Updated Sept. 2016 Cyclists from around Westchester County ride through the hills of North Castle. In recent years there have been many cycling accidents and we are reminded of the precautions that should be taken for cycling.
Riding requires an unbelievable amount of focus on the road—let your mind wonder and potential problems are more likely to occur. In Northern Westchester, as elsewhere, potential dangers include; potholes, glass, cars, pedestrians, other riders and the natural terrain of the roads.
All drivers should review the rules of sharing the road under the national National Highway Traffic Safety Admin. Too many cyclists have stories as victims of careless drivers who lack the knowledge of not to pass on a rider on a blind corner, pass too close, or pass in order to make a right turn right in front of a rider. In these circumstances there is nowhere for the cyclist to go, and they could end up on the pavement. Did you know that bicycles on the roadway are, by law, vehicles with the same rights, and responsibilties? Drivers should slow down, show patience when near cyclists, pass with caution and give ample room between your vehicle and the cyclist.
Cyclist should know the rules of the road; wear a helmet, ride with the traffic, stop at all stop signs and traffic lights, and ride one abreast in traffic.
"Cyclists taking up the whole lane makes it harder for drivers to pass and cut you off or turn into you. Don't feel bad about taking the lane: if motorists didn't threaten your life by turning in front of or into you or passing you too closely, then you wouldn't have to. If the lane you're in isn't wide enough for cars to pass you safely, then you should be taking the lane." Check out bicyclesafe.com for more information.
Drivers should beware that many cyclists are clipped into their pedals and therefore the reaction time to stop doesn’t happen instantly. Also keep in mind that a cyclist has no protection; it’s just the bike, the road, and the rider. Most importantly, be courteous to one another and share the road.
By Nick Olivo
Armonk is a very conducive environment for running. For running on the road, most locations in Armonk are perfectly safe for runners. Both Windmill and Whippoorwill are ideal running locations due to the low flow of traffic and scenic environment. There are also two public 400 meter tracks in Armonk, for those who wish to run certain distances or time themselves. High School This track is the most sophisticated and high-tech track that Armonk has to offer. It is closed to the public during school hours. Community Park This track is far less developed than the six lane rubber track at the High School, but is rarely occupied by more than a few runners. This track is located at Community Park at Business Park Drive and goes around the soccer field that is on your left as you enter the parking lot.
North Castle's Winkler Park is Revived
On a crisp and sunny Sunday afternoon in autumn, in the bucolic setting of Winkler Park, we learned about the history of the property that was donated to the Town and became Winkler Park in the mid 1970's.
The property had been used for recreation purposes by the Winkler family for decades. From riding snow mobiles to fishing, once again, thanks to Supervisor Howard Arden, Town Board member John Cronin, the North Castle Recreation Advisory Board, and the North Castle Parks and Recreation Department, neighborhood residents and families can use the park again. The addition of a handicapped access fishing dock was made possible by Byram Hills senior Teddy Kreutzer, who oversaw the plans and construction of the dock with the help of the Town, fellow scouts and family members.
Some of the old North Castle has come back to Winkler Park. The property was donated by Max Winkler, who shared the passion of fishing with Supervisor Arden. "My father, Max Winkler, would have been so happy to see the dock for the kids," says Kay Winkler Anderson. Watch a video of the reopening ceremony above. October 1, 2013
Mianus River Gorge
Tucked away in the oldest part of Bedford, Mianus River Gorge is over 750 acres of untouched woodland that is waiting to be explored. However, though the preserve is so large, there is only 2.5 miles worth of trails, which leaves some nature enthusiasts unsatisfied. This preserve is open only to hiking, so runners are out of luck here. Location: The Mianus River is located in Bedford. The best way to get there is to take Hickory Kingdom, off of Bedford Banksville Road, and continue until you have reached St. Mary’s Church. Take a right at the church and follow St. Mary’s Road until you reach Mianus River Road, at which you turn left. The park will be on your right.
Hiking at Nichols Preserve
Herbert L. Nichols Preserve is owned by the Nature Conservancy. The 87 acres in Armonk includes walking trails, and several ponds and streams that can be explored.
According to nynjctbotany.org, "The original owners of the property were the Siwanoy tribe of the Wappinger Indians. In 1701 Quakers settled in the area around the current preserve and made it into a farming region."
In 1968, 44 acres were given by Herbert L. Nichols, Jr., Henry Metcalf, and Harriet Underhill. Several years later, Mr. Nichols gave more acres to the preserve."
