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  1. #1
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    Rochester to Buffalo Credit Card Tour: Where to stay?

    I live in Rochester NY and have been riding a good bit over the past year. I just got a new bike and I'm thinking about doing a leisurely credit card tour from Rochester to Buffalo and back along the Canal Trail. I shouldn't have any trouble doing about 25 miles a day, resulting in a round-trip of about 8 days. Like I said, leisurely.

    This will be my first attempt at touring, and if anything goes horribly wrong there are people in Rochester I can call. The trip would likely be the first week of June. If not then, then probably not until some time in the fall.

    Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has any personal experience with where to stay or not to stay along the route?

    For that matter, are there any places I should specifically seek out to see or eat at, or specifically avoid?

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    I toured from Bufflo to NY City along the canal trail. There is a book you can get about doing that which inc places to stay. So if you get the book you will see the towns and lised hotels.
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    Since the distances are so low, you might consider going slightly farther, crossing into Ontario at the Peace Bridge and riding northward on the lovely quiet path along the Niagara River to NF and then cross back into NY there. And for variety, you might also consider the return trip using the road alongside Lake Ontario, finding your way back home from, say, Hamilton Beach State Park.
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    Try http://ptny.org [park & trails new york] for the book. Stop for frozen custard at Abbotts. There are plenty of services just off of the canal trail.
    ride long & prosper

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    Sadly I haven't gotten around to getting my passport yet, so going into Canada isn't likely to be an option. Still, taking an alternative route back might be viable. I'll look into it.

    I think a friend of mine has that specific book. I'll see if I can borrow it! Still, I was hoping for personal experiences along the lines of "this motel is bike-friendly/definitely not bike friendly".

    Thanks!

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    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcanum View Post
    I live in Rochester NY and have been riding a good bit over the past year. I just got a new bike and I'm thinking about doing a leisurely credit card tour from Rochester to Buffalo and back along the Canal Trail. I shouldn't have any trouble doing about 25 miles a day, resulting in a round-trip of about 8 days. Like I said, leisurely.

    This will be my first attempt at touring, and if anything goes horribly wrong there are people in Rochester I can call. The trip would likely be the first week of June. If not then, then probably not until some time in the fall.

    Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has any personal experience with where to stay or not to stay along the route?

    For that matter, are there any places I should specifically seek out to see or eat at, or specifically avoid?
    My son and I are from Rochester, and we went from Buffalo to Rochester last September. Our journal is at: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=5750&v=2D

    Eight days would be a very leisurely tour. :-) If you want to do about 25 miles per day, I'd recommend staying in the Holiday Inn in Brockport, Dollinger's Motor Inn in Albion ( looks like a dump outside, but actually quite nice inside ), and then somewhere in Lockport - there's a ton of places there. Can't recommend any place in particular in Buffalo, and we didn't spend the night there.

    The PTNY guide is great, and you'll be fine because all of their road markings are still in place. It's a fantastic ride. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

    - Rich

    Edit: The place we stayed at in Lockport was the Comfort Inn. All of the motels I mentioned are definitely bike-friendly; The manager in Brockport was car-free herself, and let us lock out bikes in a storage room last year.
    Last edited by mulveyr; 03-22-10 at 07:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by meanderthal View Post
    Since the distances are so low, you might consider going slightly farther, crossing into Ontario at the Peace Bridge and riding northward on the lovely quiet path along the Niagara River to NF and then cross back into NY there. And for variety, you might also consider the return trip using the road alongside Lake Ontario, finding your way back home from, say, Hamilton Beach State Park.
    Very good idea riding from the Peace Bridge to Niagara Falls. Nice bike path & awesome views of water & homes. I'd even encourage you to go out of your way a few miles to Niagara on the Lake. Riding from Niagara Falls (Rainbow Bridge) to Niagara on the lake is espcially nice. Winerys, restaurants, theater, forts and great parks. Just make sure you have a passport, nexus or enhanced ID if crossing the border.

    Edit: Sorry,did not read that you did not have a passport

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    Quote Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
    My son and I are from Rochester, and we went from Buffalo to Rochester last September. Our journal is at: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=5750&v=2D

    Eight days would be a very leisurely tour. :-) If you want to do about 25 miles per day, I'd recommend staying in the Holiday Inn in Brockport, Dollinger's Motor Inn in Albion ( looks like a dump outside, but actually quite nice inside ), and then somewhere in Lockport - there's a ton of places there. Can't recommend any place in particular in Buffalo, and we didn't spend the night there.

