TICONDEROGA - A week long bicycle tour through the Champlain Valley is promising to bring hundreds of cyclists and thousands of tourism dollars to the region.
Velo Quebec, a Canadian-based nonprofit cycling organization, will bring their popular cycling adventure "Le Grand Tour" to the area
Aug. 7-13, as part of a week-long traveling vacation package.
The tour will take participants on a 500-mile journey from Adirondack Community College in Glens Falls north to Montr al in a scenic journey meant to trace the steps of the region's earliest explorers and settlers.
"Our decision to bring the Grand Tour to New York State was motivated by our ongoing desire to offer a unique bicycle tourism experience in new regions and particularly along different routes," explained Jo lle S vigny, executive director of V lo Qu bec v nements et Voyages. "Following in the footsteps of Champlain, this edition of the Grand Tour will be both rich in history and an opportunity to showcase all that bicycle tourism has to offer in the Quebec-New York corridor."
In preparation for the event, tourism partners in Warren, Washington, Essex and Clinton counties are organizing accommodations and entertainment in each of cyclists' destinations to help provide a memorable experience.
Ticonderoga is marked as the second "cyclist village" on the journey where tour participants will be making two overnight stays and will be encouraged to make optional scenic detours through some of the surrounding towns and villages.
"We want to help them see our beautiful area and provide the hospitality that will make them feel welcome," said Barb Brassard, executive director of the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce.
The tour route sends cyclists through Westport and Willsboro and past AuSable Chasm on their way north toward Clinton Community College for another overnight stay.
"This is a huge event for the North Country," stated Garry Douglas, president and chief executive officer of the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce. "It means 2,000 visitors coming to experience our region, and drawing wide attention to Lake Champlain as a biking destination."
One of the greatest advantages of "Le Grand Tour" may be the impact it is likely to have on the region, both economically and promotionally. Tour organizers estimate riders spend more than $300,000 in the regions they travel through during the tour. The same study showed 83 percent of participants intend to return to the regions they explored during their visit.
Kim Rielly, director of communications for the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitor's Bureau, agreed there will be both a short- and long-term impact.
"Of course, while they are in the area, participants will have the opportunity to sample our attractions, historic sites, restaurants and retail shops," she said, "and although a large number of them are camping, the group's support staff and some of the cyclists have booked every room in town."
In addition, said Rielly, the cyclists will get a chance to experience first-hand the variety of attractions this region offers and may get a better awareness of the area's close proximity to Montr al and the rest of Qu bec, encouraging them to return for future visits.