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  1. #1
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    Anyone Toured the Erie Canal?

    My stoker and I are planning a shake-down tour of our tandem before we do the Canal du Medi when we retire. We've limited ourselves to day trips and one overnighter on the Bike Train to Niagara Falls. We thought we'd do the Erie Canal in July (we're teachers).

    We are from Toronto so need some advice on where to start for the prettiest parts, where to stay (bed and breakfasts or inns rather than motels) and things to avoid or not miss.

    Has anyone at this forum done any part of the canal?

  2. #2
    Senior Member duppie's Avatar
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    Since this question is not necessarily tandem specific, you may get better responses in the touring forum, or in the appropriate regional forum
    Duppie

  3. #3
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duppie View Post
    Since this question is not necessarily tandem specific, you may get better responses in the touring forum, or in the appropriate regional forum
    Duppie
    Well that's a warm welcome to someone who hasn't posted here before. Pack up, go away. You're not welcome here. We only discuss tandems, not tandem touring,

    I'm glad I didn't post that one. I might get a right/wrong message.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by stokell View Post
    Well that's a warm welcome to someone who hasn't posted here before. Pack up, go away. You're not welcome here. We only discuss tandems, not tandem touring,

    I'm glad I didn't post that one. I might get a right/wrong message.
    I think what duppie meant is that they might get more responses to their inquiry in the touring forum. The tandem community is noticeably smaller and smaller still when touring comes into the equation. The touring forum on the other hand is populated with those who are touring, will be touring or are interested in touring. Their chances of success are far greater there.

    Search for touring in here and you canfind a few who have toured and blogged about it. They might find a link to someones blog that would cover it. Some in this forum visit only occasionally and those potential sources may fall into that category.

    Good luck

  5. #5
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    We live less than an hour's ride from the canal (close to the lakeshore, just east of Rochester). We've ridden all of the parts of the canal that can be easily reached within an easy day from home (and still make it back). There are plans - whether they'll ever be completed I don't know - to improve the tow path over the entire length, but for now, it varies from nothing - find the parallel road - to paved, with pretty much everything in between.

    Find out when the various festivals thrown by villages along the canal occur. If you're interested in them, you can plan to go then, but if not, definitely avoid them. The trail becomes very crowded, and they require you walk your bike for significant stretches.

    A quick run-down, by memory from Brockport to Palmyra - some may have changed since - Brockport to Spencerport (and I think west of Brockport too) - grass covered trail. Spencerport to Greece - packed stone dust. I think it is Greece that it begins to be paved. Then it is paved from there through Genesee Valley Park(?). As you approach the river, you need to cross the canal to catch a footbridge over the river. (the canal crosses the river at grade there). The trail switches from being on the nominal south side to the north side at that point. I don't recall where it switched from north to south before that... I'm pretty sure it ceases to be paved as you leave the park.

    It remains unpaved up to Pittsford, then is paved until the far side of Fairport. There it goes through a community of somewhat rundown cottage-like residences. Not quite a mobile home park. No warning that the trail is apparently going away. When you come out of the other end of what feels like a private driveway the towpath picks up again. From here out they tend to have level crossings with the roads, rather than having the towpath go beneath the bridge beside the canal. This means a very short, but quite steep stretch as you climb to the height of the road that is about to cross a bridge over the canal. And a stop before you get the bike level.

    There may be a trail on the south side from Macedon to Palmyra.

    I've not found the trail beyond Palmyra.

    There is an organized Erie canal tour annually - a fundraiser. I don't recall whether it's the local MS150 or some other. But that might give you information about where there is a trail and where not.

    Try to avoid Pittsford-Fairport on weekends, or weekday evenings. Too many pedestrians.

    But there's a stretch near Pittsford that's somewhat famous, where the canal and the towpath are well above grade. If I have the story right, there's a creek that flows under the canal there, and a number of years ago (60s?) when they were working on the culvert for the creek they accidentally cut a little too high, and within seconds (minutes) there was this visible depression in the top surface of the canal (water) the width of the canal by the width of the culvert, as the canal drained itself out of the hole that it rapidly grew. Great picture. Not so great for the houses below. Don't know exactly where it took place, but I think of it every time I ride the part where the bottom of the canal is above grade and the towpath is above the rooftops. http://www.lowbridgeproductions.com/...mbankment.html top right picture.

  6. #6
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    JakeEdwards...if you want to consider something besides the Erie canal, and don't mind a little farther drive, I can strongly recommend the Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal from Pittsbugh to Washington DC (350 +/-miles). The surface is mostly crushed limestone and good hardpack dirt that was in great shape when we last rode it. I'ld use 35C tires not 25's or 28's just to be safe on the C&O section if it rains. There is a ton of info available about both sections if you spend a little time with your favorite search engine. The trails are great if you want to do the credit card thing or if you would rather take your camping equiptment and have a good time that way.
    If you are interested in the least, here are two sites to get you started...good luck.

    http://www.atatrail.org/

    http://bikewashington.org/canal/index.php

    Bill J.

