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Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Erie Canal Bike Trail.
 
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camping on the trail
 - 
Bill Mackay from Glasgow Scotland on 01/27/2023 05:58 AM
Good morning all. I am in the process of planning to cycle the canal from Albany to buffalo sometime before the end of Autumn in 2024. I have family in buffalo I am going to visit. My intention is to camp on the trail. As I am flying in with my bike I do not actually want to carry a tent. In the campsites along the trail are there any that offer one night hire of tents.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 01/27/2023 05:18 PM
That's not really a thing here, and certainly not frequently enough to cover you for the whole trip.

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 01/28/2023 04:24 PM
Agree with Bill. I’ve not heard of tent rentals and certainly not in all the small towns you’ll be stopping at. If you’re set on not carrying any gear (or you don’t have a support crew carrying it for you), I would just “credit card camp” and stay at motels/BNB’s.

 
Bill Mackay from Glasgow Scotland on 01/29/2023 06:34 PM
Thanks for both comments fellas, I have plenty of time to plan, so will now look at bed and breakfast along the route and weigh it again st carrying tent and sleeping bag.

Slainte Mhath

 
DK from Fultonville on 01/30/2023 10:42 PM
You may want to buy a tent and sleeping bag in Albany. Then donate it to good will in Buffalo.

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Trip advice
 - 
Dan from Phillipsburg, NJ on 01/20/2023 08:18 PM
Will be first time on this trail. Is it fairly flat the entire way? Looking for best itinerary for 3 days of riding, about 125 miles total. What 125 mile section would you reccomend and where would you start. Better to travel east or west? Did the Gap trail last year and loved it. Any info would be appreciated.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 01/23/2023 10:22 AM
If I had 3 days and wanted to do that distance, I'd start in Buffalo, and ride to Palmyra or Newark.

You are parallel to the old canal, which is so nice, and the towns along the way are great. Lots of older history.

There is also less road riding, and it's fairly flat.

If you have concerns about hills, try to avoid the section between Newark and Weedsport. Some people say it doesn't have hills, but when I was there, I was on hills. I guess it depends on your frame of reference. A lot of it is also on roads.

 
Elevation from Erie Canal Shuttle on 01/25/2023 12:46 PM
If you look through the bikeeriecanal site you will find an elevation chart to help in your planning

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Data discrepancy between the "Mileage Chart" and the .CSV Download
 - 
Gordon in WA from Vancouver, WA on 01/13/2023 12:16 PM
Hello, and thank you for this excellent planning tool> Highly useful and generally excellent quality tool.
I did ‘discover’ what looks like a serious discrepancy in the results using different parts of the Web-tool:
If I use the Mileage Chart and look, for example, at the distance between Buffalo and Medina, the result displayed is 51.4 miles.

If, on the other hand, I use the Trip Planner Tab and download the underlying data ("Download your planner info in Excel-ready CSV format: planner csv file”) the facility farthest along the Trail from Buffalo to Medina is 44.3 miles. That’s a big difference!

So for planning purposes (daily mileage), which number is accurate?

I really appreciate the option to download the full data set of Trail facilities. I’ve used this to create a planning too that really helps us (similar to what we did when planning the GAP-C&O Ride). Once I got the data arranged, I just input the ‘Day number’, and copy that number down until I get to our preferred mileage (~40 miles). Then I increment the Day Number, and repeat.

Anyway, this is overall a great utility. I will look forward to your explanation on why the Mileage Chart doesn’t seem to agree with the downloaded .CSV file.

 
Sarge P from Sarasota, Fl. on 01/13/2023 04:23 PM
This past June 14th, my brother and I began our Erie Canalway Trail bike tour and started from the Hampton Inn in downtown Buffalo. We ended that day at the Hart House Hotel in Medina. My 'Ride With GPS' App showed exactly 51.9 miles. Most of the other daily rides, when compared to the Planning Tool on the website, differed from between 2 and 8 miles, with some being right on the money. I'm not sure how the mileages were calculated, but some of them are not exact and you should be prepared for some discrepancy. All in all, it was a fabulous tour and I plan on doing it again. Have fun!

