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Planning Buffalo to NH on Erie Canal trail with kid

Old 06-30-21, 08:33 PM
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Planning Buffalo to NH on Erie Canal trail with kid

The title says it all. Kid (10yo) and I are planning on going from Buffalo (where my inlaws are) to our home in Western NH using the Erie Canal trail. Any tips/tricks for the ride? Iím still not sure how weíll get from Albany NY to Jaffrey, NH. Suggestions?
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Old 07-01-21, 06:53 AM
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Check Erie Canal Bike Trail (bikeeriecanal.com) and the Empire State Trail
Many new paved sections on Erie and look into getting the PTNY Guide
We just finished Niagara to Albany
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Old 07-02-21, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by TriBiker19 View Post
The title says it all. Kid (10yo) and I are planning on going from Buffalo (where my inlaws are) to our home in Western NH using the Erie Canal trail. Any tips/tricks for the ride? Iím still not sure how weíll get from Albany NY to Jaffrey, NH. Suggestions?
How fit is your 10yo? There's going to be a heck of a climb or two, as I'm sure you know. I plotted 3 quick routes in Komoot and Garmin Connect (using popularity for road and for gravel/unpaved) and all 3 would take you over the Green Mountains, going from 700 to 2400ft in ~10mi.
I would say either way you skin it, it'll be hilly, but Vermont roads will be quieter than Massachusetts - not that routing is sending you there anyway, but it could happen. Are you camping?
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Old 07-04-21, 08:34 AM
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Just doing the erie canal itself seems quite an accomplishment, I'd think any continuation on would need to be after taking a considered in-the-moment decision at Albany with calling for pickup very much a contemplated option.

More generally when I look at possible rides it seems New England geography maybe favors north south routes along the river valleys than east west ones that seem to climb over ridge after ridge.

I've looked at trying to get from where I am in Western MA further to North Adams or Pittsfield with the idea of at least cumulative "places I've been" connection to a future canal ride endpoint in Albany but seems like it would be either notoriously hilly road, or fairly narrow and busy. Similarly between hills and limited choices skirting the Quabbin, Boston to Western MA looks tough until a lot more of the Mass Central RT becomes a fact on the ground. Conversely a northbound long-haul like New Haven to Hinsdale or Brattleboro doesn't look bad - can get all the way through CT and partway up MA using mostly rail trail. Going north towards VT things get hiller but it's still a river valley (I did have some questions on the roads on the VT and NH sides - seems like people do them but have not made it that far yet myself).
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Old 07-04-21, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by autonomy View Post
How fit is your 10yo? There's going to be a heck of a climb or two, as I'm sure you know. I plotted 3 quick routes in Komoot and Garmin Connect (using popularity for road and for gravel/unpaved) and all 3 would take you over the Green Mountains, going from 700 to 2400ft in ~10mi.
I would say either way you skin it, it'll be hilly, but Vermont roads will be quieter than Massachusetts - not that routing is sending you there anyway, but it could happen. Are you camping?
Not camping. I donít want to haul the gear and I honestly hate camping. Weíd do hotels all the way. My local 4mi loop is ~500ft gain, so itís not like I live someplace flat to start with.

Heís hill-adverse, but can do it if he has to. Really steep climbs, heís already planning on walking up. 😂
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Old 07-04-21, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Just doing the erie canal itself seems quite an accomplishment, I'd think any continuation on would need to be after taking a considered in-the-moment decision at Albany with calling for pickup very much a contemplated option.

More generally when I look at possible rides it seems New England geography maybe favors north south routes along the river valleys than east west ones that seem to climb over ridge after ridge.

I've looked at trying to get from where I am in Western MA further to North Adams or Pittsfield with the idea of at least cumulative "places I've been" connection to a future canal ride endpoint in Albany but seems like it would be either notoriously hilly road, or fairly narrow and busy. Similarly between hills and limited choices skirting the Quabbin, Boston to Western MA looks tough until a lot more of the Mass Central RT becomes a fact on the ground. Conversely a northbound long-haul like New Haven to Hinsdale or Brattleboro doesn't look bad - can get all the way through CT and partway up MA using mostly rail trail. Going north towards VT things get hiller but it's still a river valley (I did have some questions on the roads on the VT and NH sides - seems like people do them but have not made it that far yet myself).
I can get from where I live to Walpole, NH pretty easy, putting me just northeast of Brattleboro. From there, I wonder if thereís an easier route (or at least less busy) to get to Albany.