  7. #7
    Senior Member duppie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stokell View Post
    Well that's a warm welcome to someone who hasn't posted here before. Pack up, go away. You're not welcome here. We only discuss tandems, not tandem touring,

    I'm glad I didn't post that one. I might get a right/wrong message.
    Stokell,
    I think you misread my comment. My point is that you may get more/better responses if you pose the question in the right forum. Need proof? Search for "Erie Canal" in title only on the forums. Twelve threads exist in the touring subforum. One (besides this one) in the tandem cycling subforum. The one in the Tandem subforum got exactly 0 responses. The threads in the Touring subforum got 70 responses.

    Duppie

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebsterBikeMan View Post
    We live less than an hour's ride from the canal (close to the lakeshore, just east of Rochester). We've ridden all of the parts of the canal that can be easily reached within an easy day from home (and still make it back). There are plans - whether they'll ever be completed I don't know - to improve the tow path over the entire length, but for now, it varies from nothing - find the parallel road - to paved, with pretty much everything in between.

    Find out when the various festivals thrown by villages along the canal occur. If you're interested in them, you can plan to go then, but if not, definitely avoid them. The trail becomes very crowded, and they require you walk your bike for significant stretches.

    A quick run-down, by memory from Brockport to Palmyra - some may have changed since - Brockport to Spencerport (and I think west of Brockport too) - grass covered trail. Spencerport to Greece - packed stone dust. I think it is Greece that it begins to be paved. Then it is paved from there through Genesee Valley Park(?). As you approach the river, you need to cross the canal to catch a footbridge over the river. (the canal crosses the river at grade there). The trail switches from being on the nominal south side to the north side at that point. I don't recall where it switched from north to south before that... I'm pretty sure it ceases to be paved as you leave the park.

    It remains unpaved up to Pittsford, then is paved until the far side of Fairport. There it goes through a community of somewhat rundown cottage-like residences. Not quite a mobile home park. No warning that the trail is apparently going away. When you come out of the other end of what feels like a private driveway the towpath picks up again. From here out they tend to have level crossings with the roads, rather than having the towpath go beneath the bridge beside the canal. This means a very short, but quite steep stretch as you climb to the height of the road that is about to cross a bridge over the canal. And a stop before you get the bike level.

    There may be a trail on the south side from Macedon to Palmyra.

    I've not found the trail beyond Palmyra.

    There is an organized Erie canal tour annually - a fundraiser. I don't recall whether it's the local MS150 or some other. But that might give you information about where there is a trail and where not.

    Try to avoid Pittsford-Fairport on weekends, or weekday evenings. Too many pedestrians.

    But there's a stretch near Pittsford that's somewhat famous, where the canal and the towpath are well above grade. If I have the story right, there's a creek that flows under the canal there, and a number of years ago (60s?) when they were working on the culvert for the creek they accidentally cut a little too high, and within seconds (minutes) there was this visible depression in the top surface of the canal (water) the width of the canal by the width of the culvert, as the canal drained itself out of the hole that it rapidly grew. Great picture. Not so great for the houses below. Don't know exactly where it took place, but I think of it every time I ride the part where the bottom of the canal is above grade and the towpath is above the rooftops. http://www.lowbridgeproductions.com/...mbankment.html top right picture.

    Marvelous! Thank you! This is just the sort of detailed and informative answer I was looking for.

    There is something to be said for local knowledge for knowing where and when NOT to go.

    My stoker and I have tandemed the part of the Waterfront Trail from Fort Erie (Niagara Falls) to Kingston, so if anyone needs some advice on this please let me know.

  9. #9
    Tandem Mountain Climber
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    I've canoed in there! Interesting going through the locks in a canoe. (I used to live around Buffalo)

    Never rode around there though.

  10. #10
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    Has anyone at this forum done any part of the canal?

    I have bicycled on some of the canal towpath.
    The towpath is mix of some dirt path, some stone-dust path, and some paved sidewalk type pathway.

    From Brockport east to Rochester is nice, the section through Rochester you cross some fairly busy roads (lyell ave, etc...)
    At the Genesee River (Park) it is a little tricky but no problem really.
    From there to Newark, you cycle along the canal path through some neat villages.
    From Newark to Lyons it goes off the edge of the canal and is on the road.
    That is about as far as I've cycled along the canal towpath.

    My favorite part of the towpath is the recently completed Palmyra to Newark towpath section.
    (The Canal is almost in my back yard)
    Have fun!
    John & Judy
    Macedon, NY
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    Tsunami road tandem

  11. #11
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  12. #12
    Cfd
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    Bed 7 Breakfast

    Try the Adams Basin Inn Bed and Breakfast near Spencerport NY (west of Rochester). I ride past it frequently. It's located in a quiet hamlet adjacent to a scenic part of the trail, and is a good place for an overnight respite before heading east toward the city. I've never stayed there, but the place is obviously well cared for by the resident owners. Here's their website: http://www.adamsbasininn.com/

  13. #13
    Senior Member DCwom's Avatar
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    Definitly go to http://www.ptny.org/canaltour/ we want to do the canal sometime in the future. There is a great book (I bought it) that is very detailed and contains section by secion info on the trail, maps, support, etc. The PTNY website also had itinearies for using Bed & Breakfests as overnight stops for multi-day trips.

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