    The PTNY guide is great, and you'll be fine because all of their road markings are still in place. It's a fantastic ride. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

    - Rich

    Edit: The place we stayed at in Lockport was the Comfort Inn. All of the motels I mentioned are definitely bike-friendly; The manager in Brockport was car-free herself, and let us lock out bikes in a storage room last year.
    Awesome, thanks! The 25 miles per day/8 day numbers are just rough estimates from during the winter when I was riding for commuting and shopping and not much else. Now I think I could probably do more without too much difficulty, but I do want to have time and energy to sightsee along the way. I need to do some math and look more closely at the maps.

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    I rode from Fort Niagara to Webster (eastern suburb of Rochester) in one day. Eight days would be a very leisurly ride. Take Lake Ontario State Parkway, and then Hwy 18 (Lake Rd) along the lake. Both are completely flat. There are a bunch of state parks spaced out perfectly along this route. Once you get to Fort Niagara, follow the Niagara river south to Buffalo. You can visit the falls on the way.

    This is a great excuse to apply for a passport. The Canadian side of the Niagara River is a very nice ride. You can take the Queenston-Lewiston bridge on the way back.
    Last edited by Yan; 03-23-10 at 05:21 AM.
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    Rochester to Buffalo, huh. Family legend has it that my great grandfather, as a young man living in Rochester in the 1880's, heard about a good deal on some land in Buffalo so he jumped on it. Jumped on his high-wheeler bicycle, that is, and rode there to buy it. Earliest bicycle tour recorded in my family! Kinda wish I had more details, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcanum View Post
    Awesome, thanks! The 25 miles per day/8 day numbers are just rough estimates from during the winter when I was riding for commuting and shopping and not much else. Now I think I could probably do more without too much difficulty, but I do want to have time and energy to sightsee along the way. I need to do some math and look more closely at the maps.
    If you've been doing any riding at all, then I expect that you'll easily be able to accomodate 25+ miles - as others have noted, it's completely flat. In terms of services, if you wait until after Memorial Day weekend, there are boater centers in Brockport, Holley, and Middleport with bathrooms/showers/etc. that will be open. In previous years, I've seen porta-potties and picnic tables scattered randomly along the trail, though there were far fewer of them last Fall. Regardless, most of the towns have done a great job of sprucing up their waterfronts and making things inviting for travelers.

    And there's certainly a lot to see along the way, especially if you have any interest in the history of the canal. There are a number of small museums, etc, though hours can be erratic.

    - Rich

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    I gew up in Cheektowaga. I rode every mile of that town I think. It's probably not somewhere you want to stop though....
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

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    I did the Canal in 08. We didn't do any planning at all because the whole thing is chock full of places to stay. We camped, staying in a hotel and one night in a B&B.

    Pre tour jitters are common even among the most seasoned riders. However all that goes away within the first mile and your having a blast.

    We are doing the Canal again this year as part of our two week tour. When are you planning on going?

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    One of my favorite parts of this route was the free camping along the canal. I'd encourage you to bring a tent,bag,mat.... I know that isn't in your plans but it was some great camping with easy walking to restaurants and shopping if so inclined. It's almost all flat riding so a tiny bit of extra weight isn't going to impact the ride much at all.

    Just a thought...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
    If you've been doing any riding at all, then I expect that you'll easily be able to accomodate 25+ miles - as others have noted, it's completely flat. In terms of services, if you wait until after Memorial Day weekend, there are boater centers in Brockport, Holley, and Middleport with bathrooms/showers/etc. that will be open. In previous years, I've seen porta-potties and picnic tables scattered randomly along the trail, though there were far fewer of them last Fall. Regardless, most of the towns have done a great job of sprucing up their waterfronts and making things inviting for travelers.

    And there's certainly a lot to see along the way, especially if you have any interest in the history of the canal. There are a number of small museums, etc, though hours can be erratic.
    I'm car-free, so I commuted through the winter (granted, only ~6 miles round trip). I know 25ish miles is not at all a problem for me at this point. I'm reasonably sure I could get up to nearly double that if I wanted to. I ride almost every day, but only do >10 mile days intermittently. The desire for a leisurely pace has more to do with sightseeing time and enjoyment of the trip than physical ability.

