Bicycle riders from around the region took a ride through history on Sunday in Clifton Park and Halfmoon.
The town of Clifton Park commemorated National Trails Day with a 12-mile group bike ride that traveled along the Erie Canal towpath.
Free guided rides occur twice a year in town, once in the fall and once in the summer or late spring. They are organized by the Trails Subcommittee of the Clifton Park Open Space advisory committee.
Forty-six people attended the ride, which started just before 1 p.m.
Town historian John Scherer leads the rides and gives brief background to the riders when they stop at designated historical points along the route.
“It opens [history] up to a different audience,” Scherer said. “This is one way of getting a different audience for history.”
Sunday’s ride was meant to highlight the recently completed Erie Canal Community Connector Trail between Clifton Park and Halfmoon.
The turnout for the ride was a record. Scherer noted that it often rains during the rides, which deters participants.
Doug and Cheryl Fischer, who live in Albany, were first-time group riders on Sunday. The Fischers frequently bike on paths, often in other states.
They came across the group ride in Clifton Park recently while searching for a weekend activity.
“We just love to get out and be around people,” Doug Fischer said.
They also appreciated that the ride is accessible for bikers of all levels. It’s enjoyable, but not strenuous work, they said, and anyone can keep up with the pace of the ride.
“I just want to get my body moving. It’s just to have fun,” Cheryl Fischer said. She was also looking forward to learning about the town’s historic features.
“We love that,” she added.
The bike rides are also intended to familiarize people with the town’s growing network of trails.
The trek started at the Historic Grooms Tavern on Sugar Hill Road. Then, participants rode to the Whipple Bridge after passing Clute’s Dry Dock.
After the bridge, the bikers headed west to Lock 19 on the Erie Canal, to the hamlet of Vischer Ferry, and back to the tavern. The ride lasted about three hours.