Thinking outside the box: outdoor experts revel in beauty | Lifestyles
Roger Fulton has a variety of sources for his nature guides – local books, sometimes the Internet. Kids.
“If I go into an area and want details about it, I find a 13-year-old on a bike,” Fulton said. “They know everything.
“I was cycling in the Thousand Islands. Three quarters of a way, behind a school, I got into the weeds.
Fulton pushed on until he got to the open ground, where he barged into three teenagers. They were amazed. Here is an old man coming out of the weeds with a bicycle.
He needed their advice to get back on track – not that he was lost.
“It’s like asking Daniel Boone, ‘Do you ever get lost?’ ‘Lost? Me? No. I may have been turned around for three days. But not lost, ”Fulton said with a laugh.
The Cortland Man, who also lives in Deland, Florida, is a nature writer with 50 books or guides to his name, some of which he has co-authored with Mike Carpenter.
Fulton, writing solo, just posted “716 Miles of Off-Road Biking Trails in Upstate New York – Safer is Better.” It’s a rundown of 50 trails that people can enjoy without riding in traffic.
“I go here and I go there and I have fun doing this,” he said.
The retired New York State Soldier avoids cycling on roads and streets.
“I’ve seen too many,” he said.
He noted two recent incidents, one in June when a driver turned towards cyclists, killing one and injuring another on Route 26 in Cincinnatus. And there was one instance where a Volusia Sheriff’s officer was on a 20 mile bike ride in Port Orange, Fla. When he was hit from behind by a female driver who was shopping on her cell phone. The rearview mirror of his car impaled him in the back, although the rider survived.
“I’m seeing more and more distracted drivers,” said Fulton, 73.
Lisa Belknap, co-owner of Action Sports bike / ski shop on Pendleton Street in Cortland, said she’s also increasingly demanding where she rides. She chooses less traveled roads in the Truxton area.
“A lot of people text while driving. It’s always a risk. You want to go where you can be safe, ”she said. She advises people to be as visible as possible.
A flashing tail light on the helmet, under the saddle, a headlamp, and bright clothing are helpful. “And like swimming, don’t cycle alone. Go with at least one person, ”Belknap said. “Don’t listen to music when you cycle. You want to stay vigilant. Things can happen quickly. Cars go faster than bicycles. Be on high alert.
Or leave the streets behind and experience off-highway biking.
Fulton’s signature bike trails are paved and unpaved for the average cyclist from Buffalo to Albany, Massena to the Southern Tier.
Fulton said a great trail is at Dryden Lake Park, which connects to the Jim Schug Trail.
“They expanded it, opened it up from Dryden to Freeville,” he said. “It’s a very good course. It’s an old railroad bed, mostly ash. You want tires that are wider than a road bike, when you are riding.
“I have never ridden a road bike. I’ve driven a hybrid, a mountain bike, and a touring bike, Fulton said. “You see so much more. You move away from traffic. It’s not like off-road for a mountain bike.
Fulton also offers the 316-mile Erie Canal Bike Trail, which has its own chapter. “I break it down into segments.”
The Erie Canal bike path keeps getting better. “Part is paved. Some are stone discs. I rode it twice, in 2010 and 2015. I wrote a book about it.
For the latest book, Fulton offers 716 miles. “And I rode every inch of it. It took me a while. “
Fulton, who can’t type, hired an assistant, Amy Riotto from Cortland, to type and format the copy for the editor.
Working on the Fulton Guides opened up a whole new world for Riotto.
“I’ve lived here for 29 years,” she says. “I hadn’t realized how beautiful downtown New York was.”
Spider Rybaak of Lakeport, a 70-year-old fisherman, writes books on fishing, whether it’s exploring the Salmon River or Lake Oneida. At the moment, he is writing a book on fishing in the St. Lawrence River.
“It’s to find out about the place,” he said. “I’m very curious. I love the outdoors. New York is a wonderland, with lakes, fields, trees and streams. If I want to get lost for a moment, I can go to the Adirondacks or the Catskills.
Or he takes mini escapades to Lake Oneida, which he never gets tired of.
“I’m never bored,” he said. “I like to cleanse my soul, clear my mind after hitting the keys. Nature always does it for me.
Charlie Yaple of Marathon, former director of the Lime Hollow Nature Center, agrees.
“Too many people spend too much time indoors,” he said, and bike lanes are the way to go.
“I just read an article on the types of exercises that are good for older people. Two of the best are swimming and cycling, ”Yaple said. “These exercises are not as hard on the old joints and ligaments.”
He also likes the slower pace of the bike.
“They will see the beauty of the land. People who cycle through the countryside are more likely to take care of it, ”Yaple said.
Fulton’s next book will explore nature adventures in central New York City.
“Rather than telling someone, go for a bike ride or hike, let’s go in search of the Meromictic Lakes.
The water in the lake usually turns upside down, so the bottom becomes the top, he says.
“In the Meromictic Lakes, and there are only three in central New York City, they don’t turn around. Green Lakes State Park has two. The other is in Jamesville.
Get out and ride
But when it comes to bike paths: “People should know that these paths exist and get out there and enjoy them,” Fulton said.
One of the wildest sites he had ever seen was at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in Deleon Springs, Florida.
“Something came out on the track. I had a friend with me. “Marie, what was it?” “I don’t know,” said Mary. “
This woman had experience with horses and other animals. She was not light.
“What came to my mind was a kinkajou. I did not see a kinkajou except from a zoo. I searched for it on Google. It was a kinkajou, ”Fulton said. “Outside of South America. People keep them as pets. Looks like a poor man’s raccoon. They are cute, but they are nocturnal. I have never seen one so close. I saw deer, songbirds, armadillos. I have a bird watcher friend who is a retired state soldier. He had never seen a scrub jay, which was originally from Florida. We spent the whole day looking for scrub jays.
It wasn’t until the end of their escapade that the birder saw not only a scrub jay, but an armadillo as well.
“That made his day. He bought me half a gallon of whiskey.