TICONDEROGA - A Canadian bicycle tour of the area this summer will be an economic boast for Ticonderoga, according to those involved.
Velo Quebec Voyages of Montreal, which organizes international bicycle tours, will bring as many as 2,000 cyclists to Ti for two days in August.
"I think it's a great opportunity for the community to have 1,600 to 2,000 people in town for two days," said John McDonald, Ticonderoga Central School superintendent and co-chair of the local Velo organizing committee. "It's going to be quite a show."
Barb Brassard, executive director of the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the local Velo organizing committee, agrees.
"This is a big opportunity for local businesses and civic groups," she said. "These cyclists will need a lot of local support."
The bicycle tour is scheduled to take riders from Montreal to Lake George, where they'll spend a night. On Aug. 8 cyclists will come to Ticonderoga and stay overnight. They will spend Aug. 9 touring local attractions and stay a second night before leaving Aug. 10 for Plattsburgh.
A "cyclist village" will be set up at Ticonderoga Middle School with a "bistro" across the street.
The village will accommodate bikers who want to camp - others will stay in local hotels - and serve as abase of operations in Ticonderoga. The school will provide its kitchen, cafeteria and showers. Velo Quebec Voyages will pay all expenses associated with its use of the school.
The village will also feature local vendors selling items such as fresh fruit, ice cream, hot dogs and corn on the cob.
Local businesspeople interested in participating in the village should contact Brassard at the chamber by Email at email@example.com
McDonald pointed out the cyclists in the village will also need services. Velo Quebec Voyages will be hiring local people to assist its staff in Ticonderoga.
There will also be opportunities for civic groups to make money by helping during the tour stop, McDonald said.
Velo Quebec Voyages is also looking for a local caterer to feed the cyclists at the school. The tour group has a specific menu and requires breakfast and dinner two days for upwards of 2,000 cyclists in shifts of 600 people each seating.
Interested caterers can contact Brassard at the chamber for details.
A local business is also being sought to operate the bistro, where alcoholic beverages will be served and entertainment provided. An events tent is required. Interested people should contact Brassard.
"We want to reach out to the entire community and give everyone an opportunity to participate," explained Suzanne Maye of ROOST, formerly the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau. "It'll be a big event."
That same weekend the annual Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce Antique Car Show and the Ticonderoga Main Street Partnership StreetFest are scheduled.
While local officials look forward to the event, they hope the tour will have longer-lasting affects.
"They (Velo Quebec Voyages) say about 80 percent of those in the tour return to the area with their family later to visit," Brassard said. "We hope that's the case."
"If folks come to Ti and have a good time they'll want to come back," he said. "That will be good for the local economy as well."
Velo Quebec operates 60 tours a 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.