 
Ray (webmaster) on 01/13/2023 07:58 PM
Hi Gordon, thank you for reaching out about the Trip Planner. I always appreciate anybody pointing out issues with the website like this, so I can get it fixed.

But with this issue I can't reproduce the problem. When I do a trip planner for Buffalo to Medina, the Medina businesses are all showing up with mileage in the low 50's, as they should be. I also tried Medina to Buffalo, and a few other combinations with other towns, but it's all looking correct.

Do you happen to still have the CSV file that you created? If so, could you please email me a copy to ray@bikeeriecanal.com - this might help me see what was going on at the time it was run.

Again, thank you for saying something about this - we'll get to the bottom of it!

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 01/17/2023 03:10 PM
Ray, would this old explanation that you sent me explain the difference? Sorry, you'll have to scroll down a bit.

https://bikeeriecanal.com/talk.aspx?tid=334

 
Ray (webmaster) on 01/17/2023 07:46 PM
Hey Bill, you have a better memory than I do, I had forgotten about that issue!

Thank you for the suggestion - that would have been a good explanation, but it was fixed quite a while ago - all mileage measurements go to the trail's end in Buffalo, so no discrepancies.

It looks like the trip planner is also giving the right mileage. I haven't heard back from Gordon, but all the numbers coming out of the planner are currently correct: 50-ish miles from the trail start in Buffalo to Medina.

Again I appreciate anyone pointing out anything that doesn't look right, but at this point it's all working correctly to the best of my knowledge.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 01/20/2023 11:11 AM
As always, thanks for running a great site, Ray.

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Tire size and type
 - 
Martin from Chesapeake on 07/23/2022 06:42 PM
What would you recommend for tire size and type for the canal trail...riding the full distance.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 07/29/2022 10:18 AM
We have ridden all of our trail miles on 2.0 or 2.2 inch tires, with no flats.

Many people would recommend narrower tires, but then end up with flats.

 
tom from Toronto on 08/14/2022 08:30 AM
We cycled 3 days on 28mm road tires (90 pounds pressure) with paniers on our bikes..no problem on gravel, stones, etc. Our bikes have Armadillo/Gatorskin / kevlar tires (you can still get a flat if you run over a nail or sharp glass).

 
Ed Marrone from SPRINGFIELD on 08/14/2022 10:17 AM
Rode 2x with Schwalb Marathons 700/35. No flats both trips

 
Gordon in WA from Vancouver,WA on 01/13/2023 12:22 PM
Hi! Will be doing the Erie Canal this June. Previously, road the GAP (Twice) and C&O. We use our hybrids with 700c wheels. For the GAP, I upsized the tires to 36mm, but that was mainly for the C&O (which in parts was a mess).
Honestly, it's mainly the Tire - not the width. Schwalbe Marthons are awesome - and 32mm widths should be more than adequate, even with full panniers.

 
Bop from Rochester on 01/14/2023 09:45 AM
While I don't tour the canal, I ride it numerous times a week from spring thru fall, thousands of miles, on 700x25. Of course a wider tire may be more comfortable.

 
Yankee John from Vermont on 01/14/2023 01:04 PM
Have ridden various sections of the trail several times on Schwalbe 32x700 without any major issues. Riding the sections of hard pack during or just after rain gets a little squirrely.

 
Bop from Rochester on 01/14/2023 02:17 PM
The sections east of Brockport between Sweden Walker road bridge and Henpeck park in Greece can be bad after a rain, as mentioned by Yankee John.

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cyclist friendly steakhouses / restaurants
 - 
Bob from Clifton Park NY on 01/07/2023 09:40 AM
Doing the ride from Buffalo to Albany this June and wanted to know if there was info on restaurants that had bike racks to secure our bicycles. Looking for about 4 steakhouses or pubs (on the nicer side ) were our bikes would be secure.

