Bike the Byways Premier – June 17, 2011

10 AM, Friday June 17Bike the Byways starts building brand recognition for the region’s many bicycling opportunities using the framework of 1,500 miles of scenic byways that connect communities from Lake Ontario to Lake Champlain and from the Mohawk River to the St. Lawrence.

http://www.bikethebyways.org

Biking the Loj Road

Lake Champlain Biking, Lakes to Locks Passage, Chazy

Mtn Biking near Inlet

Dave Scranton image

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BIKE WILMINGTON goes LIVE

And is it ever – one of most impressive bicycling sites the region has seen and it covers all aspects of the sport in the Wilmington – Lake Placid area.

Bike Wilmington NY is just getting started and features:

  • The new Flume Trails and Hardy Road Trails with rides for all levels
  • The new Dirt Jump and Skills Park right in Wilmington
  • Lift Service Downhill Riding at Whiteface
  • Events – such as the Wilmington-Whiteface Bike Fest, 3rd weekend  in June
  • Road bicycling in the area

All these features are sure to grow, with new trails in the works and the road biking opportunities many and varied.

Check out Bike Wilmington NY then grab all your bikes and head to Wilmington.

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Coming Soon: Biking the Byways

Join Us—Friday, June 17, 2011

For Launch Presentation of ANCA’s “Bike the Byways” Website.

Join us for an introduction to the new website and learn how this exciting new tool will be used to promote the wide variety of bicycling and mountain biking opportunities in communities across the region.

Lake Champlain Biking, Lakes to Locks Passage, Chazy

Lake Champlain Biking, Lakes to Locks Passage, Chazy

Event Info

Tug Hull Vineyards
Lowville, NY
10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Lunch will follow (Meeting is free, lunch is $15, needs to be paid in advance by check or calling ANCA with credit card information)
RSVP by May 27

RSVP: Contact ANCA
Adirondack North Country Association

67 Main St., Suite 201
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
Phone: 518-891-6200
Fax: 518-891-6203
anca@adirondack.org

About the project:

This project will position the Adirondack North Country as a premier bicycling destination for travelers by featuring popular bicycling touring routes and mountain biking trails easily accessed via the 14 interconnected byways of northern New York. The project will offer electronic recreational planning for visitors, enabling access to promotional web information about touring and mountain bicycling throughout the region. The online biking information will promote alternative transportation that supports recreational Byway touring. Links to bike shops and Chambers of Commerce will provide another layer of service to facilitate easier travel planning. The project will build linkages between Byway communities and foster travel that is not dependent on fuel-operated vehicles.

Project funded by a grant to the NYS Department of Transportation’s Scenic Byways Program through the Federal Highway Administration.

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Provide Links to Existing Bike Info

Windmills and Hay Wagon, Lowville

Windmills and Hay Wagon, Black River Trail, Lowville

Suggest links to online information about biking in the region that you have or that you have seen on other websites. We realize that would be easier and quicker than filling in the ride forms. Then we can use that online information to  complete the forms as needed.

ANCA’s approach to identifying the best routes, rides and trails is to go predominately with well-known, long-established routes, rides and trails.  More importantly, those are the rides that are likely to be most enjoyable to the first-time visitor – and that is our main goal, an enjoyable experience which leads to return trips and positive word of mouth with friends and family.  By suggesting the well-known bike trials & routes, we also are able to better engage the tourism information network around the region because the bike shop owner or Visitor-Info person is more likely to be familiar with the trail, so are more likely to provide positive reinforcement for that ride, or to suggest similar rides in the area.  That is the outcome we would hope for, rather than getting a shrug from the bike shop owner or Chamber person who has no idea where the ride is.  ANCA is trying to make their jobs easier by creating an online biking resource that is useful to the Chambers, as well as to the visitors.

