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Erie Canal Bike Tour. A great 5 day ride.

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Erie Canal Bike Tour. A great 5 day ride.

Old 01-26-20, 09:43 PM
  #1  
smudgy
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Erie Canal Bike Tour. A great 5 day ride.

The Erie Canal is a legendary route that connects Buffalo and Albany, New York. The canal/trail goes through lots of cozy little towns that date back to the 1810's. I parked in Lockport for 6 nights and rode the towpath to Albany. I took the Amtrak train back to Buffalo to pick up my car. This was my 3rd short tour of the summer of 2019. I made a video, I hope you LIKE it! Please leave a comment. See my other 2 videos; Natchez Trace Parkway and Ohio to Erie Trail. I call it bike touring, but I also call it Freedom.

Last edited by smudgy; 01-26-20 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 01-27-20, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by smudgy View Post
The Erie Canal is a legendary route that connects Buffalo and Albany, New York. The canal/trail goes through lots of cozy little towns that date back to the 1810's. I parked in Lockport for 6 nights and rode the towpath to Albany. I took the Amtrak train back to Buffalo to pick up my car. This was my 3rd short tour of the summer of 2019. I made a video, I hope you LIKE it! Please leave a comment. See my other 2 videos; Natchez Trace Parkway and Ohio to Erie Trail. I call it bike touring, but I also call it Freedom. https://youtu.be/apkmUwMEbCA
Very nice route and video.
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Old 01-27-20, 09:46 AM
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Great video. Loved the commentary, kinda funny while informative. It kept me watching the whole video.
Are you flying the drone for those shots?

Trivia question for the forum: How many times does Smudgy say "Erie Canal" n the video?
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Old 01-27-20, 10:45 AM
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Great video, fun and well produced...and then some! I'm from Rochester and went to school in Spencerport. Grew up with the canal always nearby and fished in it all the time as a kid.
Now live in Atlanta but would love to go back and do this ride. Thanks for sharing that with us!
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Old 01-27-20, 12:31 PM
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The Erie Canal is a great route: itís scenic; flat; has great transport links ; and good free camping at many of the locks as well as plenty of motels on route Iíve done it a couple of times. For the first one I rode from Boston up to Albany and picked up the Canal path to Buffalo and Niagara Falls. I then took the Amtrak back to Boston which was lots of fun too and transporting the bike on the train was cheap and easy.
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Old 01-27-20, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Trivia question for the forum: How many times does Smudgy say "Erie Canal" n the video?
You could make a drinking game out of it.
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Old 01-28-20, 07:32 AM
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I rode part of the Erie Canal on my Northern Tier ride. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. I stayed at one of the free campgrounds for boaters and trail users, and I thought the restroom was cleaner than many of the motels I'd stayed in.
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Old 01-28-20, 07:52 AM
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Noticed the variety of surfaces and am wondering what tires you had on and how happy you were with them.
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Old 01-28-20, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by spinconn View Post
Noticed the variety of surfaces and am wondering what tires you had on and how happy you were with them.
I did it with 25mm Gatorskins. They were just fine as the towpath surface is pretty smooth crushed limestone and there are some road sections.
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Old 01-28-20, 10:25 AM
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I rode the entire trail a couple of years ago with my standard 32 mm, They worked fine and felt nothing wider was needed.
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Old 01-28-20, 12:37 PM
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Easily one of the best, most-engaging ride videos I have ever seen. But now I feel like I don't have to do the Erie Canal ride. I've already done it, from the comfort of my office chair!

OP, you haven't answered the question about the drone shots. Did you shoot those, or are they some kind of stock footage? And did shooting video take away from your enjoyment of the ride itself?
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Old 01-28-20, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by spinconn View Post
Noticed the variety of surfaces and am wondering what tires you had on and how happy you were with them.
I ride on Schwalbe Marathon 32's. I'm very happy with them. They're good on pavement and crushed stone, like a rail trail. They're too thin for serious dirt trails. For some small sections, probably less that 1% of the entire route, the trail became what they call 'natural surface' . Basically mud. I was lucky it stayed dry, but on a rainy day the 'natural surface' trail sections looked like they could get real sloppy. Had it been sloppy I would have just kept trudging through or bailed onto Bike Route 5, a paved route shared by cars but parallels the canal.
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Old 01-28-20, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
Easily one of the best, most-engaging ride videos I have ever seen. But now I feel like I don't have to do the Erie Canal ride. I've already done it, from the comfort of my office chair!

