On Saturday, Tour of the Battenkill cyclists in bright-colored jerseys will fly over the paved and dirt roads of scenic Washington County, with its rolling hills, grazing animals and postcard views of Vermont and the Adirondacks.
Near the village of Salem, more than 2,500 bikes will zip over wooden planks and into semi-darkness as they pass through a historic covered bridge.
For eight years, since the two-day, pro-am bike race was launched in 2004, the 155-year-old wooden bridge has been a prime spot for dozens of photographers who wait for the cyclists to speed through.
“The Eagleville bridge is one of several iconic spots that’s included on the race route year after year,” photographer Dave Kraus of Schenectady told The Daily Gazette by email. “It crosses the Battenkill, a world-famous trout stream, and is also scenic and an important strategic point in the race.”
‘Pedals for Projects’
WHAT: Photography show and sale
WHERE: Lovejoy Building, in the Freight Yard behind Hubbard Hall, Cambridge
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with artists’ reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday
HOW MUCH: Free
This weekend, Kraus and four other photographers will be showing their best images of the Tour of the Battenkill, including shots of cyclists exiting the covered bridge, in the first-ever “Pedals for Projects,” a bicycle-themed photography show in Cambridge, the picturesque village where the race begins and ends.
Joining Kraus, who operates KrausGrafik, a graphics and photography business, are Ethan Glading of Jersey City, N.J., who specializes in sports, editorial and commercial photography; Jonathan Weiss of Pawlet, Vt., a commercial artist who specializes in digital motion graphics; Clifford Oliver of Greenwich, an award-winning photographer who has exhibited in many museums and galleries; and Bridget McDonald of Cambridge, a professional portrait photographer.
It’s the first year for the exhibit, and for every photo sold, 50 percent of the sale price will go to the artist and 50 percent to Hubbard Hall, Cambridge's acclaimed venue for theater, music, dance and visual arts.
“We’re a multiarts center and we exist in the same town as this amazing Tour of the Battenkill bike race that basically takes over the town for a weekend and draws a huge number of people here,” says Bliss White McIntosh. The Cambridge artist co-curated the show with Christine Congelosi-Lulla, also of Cambridge, coordinator of volunteers for the bike race. Both women are Hubbard Hall board members.
“It just seemed like a natural thing to do, to have an exhibit of some kind of art that is connected to cycling,” says McIntosh.
“Pedals for Projects” will hang in the Lovejoy Building, behind Hubbard Hall, in the Freight Yard, where Cambridge holds its winter farmers’ market.
“It’s a really beautiful, restored freight building along the railroad tracks there,” says McIntosh. “It has beautiful light and nice wood walls. It will make a really lovely gallery.”
Kraus, an avid bicyclist who has been shooting the Tour of the Battenkill for seven years, will be showing several images in the show, including “Eagleville Bridge 2012” and “Ferguson Road 2009.”
“Ferguson Road 2009” is one of his favorite Battenkill photos “because it seems to encapsulate all the great things about the race,” says Kraus, who worked for The Daily Gazette as chief photographer from 1992 to 2008.
Sights of the race
“The dirt road, the green grass just peeking out for spring, the colors of the myriad team outfits and how they stand out against the countryside that’s still mostly colorless at this time of year. There’s also the dust and speed as the peloton [group of riders] thunders down the road, kicking up a cloud of dust.”
Kraus took the shot while riding on the back of a motorcycle.
“I love shooting the Battenkill race because it has so many things going for it from a photographer’s point of view. There’s beautiful scenery, frequent action, human drama, and you never know when you’re going to find the unexpected.”
Race watchers who are interested in art might also consider a visit to the Valley Artisans Market, on Main Street in Cambridge.
In the small gallery at the rear of the artists’ co-op, there’s an invitational exhibit called “Wheels” that was scheduled to coincide with the bicycle race.
“There are all kinds of collages and paintings. Some of them are vehicles with wheels. Some of them are just round things. Some of them are abstract. It’s pretty cool,” says McIntosh.
A founding member of Valley Artisans, McIntosh makes traditional black ash splint baskets and birch bark containers.
“I’ve got a couple of round-bottomed baskets in the exhibit. They have spokes like a wheel,” she says.
“It’s such a nice thing to have art up during this weekend.”