Harlem Valley welcomes 796 cyclists
MILLERTON — Road bikes, mountain bikes, high-performance touring bikes, recumbent bikes and fixed-speed bikes alike dotted Eddie Collins Field in Millerton on Sunday, July 24, as 796 cyclists of all ages geared up to participate in the Harlem Valley Rail Ride.Participants enjoyed diverse views of some of the valley’s most scenic panoramas while cycling on either a 25-mile, 50-mile, 75-mile or a 100-mile bike route.All four routes included a stretch of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail in Copake.The morning’s showers didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the participants.“The rain kept it cool,” said Nate Nevins. His fiancee, Stephanie Lyle, chimed in, too. “Especially after those hot spells, the rain was great.”Nevins and Lyle were some of the many who made the event into a family day. Lyle’s father, Steven Lyle, and her 87-year-old grandfather, Chet Lyle, joined in on the 25-mile ride.Nevins and Lyle both said they enjoyed the ride. Lyle’s favorite part was the scenery, while Nevins appreciated the quality of the ride. “The route was good. It wasn’t boring,” he joked.Fourteen-year-old Kyle Adlam and his uncle, George Yam, also rode the event together.“We’re making a tradition of it,” said Yam, who also said he likes that he gets to spend more time with his nephew.Yam said that he does something special with each one of his three nephews, and with Kyle, he participates in long bike rides.The duo rode 30 miles last year, but trained harder this year so they would be prepared to complete the 50-mile ride.Even younger than Kyle was 16-month-old Dutch-American Fake Eisenberg, who enjoyed a 25-mile ride from a child seat attached to his mother’s, Paula Souverijn, handlebars. Souverijn and her husband, Ian Eisenberg, have participated in two other long bike rides with Fake.Souverijn joked that she participates in the bike rides “because I’m Dutch and I miss biking.” She wants to instill a love of biking and the outdoors in her son, but said it’s also a fun family thing to do.“It’s pretty out here and you get to exercise, too, which is hard with a baby.”Co-workers Stephanie Berry and Tom Chiudina, who both work for the New York City Police Department, were joined by their friend, Christie Verschoor, for the 50-mile route. It was Verschoor’s third time participating in the Harlem Valley Rail Ride, Chiudina’s second and Berry’s first.“It’s fun as a group,” said Chiudina, who said he also enjoys the route’s challenge and getting away from the city.Riders came from near and far. Buses were used to transport some participants and their bikes round trip from New York City to Millerton for the bike ride. Massachusetts and Connecticut residents filled out the group, as well as a few from as far away as California.A portion of each rider’s entry fee was donated to the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association, which is working to extend the current 14-mile Rail Trail an additional 32 miles to create a continuous paved trail from Wassaic to Chatham.