In terms of sustainability and longevity of the website, it is most cost effective for ANCA to feature routes and trails that have been identified in existing guidebooks, recreational maps, on Chamber or Bike Shop websites, on County Planning Dept websites, and in magazines, newspaper articles and blogs.  With our main emphasis on existing information, we would like to be able to offer at least one website link to more information for each route and trial, and preferably 2 or 3 links, so that the user can be that much more informed before they start their ride.  Also, if rides have been in the public domain for a while and thus vetted to some degree, ANCA will have fewer maintenance issues in terms of having to correct route or ride information, and fewer disappointed riders.

So the biking-related information from area Chambers, Bike Shops, Bike Clubs and others that would be most beneficial consists mainly of website links to existing information about bike routes, bike rides, mountain bike trails, biking events, etc.  That is the information that will provide the majority of the biking information presented on the Bike the Byways website.  We could also use copies of printed biking brochures or maps that have not yet made it to the web.  We have collected quite a few of those, but may have missed some.

Along with existing, well-developed ride descriptions and maps, pictures are another important piece of the puzzle that will help sell the region’s bicycling opportunities to potential visitors.  There again, existing rides, routes and trails are more likely to have pictures available that show the ride, the scenery around the ride, and the resources and attractions along the way.  So ANCA appreciates any pictures that can be shared – including pictures of biking, as well as pictures of the scenery and resources visitors might see from the seat of a bike on one of the area’s bike rides, routes or trails.  We would of course credit the owner and/or photographer of the image.

Lake Champlain Biking, Lakes to Locks Passage, Chazy

Lake Champlain Biking, Lakes to Locks Passage, Chazy

On that note, it is important going forward that organizations retain full and free usage rights for all photography and video paid for with public funds, digital imagery is too valuable for promoting the region’s communities and resources to have it locked up behind antiquated and possibly ill-informed restricted-use agreements.

Contact Tim Holmes anytime to discuss any of these issues or concerns.

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Share your Bike Photos

Good photos convey the great variety of bicycling opportunities available throughout the region – for families, experienced riders, mountain biking, touring or day trips. See the Flicker feed of bike photos compiled so far (on the lower right side). You can subscribe to that photo feed using the RSS Feed button in the lower left of Flicker photo gallery page.Biking the Loj Road

We are also asking you to submit your own photos for inclusion for use on the new Bike the Byways website (launching April 2011) if you are able to share them.  Pass this page link on to anyone you know who might have bicycling photos showing bicyclists or scenes from the Adirondack North Country region.Mtn Biking near Inlet

You can email photos to Tim Holmes at adkresearch@gmail.com.  Or, if your photos are already online you can email a link to them.

Please provide the name of the photographer so we can credit them properly.  Also provide descriptive info about the photo such as where taken, closest community, time of year, etc.  That will allow us to craft informative photo captions.  If people in the photo are recognizable, indicate that they have approved our use of the photo for the Bike the Byways website.

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Accessible Trails

In terms of accessibility, there are five access characteristics assessed by Universal Trail Assessment Process that local communities might consider when developing and promoting their local trail systems to the public. A portion of outdoor recreation market is looking for a higher degree of accessibility, whether it is for a stroller, a wheelchair, other mobility issues, vision limitations, etc. By being accurately informed about accessibility issues before they start on the trail, the user is more likely to enjoy their outdoor recreation experience. That results in a satisfied visitor and more positive word-of-mouth advertising. The following outlines the UTAP process and provides links to more information.

Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP)

American Trails and other are helping promote and further the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP). The UTAP is a tool that land managers, agencies and individuals use to monitor, improve, and document any outdoor path of travel. Data collected during the assessment can also be provided to trail users for specific conditions, such as grade, tread width, features, obstacles, and trail surface.

One of its main benefits is that it can help to enhance trail access and use for a wide variety of users, including older adults, inexperienced users, families and people with disabilities.  It allows users in wheelchairs, pushing a stroller, or having vision or mobility problems to evaluate a trail’s appropriateness to their abilities before they get out on the trail.

