CHAUMONT— Bicycles will help launch the fledgling Lake Ontario Rowing Club on Saturday.
The Barns & Boats Bike Tour has been established as an annual fundraising event to bring the sport of open-water rowing to the area.
Julie L. Smith plans to officially inaugurate the club next year. The Barns & Boats Bike Tour is designed to help raise seed money for it.
“This is a part-time passion project for me,” Ms. Smith said. “I think it’s going to take a little while to kind of get the word out and build up the event.”
The Barns & Boats Bike Tour begins Saturday at Bay Breeze Golf Links, 11390 Cheever Road, Chaumont. Bay Breeze is owned by Ms. Smith’s parents, Robert C. Smith and Kris Smith.
There are three ride lengths, all with different costs: a short loop of 12 miles beginning at 10 a.m. at $25, a medium loop of 35 miles beginning at 9 a.m. at $45 and the large loop of 56 miles beginning at 8 a.m. at $50.
At the end of the rides, a barbecue, with a selection of “adult craft beverages” — its cost included in registration fees — will be served.
Riders may register on the day of the event. Registration begins at 7:30 and all rides start at Bay Breeze.
“It’s casual,” Ms. Smith said. “You don’t have to be a serious cyclist. If you have a bike that’s in good shape, the routes are flat, the scenery is beautiful and you can stop and take a break whenever you want. Nobody is timing you.”
There are two wineries on the medium loop and two wineries and the Cape Vincent Brewing Co. on the longest route. Refreshment stops will be available at the wineries.
“Our hope is to make it a worthwhile event for people,” Ms. Smith said. “We’ll feed people well, it’s a beautiful ride and it’s just about getting out and enjoying a nice bike ride.”
It’s designed to be a casual ride, but all cycling skill levels will be welcomed.
“If you want to bomb through it, go ahead,” she said. “We just want to make it accessible.”
Ms. Smith, a school principal in Beverly, Mass., is a graduate of Syracuse University, where she was a member of its crew team and where she developed a love of rowing. She’s continued the sport in her adult life and is a member of a club near her Beverly home.
“It’s a lot of older adults who are looking for an low-impact exercise that they can do,” Ms. Smith said. “It’s a beautiful way to be on the lake.’
Ms. Smith said she realized that areas around Cape Vincent, such as Mud Bay, are also conducive for rowing.
“It’s so open and there’s not a lot of traffic in the area,” she said.
Part of her goal is to make the sport more accessible to people.
“It’s not something you can just try out,” she said. “I feel like a lot of people would never get the opportunity to do it, so I thought maybe we could start a little rowing club and at least give people the opportunity to try it out.”
She hopes that by fundraising for the club, it will be able to grow “boat by boat.” A single-person “shell” for open-water rowing can cost about $5,000 to $6,000.
“This is going to be a long-term endeavor, but our goal is we would build a collection of boats that people can just go and row on their own time. It would eventually be you’d pay a membership and use the club boats as you wish.”