    Maybe I'll kick my daily distance up a bit and start farther east. Thanks for the information. Due to work requirements, I'm pretty much stuck doing this the week of Memorial Day or not at all until late summer or fall. It's a pain, but such is life.

    Quote Originally Posted by capejohn View Post
    I did the Canal in 08. We didn't do any planning at all because the whole thing is chock full of places to stay. We camped, staying in a hotel and one night in a B&B.

    Pre tour jitters are common even among the most seasoned riders. However all that goes away within the first mile and your having a blast.

    We are doing the Canal again this year as part of our two week tour. When are you planning on going?

    We are on crazyguy also. CLICK HERE
    With my 25 miles/day plan, I'd probably be kicking off the morning of Saturday May 29th and getting back the following Saturday. That's a bit fuzzy at this point, though. It would almost certainly be that week, the question is more start day and speed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcanum View Post
    Sadly I haven't gotten around to getting my passport yet, so going into Canada isn't likely to be an option. Still, taking an alternative route back might be viable. I'll look into it.

    I think a friend of mine has that specific book. I'll see if I can borrow it! Still, I was hoping for personal experiences along the lines of "this motel is bike-friendly/definitely not bike friendly".

    Thanks!
    I can't remember the names of the places I stayed because I was on a tour and did not make the arrangements. But I do know that not one of the places we stayed along the way had an issue
    with the bike.
    Yes we went off the trail to the places. all were within a short ride off hte trail and I saw many
    other hotels around.

    I would still say - Get the trails book and then a motel 6 book or hit the computer for hotels you
    like in the towns you want to stop at. I would not think twice about having issues in finding
    places to stay.

    To bad about the passport. I really enjoyed going across. it gave a good view of the falls and
    I road around town a bit. Went to the Hard Rock and got a pin for my wall.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcanum View Post

    With my 25 miles/day plan, I'd probably be kicking off the morning of Saturday May 29th and getting back the following Saturday. That's a bit fuzzy at this point, though. It would almost certainly be that week, the question is more start day and speed.
    Although your plan is 25 miles/day. I'll go on a limb and say you exceed that most days. The canal is a very easy ride. Have a great time. We will be there the second or third week of July and are starting in Rochester, riding around Lake Ontario and the Canal from Buffalo back to Rochester.
    Bike riding New England gentleman.

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    Thanks for the input everybody. I think I've got a reasonable plan worked out. A couple friends have offered tents for borrowing, and I think I'll take them up on it. It will save money on the trip. Food will still bought along the way, though.

    My plan at the moment:
    May 31: Rochester to Holley; a hair under 30 miles. Camp in Holley.
    June 1: Holley to Middleport; 25ish miles. Camp in Middleport.
    June 2: Middleport to Tonawanda, with a possible detour to Pendleton Center; 27 to 31 miles. Motel in Tonawanda.
    June 3: Tonawanda to Buffalo and back, and sightseeing in the area; 30ish miles. Motel in Tonawanda again.
    Reverse the route on the way back. I'd be back at home on June 6th.

    The obvious ways to do some longer segments would be to cut out either the Holley or Middleport stop, creating a roughly 55 mile leg. I've done 45 miles in one day with much worse hills (Henrietta to the Port of Rochester and back through Seneca Park), so that should be doable.

    I still need to investigate going up along the lake on the way back.
    Last edited by Arcanum; 03-28-10 at 11:14 AM. Reason: Fixing month names

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcanum View Post
    Thanks for the input everybody. I think I've got a reasonable plan worked out. A couple friends have offered tents for borrowing, and I think I'll take them up on it. It will save money on the trip. Food will still bought along the way, though.

    My plan at the moment:
    May 31: Rochester to Holley; a hair under 30 miles. Camp in Holley.
    May 1: Holley to Middleport; 25ish miles. Camp in Middleport.
    May 2: Middleport to Tonawanda, with a possible detour to Pendleton Center; 27 to 31 miles. Motel in Tonawanda.
    May 3: Tonawanda to Buffalo and back, and sightseeing in the area; 30ish miles. Motel in Tonawanda again.
    Reverse the route on the way back. I'd be back at home on June 6th.

    The obvious ways to do some longer segments would be to cut out either the Holley or Middleport stop, creating a roughly 55 mile leg. I've done 45 miles in one day with much worse hills (Henrietta to the Port of Rochester through Seneca Park), so that should be doable.

