Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Erie Canal

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Erie Canal

Old 03-08-16, 11:46 AM
  #1  
Squeezebox
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 2,077
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 760 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Erie Canal

I've done some looking for info about the Erie Canal trail. All I found was buy the guide book on the websites. So I did. Crazy guy said stealth camping is possible, but be extra careful. Is there anywhere else I should look? Or do you have info for me?
Thanks!!
Squeezebox is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 11:54 AM
  #2  
nun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,589

Bikes: Rivendell Quickbeam, Rivendell Rambouillet, Rivendell Atlantis, Circle A town bike, De Rosa Neo Primato, Cervelo RS

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 141 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 20 Posts
Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
I've done some looking for info about the Erie Canal trail. All I found was buy the guide book on the websites. So I did. Crazy guy said stealth camping is possible, but be extra careful. Is there anywhere else I should look? Or do you have info for me?
Thanks!!
There is free camping at many of the locks and motels are plentiful.
nun is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 11:55 AM
  #3  
robow
Senior Member
 
robow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,559
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 433 Post(s)
Liked 128 Times in 90 Posts
If you want to do it via an organized ride, there is always the New York Parks and Trails annual Erie Canal Ride which would eliminate your need for stealth camping.

Parks & Trails New York :: Annual Bike Tour
robow is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 11:59 AM
  #4  
TheLibrarian
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Hudson Valley, New York
Posts: 480

Bikes: 2014 Giant Roam

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 84 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Seems pretty straightforward, some say you actually can camp at the lochs after calling the loch operator and asking. Fairly straight trail, NYS has info about it on a stateparks website.
TheLibrarian is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 12:01 PM
  #5  
VT_Speed_TR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vermont
Posts: 747
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Did you buy the guide book from the NY State Parks Dept? That just about covers it. There are Trail sides along roads when the towpath isn't availble for riding. I've done the western half, from Buffalo to just before Syracuse. I didn't really see any great places to stealth camp, but there are campsites along the trail in some towns for use by bikers & boaters. Lots of open farmland along the trail, but I wasn't really seeking out those places to camp. After Syracuse (heading east), the "trail" actually does a far amount of road riding and isn't too near the open canal from what the guidebook shows. Also, the towns in that section didn't seem to have lots of services. The trail from Schenectady to Albany is very interesting, riding along the Mohawk River then along the Hudson. I've ridden the section the joining of those rivers, south, and its a nice ride, but very busy on weekends with all the Albany folks out riding & enjoying the parks.
VT_Speed_TR is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 12:15 PM
  #6  
mantelclock
Senior Moment
 
mantelclock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 188

Bikes: Velo Orange Campeur, 1976 Motobecane Grand Touring

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
When I rode across NY a few years ago with my son, we found SR 31, which follows the canal for much of the length, to be a much better surface to ride on. Not much traffic and beautiful scenery. We stayed at a couple of the biker / boater campsites, which were very nice. Basically, NYS Bike route 5.
mantelclock is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 12:31 PM
  #7  
EriktheFish
Silly Party Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: NH
Posts: 345

Bikes: Rans Stratus XP

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rode from Albany to Niagra Falls a few years back on the Erie Canal Trail and were able to camp at the locks. Most let us use their shower.
EriktheFish is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 01:32 PM
  #8  
Squeezebox
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 2,077
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 760 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanks!! But sounds like the book was worth buying. Anything to say about groceries, or other sources of food?
Squeezebox is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 01:40 PM
  #9  
Lt Stonez
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Skien Norway
Posts: 425

Bikes: Specialized Sirrus Comp Carbon Disc '14

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
Thanks!! But sounds like the book was worth buying. Anything to say about groceries, or other sources of food?
Do you have some pics of your new bike? The trek 920???
Lt Stonez is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 01:44 PM
  #10  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 30,283
Mentioned: 199 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13306 Post(s)
Liked 5,952 Times in 3,053 Posts
Originally Posted by mantelclock View Post
When I rode across NY a few years ago with my son, we found SR 31, which follows the canal for much of the length, to be a much better surface to ride on.
Sounds like my experience. When I did ACA's Northern Tier tour in '99 we left Niagara Falls, ONT, hit the trail at Lockport and spent the night in the dorms at SUNY Brockport. At that time, the trail surface was really unpleasant in places. Some of us ended up getting off and riding the roads. Not sure which ones we took. We just knew we wanted off.

The next day we continued on the trail to east of Rochester before leaving the trail (at Fairport maybe) and heading up to Lake Ontario. I found the trail mind numbing. My most recent long trail experience was the Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills. If that's a 10 scenery-wise the portion of the Erie Canal I did is about a 3 or 4.

