Warwick bike tour kicks off

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:16

    Warwick-The Warwick Country Roads Bike Tour has a long-standing reputation as a "gourmet" ride, with a variety of tasty snacks at rest stops along the way and a delicious lunch for riders at the end. The snacks - brownies, bananas, orange slices, watermelon, cantaloupe, bagels and a variety of cakes - lived up the tour's reputation this past weekend. The weather cooperated, and the route covered some of the most beautiful country in southern Orange County. The longest route - 62 miles or a metric century - wound through Warwick, Minisink, Wawayanda and Greenville, taking in the Black Dirt, Turtle Bay, a farm housing exotic animals like llamas and camels and some challenging uplands. "This 62 miles is not like an average 62 miles," said Ed Eagle of Ridgewood, N.J. "It's very hilly, but the downhill runs were fantastic; there was practically no traffic to slow us down." He noted that the town police supported the riders at one intersection. "I loved it, the combination of the great weather and the safety of the route," said Barry Kantrowitz of New York City. "The scenery was beautiful, I found there is more in the area than farms and prisons. The Turtle Bay area has very tasteful residential architecture." "The ride was very well-organized," said his wife, Dora Kantrowitz. "We just followed the arrows (painted on the ground) and never had to read a sign." Not all the riders, of course, were from out of the area. Maripat Barlow-Layne of Chester said she had a great ride of 40 miles. "The scenery was breathtaking and there wasn't much traffic," she said. Many of the riders from out of the area joined the ride through their local bicycle clubs. For instance, a large number of Bergen County cyclists came up as a group, wearing identical red, blue and yellow jerseys. "A lot of our riders know the area, and they suggested we come up," said Cynthia MacVicker of Midland Park, N.J. "It was perfect weather and a beautiful route, with rolling hills." One club, the Metropolitan Area Recumbent Society, had members from as far away as Pennsylvania participating in the ride. "There aren't so many recumbent bicyclists in the area, so we come together from a wide area," explained Dick Ludwig of Stroudsburg, Pa. The bicycles, on which the rider is in a nearly lying-down position with the pedals at about waist height, are more efficient on level ground and downhill, he said. "You can't stand on the pedals and use your body weight on the uphills," he explained. Rich Sadler of Quakertown, Pa., designed and built his recumbent bike, which folds into a compact package for transportation. He's an engineer, he said, and building the bike was something of a "busman's holiday." Both agreed that the ride was great. "They were nice, lightly traveled roads and you couldn't ask for better weather," Ludwig said. Tour coordinator Chris Joyce said more than 800 riders participated. While all the expenses haven't been paid, the ride raised at least $10,000 for a fund to educate bicycle enthusiast and bike club member Sharon Giannino's three children. Giannino died in 2003.