Tag Archives: may

Celebrate National Bike Month

Spring means an influx of cyclists on city streets and in state parks, and who could blame them? It’s a truly magical experience to enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of a saddle. With this in mind, it only makes sense that May is the most appropriate time to celebrate National Bike Month!

National Bike Month.

Get on your bike this month! [Image: http://lacrescent.lib.mn.us/]

The League of American Bicyclists created National Bike Month back in 1956 as a way to highlight the many benefits of regular cycling (a form of regular exercise, environmentally friendly, and a great way to see the outdoors to name a few!). Since its foundation, National Bike Month has grown immensely popular, increasing by more than 62 percent between 2000 and 2013.

There are many events to take part in this month to celebrate National Bike Month. Here are just a few to keep in mind.

Bike to Work Day

Bike commuters.

This is our type of traffic jam. [Image: http://www.bloomberg.com/]

Probably the most well-known facet of National Bike Month is Bike to Work Day, which is a part of Bike to Work Week (currently going on at the time this article was written, May 16–20). Bike to Work Day falls on Friday, May 20 and is exactly what the name describes—it’s a day for people to ride their bikes to work as a show of unity among the cycling community as well as a way to raise awareness to the many benefits of riding a bike.

Different cities across the nation have different ways of celebrating the day. In May 2010, 43 out of 51 of the United States’ largest cities hosted Bike to Work Day events, with Denver clocking in with the highest rate of participation that year. In 2012, Boulder, Colorado had free breakfast available from 11 organizations to its more than 1,200 participants; Bethesda, Maryland unveiled 100 new bike racks; and Chicago offered free tune-ups and balaclavas to riders. San Francisco also makes a huge event of the day every year as they have a humungous cycling community.

Bike to School Day

Kids cycling.

You can go to school AND have fun getting there—who knew, right? [Image: http://www.secondglass.net/]

The first Bike to School Day was in May 2012, and since then it’s become an increasingly popular event. It was inspired by the already popular Walk to School Day, which is typically celebrated nationwide in October. Instead, this event calls for students to hop on their bikes and ride to school on a day in May.

This year’s Bike to School Day already passed on May 4, but 2017’s is already scheduled and will be on May 10!

CycloFemme

Cyclofemme.

Just a bunch of awesome lady cyclists, no big deal. [Image: http://www.wellandgood.com/]

Although this event has also already passed (hosted on Sunday, May 8), it’s worthy of mention regardless. CycloFemme is a day of cycling in recognition of the powerful women in our lives that opted for the freedom to be different and wear pants and ride bikes and break down barriers like a bunch of admirable badasses. It’s a way to empower women to get outdoors and ride their bikes while also getting rid of the stereotypes within this male-dominated sport.

Local Events

Biking.

Now go ride off into the sunset, you bike lovers! [Image: http://www.cyclingespana.com/]

There are many events that can found locally within your own cycling community, too. And if you’re having trouble finding one, then you can plan your own event. It’s a great way to kickstart a cycling fervor in your area (if there isn’t one already slowly building).

As with all your outdoor adventures, make sure you bring our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps with you to enhance your journey. Happy riding!

Everyday Can Be A Walk in the Park in the Enchanted Mountains of Western New York!

When you think of Spring, you might imagine yourself thawing out, getting back outdoors for a hike, or hopping on the motorcycle and riding anywhere! Springtime is here in Cattaraugus County, otherwise known as the Enchanted Mountains! For some, this is their favorite time of year, with new growth all around, warmer days and the opening of all the amazing parks. Cattaraugus County is home to Allegany State Park, open year round, but there’s also have Griffis Sculpture Park, Rock City Park, Sky High Adventure Park and the Onoville Marina, all of which begin to welcome visitors at the start of May.