I do get what youíre saying on the Buffalo to Albany route and calling it a journey in Albany. That seems like a decent tradeoff and itís only a couple hours from here. Heck, we took a day trip there and back a couple weeks ago.
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Old 07-04-21, 09:20 PM
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For 10 the Buffalo to Albany is doable, I'll be taking 6,8, and 11 year old kids on the route this summer. By 10 40 mile days should be somewhat easy on the Erie canal but gravel and dirt sections may make for a slow day, 60 mile days are possible if mostly paved areas. I wouldn't try to make it through from Albany to your place in NH, the hills can be killer on a kid who doesn't know how or when to shift and the descents can be scary to watch. I'd do that trip when my oldest turns 12 next year but would hesitate a lot with an 10yo
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Old 07-05-21, 12:04 AM
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Erie canal is flat except for a few short climbs.

I found this interactive map useful: https://www.ptny.org/bike-canal/map/ It works in a browser on a smartphone. Allow it to access your location. It helped me navigate the cities.
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Old 07-05-21, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by TriBiker19 View Post
Heís hill-adverse, but can do it if he has to. Really steep climbs, heís already planning on walking up. 😂
That can be cumulatively very significant. My nephew is pretty fast on flat rail trail and has decent endurance if it's interspersed with breaks. Finally took him on my local back roads loop thinking mostly in terms of road safety. What I'd neglected to consider was that while it doesn't have any extended climbs, it does have a lot of up and down which he was completely unprepared for. Fortunately my brother in law was along, too.

Its on my agenda to go make a game of tackling some smaller closer hills as isolated challenges before we do that again.

FWIW my understanding is that a few of the detour climbs on the Erie are not insignificant challenges, for the hill averse.

​​​​​Have you done a multi-day ride with lodging with your son before? If not I think a single/double overnight shakedown would be good.​​​​

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Old 07-05-21, 11:02 AM
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See if you can find the Rubels Bike maps for West. Ma. May be out of print. That might help in finding a way towards NH once you hit the NY/Ma border
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Old 07-06-21, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Its on my agenda to go make a game of tackling some smaller closer hills as isolated challenges before we do that again.

​​​​​Have you done a multi-day ride with lodging with your son before? If not I think a single/double overnight shakedown would be good.​​​​
I was actually looking at taking them (my 10 and 12yos) on a weekend trip on the canal trail this fallójust an out and back in a flatter section. I just need to get over my calf strain before I can do it.

I live on a hill and my local 4mi loop is a 460ft gain over 4 miles, mostly rolling, but a couple significant short climbs, the first of which is a 7.5% grade for a tenth of a mile just to get off my street. I plan on taking them out there a couple times to get road experience as well as hills. The kids can do hills, but they donít like them. I know that I should ride with trafficóbut should I have them ride against it at first so they can see whatís coming toward them?
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Old 07-06-21, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by bktourer1 View Post
See if you can find the Rubels Bike maps for West. Ma. May be out of print. That might help in finding a way towards NH once you hit the NY/Ma border
I have a library card for a central Mass library system. Iíll see if they can get me a copy, thanks!
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Old 07-06-21, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by TriBiker19 View Post
I live on a hill and my local 4mi loop is a 460ft gain over 4 miles, mostly rolling, but a couple significant short climbs, the first of which is a 7.5% grade for a tenth of a mile just to get off my street. I plan on taking them out there a couple times to get road experience as well as hills. The kids can do hills, but they donít like them. I know that I should ride with trafficóbut should I have them ride against it at first so they can see whatís coming toward them?
With traffic of course, there's more danger in coming to intersections (including driveways) in the wrong direction than there is ability to do anything about overtaking/approaching traffic.

Have the kids go first (with strict rules about stopping at intersections) and follow in a position further out in the roadway.

If you don't have a mirror, get one and do a number of hours of solo rides until you can actually see things in it. That gives you some awareness of traffic, but is also very useful for seeing overtaking cyclisys on trails, or group monitoring on a trail where one of the kids might be riding behind rather than ahead.

​​​​​
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