Info on your favorite restaurants along the way would be nice.

 
Old Jimma from the Old Country from Endicott, Maine, Wellssville, Attica, Union Center, Albany, Buffalo, Fredonia, Brocton on 01/07/2023 11:55 AM
Cycling the Erie Canal, Revised Edition: A Guide to 400 Miles of Adventure and History Along the Erie Canalway Trail (Parks & Trails New York)

Available on Amazon... pricy but worth it.

I know of no steak houses located on the canal. Try camping and grilling them yourself.

Did you try researching it on the internet? That may be your best bet.

 
Yankee John from Vermont on 01/09/2023 12:20 PM
Based on a rides in 2019 and 2020, no more recent experience:
There is a steakhouse in Newark on the south side of the river with racks and an outdoor deck and good food.
The is a restaurant at the public boathouse in Utica on the south of the river just east of the interstate overpass that is pricey but is a nice location and good food and bike racks. I noticed it was closed the summer of 2020.
There is also an outdoor beer garden in Utica at the old Utica Club Brewery near the trail that does not have bike racks but lots of spots to lock your bike to a post.
There are two Italian restaurants in Amsterdam a block down the hill from Castle with excellent Italian food. Lorenzo's is next to the trail parking and has outdoor seating. Parillo's is an old family style Italian restaurant and more run down appearing on the outside but the food is good. Neither has bike racks, but there are bike racks at the southern terminus of the new Amsterdam Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge. This unique bridge is a must see attraction.

 
Old Jimma from the Old Country from Endicott, Maine, Wellssville, Attica, Union Center, Albany, Buffalo, Fredonia, Brocton on 01/09/2023 12:56 PM
Thank you for this info! (Especially Utica!)

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 01/09/2023 05:50 PM
I don't remember seeing a single bike rack at a restaurant on the trail.

Google Maps is really good for scouting out restaurants, because it has the ratings and recent reviews. You'll find some great places. Always have a backup, because restaurants come and go quickly sometimes.

 
DK from Fultonville on 01/11/2023 11:45 AM
This one is right on the trail. Bike rack nearby, you can eat out on the patio and keep an eye on your bikes.

https://www.lorenzossouthside.com/

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 01/11/2023 03:56 PM
Thinking of memorable places that we ate at on the trail, I came up with these.

Buffalo
The Dish at Canalside. Hearty food washed down with a Big Ditch Hayburner.

North Tonawanda
My Tomato Pie. The best lemon vinaigrette dressing in the universe on some kind of salad my wife got. And a meatball sandwich.

Medina
Fitzgibbon's Public House. Bangers and mash, or whatever.

Brockport
Barber's Grill and Taproom. Burger and fries at a table out on the sidewalk.

Pittsford
Simply Crepes for dinner.
Ice cream at the dairy.

Weedsport
Lunkenheimer's

Canastota
The Mexican restaurant

Rome
Sugarbeets

Amsterdam
Shorty's



 
Bob T from Clifton Park on 01/12/2023 09:35 AM
Thanks everyone for your input. Ride safe. Bob

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Planning Trip
 - 
Cathy from Churchill from Churchill, PA on 01/05/2023 09:53 PM
I am planning a 3-4 day ride on the Erie Canal Trail this summer. We'll be driving from Churchill, PA, which is about 10 miles east of dowtown Pitttsburgh. My husband will be my support in our car, shuttling me and my bike and our luggage. I would like to bike around 20-25 miles a day. We'll want to stay in B & Bs or hotels/motels. We'd like to have some time to enjoy towns we are staying in. I'll be using this website to help in the planning.

At the moment I'm thinking of driving to Buffalo, enjoy a few sights there. The next day drive to Tonawanda, and start my ride there. Bike to Lockport. Second day bike from Lockport to Medina. The third day bike from Medina to Holley. That would be the end of the trip.

