By Jeff Murray, Star Gazette, link to original post
When Tom Trifoso of Elmira decided to rekindle his interest in biking after a 21-year absence, he had no idea it would lead to a fast-growing club that is now certified to help other bicyclists handle emergencies.
But that’s exactly what happened when Trifoso and fellow bike enthusiast Carol Worden started the Finger Lakes Mountain Bike Club in December.
In less than a year, the club has attracted 37 members, has a website and recently received training and certification from the National Mountain Bike Patrol. “It’s a spinoff of the National Ski Patrol. What Carol and I had to do is be First Aid and CPR certified,” Trifoso said. “The patrol is the eyes and ears of landowners. If we see trees down or anything dangerous, we report it. If anyone falls and gets hurt or has mechanical problems, we’re trained to help them out.”
Trifoso took additional classes and is certified to train others to become part of the bike patrol.
There are about 60 National Mountain Bike Patrol groups in the United States and only two or three in New York, Trifoso said. A big part of the club’s mission is safety education. “We do take beginners. There are a lot of adults and children that don’t wear helmets,” Worden said.
Trifoso is close friends with Jim Pfiffer, director of the Friends of the Chemung River Watershed. He’s also fond of riding on some of the trails along the river, so it made sense to set up the club as an affiliate of the friends group.
The fledgling club is looking for more members and it doesn’t matter if they are advanced bicyclists, Trifoso said. Mainly they want people who are willing to get their hands dirty and help develop new trails or improve existing ones.
Membership is free. “We’re not a bunch of kids bombing down a mountain. There’s a lot more to off-road riding,” Trifoso said. “We have the Catharine Valley Trail, Keuka Trail, a lot of trails that are really relaxing and fun to ride on.
“This is for all skill levels. We really want to focus on kids, getting them out here so they can see the benefits of getting out in nature and getting off the road.”