OP: No. You may not legally camp along the Mickelson.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 01:53 PM
  #11  
mantelclock
Senior Moment
 
mantelclock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 188

Bikes: Velo Orange Campeur, 1976 Motobecane Grand Touring

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
In 2013, the condition of the trail was all over the place, from perfect to sand trap. We both had decent tires for touring, but parts of that trail really required off road tires.
mantelclock is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 01:56 PM
  #12  
dbg
Si Senior
 
dbg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Naperville, Illinois
Posts: 2,669

Bikes: Too Numerous (not)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
I talked briefly with someone who did an organized Erie Canal tour. It sounded too tame for what I would want (I want more effort or higher miles than it sounded like they were doing).

Now I know this will sound weird but I've always wanted to do the actual canal on a boat that is bicycle powered. I figure two riding stations where bikes can be clicked into a propeller drive system; maybe a lightweight pontoon setup with a coverable deck area. Bikes can be extracted for some exploration of towns or local sights.
dbg is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 02:04 PM
  #13  
mantelclock
Senior Moment
 
mantelclock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 188

Bikes: Velo Orange Campeur, 1976 Motobecane Grand Touring

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by dbg View Post
I talked briefly with someone who did an organized Erie Canal tour. It sounded too tame for what I would want (I want more effort or higher miles than it sounded like they were doing).

Now I know this will sound weird but I've always wanted to do the actual canal on a boat that is bicycle powered. I figure two riding stations where bikes can be clicked into a propeller drive system; maybe a lightweight pontoon setup with a coverable deck area. Bikes can be extracted for some exploration of towns or local sights.

Something like this?

mantelclock is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 02:46 PM
  #14  
robow
Senior Member
 
robow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,559
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 433 Post(s)
Liked 128 Times in 90 Posts
Originally Posted by mantelclock View Post

OK, what am I missing here, I don't see any paddle? attached to the rear wheel, how is the drive created? By what is on the front wheel?
robow is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 02:58 PM
  #15  
mulveyr 
Senior Member
 
mulveyr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: In the wilds of NY
Posts: 1,567

Bikes: Box Dog Pelican, Raleigh Sojourn, Specialized Secteur, 1991 Cannondale tandem

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 39 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
Thanks!! But sounds like the book was worth buying. Anything to say about groceries, or other sources of food?
I've done the Buffalo to Albany ride on my own a couple of times. Simply because of the history of the canal, you're never more than 10 miles or so from the next town large enough to have at least a convenience store, or more often, a full blown grocery. Access to food is of no concern whatsoever.

For camping, you can always stay at the locks ( though some are in the middle of towns, so might be less pleasant because of noise, etc. ) and often at tended bridges. There are dedicated free camp areas at Holley, Middleport, Brockport, and Newark that offer bathrooms and showers. Holley is my favorite--it has a lovely park. As mentioned elsewhere, the western part is more rural, so you wouldn't have any issue finding a stealth spot, but once you get east of Rome you're hitting more urban areas, and mostly on-road riding, so you might want to check for paid campgrounds if you're in the mood for a shower.

The last couple of years there's been a ton of work done on the path--both in terms of extending the off-road sections, and rebuilding the existing ones. It really sucked in a bunch of places a few years ago, but is now is pretty good condition. I did Buffalo to Rochester last year and it was pretty much perfect.

It can however get a little tedious sometimes because it's often miles and miles of nothing but the canal to one side of you and trees to the other, so as mentioned, going on-road to bike route 5 may be a good idea.

All in all though, I love the ride; it's incredibly relaxing.
__________________
Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.
mulveyr is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 03:09 PM
  #16  
mantelclock
Senior Moment
 
mantelclock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 188

Bikes: Velo Orange Campeur, 1976 Motobecane Grand Touring

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by robow View Post
OK, what am I missing here, I don't see any paddle? attached to the rear wheel, how is the drive created? By what is on the front wheel?
explained at the website. It must be hell against a headwind.

Shuttle Bike
mantelclock is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 03:12 PM
  #17  
jsjcat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 209

Bikes: 2013 Trek Madone 4.5, 2013 Trek Domane 4.3, 2009 Trek FX 7.6

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by robow View Post
If you want to do it via an organized ride, there is always the New York Parks and Trails annual Erie Canal Ride which would eliminate your need for stealth camping.