Red House Lake in Alleghany State Park [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

Red House Lake in Allegany State Park [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

There’s no better place to see the birds soar, watch the flowers bloom and get outdoors than Allegany State Park. One of the joys of warmer weather is camping. Gather around the campfire to hear the noises of the night while you “unplug” with your family. This park has much to boast about being the largest NY state park and offering a 24-mile trail system for mountain biking, two lakes, miles for hiking (including the North Country Trail), and just about any other outdoor activity you can think of. You can get those muscles moving again at their numerous events in May, starting with the Allegany Adventure Run on the 2nd. Geocachers set your coordinates to this park on the 16th and 17th of May for the annual Geobash. Now in its’ 10th year, an array of activities are planned including night caches, games, educational seminars and a free pancake breakfast. Later in the month, the fun doesn’t end with the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage. Held the last weekend in May, this is an outdoor learning experience where participants can enjoy programming on everything from bird banding to a folk concert.

Rock City Park [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

Rock City Park [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

Rock City Park will offer visitors a spectacular view from “Signal Rock,” where they can see all the new leaves forming on the trees. Discover 80 foot tall rocks that have been left over from the ice age. Hike the trail that leads under, around and sometimes through these magnificent rocks then check out the souvenir and rock shop or the Fluorescent Light Rock Room. They host their Mother’s Day Weekend Arts and Crafts Show on May 9th and 10th.

Griffis Sculpture Park [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

Griffis Sculpture Park [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

The grass is always greener at Griffis Sculpture Park, where nature combines with art. Hike along the trail to come upon over 250 enormous sculptures. Adults like the park because it has beauty like no other, while children like the park because you can climb on some of the sculptures! Fun to visit in any season, visitors will enjoy feeling the sun while resting beside a giant giraffe or by the ladies near the lake.

Warmer weather also means warmer water! Float your boat and soak up the sun along 91 miles of natural shoreline in the Reservoir, launching at Onoville Marina. Explore the trees while climbing through them and racing down the ziplines at Holiday Valley’s Sky High Adventure Park. Don’t forget the golf clubs when you go as Holiday Valley also has a redesigned 18 hole par 70 “Double Black Diamond” golf course that is challenging and well maintained, with breathtaking scenery from every hole.

Onoville Marina [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

Onoville Marina [Image Credit: NY Cattaraugus County]

Live to ride? Then you have been waiting all winter to get your motorcycle or horse out for some fun! Keep a heads up for two motorcycle events in our area. First, join the rest of the gang at Gowanda Harley-Davidson on Memorial Day for their Ride to Remember. Honor and respect those who served and the reason behind the day. Then let loose at the Hollywood Happening, one of the area’s largest motorcycle events. Three days of live bands, contests, vendors and rides to benefit the ongoing restoration efforts of the Hollywood Theater the last weekend of May!

No horsing around, the Enchanted Mountains is a great place for bridle trails. Looking for horse related events and get-togethers? Keep EnchantedMountains.com/Horse on your favorites list then. Our local stables, clubs, and arenas are committed to sharing their passion for all things equestrian with experienced or beginner riders. Let the Crosspatch take you on a guided trail ride with your own horse or one of theirs. Nothing quite compares to seeing the countryside on horseback.

So get into the swing of Spring by making a trip to the Enchanted Mountains of Western New York. For free information on any of these activities or events or to request free guides, call 1-800-331-0543 or visit EnchantedMountains.com.

First Signs of Spring

The first signs of spring are all around us. Bees flocking to flowers, butterflies shedding their old skin, and birds singing in the morning. Spring blossoms gradually, but before we know it we’re in the middle of a flower field, so slow down, and take notice. Invite the family and the kids on a nature hunt to see who can spot the first signs of spring.

http://cdn.adirondackexplorer.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Summer-wildflowers.jpg

Image: cdn.adirondackexplorer.org

What Springs means

Spring is the season when plant species grow, animal activity increases, and most important, the soil reaches the right temperature for micro flora to flourish.