    I still need to investigate going up along the lake on the way back.
    Great plan to do some camping! I loved the camping on the canal. You will be glad you did. Of the 4300 miles I rode on the Northern Tier this was some of my favorite days of the trip.
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    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcanum View Post
    Thanks for the input everybody. I think I've got a reasonable plan worked out. A couple friends have offered tents for borrowing, and I think I'll take them up on it. It will save money on the trip. Food will still bought along the way, though.

    My plan at the moment:
    May 31: Rochester to Holley; a hair under 30 miles. Camp in Holley.
    May 1: Holley to Middleport; 25ish miles. Camp in Middleport.
    May 2: Middleport to Tonawanda, with a possible detour to Pendleton Center; 27 to 31 miles. Motel in Tonawanda.
    May 3: Tonawanda to Buffalo and back, and sightseeing in the area; 30ish miles. Motel in Tonawanda again.
    Reverse the route on the way back. I'd be back at home on June 6th.

    The obvious ways to do some longer segments would be to cut out either the Holley or Middleport stop, creating a roughly 55 mile leg. I've done 45 miles in one day with much worse hills (Henrietta to the Port of Rochester through Seneca Park), so that should be doable.

    I still need to investigate going up along the lake on the way back.
    Camping in Holley may be an issue; When I was there in the Fall with my son, they had put up a large "No Camping Permitted" sign in the marina area. You'll probably want to check with the town and see if that was temporary or permanent. On the other hand, it's a very rural area, so stealth-camping should be trivial, if you want to try that.

    There were people camping at the marina in Middleport, so that should be fine.

    Edit: Yeah, looks like Holley no longer allows camping: http://www.nyscanals.gov/exvac/trail/campsites.html It definitely was listed on this page last year, and is now gone.
    Last edited by mulveyr; 03-28-10 at 11:17 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
    Camping in Holley may be an issue; When I was there in the Fall with my son, they had put up a large "No Camping Permitted" sign in the marina area. You'll probably want to check with the town and see if that was temporary or permanent. On the other hand, it's a very rural area, so stealth-camping should be trivial, if you want to try that.

    There were people camping at the marina in Middleport, so that should be fine.

    Edit: Yeah, looks like Holley no longer allows camping: http://www.nyscanals.gov/exvac/trail/campsites.html It definitely was listed on this page last year, and is now gone.
    That's irritating. Middleport isn't listed either, but looking at Google Maps there's space up the trail a ways that should be workable as a campsite. They're both listed as having campsites on the Java map, so I don't know.

    Near Holley there's this place: http://www.redrockponds.com/
    That should be usable worst-case.

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    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcanum View Post
    That's irritating. Middleport isn't listed either, but looking at Google Maps there's space up the trail a ways that should be workable as a campsite. They're both listed as having campsites on the Java map, so I don't know.

    Near Holley there's this place: http://www.redrockponds.com/
    That should be usable worst-case.

    I think the marina in Middleport may be a town-owned enterprise, so that could be why it doesn't appear on the canal page. ( I vaguely recall there being a sign about "Thank your local merchants for this facility" in the shower/bathroom area ).

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    Holley Update

    After some digging and more mixed information about the campground at Holley, I ran across this page. Since it's unclear when the page was last updated, and I couldn't figure out who to call, I decided to go out and investigate myself.

    As it turns out, the "no camping" signs are gone, there's some lovely space to camp a hundred-ish yards to the east along the south side of the canal, and people have been camping there as recently as Easter. So apparently camping is allowed there again. No idea why it wasn't when mulveyr and his son went through. Maybe it was in transition from being state-run to town-run? I dunno.

    Sorry about the thread necromancy, but I wanted to let people know.
    Last edited by Arcanum; 04-19-10 at 08:16 PM. Reason: Added Google Maps link showing apparent campsite location.

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    Somebody once told me that you can camp anywhere along the canal as it is state land.
    I have camped along the canal many times with no problem.
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    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberpep View Post
    Somebody once told me that you can camp anywhere along the canal as it is state land.
    I have camped along the canal many times with no problem.
    What is the worse that can happen?
    I'm not sure how it being state land comes into play - there's plenty of state land that you're not allowed to camp on. Plus, I suspect that the limits of the right-of-way don't extend much beyond the towpath, which puts you on to private land.

    That being said, there's so much farmland along that stretch of the canal that it would be trivial to just ask at the nearest house and get permission. I can't imagine too many people would turn a camper down.

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