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Anyone riding the Erie Canal Tour in July?

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Anyone riding the Erie Canal Tour in July?

Old 05-10-13, 05:45 AM
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Anyone riding the Erie Canal Tour in July?

I've ridden parts of the Erie Canal Trailway many times, but until last year I never heard of this bike tour. To my understanding, it's an organized ride covering ~400 miles in 8-days(averaging 50 miles/day), from Buffalo to Albany. Cost is about $350 which includes breakfast, dinner, a sag wagon, and camping each night which is fairly inexpensive I think. My plan is to ride this solo on a Hybrid bicycle, I've conquered up to 60 miles in one day, with a few stops. My question is, has anyone done this? What can I expect? Is this ride recommended for one's first tour, or should I start smaller somewhere else?
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Old 05-10-13, 07:08 AM
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While I haven't done the Erie Canal tour, I rode the Hudson Valley tour with my son last year - it's also run by the same people at PTNY. The experience was absolutely top-notch. The staff and volunteers were all VERY friendly and helpful, they chose a good route, and the support was excellent. I'm presuming the Erie Canal tour will have the same sort of format; A pre-ride meeting at breakfast every morning, rest stops in the morning and afternoon, SAG support ( from both trucks as well as SAG people on bikes ), and then dinner and some entertainment in the evening.

They also did things like provide massive numbers of power strips so that people would be able to charge their cell phones, you could rent chairs and towels from the Comfy Camper group even if you weren't renting tents, and so on. We had one overnight stop at a state park where there were no showers, but they had a large truck with half a dozen or so showers inside that we could use instead.

We would have done the Erie Tour with PTNY if we hadn't already done the whole thing ourselves already. ;-) We liked the Hudson one so much that now my wife and daughter will be joining us this year. Based on what I've seen of the Erie rider's handbook, the mileage shouldn't be a problem at all if you've done 60 miles a day before.

I think the only "complaint" we had was that our group had a large number of people who were awake and packing up their tents between 5:00AM and 5:30AM every morning. Some of that was because last year's tour was during a week when it was regularly getting into the 90's so people wanted to ride while it was relatively cool, but some was also because, as one person noted, there seemed to be a lot of older guys with insomnia. ;-)

Regardless, I can almost guarantee you'll have a great time.
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Old 05-10-13, 07:23 AM
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I've ridden the Erie Canal. It's pan-flat, of course, and if you have a SAG wagon you won't even be carrying any gear. Under those circumstances 50 miles per day is dead easy, it's just a couple of hours before lunch and a couple of hours after. Do it.
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Old 05-10-13, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by mulveyr
While I haven't done the Erie Canal tour, I rode the Hudson Valley tour with my son last year - it's also run by the same people at PTNY. The experience was absolutely top-notch. The staff and volunteers were all VERY friendly and helpful, they chose a good route, and the support was excellent. I'm presuming the Erie Canal tour will have the same sort of format; A pre-ride meeting at breakfast every morning, rest stops in the morning and afternoon, SAG support ( from both trucks as well as SAG people on bikes ), and then dinner and some entertainment in the evening.
Thanks for your prompt response. I've heard of the Hudson Valley tour, as a matter of fact a friend is trying to convince me into joining him on that ride this year. He said there were a few hilly spots though, and I'm still trying to get myself into shape so I am horrible on hills (still a rookie). I've been along that route many times in the past, but truth be told I've never rode my bike on it.

Back to the Erie Canal, I've biked most of it (from Schenectady to Utica-starting in different places along the route) many times, never beyond that but always wanted to. So I think I will register for the tour this year, I just wanted to know if it can be done on a Hybrid (no need for a fancy road bike), thanks for the feedback.

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Old 05-10-13, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeRides
Thanks for your prompt response. I've heard of the Hudson Valley tour, as a matter of fact a friend is trying to convince me into joining him on that ride this year. He said there were a few hilly spots though, and I'm still trying to get myself into shape so I am horrible on hills (still a rookie). I've been along that route many times in the past, but truth be told I've never rode my bike on it.

Back to the Erie Canal, I've biked most of it (from Schenectady to Utica-starting in different places along the route) many times, never beyond that but always wanted to. So I think I will register for the tour this year, I just wanted to know if it can be done on a Hybrid (no need for a fancy road bike), thanks for the feedback.
Actually, you probably would be unhappy on a road bike for the western section unless you had at least 28mm, and preferably wider tires. It's primarily stone dust, and quite deep in some spots. A hybrid is ideal for the ride - I believe that's what they recommend, actually, though I've used a hybrid and my touring bike with 35mm tires. The western section is by far my favorite, as it's much more rural and you don't spend time with major highways a few hundred feet away. Much more peaceful.

Yep, the Hudson tour is hilly in spots, but overall is not bad. You can see my GPS track ( including elevations ) for last year's tour at:

Day 1:
Albany to Hudson: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/207556823

Day 2:
Hudson to Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/207556808
Aerodrome to Hyde Park: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/207556793

Day 3:
Hyde Park to St. Basils: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/207556785

Day 4:
St. Basils to West Point: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/207556766
West Point to Nyack State Park: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/207556757

Day 5:
Nyack to Brooklyn: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/207556738
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Old 05-11-13, 12:02 PM
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Keep in mind if you use the shuttle from Albany to Buffalo it was $80 last year. We stopped at a highway rest stop and the fast food there was expensive. A couple of nights you're on your own for dinner and lunch is always on your own. On one canal ride the box lunch was $5. many town museums were open to uss fro free and the reset stops were well stocked.
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Old 05-11-13, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bktourer1
Keep in mind if you use the shuttle from Albany to Buffalo it was $80 last year. We stopped at a highway rest stop and the fast food there was expensive. A couple of nights you're on your own for dinner and lunch is always on your own. On one canal ride the box lunch was $5. many town museums were open to uss fro free and the reset stops were well stocked.
I live about half way between Albany and Buffalo, so I'm gonna have a friend drive me out there and pedal home from Albany, so a shuttle won't be necessary. I know lunch isn't included (didn't know about a $5 box lunch though), but that's not a problem for me, I don't usually eat much midday anyway. I talked to a guy at my LBS that did it last year, he said they give you fruit and water at the rest stops which would be fine with me. Plus the point of this bike tour is to tour the towns along the way, trying local cuisines,etc right?
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Old 05-11-13, 07:36 PM
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My sweetheart's teenaged son and I joined the tour last year. It was grand fun! A hybrid bike ought to work great!

They have snack stops set up mid-morning and mid-afternoon. The local town folks along the way are very welcoming. You get to learn a bunch of canal history! Not a difficult ride at all, either. If you want serious challenge, this isn't the ride. But if you want some pleasant riding, go for it!

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