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No need for winter tires at Clifton Park bike ride

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No need for winter tires at Clifton Park bike ride

A group of lucky cyclists enjoyed a Christmas morning present that doesn’t come around often: clear
No need for winter tires at Clifton Park bike ride
Stefano Fontana of Troy, left, Marta Havrylyshyn of Ballston Lake, Doug Goglia of Halfmoon and Rich Shade of Colonie go on a Christmas Day bicycle ride on Route 9 in Clifton Park.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

A group of lucky cyclists enjoyed a Christmas morning present that doesn’t come around often: clear skies and temperatures in the 50s.

“There’s another one coming …” Marta Havrylyshyn of Ballston Lake, who was waiting for the group to gather, said as Rich Shade of Colonie rode around the corner and into the parking lot where she stood.

“Hey … Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas,” Shade responded.

Donning riding pants and light jackets, the pair of riders marveled at their good fortune. Shade said he was riding in shorts and a t-shirt the day before and was used to conditions far worse for a Christmas ride.

“I’m that crazy person you see riding up and down the Mohawk River when it is frozen,” he said.

Around the corner, the pair met up with another group of riders — about a half dozen in all. The riders seemed more than willing to accept Santa’s present — OK, more like Mother Nature’s — of warm weather as they greeted one another and tried to recall similarly pleasant riding conditions on Christmas Day. The forecast pegged Friday’s high at 56 degrees.

“Who cares about how far you go? It’s just a good day to ride …” said Doug Goglia, who organized the ride on Facebook once he saw the favorable forecast. “It’s just nice to do something. My wife is out running now, so I had to get my exercise.”

The riders planned on an easy 90-minute out-and-back ride toward Vischer’s Ferry Preserve — a slight reprieve from the holiday festivities at home.

The riders clipped in, mounted up and started out of the parking lot at Elevate Cycles in Clifton Park shortly after 11 a.m. They turned right onto Route 236 and south onto Route 9 before turning right onto Stone Quarry Road and down toward the Mohawk River.

But good weather can’t keep away all cycling mishaps. About 10 minutes into the ride, Stefano Fontana, of Troy, pulled over after climbing a slight hill on Stone Quarry. He had a flat tire.

“That’s exactly what I was hoping to avoid today,” he said. “I thought I heard something in the parking lot.”

After pulling over and changing his tire, with the help of Shade, Fontana was up and ready to go.

“All right, lets try it again,” Fontana said as he clipped in his shoes and rode down the street, now playing catch-up to the rest of the group.

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