A week-long bicycle tour involving up to 2,000 bicyclists from Canada has been proposed for next August -- with a route from Lake George to Ticonderoga then on to Plattsburgh -- and the event is expected to give the region a substantial economic boost.
The group Velo Quebec Voyages of Montreal, which plans international bicycle tours, is now setting up plans for a two-wheeled tour through Warren, Essex and Clinton counties, area tourism officials said Wednesday.
The group tour would likely be the first of its kind in the region, officials said.
Representatives of Velo Quebec were in the region this week, reviewing accommodations and making arrangements, Warren County tour promoter Tanya Brand told county officials Wednesday.
"This is absolutely a great thing for the area, with a high-profile international tourism group choosing our region," she said.
Velo Quebec operates 60 tours per year on several continents. Their 2010 tours include two-wheeled trips in Europe, North America, Mexico, Cuba and Asia as well as Vermont and the Lake George-Ticonderoga-Plattsburgh tour.
Brand said that the bicyclists, primarily in their 40s, would be spending money and visiting various destinations during the tour, which is tentatively set to begin Friday August 6. They plan to spend a day and a half in the Lake George area, bicycling to Ticonderoga either via state Rte. 8 or 9N through Hague, or through Washington County and north on state Rte. 22. They are tentatively planning to stay in Ticonderoga two nights, spending one day cycling a loop through southern Essex County seeing the sights, Brand said.
Not only would they be dining out, but several hundred of them would likely be staying overnight in motels and hotels, while most of the bicyclists would be sleeping in tents.
Caterers in various destination points wwould likely be hired to provide meals, she said, and the group is likely to be arranging for entertainment.
Many in the tour group would arrive in Lake George on Friday Aug. 6, staying at a park or large plot where they could set up hundreds of tents. Battlefield Park in Lake George is their preferred location, but their stay requires approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
When in Ticonderoga, they are likely to be headquartered at Ticonderoga Central School, Brand said.
Ticonderoga area Chamber of Commerce Director Barbara Brassard said Wednesday this idea is pending approval before the Ticonderoga Central School Board, and that area officials were excited about the prospects of the mass two-wheeled tourists.
"It lookes very hopeful the tour will go through," she said. "It would be a definite boost to the enconomy, and we're very optimistic."
After their second night in Ticonderoga, the group will then head off to Plattsburgh, where they are expected to spend a similar amount of time in Clinton County bicycling before they conclude their tour.
While visiting Lake George Tuesday, the Velo officials toured various venues to compare potential headquarters for the first leg of the proposed trip. The group went to the Lake George Forum, Wild West Ranch, the Lake George Recreation Center, The Dome, Adirondack Community College, and both the local high school and elementary school. Battlefield Park in Lake George Village was their first choice, and ACC was the apparent runner-up.
Brand said that the group would probably be looking for scout groups or youth sports teams to volunteer as valets, in assisting unpacking the tourists bicycles and luggage from a fleet of tractor trailer trucks and performing other tasks.
"This would be a really cool event for everyone involved," Brand said.