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Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Erie Canal Bike Trail.
 
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Canajoharie
 - 
biker on 03/31/2020 05:26 PM
Is the Erie Canal Bike Trail paved? Is it appropriate for road bikes?

 
wnybubba on 04/01/2020 11:55 AM
Its mixed - paved and hard packed crush stone with some off trail sections on paved secondary roads. Here's a nice look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODe2OvBQtMo


Questions about a solo ride Buffalo-Albany
 - 
Tony from Michigan on 03/03/2020 11:58 AM
Hi all. I'm planning to ride the canal solo some time in the summer or maybe fall of 2020, and have a list of questions. My tentative plan is to have my wife drop me in Buffalo, and meet me in Albany when I get there. So - questions:

- What's a typical daily mileage? I've done road tours before, like the Dalmac, where we averaged about 60 miles a day. The longest was 85 in flat country, and maybe 40 in hilly areas. That was on the road bike, though. I've also done 2 centuries on that bike. Because most of the canal trail is off pavement, I'm planning to ride my mountain bike. I'm hoping to do maybe 50 miles a day, which would let me complete the ride in about 7 days. I'm not the fastest rider on the route, and don't need to be, but I'm comfortable with the "just keep peddling" approach. I also plan to do a little sightseeing and geocaching along the way, so I figure I'll have 6-9 hours a day riding or at least traveling.

- I plan to travel light, and find a place to stay each night. I'm thinking either motel/hotels, or AirBNBs. Has someone else done this, and how did it work? I haven't stayed at AirBNBs before, but I've done VRBOs, which is similar. Are the hosts OK with staying a single night, on short notice? I expect I'd probably try to find a place to stay based on where I'm at around noon or early afternoon, how much distance I've covered so far that day, what the weather looks like, where the upcoming towns are, etc.

- How hilly is the canal trail? It follows the water, so I expect most of the trail will be fairly flat in those sections. Are there many hills at locks, or where the trail goes thru town?

- Does anyone have any sources to find out about typical weather in upstate NY? I'm retired, so I'm OK with checking the long range forecast and deciding to go at the last minute. But it would be nice to know a bit about what's typical or likely.

- What other questions should I ask? What things am I not thinking of? I've done about 10 multi-day rides before, but they were all organized by a group that puts these on regularly, and I just had to show up with a bike. This is my first solo ride.

 
Bop from Rochester on 03/03/2020 01:20 PM
The canal tour is fifty miles a day with children riding along. I generally ride 22 miles in a hour and a half.

 
John from Pittsburgh on 03/03/2020 11:47 PM
Erie Canal is an excellent choice for a solo tour. I did the organized Cycle the Erie Canal trip put on by PTNY but have read about many solo tours and such on various bike tour forums. Cross country cyclists on the Northern Tier use this route also. I’d check PTNY’s site for the event as they have a cool interactive map with the route.

Prepare for 50-60 miles a day and flat crushed stone dust trail. Buffalo to Albany direction the locks will go downhill but they’re not that big to be honest. A few sections have been lost forever to time so you’ll detour onto roads but they were lightly travelled and not hilly at all. Ample towns to eat/camp/hotel in, all spaced nicely apart.

Weather in upstate NY is typical NE weather in summer. Hot days and cooler nights but expect humidity. Prep for a day or two of rain, you just never know.

AirBnB hosts should be fine with one night as I’m sure they’re in tune with what touring cyclists need, likely being a major portion of their business but contact them to be sure.

 
wnybubba from Allegany Co on 03/04/2020 03:31 PM
Good info above for you, however the PTNY event is a group event with full support, so overnight info will not offered. AirB&B and VRBO are nearly the same with the thought that, in general, an AirB&B situation will anticipate a shorter stay than VRBO. Often cleaning costs are added so make sure you understand any additional charges that may apply. Don't forget to check out Hostel type offerings as they are good for one-night stays and no-frill. Expect weather much like Michigan weather -- unless you are from the UP. I'm planning a solo ride this coming spring/summer (also retired) and have found this site to be a wealth of information. My plan is to travel light but have a lite tent and sleeping bag. I've been eyeing places along the trail and it seems there should be little problem setting up a tent and nodding off for the night and dine local when I can. Let me know if I can help you out in any way. -bubba

 
Bop from Rochester on 03/04/2020 09:55 PM
Also look into warmshowers.com and CouchSurfing for over night stays.

 
wnybubba on 03/04/2020 10:13 PM
@Bop -- I was thinking about adding Couchsurfing as well. I hadn't heard of Warmshowers though. Very cool - thanks for the post.

 
Tony from Michigan on 03/06/2020 08:31 AM
Thank you all for the replies and info. I have seen the interactive map, but had not considered the hostel option. I'll look into that.

 
John from Pittsburgh, PA on 03/24/2020 01:16 PM
I meant to add that on the PTNY interactive map, you do not have to follow the route south down to Waterloo/Seneca Falls. It’s an overnight stop on the organized trip they run each July.


