If it's Friday, odds are passerby will see Calverton resident Artie Johnsen and his wife Bronna out taking their customary 14-mile bike ride, which includes the bike trail at Enterpise Park at Calverton and a stop at the Bagel & Bean Cafe.
Johnsen is an ardent advocate of the bike trail at EPCAL, which he said is an undiscovered treasure for many residents. "No one knows about it. They don't even know it's there," he said.
To that end, Johnsen, along with other members of the town's alternative transporation committee, plan to take a tour of the trail on Friday to show what needs to be done -- including completing the perimeter of the trail; mowing was just recently done after Johnsen enlisted the help of Riverhead Town and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio.
Johnsen, at 70, has been active and bicycling all his life. "I have a passion for biking," he said. He and his wife began biking together in 1957 in Wantagh, on many of the same paths Giglio herself frequented as a child, he said. During his 25 years with the Suffolk County police department, Johnsen said he spotlighted pedestrian and bicycle safety and spoke at schools across the area.
The bike trail, Johnsen believes, will eventually become a "treasure and destination" for Riverhead residents. At every meeting of the town's alternative transporation committee is to accomplish something to improve the bicycle path at the former Grumman site.
At Friday's meeting, Johnsen said he hopes he and other members of the committee might come up with a "real name" for the bicycle trail that will give a nod to the property's history.
One suggestion, he said, might be "the Grumman Security Bicycle Trail" because the path was originally used to secure the site for the production of the F-14 TomCat, produced for the United States Navy.
Other goals include signs for the that recently opened at EPCAL, along with spreading the work about the bike trail.
Finally, Johnsen said, he'd like to see three gates, two perimeter and one internal, be created to facilitate only pedestrian and bicycle access and provide greater interior access.
"My wife and I ride this trail often and I believe it is a true treasure for the Town of Riverhead," he said. "Wherever there are safe trails, people will come."
Johnsen said he is eager to motivate officials to move along with the completion of the trail. Only recently, he said, was the area mowed, after he urged elected officals to complete the task. Officials have noted that the trail has ticks and chiggers and residents should be aware and wear appropriate clothing.
Johnsen applauds the town for recent , including new installed. "It's a wonderful thing," he said.
But, he said, completion of the bike trail would help even more residents embrace alternative transportation and exercise.