OP, you haven't answered the question about the drone shots. Did you shoot those, or are they some kind of stock footage? And did shooting video take away from your enjoyment of the ride itself?
Thanks for the nice comments, but you need to go ride it anyway so you can see the video I didn't do with all the shots I didn't take. Huh? ... How about those drone shots? I only use my own shots. The music isn't mine. I try to be very discrete about flying the drone, so how about let's "icksh-nay on the one-dray" , wink wink. LOL. But seriously, some people are uncomfortable around drones and honestly in some places it might not exactly be permitted. I have a license with the FAA, but there are many restrictions. Some of my shots look like drone shots, but they are actually stills with motion added in the editing process. I've been touring since 1981 and have over 35,000 miles in, so I'm not new to touring. But I'm new at making videos about them. So, yes it takes time during the tour to shoot video. To make a better video I have to commit to taping myself talking (awkward) everyday and finding anything interesting to shoot along the way. That's probably why I ride solo, because it would get real annoying for others, quickly. I enjoy it very much. It forces me to be more aware of stuff and now I have an awesome record of my trip. Thanks again, and if you haven't already, be sure to check out my Natchez Trace video and Ohio to Erie video.
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Old 01-28-20, 08:35 PM
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Nice. Saw some familiar sights, like the trail section in Medina where my little, action camera bounced out of my bag and into the ravine.
We did a much smaller section this summer: Buffalo to Lockport, then got a shuttle to Newark and worked our way back to Lockport. Knowing about the option to take a train back to Buffalo makes me want to try that. Video looks great.
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Old 01-28-20, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by spinconn View Post
Noticed the variety of surfaces and am wondering what tires you had on and how happy you were with them.
I've done the western 180 or so miles of the towpath twice, once on 26x1.25 and once on 26x1.5. I preferred the wider tires. I'm currently wondering how wide a 700c tire I can shoehorn into one of our tandems.....
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Old 01-29-20, 10:37 AM
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On my trip, I did not cover the easterly, muddy stuff that smudge saw, but did have some hardpack and asphalt, and rode along the Niagara River while going from Buffalo to Lockport on some poorly-maintained city MUPs. I brought my folding bike with something like 20 x 35 tires. I brought it because I could pack it in a smaller case and avoid airline fees, and the bike handled the trip fine, but by the end of the trip I realized I would have been happier paying the airline fees in exchange for my plusher, 26 x 2.3 tires on my full sized bike. But that's what I ride most days, no matter what surface. My wife is on 700 x 40, I think, and she had no complaints. I'm sure if I was accustomed to riding my folding bike long distances, I wouldn't have minded, but lately I've been of the mindset to go as wide as practical, no matter what the surface, and I've been pretty happy with that even when I stick to pavement.
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Old 01-29-20, 05:44 PM
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I wish I had better records of my most "epic" rides. I just never have patience to stop and take photos, let alone stage and shoot video. That's why I asked about whether getting the shots and thinking about how they will later fit together hinders your enjoyment of the rides. I have worked in audio and video production for many years, so I know what it took to make such a captivating presentation. I'm glad you were able to enjoy the ride while planning your shots.
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Old 01-29-20, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
I wish I had better records of my most "epic" rides. I just never have patience to stop and take photos, let alone stage and shoot video. That's why I asked about whether getting the shots and thinking about how they will later fit together hinders your enjoyment of the rides. I have worked in audio and video production for many years, so I know what it took to make such a captivating presentation. I'm glad you were able to enjoy the ride while planning your shots.
You should know that there’s a YouTube site called “The Bicycle Touring Pro”, Darren Allf is his name, has been bike touring around the world for 20 years now, took to doing extensive video of his rides a few years back. I’ve watched a lot of his stuff, it’s all enjoyable and one of the key aspects is that he spends a HUGE amount of time making these videos. On-bike shots and narration, ride by shots, drone shots, camera on the fork shots, etc..... and then has to edit and distribute. Battery management alone is a FT job.

After a few hundred videos he last year and while in southern France had a bit of a melt down and announced he was just tired (on that trip) of having to deal with doing videos, was stopping any recording and was just going to compete his ride to Barcelona.

