Bicycle enthusiasts will have an opportunity to peddle for miles Saturday morning while they enjoy the Catskill vistas during the first Catskill Scenic Ride-n-Peak.

The Ride-n-Peak is the result of several community organizations looking to benefit the Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care Center and promote Delaware County as a cycling destination.

The five bike routes range from 14 to 104 miles in length. They include long rides through mountain passes, a spin around the reservoir and a family ride along gentle country roads.

All of the rides begin and end at the Margaretville Village Park. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and the rides depart at half-hour intervals beginning at 8 a.m.

"This event holds the potential to help make cycling in the Catskills an ongoing opportunity to develop green tourism activity," MARK Director Peg Ellsworth said in a media release.

Peter Manning, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development regional planner, said that for years, there has been talk about having a professional bicycle race in the Catskills.

"About a year ago, some individuals wanted to make a documentary about bicycle racing," Manning said. "A group of us decided that if something is going to happen, we have to do something about it."

The MARK Project Inc., a nonprofit rural development company, and the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development are partners in the event. Other partners are the KAATS Foundation, Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce, Plattekill Mountain and Delaware County Tourism. The A. Lindsay and Olive B. O'Connor Foundation gave a grant for the project.

Manning said the group received a $5,000 grant from the O'Connor Foundation and raised $5,000 in sponsorships to match the funding.

"We want to grow this into a big event," he said. "Many don't realize that the Central Catskills are a cyclist's paradise. This event aims to change that. We want to use the beauty of the Catskills to make this a bikers' destination."

Lucci Kelly of the KAATS Foundation, which stands for Kaatskills Arts Agriculture Tourism and Sports, said the organizations want to promote local green sports, including bicycling, skiing, skating and walking.

"This area is so undiscovered," Kelly said. "The vistas are just fabulous."

The $25 entry fee includes a one-day USAC license, commemorative T-shirt and water and snacks along the routes. Music, food and activities for children at the park pavilion will complement the rides.

For more information, call MARK at (845) 586-3500 or e-mail bikerideinfo@markproject.org.

Safety warning issued

This week, the county sheriff's department issued a warning about safety during the event.

The benefit will affect state and local roads in Margaretville, Andes, Delhi, Roxbury, Stamford and Kortright, deputies said, and motorists are urged to be aware and cautious during travel.

Among things to watch for, the sheriff's office said, are temporary signage and traffic-control devices, as well as cyclists and other vehicles.

{"Body Text Edit"/}Preregistration, route maps, event activities and other details are available on the chamber's website at

www.centralcatskills.org/bike

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