WEST CHAZY - Having been mountain bike racing throughout the country for more than 20 years, Saranac native Paul Maggy has returned to the area, bringing his passion with him.
Maggy has been working toward opening a bike park in the Adirondacks for the past two years. Now his dream is a reality.
The Adirondack Bike Ranch, located at 88 Blue Chip Way, is old farm land owned by his parents. Now it is made up of 80 acres of bike trails with varying terrain.
"This park will have beginner trails, intermediate trails, advanced, terrain parks, all throughout the park," Maggy explained.
Maggy began mountain biking in the late 1980s, "before mountain biking was cool," he said. From there, he raced the pro circuit for four years, then continued to travel across the country promoting bike racing and bike parks.
"Mountain biking is a destination sport now, like skiing or snowboarding. People travel in groups or families to go ride different bike parks; see the areas," Maggy explained. "So, that's what I'm trying to create here."
What Maggy finds so important about mountain biking is the health benefits.
"Mountain biking is an industry that's non-impact, it's healthy, it's sustainable recreation. And, it's outdoors," he said.
"The leading causes of death in the North Country are heart disease [and] obesity. Those two things could be alleviated by a few hours a week on a bike," he added.
The grand opening for the bike park will be Saturday, April 18, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will be various races including a kids race in which all participants will receive a trophy.
"This is about starting from youth," explained Maggy. "Teaching kids bike skills. The healthy lifestyle that biking creates. That it's not something that you have to give up when you're 16, when you get a car."
Another important aspect of the bike ranch Maggy is looking to promote is the indoor bike park in a warehouse on the land.
"We've got warehouses up here that we're going to turn into indoor mountain biking," he said. "There's one other indoor mountain bike park in the country right now."
"We'll do bike parks inside, outside, with the roll-up doors so you can kind of roll in and out on the warmer days," he continued. "So, it'll be a year-round bike park."
Other events Maggy wants to bring to the bike park will be cross-country skiing and snowshoe races, which he hopes to host twice a month throughout the winter.
People interested in becoming a member of the Northern Adirondack Mountain Bike Association, the nonprofit organization which will cover insurance for riders at the ranch, can join through their Web site, www.adkbikeranch.com. Those who do will receive many benefits, including reduced riding prices and an all-access pass to the park.
A NAMBA membership is $25 for the year, then riding is free.
There will also be weekly races at the ranch every Tuesday at 6 p.m. Those races will be an additional $8 for members and $15 for nonmembers.
Maggy also hopes to host monthly group rides, women-only bike rides and night rides during the summer.
"I don't know one person who has gotten on a mountain bike, that grew up biking, that hasn't loved it," Maggy said. "It's like you're a kid again."
To register for the races during the grand opening, visit the bike ranch Web site to fill out the registration form by Friday, April 17.