Mountain Biking at Babcock Preserve
By Nick Olivo Babcock Preserve is a relatively small public outdoor recreational park that permits mountain biking. The six mile long trail is considered to be for easy to intermediate level bikers. This does not mean, however, that an intermediate level biker can conquer all of the challenges that Babcock has to offer. Babcock has many steep or rocky sections of the trail that can be avoided by flat alternative paths, which makes it ideal for groups with bikers of varying abilities.
Pros: Quiet location, double track to aid less experienced riders, easy to find.
Cons: Narrow paths at certain locations, thorn bushes, many bugs (during summer), does not offer challenges to experienced riders.
Location: Babcock Preserve is located on Bedford Banksville Road. To get there from Banksville, simply continue south down Bedford-Banksville Road (becomes North Street once you enter Connecticut) for about seven miles, and it will be on your right, immediately after Andrews Road.
Eugene & Agnes Meyer Preserve
With over six miles of different trails, the Seven Springs area has a lot to offer the average hiker or runner wishing to enjoy nature while getting some exercise. There are many rare plants and animals found in this area, which makes this preserve an important destination for botanical study groups and scientists. Enjoy these beautiful trails while you can, because much of the surrounding land was recently bought by Donald Trump, who wishes to create a luxury housing complex on the Seven Springs land. Location: The Meyer preserve is located on Oregon Trail Road, off of Byram Lake Road. There are two entrances to the hiking paths from the road. One is marked by a sign on the right side of the road, while the other is at the dead end where Oregon Trail ends.
North Castle Parks and Recreation
North Castle Parks and Playgrounds
North Castle is lush with parks including those listed below.
North Castle Community Park, 205 Business Park Dr., Armonk. Facilities include track, platform tennis, tennis courts, soccer & baseball fields, playground & picnic pavilion.
John A. Lombardi Park, 85 Cox Ave. Armonk. Facilities include baseball fields, tennis courts, playground, picnic pavilion & basketball courts.
Wampus Pond County Park on Route 128. Facilities: Winter skating, boating, fishing, picnicking. Fees: Seasonal weekend rentals of boats: Hourly - $5.00 & Daily - $25.00.
Winkler Park, Bedford Banksville Rd. Facilities include tennis courts, basketball court, playground & gazebo. Cat Rocks Park, Mountain Bike Trail at the top of Cat Rock Road, Greenwich.
Whippoorwill Park, hiking trails.
Wampus Brook Park, Maple Ave. Facilities include gazebo bandstand, walking paths and benches.
Nichols Preserve, hiking trails.
Betsy SluderNature Preserve, located off Old Route 22, hiking trail. Eugene & Agnes Meyer Nature Preserve, Oregon Road hiking trails.
Johnson Tract, wooded area off North Greenwich Road.
Playgrounds are located in Lombardi Parkand Business Park.
Nearby hiking trails includeCranberry Lake off Route 22 in North White Plains and Westmoreland Sanctuary on Chestnut Ridge Road, Bedford Corners, and Mianus River Gorge on Mianus River Rd., Bedford.
Hiking at Westmoreland Sanctuary
By Nick Olivo With over seven miles of trails, West Moreland Sanctuary is ideal for runners and walkers who enjoy variety. There are dozens of different trails to be explored, and plenty of lakes and cliffs to be explored. Biking and dog walking are forbidden in this park. Trails open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Location: West Moreland Sanctuary is located on Chestnut Ridge Road, which is a left off of Route 22 about two miles past the High School if you are heading toward Mount Kisco. It is about one mile down the road on the right hand side.
Lombardi Park Playground
Graham Hills Park
Graham Hills Park is a large, 431 acre, park that is traversed multiple mountain bike paths and trails, most of which loop back to the parking lot. A detailed map of Graham Hills can be found on site and in the PARKS section of www.westchestergov.com. Graham Hills is geared toward more experienced riders, and has very steep sections filled with various obstacles such as logs and jumps.
Pros: Large beautiful park, multiple paths, challenging terrain.
Cons: Hard to navigate at times, many steep uphill climbs. Location: Graham Hills Park is located on Route 117, near Pleasantville. To get there from Armonk, head south on Route 22 and make a right on Route 120 (Kings Street). Continue on Kings Street for about two miles until you come to Bear Ridge Road (left). Follow Bear Ridge into the village of Pleasantville. Continue through Pleasantville, following signs for Route 117. Once on Route 117, Graham Hills will be on your left, and the sign for the park is large and easily noticeable.