by bike is rather enjoyable.
What’s really special about having the opportunity to bike ride around the Hudson Valley is the variety of trails, terrain, and biking resources that are sprinkled throughout Ulster and Dutchess counties. Countless bike loops and well-maintained rail trails provide access for recreational exploration and even for commuting. “Since the downturn of the economy,” said Christian Favata, owner of Favata’s Table Rock Tours & Bikes in Rosendale, “there are a lot of people purchasing and renting bicycles to commute to work instead of driving a car.” Favata has had much success with his full service bicycle shop in the past four years of ownership. With a background in professional road racing, Favata promotes his lifelong sport to locals and area visitors: “I think people are beginning to realize that they can buy or rent a bike and enjoy it all summer long instead of spending the same money or more on just one vacation.” Biking throughout the Hudson Valley region is a way to get back to quality recreation with a very low price tag.
Hudson Valley Biking.com is a great resource for bikers who are looking to tour with a guide or ride in groups. Different themed rides are offered for all skill levels, such as the flatter side of New Paltz named the History 101 ride for beginners. They also guide mountain bike loops and do longer rides such as the Get Me Out of Town Ride through the Ashokan Reservoir area of the Catskill Mountains. The Wine and Art Ride and Organic Foodie Ride are perfect for guests who are coming up from New York City and want a taste of some Hudson Valley local culture.
Anthony’s Bikes in Poughkeepsie opened in 2010 to offer bike rentals to visitors of the Walkway over the Hudson. A great success, Anthony’s Bikes offers folks free parking in a lot on Parker Avenue, directly across from the Walkway, and all types of bikes to try. Tandem bicycles are available, and two and three-wheeled cruisers can be rented for reasonable daily prices. But Anthony’s bikes are not just restricted to the Walkway.
The Dutchess County Tourism website (dutchesstourism.com) has free, printable bike tour maps and turn-by-turn directions for bikeways through Rhinebeck and Red Hook and scenic loops through historic Hyde Park. Central Dutchess County also has nice road loops through Pleasant Valley and the quaint hamlets of Clinton Corners and Schultzville.
The Hudson Valley biking community is also primed for the more seasoned and experienced bikers. The NYS Mountain Bike Series takes place every year with five USA Cycling sanctioned races. One of which, Race the World, takes place on July 11 at Windham Mountain, piggy-backing on the internationally known UCI Mountain Bike World Cup event being held the two days before. Participants will have the opportunity to compete on the same course that the world’s top bikers duke it out on.
The Hudson Valley is the ideal region to birth a love and lifestyle for biking. Favata said it right, “Biking is peaceful. It gives you freedom. And it’s not a bad way to stay in shape.”
Favata’s Table Rock Tours & Bikes, Rosendale. trtbicycles.com
Overlook Mountain Bikes, Woodstock. overlookmountainbikes.com
Mike’s Bikes, Phoenicia. ridemikesbikes.com
Anthony’s Bike Rentals, Poughkeepsie. anthonybikerentals.com
Wheel and Heel, Wappingers Falls. wheelandheel.com
Guides, Tours, and Resources
The Summer of 2011 Hudson Valley Biker’s Handbook
Hudson Valley Biking Tours. hudsonvalleybiking.com
Dutchess County Tourism. dutchesstourism.com
Fats in the Cats Bicycle Club. fatsinthecats.com
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Windham Mountain,
July 9 & 10. racewindham.com
Williams Lake Classic, May 29, 2011. nysmtbseries.com
Belleayre Mountain All Terrain Challenges,
August 28. nysmtbseries.com
Ride The Ridge, First Sunday each June. www.ridetheridge.org
Safe Bike Riding Tips
Before using your bicycle Remember to:
1. Wear a Properly Fitted Bicycle Helmet.
2. Adjust Your Bicycle to Fit.
Stand over your bicycle. There should be 1
to 2 inches between you and the top tube
(bar) if using a road bike and 3 to 4 inches if a
mountain bicycle. The seat should be level front
to back. The seat height should be adjusted to
allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is
fully extended. The handlebar height should be
at the same level with the seat.
3. Check Your Equipment.
Before riding, inflate tires properly and check
that your brakes work.
4. See and Be Seen.
Whether daytime, dawn, dusk, foul weather,
or at night, you need to be seen by others.
Wearing white has not been shown to make
you more visible. Rather, always wear neon,
fluorescent, or other bright colors when
riding day or night. Also wear something
that reflects light, such as reflective tape or
markings, or flashing lights.
5. Control Your Bicycle.
Always ride with at least one hand on the
handlebars. Carry items in a bicycle carrier
6. Watch for and Avoid Road Hazards.
Be on the lookout for hazards such as
potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles,
leaves, and dogs. If you are riding with friends
and you are in the lead, yell out and point to
the hazard to alert the riders behind you.
7. Avoid Riding at Night.
It is far more dangerous to ride at night than
during the day because you are harder for
others to see. If you have to ride at night,
wear something that makes you more easily
seen by others. Make sure you have reflectors
or lights on the front and rear of your bicycle.
8. Follow the rules of the road.