My two questions for now are:

1. Is there one or more books that are helpful for planning Erie Canal biking trips?

2. Any recommendations on an itinerary would be welcome, including a good starting point.


Thanks in advance for your help.

 
Old Jimma from Atlanta on 01/06/2023 04:22 AM
Try to find a copy of the book: Cycling the Erie Canal, Revised Edition: A Guide to 400 Miles of Adventure and History Along the Erie Canalway Trail (Parks & Trails New York) Spiral-bound – August 1, 2015.

I believe it may be out of print, and only used copies are available on Amazon: it is pricey.... but it has all of the detail and info you need. I have a copy.... it is worth it.

You can find the table of contents of that book by clicking on the "Table of Contents" button at https://sunypress.edu/Books/C/Cycling-the-Erie-Canal-Revised-Edition

Biking the canal is a life goal for many people. If you get a copy of this book, you'll be able to pin-point sections of the canal that may be most interesting to you... and just bike those sections... if you have a car and bike rack.

Since you live near Pittsburg, there is another bike trail that you might consider: the bike trail from Fort Erie, Ontario to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario along the Niagara Parkway that goes along the Niagara river starting from the Peace Bridge the links Buffalo to Ft Erie. It is a seldom traveled route... and very, very scenic. It is safe, and there are parking lots along the way to park you car and start biking.... that takes you along the Niagara River on the Canadian side to the Canadian Niagara Falls ... a true wonder of the world... then, to Niagara on the Lake... and then all the way to Lake Ontario. Check it out on Google maps. As long as you are in the area... it is a must-see, must-do sort of thing. THere are many bike rides that are good that aren't along the canal.


I recommend that pricey book, and looking at the https://www.alltrails.com/ web site. The web site is good, but the book is definitive with much more detail.

If the price of the book bothers you, you'll be able to sell it on Ebay with little problem.


 
Cathy from Churchill from Churchill, PA on 01/08/2023 12:27 AM
Thanks, this is very helpful.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 01/09/2023 06:00 PM
This website and Google Maps are great resources.

Your itinerary looks good to me.

In Tonawanda, Niawanda Park looks like a nice starting point, and it lets you see the river, which is cool.

We stayed at a BnB in Medina, but the Hart Hotel would have been preferred, since it's right in town.


 
Cathy from Churchill from Churchill, PA on 01/11/2023 01:16 AM
Thanks Bill, the Hart Hotel in Medina looks like a place we'd enjoy. They even have a Churchill Room!

Have I seen your posts on the bikecando.com site? I love biking there, and will be training for my Erie Canal ride on the Jail Trail.


 
DK from Fultonville on 01/11/2023 11:37 AM
Free Map

https://empiretrail.ny.gov/request-map

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 01/11/2023 03:40 PM
Yes, Cathy, we also rode the GAP portion of C&O and have been active over on that forum. Ray runs good sites. :)

You DEFINITELY need to stay in the Churchill room. :)

If you make it all the way to Holley, Barber's Grill and Taproom would be a great place for a celebration dinner.

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Canal Trip Itinerary
 - 
Bob from Clifton Park NY on 01/08/2023 12:18 PM
Two of us will be riding the trail from Buffalo to Albany with this itinerary. Take bike train from Albany to Buffalo, even though we booked 8 months in advance we got the last 2 bicycle spots. Staying at Buffalo Marriott $$$ due to comfort and their proximity to the train station and trail head. Day 1 ride to Gasport 43.1 miles with a stop in Lockport (34 mi) to tour locks etc. Overnight at Becker Farms Vineyard and Brewery 1.4 miles from trail. Day 2 ride to Rochester 52 miles overnight at Quality Inn 0.4 miles from trail. Day 3 ride to Newark 35 miles stay at Vintage Gardens B&B. Day 4 ride to Syracuse 61 miles overnight at my daughter’s home, wife will visit and we get to see grandson. Day 5 ride to Utica 61 miles Overnight at Days Inn 0.2 miles from trail. Day 6 ride to Amsterdam 66 miles overnight at the Castle $$$$ 0.3 miles from trail. Day 7 ride to Albany 47 miles and I’ll be back home for dinner. Lodging and 2 bike train tickets totaled $1456 split 2 ways = $728 each even if we splurge on meals which we will it is a bargain. Trip distances could have been more balanced but I wanted some specific places to overnight.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 01/09/2023 05:53 PM
Just don't get lost in the Utica Swamp. Getting lost plus 61 miles would be rough.

