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BikeADK’s virtual events raise over $15k for local organizations

From left, Saranac Lake Central School District Community School Liaison Erika Bezio revives a check from Saranac Lake Kiwanis Club members Craig Stevens (president), Jeff Dickson and Dan Reilly. (Photo provided)

SARANAC LAKE — Bike Adirondacks, a Saranac Lake-based bicycle tourism company, announced this week that the three virtual events it operated this past summer generated more than $15,000 for local nonprofit and charitable organizations.

In May, the new ADK Unite event raised more than $4,000 for area food pantries. Ride for the River, held in July, raised an additional $2,200 for the Ausable River Association, and the Pat Stratton Ride, hosted at the end of August, boosted the Saranac Lake Kiwanis Club’s charitable funds for area youth programs by $9,500.

“I’m so thankful for the generosity of our local community,” said Doug Haney, who launched Bike Adirondacks in February. “It’s BikeADK’s mission to grow Adirondack bicycle tourism in a way that continually gives back to our communities, but I never expected such a strong first year, especially given the challenge of operating events safely during a pandemic.”

“We’d been looking forward to 2020 to marking the 20th anniversary of the Pat Stratton Ride with the largest ride in our history, followed by an epic round of the homemade pies that have helped make the ride a favorite,” said Craig Stevens, Saranac Lake Kiwanis Club president. “The pandemic may have interrupted those plans, but given the urgent needs of our community this year, we were determined that the ride would go on. We’d been considering virtual ride options, and then we saw what BikeADK had done with the ADK Unite ride.

“Kiwanis chose to direct all of the proceeds of the 20th anniversary Pat Stratton Ride to the impressive efforts of the Saranac Lake Central School District, who are meeting an incredible number of needs from sending meals to families to ensuring students have internet for distance learning,” added Stevens, who noted the Pat Stratton Ride has raised over $50,000 to date. “And we decided to partner with BikeADK to co-host the event, which turned out to be a great win for us both. Doug brings a lot of expertise to promoting cycling, and we have a loyal group of riders who embrace the fun spirit of our ride and the ‘kids first’ mission of Kiwanis.”

Patrons of this summer’s Saranac Lake ArtMarket use a tent and bicycle racks provided by Bike Adirondacks. (Photo provided)

Of the five cycling events BikeADK had planned for 2020, two were canceled: the family-oriented Weekender at Paul Smith’s College and the Great Camp Experience, a small group tour planned for Great Camp Sagamore.

“We’re so thankful for this year’s Ride for the River participants and their commitment to protecting our streams and lakes,” said Tyler Merriam, donor outreach associate for the Ausable River Association. “We had a new riding process in 2020, and greatly appreciate the many new and returning riders who embraced this format and celebrated the Ausable River and the communities surrounding it in their own way.”

Bike Adirondacks was also able to adapt by offering guided small group tours, which brought new visitors to the area throughout the summer, supporting local business in the process.

Bike Adirondacks was introduced in February, with support of the Franklin County Local Development Corporation Destination Development and Marketing Program. The company also received support from Adirondack Health, CycleSafe, Adirondack Life magazine and other partners.

“Franklin County really made this happen with a grant that funded the development of bikeadirondacks.com. Both Adirondack Health and CycleSafe kicked in with event tents and portable bicycle racks, which in addition to our events, are available free for community events,” added Haney.

Visitors to bikeadirondacks.com can sign up for cycling events, find information about regional events, search a library of routes and trail networks and purchase apparel and other products.

“The cool thing about our online store is that sales from many products also benefit nonprofit organizations. For example, we have T-shirts for sale that support Barkeater Trails Alliance and Ausable River Association. It’s our way of giving back year-round,” said Haney.

Bike Adirondacks expects to run all five events next summer and is planning a new craft brewery cycling series to be launched in early spring.

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