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Old 03-16-17, 07:07 PM   #1
StoneFence
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Erie Canal Tour

Has anyone ever done this? There is a supported, 8 day ride in July. I'm sure it can be done without the support, if you have experience planning this type of stuff. It's not in the cards for this year, but it sounds really nifty.

Thanks for any input!
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Old 03-16-17, 07:31 PM   #2
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Check out Adventure Cycling Association's forum. IIRC, there is a thread about the organized tour.
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Old 03-16-17, 07:57 PM   #3
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I have done part of the route. I will likely never do it again as I was bored out of my mind. I it is basically one long boring ditch.

Only two conditions I would do it again.

1. A supported tour with a historian. I can imagine that would be interesting as I will bet there are a lot of stories to be told about life on the canal.

2. Spend more time in each of the little towns along the way. They truly are wonderful and well worth exploring.
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Old 03-16-17, 08:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
I have done part of the route. I will likely never do it again as I was bored out of my mind. I it is basically one long boring ditch.

Only two conditions I would do it again.

1. A supported tour with a historian. I can imagine that would be interesting as I will bet there are a lot of stories to be told about life on the canal.

2. Spend more time in each of the little towns along the way. They truly are wonderful and well worth exploring.
Heh.

I'm thinking about riding in the Canal area this year, and recently collected a bunch of web links--see below.

But yeah, without actually having ridden it, the trail does appear to just follow the canal, with a narrow strip of trees alongside on a lot of it. I think I'd rather take a road bike and ride in the area, hitting some of the interesting towns along the way.

Lockport looks interesting, with canal locks and museums.
I've been through Geneva and Seneca Falls, both are well worth a visit. The old cut stone masonry of all the warehouse and factory buildings is interesting.
And I'd like to visit the south end of the Finger Lakes region, too.
I haven't even looked at Rochester NY yet, but there's got to be lots to do there.

Cycle The Erie Canal supported ride
It's about 50 miles a day.
The Itinerary page lists a lot of things to see and do along the route. So it's useful even if you are doing your own route.

Canalway
The cycling Interactive Map is useful, showing which parts of the trail are paved, and local "starred" features as you zoom in.

Here's the Canalway web site page on locks and bridges.
It looks like the small sections of original canal are the most interesting, but there's not much left.
There are abandoned locks in SW Ohio, make from large blocks of cut limestone. Locks are cool.

The Canalway links to nearby loop routes that look good, on their cycling page.

Strava Heat Map
Here's the western end, near Lockport--click Toggle Labels to see the town and road names. The dark red lines are the most popular roads/trails for cyclists, based on a year of GPS ride uploads to Strava. And I also use it to avoid the faint blue roads near red roads--those are often busy roads.

The canal trail shows up clearly, NE out of Lockport, for instance. But there's a lot of other roads in the area that would be nice riding.


Google Maps
on the left side menu, select Bicycling and select Earth, to see the trail in solid green:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg canalway.JPG (94.8 KB, 103 views)

Last edited by rm -rf; 03-16-17 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 03-16-17, 11:28 PM   #5
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I did the supported ride a few years ago and it was a great ride. It was very organized. Excellent breakfast every morning and +/-5 great dinners. A few were huge barbeques put on by the towns. Every morning a local gave a talk about the area's history during breakfast. People were friendly and I'm considering it for this July again.
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Old 03-17-17, 07:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneFence View Post
Has anyone ever done this? There is a supported, 8 day ride in July. I'm sure it can be done without the support, if you have experience planning this type of stuff. It's not in the cards for this year, but it sounds really nifty.

Thanks for any input!
Yes, we did the Erie canal in two summers.
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/ErieCanalWest2010

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/8220

We intentionally overlapped with the PNY organized ride you are referring to just to have more company on the trail. Its easy to plan your own ride, we used B&Bs & hotels which takes a little more planning, but is still easy. I enjoyed riding the canal, but some find it boring, it depends on what you like. I did find that some of the small towns are rather dead, depending on how close they are to the nearest Walmart I guess.

If you don't mind camping after a day of riding, then I'd say go with the tour, it sounds like a lot of fun with a group of people. We met a number of the folks on the tour at the B&Bs who alternated between camping & lodging.
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Old 03-17-17, 07:18 AM   #7
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I rode a section of the Canal on my Northern Tier tour, self-supported. I loved it. I specifically enjoyed camping in one of the formal campgrounds with some boaters. The restroom was cleaner than many motel rooms I've stayed at. I was also surprised to see Joseph Smith's farmhouse, the one he mortgaged to publish the Book of Mormon, in Palmyra. I was expecting a boring, buggy ditch, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Sorry I can't help with logistics as it was just part of a longer ride, but from what I saw it's worth doing.
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Old 03-17-17, 08:14 AM   #8
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Erie canal thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
I have done part of the route. I will likely never do it again as I was bored out of my mind. I it is basically one long boring ditch.

Only two conditions I would do it again.

1. A supported tour with a historian. I can imagine that would be interesting as I will bet there are a lot of stories to be told about life on the canal.

2. Spend more time in each of the little towns along the way. They truly are wonderful and well worth exploring.
Good suggestions. I rode the entire Buffalo to Albany route with a detour to Niagara falls, Canada side, in 2015. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but as this quoted reply says, it can be boring compared to other bike trails. An organized tour (I rode solo) would probably include interesting commentary from leaders. I,too, would like to return to many of the small towns and spend more time putzing around them. Little towns along the route are very pretty. The trail is very nice and the road sections very safe, with very wide, clean shoulders. Camping options are very limited unless stealth camping or sweet talking property owners into allowing you to camp.
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Old 03-17-17, 07:03 PM   #9
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The Erie Canal is my backyard

Originally I'm from Rochester and now I live near Albany. I travel along the canal to visit family. I thought I would like a closer look at the canal and the towns around it.
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