The excursion of the Buffalo Rambler Bicycle Club to the Bay View House in Hamburg more than 100 years ago is serving as the inspiration for Hamburg's new bicycle path.
The 1887 visit of club members with their ordinaries -- high-wheeled bicycles -- is immortalized in a photograph and will be re-created when the Town of Hamburg dedicates its bicycle trail head July 10. Carl Burgwardt, who operates the Pedaling History Bicycle Museum in Orchard Park, owns the photograph and will help supply the ordinaries for the ribbon-cutting.
The newly paved parking lot off Bayview Road is just several hundred feet from the Bay View House, which is today's Dock at the Bay. The Town of Hamburg created the parking lot using half of a $100,000 state grant secured by State Sen. Dale M. Volker, R-Depew.
"This creation of this parking lot will provide many benefits for a useful and safe transportation corridor to complement ongoing recreational projects that include a bike trail from Woodlawn Beach to the Inner Harbor in the City of Buffalo," Volker said.
"All of the organizations are on board with this: the county, the (Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council), the (state Department of Transportation)," said Wendy Salvati, Hamburg's planning consultant. "They realize for so long all the emphasis has been on vehicular traffic."
The trail head at Bayview and Hoover Roads will provide a place for bicyclists to park their cars and ride their bicycles to various recreation areas and bike trails to the north and south.
Hamburg Councilwoman Joan A. Kesner said it's like connecting the dots from one recreation area to another.
"We have to get creative on how we're going to link it together," she said.
The town plans to link the Hoover Beach lot with a trail to Woodlawn Beach State Park. From there, a trail could be created through Lackawanna into the City of Buffalo and link up with trails in the north towns. From the southern end of Hoover Beach, bicycles could cross Route 5 at a traffic signal and pick up Big Tree Road and the Penn Dixie fossil quarry. Hamburg's trail also would grow southward to Evans, which also is in the bike trail planning stages.
"Their concept plan is in the works," Salvati said of Evans. "They want to keep working with Hamburg and keep it going."
"Basically, all we have to do is pave an area of road and mark it," Kesner said.
Hamburg's Traffic Safety Committee is looking at the plans to determine the safest path for the trail to Woodlawn Beach.
A steering committee met Thursday evening in the Hamburg Town Hall to plan how to spend the rest of the grant.
"We have to put a water fountain there. Our bike clubs need to fill their water bottles," Kesner said.
Committee members also suggested lighting and a portable toilet as needs for the immediate future. Denise Davison, the owner of the Dock at the Bay, said she will donate money for fencing along the wooded section of the driveway to the lot. The lot also will provide extra parking for Dock at the Bay patrons.
The town is pursuing other grants from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and federal transportation funds.
"It changes your life," Joseph L. Kilian, president of the United Council of Hamburg Taxpayers, said of the bike trail and biking.