Note that he has essentially created a business of bike touring and the videos on YT, as well as his books and how-to videos you can buy, is how he makes a living, His not video’ing his trip was essentially a wake-up call that his tours were WORK and that he essentially needed a vacation from work.

I know I would have zero interest in documenting to the extent I see others do and would rather enjoy the trip for what it is. OTOH I immensely enjoy the videos I have watched of some of these trips, with drone use a new and really useful aspect of what we see of the region a tour is taking place. Would I carry a drone ?. No, but I’m thankful for the effort of others who have.

Last edited by Steve B.; 01-29-20 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 01-30-20, 06:07 AM
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Wow, beautiful! Thanks for posting!
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Old 01-30-20, 07:24 PM
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Great video. I did the ride E to W last July, so it was neat to see it in reverse. The western half is nicer then the eastern . The signage could be better. It would also be nice if there were milage signs. Rochester had the nicest greenway to get through town.
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Old 01-31-20, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
We did a much smaller section this summer: Buffalo to Lockport, then got a shuttle to Newark and worked our way back to Lockport. Knowing about the option to take a train back to Buffalo makes me want to try that.
I started in Lockport, east of Buffalo, because the motel there let me park my car for 6 days. So I didn't ride past Niagara Falls. If I ever do the Erie canal again I would consider parking in Albany at the train station. They let you park there for up to something like 7 days, for a small fee of course. But it's safe. Take the train (with bike) to Buffalo and ride to Albany and finish at my car. Do the train ride at the front end. You can roll the bike on in Albany, but the down side is that the train doesn't arrive in Buffalo until midnight. There is an earlier train, but they won't let you roll on. I didn't ask, but I think you can box it up and check it as baggage on the earlier train. You may have to bring your own box (BYOB). That way you could include Niagara

I drove by so I wouldn't miss it. A trip to NW NY is incomplete without a trip to Niagara

Last edited by smudgy; 02-02-20 at 08:29 PM. Reason: misspelling
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Old 02-02-20, 05:18 PM
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Nice job on the video! I've had the route on my to-do list for years, the video was great to help me visualize it. Maybe this summer...
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Old 02-02-20, 09:14 PM
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i am hoping to ride this route sometime soon before my son moves out of Albany after he finishes his studies. I hope to park at his apartment, take the train to buffalo and bike back to Albany.... hopefully my son will join me. Thanks for the video! ;-)
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Old 02-03-20, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by smudgy View Post
I started in Lockport, east of Buffalo, because the motel there let me park my car for 6 days. So I didn't ride past Niagara Falls. If I ever do the Erie canal again I would consider parking in Albany at the train station. They let you park there for up to something like 7 days, for a small fee of course. But it's safe. Take the train (with bike) to Buffalo and ride to Albany and finish at my car. Do the train ride at the front end. You can roll the bike on in Albany, but the down side is that the train doesn't arrive in Buffalo until midnight. There is an earlier train, but they won't let you roll on. I didn't ask, but I think you can box it up and check it as baggage on the earlier train. You may have to bring your own box (BYOB). That way you could include Niagara
Yeah, we didn't drive, and were meeting another couple in Lockport (they were able to leave their car parked where we met our shuttle, behind the visitor's center, I think.), so we were able to ride from Buffalo to Lockport, and catch that little stretch of canal trail between Lockport and the Niagra. But that trip of the New York side of the Niagra was not well-maintained. It was way more pleasant at the end of the trip where we crossed into Canada, spent a night near the falls, and biked back to Buffalo on the Canadian side of the river. I was definitely glad we padded the trip to include the Falls, but then we only got to ride half of the canal trail. If I ever do it as a camping trip, I may have to look into that train option, although since I would likely be flying in, I could likely fly into one town and out of another. But packing is easier if you can leave your packing stuff near where you start and come back for them later.
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Old 02-03-20, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by smudgy View Post
You could make a drinking game out of it.
For the trivia buffs, having been forewarned, I counted “Erie Canal” 31 times and “canal” a mere 23 times. Bonus points given for anyone who can also count “towpath.” Be careful if you turn this into a drinking game. All kidding aside, nice video, nice music and, let’s just say, good narration. I plan to ride it at some point, and could ride either way.
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