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Boats on Erie Canal
 - 
Cathy from Churchill from Churchill, PA on 12/31/2022 11:52 PM
I'm hoping to bike part of the Erie Canal Trail this summer. My husband will be my support, shuttling me from trail to hotel, etc. I biked on the Erie Canal Trail several years ago with Wilderness Voyageurs tour company. I remember seeing boats on the canal, they were not very big, appeared to have some type of accomodations on them. Sometimes you'd see one or more bikes on the boat. It appeared to be something people could perhaps rent? Does anyone know about these and who I contact to inquire about one?

PS Is Ray still the webmaster on this site? If so, hi Ray, I used to live in Jefferson City, MO and bike the Katy Trail, then lived in Pittsburgh, and I now live in Churchill, PA (10 miles from dt Pittsburgh). I love these sites, the Bikecando and BikeKatyTrail sites have helped me so much over the years.

 
Bop from Rochester on 01/01/2023 01:04 PM
Are you talking about these? Fairly pricey I believe.
https://eriecanaladventures.com/366-2/

 
Cathy from Churchill from Churchill, PA on 01/01/2023 02:00 PM
Thanks, that is what I was looking for. You're right, they are pricey.

We may end up doing hotels/b&bs for this trip. Maybe down the road I can talk my sisters and daughter into joining us for one of these boat rentals so we can split the cost.


 
Ray (webmaster) on 01/01/2023 02:18 PM
Hi Cathy - glad to hear that you are still enjoying the trails!

Yes I am still running the websites, and have expanded to a handful of additional trails. See https://trailhub.com for a full list.

Happy new year - hope you have a great year of riding the trails!


 
Old Jimma from Atlanta on 01/02/2023 09:24 AM
https://eriecanaladventures.com/

https://eriecanalcruises.com/


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cross country skiing
 - 
Mary Ann from Coudersport, PA on 01/01/2023 12:51 PM
Hello, does anyone know if there are good conditions for cross country skiing anywhere on the trail at this time? Thank you!

 
Old Jimma from the Old Country from Endicott, Maine, Union Center, Albany, Buffalo, Fredonia, Brocton on 01/01/2023 02:18 PM
Golly! That's a hard question to answer! Could it depend on personal tastes and preferences about the weather?

Here is a web page from the NY State Dept of Conservation that describes cross country skiing activities in the state's many parks: https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/353.html

You may be well advised to focused on that page's info for Regions 6,7,8, and 9... since they cover geographic areas that the canal runs thru. Also, you might be able to use info on those pages to identify areas that pertain more specifically to where the canal is.

I think weather in NYS has changed somewhat over the past 50 years... that may be described as being more variable with greater extrenes,,, with perhaps even greater severe snow storms and sudden "corrections" in winter temperatures that would not be good for XC skiing. Probably best to do a little research on daily temperatures for the locations you are interested in... that can be found with a little effort on the National Weather Service web site.

Good luck and have fun!

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amtrak in albany
 - 
LIJgirl from Georgia on 12/16/2022 01:16 PM
How do you get from the terminus of the canalway in Albany to the train station. Can you bike it? Many thanks!

 
Yankee Johh from VT on 12/19/2022 12:26 PM
search the forum for Dunn Memorial Bridge, the post there describes how to get to the station.

 
LIJgirl from Georgia on 12/31/2022 09:23 AM
Thank you!

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