Spring is known as the Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. The first day of spring is March 20, 2015 and continues through April and May with some areas starting later in the year. In the Southern Hemisphere during March the equinox is fall. On this day all over the world, day and night are approximately equal, meaning the dividing line between day and night becomes vertical, connecting the North and South Poles. The sun rises exactly in the east and sets in the west. When spring arrives you’ll notice earlier sunrises and later sunsets, so that means more time spent outdoors! See below a year in 12 seconds.

Spring is in the air!

Image: http://beauty-places.com

Image: http://beauty-places.com

Apart from the noticeably sunnier days, there’s a freshness of spring: petrichor (earthy smell) emanates from grassy knolls. All around, nature is humming with life.

With spring comes the heavy rains, and this is no coincidence, as water is needed to carry necessary nutrients from the soil through plants. Essential minerals and chemicals are dissolved with water and transported. Rain is important for the survival of humans and animals since they feed on many of those plants.

Notice the trees; they’re beginning to show life. Water maples and red maples are first to show signs of budding. In a few weeks dead branches will start growing buds at the end of their twigs, and soon burst into leaves. Early blooming trees include redbuds, magnolias, Norway maples, and rhododendrons. The tree blossoms are pollinated by insects and the wind. The earlier plants bloom, the quicker they’ll get pollinated.

Brave flowers

Image: http://1.bp.blogspot.com

Image: http://1.bp.blogspot.com

Some plants flower immediately after snow melting or soil thawing. For example, the Glory-of-the-Snow, an alpine plant, gets ready in the previous season so it can show off its flowers as soon as snow starts melting. Forest wildflowers take advantage of the sunlight before the bigger trees shade them by pushing shoots above the ground during spring. Some early wildflower bloomers include: Cutleaf Toothwort, Red Puccoon, Virginia Bluebells, Trout Lily, and more!

The growth of plants provides a place for butterflies, bees and other small animals to find shelter and food. Larger plants and trees also provide a place to hide from predators and a place for nesting. It’s almost as it if nature wakes up from its long slumber to take care of its offsprings.

Animals come out to play

Writing while butterfly stays near the paper.

Spring is a time when animals come out from their hidden nooks to mate and migrate. How do animals know its spring? Environmental cues tell them to change their behavior to fit the particular season. Adjusting their habits helps them survive. It’s a matter of life and death, knowing when to have offspring for example. One environmental cue birds use is the length of day to adjust their daily activities.

On the first warm days of March, be on the look out for butterflies leaving their chrysalis after having fully grown to start trying out their young wings. Depending on the region, some of the first to appear are Mourning Cloaks, Eastern Commas, Cabbage Whites, and Spring Azures. Also, worker bees will be making the rounds seeking nectar and pollen from spring flowers. Bees are responsible for pollinating trees, shrubs and flowers. Without them we wouldn’t be able eat fruits produced from plants and trees, since they’re the main pollinators.

After surviving winter, songbirds come out to play, especially in the morning. Spring marks the beginning of mating, feeding, and nesting season when food availability increases, snow melts and the rain brings an abundance of water. This is a great time for them to migrate back to the winter homes they left. Blackbirds, sparrows, mourning doves are often the first to make an appearance. If you’re in an area with abundant trees, you may hear woodpeckers drumming. As for ducks, mallards, black ducks, and wood ducks are usually the first to be seen. Late and early spring are both great times for raptor-watching. Owls make their early spring appearance with a chorus of hooting, as a way to get ready for the breeding cycle.

Image: http://www.collegegreenmag.com

Image: www.collegegreenmag.com

Some animals like bears, hedgehogs, woodchucks, bats and ground squirrels hibernate through winter, and finally come out for spring. By doing this they’re able to save energy, and live off stored fat. During winter they slowed down their activities, going out only a few times. In the chipmunk’s case, its heart rate declines about 350 beats per minute to 4 beats per minute during hibernation. Once spring begins, these animals get moving by searching for food, marking their territory, and finding mates.

Explore the first signs of spring, document them through photos and share them with our social media sites (instagram and twitter). And be sure to check out the wildlife viewing option in all of our Pocket Ranger® Mobile Apps!