PLATTSBURGH - This summer, an estimated 2,000 cyclists, mainly from Qu bec, will trek through the region, generating revenue and making New York a biking destination for the future.
In a press conference held at the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce Feb. 10, Jo lle S vigny, executive director of V lo Qu bec, said the nonprofit organization's mission is to encourage bicycling, good health and tourism - all of which the chamber is hoping the area can benefit from.
"Bicycles are a part of generating prosperity here in this region as well including our bi-national region here in the Qu bec-New York Corridor," said chamber president Garry F. Douglas, "by maximizing the beauty and the routes and the assets that we have to really make this a biking destination."
Beginning Aug. 7, cyclists will take part in The Grand Tour, a 6-day trip which is now in its 17th year.
"This year, for the first time in its history, The Grand Tour will begin in [New York State] and we will spend four days in the states," S vigny explained.
The driving force behind The Grand Tour, S vigny added, comes from joint efforts.
"It truly relies on it synergy between a municipality, an institution, and a chamber of commerce and tourist information," she said, adding that is something New York has been able to offer.
During the tour, cyclists will hit such places as Glens Falls, Lake George, Ticonderoga, AuSable Chasm, and Plattsburgh - camping out at Clinton Community College while in Clinton County.
"I have to say that the Clinton Community College is one of the most beautiful sites that we have had so far," said S vigny. "It's an opportunity to stay close to nature by sleeping under the stars."
The town of Plattsburgh has also been working closely with V lo Qu bec to make The Grand Tour a reality.
"The town of Plattsburgh is going to work very hard from today, going forward, to do some activities and you know they'll be jointly accomplished with our neighbor, the city of Plattsburgh, and other municipalities that may want to participate," said Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Bernard C. Bassett.
Bassett added he hopes the presence of the tour in the area will bring out the efforts to "develop a healthier, a more welcoming municipality."
Douglas added the key impacts of the tour are both economical and ecological.
"Over $1 million we expect to be spent by these bikers, and on their behalf, directly in the area," he said.
Other economic impacts Douglas hopes to see will be cyclists wanting to return to the area in the future.
"The attention that this will get in biking media ... that this event is taking place here and the good commentary that I'm absolutely confident we will have afterwards that they loved their experience here and will tell other who enjoy biking about it that will bring others here," Douglas explained.
In terms of ecotourism, he added the chamber and other business organizations in the area are focusing on green aspects.
"That goes for tourism promotion and this is a key and growing area of green tourism and we're branding ourselves as being part of that," said Douglas.
S vigny added she hopes people in this region will visit the tour's Web site, www.explorebybike.com, and check out the itinerary.
"People can join the event, so it can be interesting," she said. "We do have people from the states, but hopefully since we're coming to New York State, it will give people the taste to join us."