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  1. #1
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Erie Canal Trail

    Plan to be on it Buffalo to Rochester next fall. For you who have ridden that section, how much rolling resistance can I expect vs a hard surfaced highway? Need to make 50 miles/day and still have plenty of time for checking out stuff. Run about 12 mph on hard surface.
    Last edited by Cyclebum; 05-19-12 at 08:11 PM.
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    Can't help you w/ your question. I just wanted to pipe up w/ I envy you that ride. I grew up in Macedon and used to ride the canal between Brighton & Palmyra all the time. I don't know how much of it is paved now (that was 30 years ago). I know when I last rode it (20 years ago) much of the sections I rode as a kid had been paved - especially out around Fairport. Much of it was still dirt track from Fairport - Palmyra.

    I used to love that ride.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Plan to be on it Buffalo to Rochester next fall. For you who have ridden that section, how much rolling resistance can I expect vs a hard surfaced highway? Need to make 50 miles/day and still have plenty of time for checking out stuff. Run about 12 mph on hard surface.

    I've done it several times with my young ( i.e., ages 8 - 10 ) kids, and we generally averages around 9MPH with them on mountain bikes. An adult would easy be able to average 12MPH on most sections, other than the occasional washboard and overly-deep-with-stone dust section.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

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    You'll have no issue doing 50 with time for other things. Its mostly gravel, though there are sections, like Rochester, that are paved. I did parts of it on a trike and still manage 12 mph. Check out the great guide book put out by the, not sure if its the state or the folks who run the tour of the canal. Lots of info in t here.
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

  5. #5
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VT_Speed_TR View Post
    You'll have no issue doing 50 with time for other things. Its mostly gravel, though there are sections, like Rochester, that are paved. I did parts of it on a trike and still manage 12 mph. Check out the great guide book put out by the, not sure if its the state or the folks who run the tour of the canal. Lots of info in t here.
    Yep, the Parks and Trail group, which works with, but isn't part of the state. http://www.ptny.org They're excellent.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Thanks. I'll order the guide book.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  7. #7
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Thanks. I'll order the guide book.
    Also, if you want a change of pace ( so to speak ), remember that NY Bike Route 5 runs more or less parallel and generally very close to the canal. It's a good alternative when you want some time off of the stone dust, or a little more challenge than dead-flat for 90 miles. :-)
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Yeah, dead flat for 90 miles could get pretty boring. Seems like some of 5 will be on my route from Rochester to Boston. Been Googling that and the bicycle routing is looking pretty nice. Mix of shouldered highways(5)and quite country roads. Looks like there's a bike path around much of Albany.
    Last edited by Cyclebum; 05-20-12 at 09:48 AM.
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    Do some googling, I've sent for and received a number of great guides from NY on Bike Rt 5 and the Mohawk trail around Albany.
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

  10. #10
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Yeah, dead flat for 90 miles could get pretty boring. Seems like some of 5 will be on my route from Rochester to Boston. Been Googling that and the bicycle routing is looking pretty nice. Mix of shouldered highways(5)and quite country roads. Looks like there's a bike path around much of Albany.
    The state will send you a packet with maps and info for all of the official NY Bike Routes ( there's half a dozen or so ). When I called for my set a couple of years ago, the guy who answered the phone spent about 20 minutes extolling the virtues of each. I think he must have been really bored that day. ;-)
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

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    have ridden the canal trail from buffalo to albany a few times, trail between buffalo and newark (beyond rochester) is primarily crushed stone - there are a few spots in communities where it is paved. Through the rochester area to pittsford it is paved. in lots of places you can move along well on the stone, have run 32 an 37 mm tires on an upwrong bike- used 47 mm tires on the recumbent. have seen riders with road bikes & 23 mm tires - that would not be my choice. a few spots can be muddy after it rains & goose grease is especially slippery then.. the whole ride is pretty flat and in many places parallels a paved road, but the trail is more relaxing to ride on - 80 km per day is easy.
    ride long & prosper

  12. #12
    Senior Member DCwom's Avatar
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    We rode the western section, Lockport to Newark in 2010, 40+ miles a day. We stayed/started at the Lockport Inn (where they allowed us to leave our car), this also allowed us to spend some time checking out Lockport. We spent the first night at a B&B in Holley, and the last night at a Holiday Inn in Rochester/Pittsford, where we rented a car to shuttle over van to Newark.

    You should have no problem doing 50/day, it's a very easy ride, in fact one "problem" we had was arriving earlier than expected at our lodging for the night, this was our first overnight tour so now we know to slow it down or plan more miles/day.

    Some folks have called the surface "gravel", but I find that term confusing, to me gravel means loose crap to avoid. I'll clarify it as "rail-trail" surface, some call it stone dust, cinders, crushed limestone, etc. It is very small sized crushed rock (1-2mm?) The surface is generally hard-packed and level, we rode a tandem with 700/32 tires with no issues. You will find asphalt sections around towns & cities like Rochester. The last section (new in 2009-2010) leading into Newark (~3 miles?) was "blue chip", this was the roughest surface I can recall, this is the size stuff they use with tar/oil roads (~10mm). The section from Lockport to Newark is virtual 100% trail with no road sections.

    As for boring, I think it depends on what you like. I agree that the ever present canal, flat trail, and open farmland does go on for a while, but it is punctuated every few miles by a town or other piece of civilization. We enjoyed it more than typical rural road scenery, we've seen our share of over the years.

    Check out crazyguyonbike.com for many journals on the trip, I've got one there as well. We also did the eastern section last summer from Syracuse to Albany. The eastern sections are a whole different ride, so you might want to consider that for a future ride.

  13. #13
    Senior Member capejohn's Avatar
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    Three of us are riding the canal beginning July 14th. We won't be in any hurry and we will finish on or before the 21st. We will drive from Cape Cod to Albany and take the Amtrak with our bikes to Buffalo. Two of us have ridden it before and we had no issues. It was nothing more than a daily bike ride and camping. We will be riding behind the PTNY tour and just in front of the FANY tour so we can use their arrows on Bike Rt. 5. Have a fun ride.
    Bike riding New England gentleman.

  14. #14
    Senior Member DCwom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by capejohn View Post
    We will be riding behind the PTNY tour ...
    +1 on following the PTNY folks, the road markings they leave behind are very handy. Its even better if you can overlap with them for a little company.

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