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Old 09-07-08, 02:19 PM   #1
EDNICHOLS
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biking the Erie Canal

We are planning to bike the Erie Canal the end of September. Any suggestions on getting bikes from Albany to Buffalo? Can you bike up to Niagara Falls from Buffalo? What kind of weather can we expect? Any suggestions on must see sites along the route? We are going to use bike fridays for the ride, suggestions on tire size? Thanks in advance for the information. My email is ednichols@charter.net.
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Old 09-07-08, 07:56 PM   #2
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You can rent a small car from Albany Airport to Buffalo airport which puts you 3-4 miles from the Erie Canal. Alamo charges $75 for a one day-one way rental. Adding in fuel and toll this should be the same or a little bit more than Amtrak for two people, If you go Amtrak you get to Buffalo around midnight( only one train allows bikes and they must be boxed). The Airport is also closer to the canal than Amtrak. I did Amtrak the first time I rode the canal, this last time we rented a car and it was a helluva lot less hassle.

BTW we parked our car at Albany Airport for $8 a day. The Albany Airport is 3 miles from the canal trail and some of that is bike path.

Yes you can ride to Niagara Falls.

Last edited by RCordone; 09-07-08 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 09-07-08, 08:50 PM   #3
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Biking the Erie Canal

We just did this: took the train from Chicago to Buffalo with bikes in boxes. The Amtrak Depew Station is in the middle of nowhere a few miles south of the airport. We gave up on visiting Niagara Falls as it turned out to be a quite a way northwest. Instead, we cycled up some fairly busy arterials to north of the airport, then made our way northeast to Lockport and the Canal. If I had to do it again and from Albany, I would rent a car one way to the airport or take the bus to downtown Buffalo. The latter requires boxed bikes.

By the way, Amtrak passes a gigantic downtown station just south of Buffalo proper, the whole thing a total ruin resembling a Roman pantheon. The train then goes about five miles east to Depew.
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Old 09-07-08, 08:54 PM   #4
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Please . . . "cycling" the Erie Canal. It's one of my pet peeves, I'm sorry. Now if you're riding a Harley, you're "biking" the Erie Canal.
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Old 09-08-08, 04:59 AM   #5
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Now if you're riding a Harley, you're "biking" the Erie Canal.
Naa, you're "sitting" then. Because you're just waiting for the pickup truck that's coming to get it because it's leaking oil if you're on a Harley
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Old 09-08-08, 05:24 AM   #6
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Here's a couple interesting things to do.
http://www.lockportcave.com/
http://www.eriecanalmedina.com/the_culvert.html

Don't forget to bring winter gear. It snows around here 11 months a year. ;-)
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Old 07-04-09, 09:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by RCordone View Post
If you go Amtrak you get to Buffalo around midnight( only one train allows bikes and they must be boxed).
I believe the original poster mentioned Bike Fridays. That means they are treated as carried on-luggage. See link (scroll down to the folder section). This means one can take advantage of several other "Empire Service" trains that arrive earlier in Buffalo-Depew and Buffalo-Exchange Street from the east.
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The Airport is also closer to the canal than Amtrak.
Google maps shows Amtrak-Depew 2.9 miles from the Buffalo airport. Perhaps you are confusing the Depew station with Buffalo - Exchange Street, which is near downtown Buffalo. HOWEVER, the midnight train you mentioned only serves Depew. I can't seem to get any up-to-date internet information about the canal bike path west of Lockport, so I don't know how far it is from Buffalo-Exchange Street.
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The Albany Airport is 3 miles from the canal trail and some of that is bike path.
From what I gather the airport is about 15-20 miles from the trail. Do you have any info about the 3 mile route? As I mentioned above, I am not familiar with the trail west of Lockport, and would love to get some info.
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I did Amtrak the first time I rode the canal, this last time we rented a car and it was a helluva lot less hassle.
Pros and cons of auto vs. train is a philosophical question which I won't get into.

I am planning a west to east canal ride. I will be arriving from the Quincy, IL at Amtrak-Depew at 8:30 AM and returning from Albany at around 7:30 PM, both ideal times. You couldn't pay me to drive from western Illinois to Buffalo, rent a car, etc. Might as well skip the bike ride and make it a car trip all the way. But then as I said car vs. train is a philosophical question.
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Old 07-04-09, 10:00 AM   #8
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Don't forget to bring winter gear. It snows around here 11 months a year. ;-)
You can't be serious. I doing it in August and I was planning on a long sleeve shirt and pancho. Should I redo my packlist?
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Old 07-04-09, 10:16 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by sringlee View Post
We just did this: took the train from Chicago to Buffalo with bikes in boxes. The Amtrak Depew Station is in the middle of nowhere a few miles south of the airport. We gave up on visiting Niagara Falls as it turned out to be a quite a way northwest. Instead, we cycled up some fairly busy arterials to north of the airport, then made our way northeast to Lockport and the Canal. If I had to do it again and from Albany, I would rent a car one way to the airport ...
I don't quite understand. As you say, the airport is close (2.9 miles) to Amtrak - Depew. So I don't see how that solves the problem of getting to the canal.
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... or take the bus to downtown Buffalo.
There is a forum (I won't mention the name), whose members would refer to this a going down to the pound to get the dirty dog.
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Old 07-04-09, 11:01 AM   #10
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Here's a couple interesting things to do.
http://www.lockportcave.com/
http://www.eriecanalmedina.com/the_culvert.html

Don't forget to bring winter gear. It snows around here 11 months a year. ;-)


Thats Hysterical, I live in Syracuse NY and know all too well about the snow! But yes it does snow alot, but you should be fine in AUgust; although it may be very humid. Just remember, the canal isn't a straight shot, it's broken up so you will be be on SOME canal and most roads. Apparently the route is well traveled by cyclists, so it should be an easy route to plan/find on the internet. If you come through Syracuse, email me!
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Old 07-04-09, 11:50 AM   #11
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I rode the Erie Canal from Palmyra to Lockport a couple of weeks ago as part of a larger tour around Lake Ontario. I started and ended at the Buffalo Airport long term parking lot. I can't help you with bike transport advice, but the ride is nice.

