Erie Canal - CycleBlaze

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Erie Canal

Jane Fletcher

Have any of you biked the Erie Canal? Any tips, tricks, places that we should make sure to stop and explore? we are biking there this June and are looking for any suggestions. Thanks! Jane

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3 months ago
Kevin StevensTo Jane Fletcher

We toured Buffalo-Albany in early June 2011. We stuck to the official route for the most part, but we did take the detour to Seneca Falls and Cayuga Lake. There's plenty to check out along the way: museums, locks, bridges, old canal structures, parks, and more.

If you're camping, take note of the free and cheap sites with water and toilets. I can provide more details if you're interested. They say you can camp for free at any of the locks if you get permission from the lock tender, but we never took advantage of it ourselves.

The Tonawanda-Rochester section is really peaceful and almost entirely on towpath. The crushed limestone surface is pretty good. With 28mm tires, we rolled about 20 percent slower on it than on pavement. You'll spend a fair amount of time on roads further east, although I understand they've built some more trail in the past few years. If you aren't super comfortable in traffic, you may want to avoid cities and their outskirts during rush hours. The farm roads are nice, but the occasional dog will give you chase.

The weather was really nice for the most part. We got maybe three days with some rain, and a couple of hot, humid days. The mosquitoes can be a real nuisance in the early evening if you're hanging out near the water.

I don't have any specific recommendations for the cities. Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany each have their unique charms, as do the small towns. You will encounter a lot of rusted bridges and abandoned factories along the way, but also interesting history, friendly people, and good food. I probably ate more pizza on that tour than I would in a year at home.

Some museums worth checking out:

Erie Canal Discovery Center, Lockport
Depot and Canal Museum, Spencerport
George Eastman Museum, Rochester
Women's Rights National Historic Park, Seneca Falls
Erie Canal Museum, Syracuse
Arkell Museum, Canajahorie
New York State Museum, Albany

There is Amtrak service between Albany and Buffalo, so you can take advantage of it for transportation for yourself, your bike, or both.

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3 months ago
Jane FletcherTo Kevin Stevens

thanks Kevin, great info. A couple questions, Did you find the signage to be pretty clear? Also, Did you find that the 28 mm tires were sufficient even when it got wet?

Thanks!



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3 months ago
Paul MulveyTo Jane Fletcher

I rode through two years ago and chronicled the trip here at Erie Canal journal  definitely take the Side trip into Little Falls. Don’t miss the funky off-beat clock museum in the library in Newark, and for sure check out the Medina railroad museum. 

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3 months ago
Jane FletcherTo Paul Mulvey

thanks Paul, I appreciate the suggestion of the side trip to little falls and the link to your blog. Great information. 

Thanks 

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3 months ago
Paul MulveyTo Jane Fletcher

Oh, and Jane - I put together a guide to the Erie Canal based on my experience. If you're interested in planning, you could use it as a resource. It's based on a W to E route, but you could see what services are located where, websites, phone numbers, etc. Let me know what you think - https://glacierbandits.com/eriecanal

Plus, this guide is FREE! Nothing better than that....

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2 months ago
Jane FletcherTo Paul Mulvey

thanks for the link to your guide to the Erie Canal. I know it will be helpful. I especially appreciate the ride with gps links! I’ll have to go through it in more detail.

Thanks!



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2 months ago
John PescatoreTo Jane Fletcher

For Christmas, my daughter gave us a gift certificate to a hotel in Pittsford NY (she saw biking along the Canal and several area museums that hit our other interests) so my wife and I will do the 6 hour drive up and spend a three day weekend with probably one full day for biking on the Canal.

My wife is a runner but not a distance cyclist. If we lined up a shuttle, we'd probably do a max 50 mile ride one way. If no shuttle, probably 25-30 out and then retrace back. 

Any recommendations on whether going west, east or  a bit of each would be best choice for 1 day? On Bike Forum, the recommendation seemed to be head west towards Brockport. I have the Cycling the Erie Canal guide, looks like heading East from Pittsford, to Newark and the Clock Museum could be a plan.

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1 month ago