SOMERS, N.Y. – Sunday’s 31st annual Golden Apple Bicycle Tour, with a starting point in Somers, is one of the oldest Century (100-mile) Rides in the northeast.
The tour goes through Somers, Cortlandt, Lewisboro, North Salem, Yorktown, Carmel and Bedford.
“It’s not a competition, although there is some competitive element,” said organizer Kate Marshall. “There’s a spot in Somers, about ten miles into the ride, where people can race each other up the hill. The fastest time wins. But otherwise, we have multi-level rides for all levels of riders.”
There is the Candy Apple, for example. It is short and sweet and and goes through Carmel, for added flavor. On the other hand, there is the Dirty Apple, new this year. It is a special course limited to dirt roads. A mere 65 miles long, it is guaranteed to leave you feeling dusty and in need of some quenching apple juice.
Participants range in age from eager eight-year-olds to cautious octogenarians. The maximum number allowed is 1,000, but there will probably be four or five hundred. People come from all over, but mostly from the tri-state area. Many take their bikes on the train from New York City to Goldens Bridge, which lends its name to the title of the event.
Roads will not be closed to motorists, but the Westchester County Police will be at various stations directing traffic. “We see it as an opportunity to educate both the cyclist and the motorist about sharing the road,” said Marshall. “In the old days, riders had to map out their own routes, but now with the Internet, we can put it all on our webpage.”
What is the best thing about cycling? “It’s the people,” said Marshall. “It’s a community. When I drive past a cyclist I wonder if I know that person. Sometimes I stop to talk. We always have something in common. I met my husband cycling. For me, it’s become an obsession.”
It is not too late to register online for Sunday’s Golden Apple Tour, supported by the Westchester Cycle Club. If you do not register ahead of time, but if you do decide to go, you can register onsite for a slightly higher fee.
Check-in begins at 7 a.m. on Sunday, at Best Plumbing and Supply, 49 Route 138, Somers. All rides should be completed by 5 p.m.