WEST CHAZY - After a successful year of clearing trails and hosting mountain bike races, the Adirondack Bike Ranch works toward moving inside.
Bike ranch organizer Paul Maggy is spending the cold winter months turning an old miniature horse arena into an indoor bike park, which is located on the same land as the Adirondack Bike Ranch, at 90 Blue Chip Way.
"A year ago we really started planning it, but we actually started putting physical labor into taking it apart, grading it down to dirt, getting it level and ready to start building a ... terrain park about two months ago," Maggy explained.
Maggy's plan for the indoor park is to have a pump track, which is designed for flow a mountain bike up and over hills and around corners, instead of pedaling, man-made bridges, teeter-totters, and dirt jumps,
"Right now we are privately-funded," he explained. "Everything that we have done has been out of pocket."
However, Maggy is currently awaiting news that could change that.
"We have applied for a regional trails program grant through the state of New York," he said. "We met all the criteria ... and now we are being ranked as far as points on the economy in the area, the need for it, the community's backing behind it, how much we are working with the community to get it out there."
If approved for the grant, Maggy said they will receive $600,000, which will help speed up the process to completing the bike park.
"We're working on all of this without the grant," he said. "Because it is still our project, whether we get a grant to do it or not. We're still working every day to make it happen."
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Maggy is also looking to the community for more support.
"We've got to get the community behind us," he explained. "We've got to get people actively knowing what mountain biking and biking in general can do to your general health and overall health of the community."
"We are trying to open up a whole new industry in the area," he added. "Which would be a year-round recreational use."
Maggy hopes to have the bike park complete by the end of the winter, so people can start practicing for the warmer months.
"It'll be a lot of interconnecting bridges and network trails that will be indoors with different skill levels," Maggy explained. "Working on all these skills this winter will keep everybody in a lot better shape and ready to ride in the spring. That's kind of what we're looking for."
The Adirondack Bike Ranch will be one of the first mountain bike trail systems to have an indoor bike park in the country. Currently, there is a bike park in Ohio, Maggy explained, however it is privately-owned. The other park, which is not completed yet, is in Colorado, and is a city project.
"This is going to be the only indoor and outdoor, having both in one spot," Maggy said. "It's on a different scale, what we're doing. We're trying to put this together in this area, grassroots, do it on our own."
Although West Chazy may not seem an obvious choice for a mountain biking destination, Maggy feels its location has a lot of perks.
"This is my parents' property. This is family land that has been in the family for along time," Maggy said. "The property itself lends itself to mountain biking perfectly, being the terrain is varied. Uphill. Downhill. There's not a lot of level riding. It's a true mountain bike landscape."
Maggy added he believes it will also draw people from Vermont, New Hampshire, Albany and Montreal.
"Especially in the winter, being there is no riding in the North Country or the Northeast in the winter time," he said. "There's enough people that ride in that larger area that probably wouldn't mind traveling for a really nice indoor terrain park."
Maggy is looking for any volunteers to help build bridges for the indoor park.
"If we could get two or three good work days, we could have the indoor bike ranch ridable and people could come up here and start riding," he said.
For more information about the bike ranch, visit www.adkbikeranch.com, call 605-2474, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.