First of all, the ride from the Buffalo-Fort Erie Peace Bridge up to Lake Ontario along the Niagara River is a great ride. Really, it's about as good as bike touring gets. There is an off-road bike path for the whole distance that's in great shape. It takes you right past Niagara Falls and there are fruit markets and other places along the way for eating and snacks.

I'd definitely try to plan a camping night in Holley, NY. It's free at the city park along the canal. The city has built showers and bathrooms with a key code door. See the drawbridge operator for the key code and advice. Holley has a neat waterfall, a good diner, and a pizza place. I had a nice stop there.
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Old 07-04-09, 12:53 PM   #12
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Amtrack is very friendly to bikers. The box will cost you ten bucks and it takes less than five minutes to box your bike. Take off the pedals and turn your handlebars. That's it.

Son and I did it in 08. Click here for a journal

e-mail me if you want.
p.s. It's a really nice ride. I highly recommend it. It's easy too.
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Old 07-08-09, 07:37 PM   #13
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The Albany Airport is only about 3 miles from the Mohawk-Hudson trail, which feeds/is part of the Erie Canal Trail. You would get off the trail right around the Schenectady/Albany County line (there is a trailhead there). I am having a little trouble finding an online map, but if you can get an Albany County map you should be able to see it and Rt 7 to the airport is an official bike route.
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Old 07-10-09, 12:59 PM   #14
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I know Buffalo

Hi ednichols,



I live in Buffalo an did my first Erie Canal tour this spring. Also, I bike commute from my home in dowtown Buffalo to Depew several days a week.

I don't know much about how the train works but,

I can offer you some real time route advice when it comes time to ride from the train station to the trail.



I would recomend riding west to Buffalo and picking up the trail right at the begining (or end)of the canal trail. It's more interesting and pretty than the (suburban)ride from Depew to Lockport.



I used the ptny.com guide book. it was good and useful. +2 for the camping in Holley NY.

please email me if I can help you more.



Ray
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Old 07-10-09, 01:26 PM   #15
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I've ridden the canal route from the Niagara river to downtown Syracuse. It was done in two overnight trips from my home near Rochester. My journals are here and here.

Get the ptny guidebook. It is well worth the money.

I took a detour to Seneca Falls to camp at the state park there. The area south of Clyde has a neat pocket of Amish farms. The park usually has plenty of camping spots and a swimming area at the lake.

The section of the trail from Weedsport to Syracuse is pretty rough since horses use it. If I had it to do over, I'd probably just take the on-road alternate route.
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Old 07-10-09, 01:59 PM   #16
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And...
Your Question about Niagara Falls;
Bike Route 5 connects Niagara Falls and Lockport.
There is a bikeroute that connects Buffalo to the Falls. It's mostly paved bike path.
Buffalo to the Falls and exporing would make a nice first day!

And...Late September is a nice time around here; good leaf peeping and nicer cool days.
Ray

Last edited by rayhead00; 07-10-09 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 07-11-09, 10:06 PM   #17
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I have ridden the erie canal trail 3 times, all 3 tours I started at the Amtrak Depew Station. The route I rode was the shortest route to the canal itself ( about 12 miles).

From the Amtrak station ride north on Dick rd.
Dick Rd becomes S Cayuga at the Airport
Continue north on S Cayuga to Williamsville
Cross Gennese St (RT 5) becomes N Cayuga Rd.
Turn Left on Glen Ave
Glen Ave west to Reist ST
Turn right on Reist ST going north
Follow Reist to Intersection with North Forest
Right on North Forest follow several miles untill you will see State University at Buffalo on your left
Cross N Campus Blvd , about 1/2 mile further look for a bike path access to your left take the bike path to your first right and cross the bridge.
Follow the bike path until it ends at Niagara Falls Blvd. cross the 4 lane road into Elliott creek park.
Follow the park road to its intersection with Tonawanda Creek road turn right ( you will see the canal on your left)
Ride North east on Tonawanda Creek road to East Canal Road ( there are sections of bike path along Tonawanda Creek rd)
left on East Canal Rd to Robinson Rd
left on Robinson and cross the bridge over the canal
Turn right on Bear Ridge rd and follow canal to Lockport
About 30 miles total.

Last edited by velonomad; 07-11-09 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 07-13-09, 08:20 PM   #18
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buy the spiral bound guide book. The musem in Camillus is worth a stop, if you're there when it's open. They have some barges and stuff. The section from Memphis to Camillus has parts with so much gravel that skinny tires sink in, and turns into a road paved with crusher run. I've been thinking about tire size myself.
Traversing Syracuse will be fun, nothing to see here but there's some decent coffee downtown.
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