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Two wheels on the towpath

Not long ago, Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway Coalition officials realized the road stretched 26.2 miles, the same distance marathon runners cover. So they figured a walking marathon would be a good way to introduce people to the byway and all of the recreational and historical resources along its route.

The walk last year drew a nice crowd, but the distance proved a little daunting. Some people walked only halfway; others mixed and matched spots along the byway.

Perhaps, officials thought, an easier way to get people to see the whole route was to hold a Bike the Byway event. After months of planning, the bike ride kicks off on Saturday, Aug. 28, at 9 a.m. at the entrance to Colonie Town Park on Schermerhorn Road. There is no cost to take part, and bikers will actually cover about 36 miles since the ride is not just a straight shot along the byway's walking path.

"We're doing this to make people aware of the byway and the wonderful resources we have here," said John Scherer.

Scherer is more familiar with those resources than most, serving as Clifton Park's town historian. He's also the historian emeritus at the state museum, where he worked for more than 40 years. He also sits on the board of the byway, which was recognized as a state byway in 2003 and a federal byway in 2005.

Eric Hamilton, the byway commission's executive director, explained that those designations mean the byway has a unique story to tell. Made up of local, county, state and federal highways between Schenectady and Waterford, the route follows the Mohawk River and captures the importance of the water route to early settlers and travelers in this area.

For the Bike the Byway event, Scherer will illustrate that importance by speaking at several stops along the way " stops that he devised to best capture key points on the route.

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