Parks & Trails New York :: Annual Bike Tour
robow,
Have you done this ride before? The wife and I are thinking about it next year.

jsjcat
jsjcat is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 03:26 PM
  #18  
mulveyr 
Senior Member
 
mulveyr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: In the wilds of NY
Posts: 1,567

Bikes: Box Dog Pelican, Raleigh Sojourn, Specialized Secteur, 1991 Cannondale tandem

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 39 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by jsjcat View Post
robow,
Have you done this ride before? The wife and I are thinking about it next year.

jsjcat
I haven't done it, but I did the 2012 Hudson Valley tour wth my 11-year-old, which was run by P&TNY as well. I spoke to many people on that tour who had also done the Erie tour; every single person thought that they were very, very well done.

I was extremely pleased as well. The rest stops were always well staffed and supplied, cue sheets were spot-on ( more important for the Hudson tour, since it's nearly impossible to get lost on the Erie Canal ;-) ), and all of the staff and volunteers were top-notch. I really can't recommend the group highly enough.
__________________
Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.
mulveyr is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 03:45 PM
  #19  
robow
Senior Member
 
robow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,559
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 433 Post(s)
Liked 128 Times in 90 Posts
Originally Posted by jsjcat View Post
robow,
Have you done this ride before? The wife and I are thinking about it next year.
Not yet but I have a friend who wants to get into bike touring (heck of a cyclist) and wants to start out with a little more hand holding, ie a more organized/supported tour so we are going to be participating in that ride this July. I would normally prefer to do it unsupported but I'm sure it will be fine and they now have a shuttle back to Buffalo so we don't even have to concern ourselves with the return trip. Check back with me at the end of July and I'll give you the scoop but everything I've read sounds like it is very well organized (maybe too well organized-ha)
robow is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 07:40 PM
  #20  
tarwheel 
Senior Member
 
tarwheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 8,900

Bikes: Waterford RST-22, Bob Jackson World Tour, Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Soma Saga, De Bernardi SL, Specialized Sequoia

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 196 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
I'm riding the Erie Canal trail from Buffalo to Albany in August with 3 friends. I ordered the guidebook from NY parks and it's worth it. We are softies and are sharing hotel rooms along the way. The guidebook was very helpful in deciding where to stay each day.
tarwheel is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 07:55 PM
  #21  
jsjcat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 209

Bikes: 2013 Trek Madone 4.5, 2013 Trek Domane 4.3, 2009 Trek FX 7.6

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by robow View Post
Not yet but I have a friend who wants to get into bike touring (heck of a cyclist) and wants to start out with a little more hand holding, ie a more organized/supported tour so we are going to be participating in that ride this July. I would normally prefer to do it unsupported but I'm sure it will be fine and they now have a shuttle back to Buffalo so we don't even have to concern ourselves with the return trip. Check back with me at the end of July and I'll give you the scoop but everything I've read sounds like it is very well organized (maybe too well organized-ha)
Will do.
jsjcat is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 07:57 PM
  #22  
2wd3500
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
robow I will be doing the tour this July as well. I will be one of the volunteers this year.
2wd3500 is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 08:38 PM
  #23  
Squeezebox
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 2,077
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 760 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Lt Stonez View Post
Do you have some pics of your new bike? The trek 920???
Ran into a couple of slow downs. Mechanic was sick, then my guy at the LBS took a long weekend. Now it's how to get it home, it won't fit in my car. Should be by the end of the week.
Squeezebox is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 08:52 PM
  #24  
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,540

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3391 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 45 Posts
Originally Posted by robow View Post
If you want to do it via an organized ride, there is always the New York Parks and Trails annual Erie Canal Ride which would eliminate your need for stealth camping.

Parks & Trails New York :: Annual Bike Tour

I would highly recommend an organized ride. IMHO the trail itself is BORING. One mile is pretty much like the next, with the exception of a number of wonderful small towns. A narrated ride might be kind of interesting. Another idea to make the trip worth it is to spend time in some of the small towns. They are worth the extra time.

Disclaimer: I have only done the trail from Buffalo to Rochester but it is my understanding that things don't get much better after Rochester.

Last edited by spinnaker; 03-08-16 at 08:56 PM.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 09:05 PM
  #25  
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,540

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3391 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 45 Posts
Originally Posted by robow View Post
Not yet but I have a friend who wants to get into bike touring (heck of a cyclist) and wants to start out with a little more hand holding, ie a more organized/supported tour so we are going to be participating in that ride this July. I would normally prefer to do it unsupported but I'm sure it will be fine and they now have a shuttle back to Buffalo so we don't even have to concern ourselves with the return trip. Check back with me at the end of July and I'll give you the scoop but everything I've read sounds like it is very well organized (maybe too well organized-ha)
If you want to stop here (or actually my new place) on the way up you are welcome. Buffalo is about 3.5 hours drive from here. There are a few warmshowers hosts in Buffalo where you can leave your car. Albion is an easy afternoon ride from there. There a miserable but clean little motel there.
spinnaker is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.