Lock 15 State Campsite in Fort Plain
 - 
Kelly from Schenectady on 03/21/2020 12:33 PM
Looking to leave shortly on a bike ride to Is lock 15 usually full or is there usually room

 
Bop from Rochester on 03/22/2020 03:31 PM
The Canal hasn't been filled with water yet. The Locks aren't in operation.


Uncle G's Ice Cream in Pendleton
 - 
Anonymous on 03/10/2020 08:14 AM
Find distance from maker 29 to 33

 
wnybubba on 03/15/2020 10:46 AM
According to Google Maps Uncle G's is 1.7 miles from the trail.


hammocking
 - 
Ruthie in Delaware from Smyrna on 03/14/2020 07:10 PM
Are there plenty of hammocking options along the trail? I don't need specially set up 6x6's like they have at Confluence Campground along the GAP trail. Just anyplace with trees or posts 12-15 ft apart.

 
Bop from Rochester on 03/15/2020 08:17 AM
This may help.

http://www.canals.ny.gov/trails/camping.html


biking the erie canal
 - 
homer from CANANDAIGUA on 09/12/2019 05:43 PM
I want to bike the erie canal from Buffalo to Albany. should i ride alone or try to find a companion?

 
JB from Hull, MA on 09/27/2019 09:38 AM
I just finished alone from Albany to Buffalo in 4 days. On the whole, I think I would have preferred company to break up the monotony, share the load of a tent, etc. Still doable and has some nice perks going solo though.

 
Hiker-Biker from Cottonwood, AZ on 01/31/2020 08:17 PM
I SOLO biked the Katy Trail, The G.A.P and the C&O Canal. I always met really nice people along the way. I'm doing the Erie Canal this May.
Solo means you don't wait for other people, you set your own pace, change your plans as needed. I usally fly into the starrting town, buy a cheap Walmart bike, add my bags and go.

 
wnybubba from Allegany Co on 03/02/2020 03:07 PM
I'm planning a Spring ride Bflo -> Syr (at least) planning solo but would be willing to chat up the ideal of traveling together. I'm thinking that I'd go rather lite. In the early planning stages and would consider through to ALB. Appears we live relatively close - I can be in Naples in an hour.


Roads on Erie Canal Trail
 - 
Mark Brown from ENGLEWOOD, Ohio on 01/20/2020 03:23 PM
A group of us typically ride for a week during the summer (GAP, C & O, Katy) we typically go 30-60 miles a day. Interested in starting from Buffalo or Syracuse the concern is how m,any and how long are the "road sections"? We typically like to ride on bike trails and avoid shared roads.

 
bobthe builder from Cleveland on 01/20/2020 08:02 PM
I feel the same way and the Canalway has a lot of road sections. BUT I was impressed by how wide and safe the NY bike lanes were

 
wnybubba on 03/02/2020 03:00 PM
Mark, with the Gov's goal of completing the trail in 2020, you should see less and less road sections. That said, most of the road sections are more like gaps than long distances. Additionally, many of those sections would be in more rural areas so road sharing is in less congested traffic areas.


shuttle service
 - 
Mary from Anacortes on 02/27/2020 02:25 PM
Would like to know about shuttle service that can accommodate a tandem from Albany to probably Rochester. Thanks

 
wnybubba from Allegany Co on 03/02/2020 02:53 PM
Not sure what you're looking for here, but I've got a hiking trip coming up in VT that I could arrange to pick up your bike get your bike to ROC


Residence Inn Rochester in Rochester
 - 
Psychlist on 03/01/2020 03:05 PM
Nice hotel - large comfortable room with kitchen, indoor pool (no hot tub though), good breakfast, super clean, restaurants around.

About 1.75 mile ride from Lock 33: Edgewood Road to Jefferson, then west.


Road bikes
 - 
Eva on 08/06/2019 06:40 PM
Are the trails road bike friendly??

 
Nicole from Newark, NJ on 08/06/2019 07:14 PM
I'm really eager to hear the answer to this as well!

 
Bop from Rochester on 08/06/2019 08:17 PM
What do you consider road friendly? I'm riding a Trek Domane and have see many different road bikes along it all the time. It's a hard pack trail that I have traveled many times from Hulberton to Newark. If you're looking for a smooth piece of asphalt, ride where your at.

The paved section in my area has root bumps bulging up here and there from the trees. Spots that will require you to cross roads. People walking dogs, kids. It's a MUP path in the larger towns.

Here, watch this. See if it's your cup of tea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziRwUGTwfQw

 
Bop from Rochester on 08/07/2019 10:13 AM
Here's another good look.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODe2OvBQtMo

 
Margaret from Amherst on 08/07/2019 10:58 AM
HI, We did a trip from Lockport to Syracuse on the Erie Canal in June and I had a road bike- I was fine- There was a sandy section on the first day and our group elected to ride on the backroads for that small section- But most of the trail was absolutely fine.

Margaret

 
John from Cobleskill on 08/21/2019 10:10 AM
I am asking the same question myself since I love my road bike.

From Utica eastward is mostly paved thus a road bike is fine. The "stone dust" is okay with my hybrid but I'm going to take my road bike on stone dust soon (like in the next week or so).

But I'm wondering if all "stone dust" is created equal because there's a part of it, east of Little Falls, that listed as stone dust and is more like a 4 wheeler path through the forest than anything else.

