JORDAN — The village of Jordan, near the mid-point of the 400-mile Cycle the Erie Canal tour, hosted a welcome event for cyclists passing through on Wednesday.
Although the canal itself was rerouted many years ago, the canal trail still goes right through the village, said Jordan Trustee Karen Simko who helped organize the event. She said that many local businesses, artisans and community members pulled together to make the event possible.
In the morning, the village's Masons were out selling coffee and energy bars, and the grills were fired up from the morning through the afternoon selling hot dogs and other treats as a fundraiser for Jordan Veterans Memorial Pool. Local Cub Scouts also hosted a fundraiser selling snacks and drinks, and the village's museum also opened to highlight local history.
As a fun incentive to get cyclists to visit with vendors, Simko explained that riders could get raffle tickets from vendors to fill out and submit for a prize drawing. At the end of the event, Simko said names would be drawn and the winning cyclists would be mailed gifts donated from vendors such as syrup from Smokey Hollow or cycling accessories from L.B Lightning Cyclery.
"Everyone has been so welcoming, including Jordan," said Kimberly Palmiter, of Syracuse, a first-time rider of the canal tour. She said the canal ride was something she'd never thought of doing, but when she saw it on the news last year she asked a friend to try it with her.
"And I said 'OK, let's do it!'" said Stacy Frank, Palmiter's friend.
Frank said they each bought bikes last fall — a first for them both since they'd been children — and began training. Previous to the canal tour, which averages 40-60 miles of riding a day, she said their longest training rides were 22 miles.
"Everyone here is awesome," Frank said. "There's such good support."
While some riders were local, there were 37 states represented and some came from across the globe.
Caroline Weston, from Australia, is cycling the canal tour for the second time with her husband. She said they first did the ride two years ago, after discovering it online while looking for bike tours.
They came back again this year because they found it to be such a beautiful part of the world and wanted to experience it again, Weston added.
"It's beautiful, people are friendly," Weston said. "For us it's as much talking to people as it is the ride.
"We're in demand at the breakfast table," Weston laughed, saying that people always want to talk to them to hear their accents.
"This is really a first venture," said village Mayor Richard Platten of the event. He said they hope to learn from this year to make it even better in the future.
"I think it's a real nice event and I'm glad that Jordan can be a part of it."