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Old 07-06-14, 12:14 PM   #1
Sharpshin
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Erie Canal Bike Path vs. NY Bicycle Rt. 17 ???

Hello all, currently I'm on a bicycle in South-Central Indiana coming from San Antonio headed to NY State.

I intend to enter New York State on Lake Erie and then head east to the Orange County NY area.

From Lake Erie I can either pass Buffalo and go to Lockport to pick up the Erie Canal Trail or before Buffalo pick up Bicycle Route 17 past Jamestown and across the Southern Tier.

https://www.dot.ny.gov/portal/pls/po...arg_values=148

Seems like that second route must be seriously hilly, ergo slower.

All feedback appreciated.

Thanks,

Mike
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Old 07-06-14, 12:31 PM   #2
decosse
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Mike,
I grew up in NYS, originally in Owego, off Rt 17, then family moved to Seneca Falls. I haven't lived there in 30 years, and though I visit as often as I can, I've not cycled there since I was a child. That being said I can tell you it is very hilly in the Southern Tier. The Erie Canal area is much flatter. Meanwhile, this will give you a bump so someone who has ridden those trails can give detailed info. Either way, it is a beautiful area...
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Old 07-06-14, 01:01 PM   #3
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The southern tier is a bear with all the big hills in the western part of the state. I did the Erie Canal with family 4 years ago from Lake Erie to East of Rochester and from Little Falls to Albany. Very flat, fairly fast if dry and lots of opportunities to stop, especially recommend east of Rochester in Fairport or Pittsford. And then you get a fairly easy go of it south through the Hudson Valley.
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Old 07-08-14, 07:18 AM   #4
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Last year I rode the Erie Canal path from Rochester to Medina and back, which is about 38 miles each way. The trail west of Rochester is crushed gravel and you can probably ride on it ok with thin tires but I did the ride on my hybrid. The trail remains crushed gravel until you hit the city of Rochester on Long Pond Road which is then pavement all the way thru Pittsford, about 15 miles or so, give or take. Then it becomes crushed gravel again. I ride the trail a lot, but only go on my road bike on the paved portions and will ride my hybrid on the crushed gravel portions. West of Rochester there are long patches where there is absolutely nothing around but open fields, so make sure you have plenty of water! The path is very, very flat and boring, but maybe a safer and quicker alternative than the road.
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Old 07-08-14, 07:24 AM   #5
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A few years ago my son rode from Niagara to Long Island via Rt 20 east and then Rt 9 south. He said it was pretty hilly but still averaged about 14mph on a cyclocross bike with saddle bags.
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Old 07-08-14, 07:45 AM   #6
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My understanding from reading posts in the Touring subforum is that NY Bike Route 17 has a lot of traffic in places.

As for the canal path, it's been 15 years since I rode it east from Lockport to a little east of Rochester, but IIRC, there are often parallel roads you can take if you don't like the surface.

If you have the time (and a passport), I recommend taking the Peace Bridge from Buffalo into Ontario and riding up the path along the river to Niagara Falls. The Rainbow Hostal in the old section of the city was a nice place to stay. From there, you can cross back into the U.S. and get to Lockport pretty easily. That segement in on Adventure Cycling's Northern Tier route. You could order the map and have it sent to you via General Delivery Mail. if you cannot figure out the route yourself.

If you are heading up to the Monroeville, IN area, note that there is a great community center there where cyclists can stay for free assuming it's not being used for something like a wedding. Real nice place with showers and, more importantly, a.c. That's also on AC's Northern Tier route. Maps 9 and 10 of the Northern Tier route would get you from Monroeville through Rochester via Niagara Falls, ONT and the Eire Canal Path:

Northern Tier | Adventure Cycling Route Network | Adventure Cycling Association

When I was in Monroeville in '99 there was a yellow stripe painted on some street(s) that led you to the house of the guy who has the key to the place. If that's no longer the case, ask around in town and I am sure you can get the necessary information. It's not a big town.

How are you planning to enter NYC? The only way to actually ride in from the west is the G.W. Bridge.
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Old 07-08-14, 07:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by danmc View Post
Last year I rode the Erie Canal path from Rochester to Medina and back, which is about 38 miles each way. The trail west of Rochester is crushed gravel and you can probably ride on it ok with thin tires but I did the ride on my hybrid. The trail remains crushed gravel until you hit the city of Rochester on Long Pond Road which is then pavement all the way thru Pittsford, about 15 miles or so, give or take. Then it becomes crushed gravel again. I ride the trail a lot, but only go on my road bike on the paved portions and will ride my hybrid on the crushed gravel portions. West of Rochester there are long patches where there is absolutely nothing around but open fields, so make sure you have plenty of water! The path is very, very flat and boring, but maybe a safer and quicker alternative than the road.
The crushed gravel is fine on road tires as long as its dry. I did the Medina-Rochester (actually got off in Brockport) in dry conditions it was fine. Anything narrower than cyclecross tires will be a bit of an issue following a summer downpour in some spots. My hybrid had little problems in the soft conditions.

And yes, there are friendlier roads running parallel to the canal. Far less traffic than Rt. 17 in most places.
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Old 07-08-14, 11:07 AM   #8
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OP
Where do you want to end up? If your goal is Vermont or New Hampshire, go north early, and use the Canal Trail. I would actually use Rt 31, which is right next to it at least from Rochester to Utica. But if you intend to drop back down to Newburgh or New York City, stay south and use 17. Long sections of the roads alongside 17 are fairly flat once you get past the mid point of the Finger Lakes. You could roll a marble from Corning to Elmira with one good shove on 352.

The reason I would not go north first to then drop south is that crossing the Catskills on a bike will dwarf any hill you see on the entire length of 17. There is no good way to go from Utica to Poughkeepsie or south with out facing some honkers.
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Old 07-08-14, 01:49 PM   #9
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OP
The reason I would not go north first to then drop south is that crossing the Catskills on a bike will dwarf any hill you see on the entire length of 17. There is no good way to go from Utica to Poughkeepsie or south with out facing some honkers.
Taking the canal route, you will not have to cross the Catskills. You are essentially staying in the Mohawk and then the Hudson Valley. No need to enter into the Catskills
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Old 07-08-14, 03:18 PM   #10
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Taking the canal route, you will not have to cross the Catskills. You are essentially staying in the Mohawk and then the Hudson Valley. No need to enter into the Catskills
Gotcha. I knew the canal gets one to the Hudson, but didn't think about then following that south. I was thinking cross lots.
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