John Ceceri says he rides hundreds of miles each summer on his bike, most of them near his home in Schuylerville.
“You really can’t match it,” Ceceri said. “I have cycled all over the country and I keep coming back to this area, and really, there is no comparison to anything else in the country.”
Ceceri, who's led trail rides as a business and is opening a bike shop, now has a new place to pedal. On Tuesday, state and local leaders opened a 1.2-mile trail along the Hudson River between the Town of Saratoga and village of Schuylerville.
“I’m really personally excited about the trail, because I ride quite a bit between here and Montreal, and here and New York City,” Ceceri said.
The local stretch is the first part of the 62-mile Champlain Canalway Trail connecting Whitehall and Waterford to open. That entire passage will be part of the Empire State Trail, which will eventually link Albany and Buffalo and Canada and New York City.
“The Empire State Trail, when completed in 2020, at 750 miles will be the longest multi-use state trail in the nation,” Empire State Trail Director Andy Beers said.
About $205,000 of state funds were used to complete this stretch in Schuylerville. It was part of a $200 million investment to connect the broader Empire State Trail.
“As a result of receiving that funding, we’ve been able to move from a dream, a vision, to completion of this project here,” Town of Saratoga Supervisor Tom Wood said.
Wood expects the trail to boost local business.
“It’s predicted that literally thousands of people each year will come and walk and bike and hike on this trail,” he said.
The trail is also designed to promote the region's rich Revolutionary War era history.
“This is the site of the surrender of General Burgoyne to General Gates,” Wood said. “This very trail travels through much of the area upon which both the British troops and American troops traveled during that period of siege and surrender.”
For Ceceri, it's a new opportunity to enjoy his passion for cycling and the community he calls home.
“I think Schuylerville is really on an upswing right now,” Ceceri said.