Trail Access Information

Beneficial Designs began working in 1991 to develop a consistent and informative system for mapping and describing trails. Existing trail rating systems using subjective descriptions such as “difficult” do not give users the information they may need to safely attempt a hike. In a 1991 pilot study, Beneficial Designs identified trail characteristics that would allow hikers of all abilities to decide whether to undertake a particular trail and make necessary safety or equipment preparations beforehand. These characteristics include trail grade, cross slope, width, surface firmness, and the presence of obstacles. The dimensions and locations of obstacles such as tree roots, boulders or large rocks, water crossings, ruts, vertical obstructions, steps, dangerous plants, and drop-offs also are noted.

Summary of the UTAP Process (AmericanTrails.org)

The Five Access Characteristics– During a 1991 pilot study conducted in Yellowstone National Park and the Gallatin National Forest, Beneficial Designs identified five characteristics of a trail that greatly affect access. A system to collect and provide to the public information about grade, cross slope, surface type, obstacles, and trail width was developed into the Universal Assessment Process to help make trail systems more accessible to users.

Grade — The average grade between two designated stations along the trail is measured with a clinometer. These measurements are then used to compute the average grade for the entire trail. Short, steep sections are measured with an inclinometer and recorded as maximum grade sections. The inclinometer is 24 inches in length and thus measures the grade as it would be experienced over the course of a single stride, or by a stroller or wheelchair.

Information about the maximum grade sections found on a trail is used to add detailed information to maps. The average and maximum grades are displayed with the grade symbol to convey this pertinent information on TAI Strips and trailhead signage.

Objective information about the average and maximum grade is very useful to all user groups, especially mountain bike riders and persons with mobility limitations, including older persons and those that use canes, crutches, walkers or wheelchairs.

Cross Slope Cross — slope is measured at designated stations along the trail with a 24-inch inclinometer. These measurements are then used to compute the average cross slope for the entire trail. Similar to maximum grade, steep cross slope sections are measured with an inclinometer and recorded as maximum cross slope sections.

This information is used to add detailed information to maps. The average and maximum cross slopes are displayed with the cross slope symbol to convey this pertinent information on TAI Strips and trailhead signage.

Cross slope information is most useful to wheelchair users. Wheelchairs are very difficult to drive or maneuver on steep cross slopes.

Width — A tape measure is used to measure the width of the trail. The minimum tread width, or “beaten path,” is measured at each station and is used to calculate the average tread width. The minimum amount of usable passage space between stations, or minimum clearance width, is also measured.

Objective information about the width of the trail and the locations of the narrowest sections is critical for people who use mobility devices such as strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs. The average manual wheelchair has a wheelbase width of less than 28 inches. If a trail narrows to 26 inches, persons in a 28-inch wheelchair will know that they will not be able to venture past this point unless they are capable of transferring out of their chair and maneuvering their chair through this narrow location. If the width of the trail is disclosed, mobility device users will be able to determine before embarking on a trail exactly how far they will be able to hike and whether they will be able to reach their destination.

Surface — The type of surface found in between stations is recorded, as well as a description of its characteristics. Trail surface type is a major influence on the degree of access for all user groups.

Trail Length — The distance from the trailhead is continuously recorded to indicate the total length as well as the position of each measurement site relative to the start of the trail.

Links of Interest

The Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) – http://www.americantrails.org/resources/accessible/UTAPsum.html

Beneficial Designs – http://www.beneficialdesigns.com/trails/utap.html

Glossary – http://www.americantrails.org/resources/info/glossary.html

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Links of Interest

A few biking-related links of interest:

Adirondack Scenic Byways

New York Bicycling Coalition

Bike Adirondacks.org

Bicycling in New York State (NYS DOT)

Parks & Trails New York, Trail Finder

New York’s Scenic Byways

National Scenic Byways by Road Bike

National Scenic Byways by Mtn Bike

Google Maps by Bike

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