Touring - Eric Canal Compared to C&O & GAP
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01-12-10, 07:34 PM
My son (8) and I rode the C&O and Great Allegheny Passage trails from DC to Pittsburgh last summer on our tandem. Had a great time and am considering riding the Erie Canal from Albany to Niagra Falls this summer. Has anyone ridden both trails? I'd like to get a good comparison of the trail conditions to know what to prepare for. We thankfully put 700x32s on for the C&O ride and probably would not have made it in the 28s we usually ride. Can we do well with 28s on the Erie canal or shold I up the tires to 32s again?
01-12-10, 09:02 PM
I only have experience with the Erie... But when I rode it the weather was pretty sloppy. I suppose you could have done it on 28's and in the middle of the summer you would be in pretty great shape. That being said. I was glad I had 32's because of the amount of rain that had saturated the path.
Hope that helps..?
PS... This was one of my favorite parts of the Northern Tier route.
01-13-10, 06:31 AM
I rode the Erie from Buffalo to Rochester, and found the trail surface much for like the GAP. I found the majority of the C&O to be very rough and composed of dirt vs GAP/Erie which was gravel. The section I rode was very well maintained. I also found that the Erie had less of the "wilderness" feel to it. You pass thru towns every couple of miles. Also, you can't ride the Erie towpath the entire way, there are many miles of road travel. But that provides a nice break. I'm planning on taking the train from Albany to Rochester and riding back sometime this year to complete the Erie.
01-13-10, 08:06 AM
I have ridden the Erie Canal trail end to end several times and the C&O. As mentioned above the Erie is well developed and currently about one third of it is still on pavement. The only C&O like section of the trail is a few miles between Syracuse and Rome. 28's should be fine dry, but if it rains some sections through the Mohawk Valley are poorly drained and the trail gets spongy , I would choose the 32's
BTW You also have the option of riding an on-road adjacent route "NY bike route 5" which is often more interesting and has 3 foot or wider shoulders for most of the route. https://www.nysdot.gov/divisions/operating/opdm/local-programs-bureau/repository/bicycle/state-bicycle-routes/rt5.html
01-13-10, 06:19 PM
VT let me know what you are thinking about the Roc to Albany ride. It is looking more and more like I will be in Troy (norths side of albany) for grad school this next fall. I would be very interested.
According to mapquest, Albany to Buffalo is about 290 miles. Is there a pretty nice route that would take in the Erie Canal trail and any other parallel and connecting trails on that trek?
01-15-10, 06:46 AM
Actually, the route is about 400 miles
01-15-10, 06:51 AM
Hey, congrat's on grad school. The train station is on the Troy side of the Hudson (so not actually in Albany, but in Renssellear, you'd only have a few miles to ride down to the train station. The Erie turns into the Mohank Trail west of Albany and travels north of Albany and swings south when it hits the Hudson River, almost directly across from Troy. It would appear that you would be in a perfect spot to ride it.
I'll keep you posted
01-15-10, 10:07 AM
My son and I have ridden both. He was 11 for the Erie Canal and 13 for the Montour/Steel Valley/GAP/C&O. The Erie Canal trail varies and is not completely off road. About 70% is off road. The part that worried me the most was about a 10 mile section or road that routes you through downtown Syracuse. It goes right by the impressive Erie Canal Museum in downtown Syracuse. There as a bit of city riding in downtown Utica as well.
The western third is mostly in excellent condition while the middle portion is more dependent upon weather conditions.
Both rides were outstanding and were very doable with a younger rider.
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