In the end, I might upgrade my road bike tires to the biggest, fattest ones I can put on it and go for it!

 
John from Cobleskill on 08/24/2019 09:55 AM
Eva.... How far are you going on the Canal?

If you are doing a day trip, road bikes are fine.

But I am trying to do a Buffalo to Albany trip and I'm asking myself the same question and I've spent the greater part of this summer trying to get the right answer, trying different bikes (Mtn, road, Hybrid etc) and different tires. I've decided that doing end to end is possible with a road bike but I'm outfitting it with the best/widest/most rugged tires and tubes I can buy because parts of the canal trail is less than ideal for a road bike tire :) And I'm assuming a flat tire or two but that's the price I have to pay to use my beloved road bike.

Enjoy.

 
Lisa Langkawi from Langkawi Malaysia on 02/22/2020 01:20 AM
Hi, This 'road bike?' discussion is very helpful for me. I love my Canondale roadbike, which is super light, and I'm planning to fly it over from Malaysia to do the Erie Canal Trail from Buffalo to Albany in early June 2020. Currently I'm training on the roads and small padi field paths on the island of Langkawi and every time I meet gravel I have to slow right down as I can easily skid. My tires are 28mm.

I need to know are these 28mm roadbike tires going to be ok on the trail gravel, or do I need a whole new bike with gravel grinder tires? (We have a support vehicle, so I don't have to bring stuff.)

 
Bop from Rochester on 02/22/2020 08:47 PM
As I said last year. I'm running Bontrager R1 Hard-Case Lite, wire bead, 60 tpi, 700x28c on the canal since 2013 on this type of tyre. I haven't any trouble worth talking about.

There was a soft spot here and there from trail repairs on the section I ride a couple of times a week last year. That would be from Medina to Greece. I have been as far as Palmyra. I can't speak for the remainder of the trail.

 
John from Cobleskill on 02/28/2020 11:55 AM
Lisa Langkawi: after much Erie Canal biking (on the eastern end), I have decided to use my much beloved road bike for an end to end trip but it will be outfitted with 28mm tires and a kevlar type of tires like the Continental GatorSkin or Schwalbe Marathon tires. There are many brands and those are just two of them. But I have heard enough from people who say that 28mm tires on a road bike is good enough.

 
Margaret from Amherst on 02/28/2020 01:30 PM
HI, We just road the Erie Canal last summer and I rode it on a road bike with 27 1/4 Continental Touring Tires- I was fine- no flats, no worries- In most places the trail was fine- even on a really rainy day!


Registration open for Cycle the Erie Canal 2020
 - 
Ray (webmaster) on 02/01/2020 12:46 PM
Registration is open for Parks & Trails New York’s 22nd annual Cycle the Erie Canal tour, an opportunity to bike across New York state and take in the rich history of the legendary canal that transformed America. The eight-day, 400-mile recreational bicycle tour from Buffalo to Albany is scheduled for July 12 to 19.
....

Full article:
https://www.fltimes.com/briefs/registration-open-for-cycle-the-erie-canal/article_7d739a52-7461-53dc-ad3a-624b36167d7f.html

 
John from Pittsburgh, PA on 02/27/2020 10:27 PM
This is a great ride!

I did the 19th version and had a fantastic time. Nice sized week long bike tour that has a fair amount of people (650 plus volunteer support staff) but not too large, like RAGBRAI, to feel overwhelming.

Parks and Trails New York (PTNY) does a great job organizing this. Breakfasts, dinners, shuttles into town, painted spots on the route for turns, rest stops/snack stations, luggage trucks, mobile shower trucks, device charging stations, and places to camp outdoors.

They also arranged for "indoor camping" if you didn't feel like camping outside. Four of the seven nights you could have slept on a gymnasium floor at the schools we stayed at. Plenty of room available. The three remaining nights were spent at a city park, Fort Stanwix, and a community center. If you wanted indoor camping at these three sites, you had an artificial grass covered indoor sports field, the YMCA or Elks Club, and numerous community center rooms respectively.

The buses back to Buffalo are all easily arranged. They do such a great job putting this together.

Highly recommend this tour.

John


bikikng from utica to albany--can I rent a bike and go one way?
 - 
Nancy from florida on 02/10/2020 11:36 AM
I want to fly into utica and out of albany--is there a bike rental option that I could rent in utica, and drop off in albany? Thanks!

 
Cindy Johnson from Golden on 02/17/2020 01:45 AM
I have the same question but from Buffalo to Albany.


long term parking
 - 
Hikkerman on 02/02/2020 10:48 AM
I would like to plan a bicycle trip from Little Falls to Albany this summer. I am wondering if there is anywhere to park my car for about a week in Little Falls.


Lock 21 State Campsite in Rome
 - 
Otto from Palmview, TX on 01/18/2020 08:31 PM
I want to bike the trail this Spring - can my wife meet me and spend the night in an RV?


What's new since 2014
 - 
PGM from Akron, OH on 01/16/2020 08:48 PM
In 2014, I took a self supported trip from Buffalo to Albany on the trail. I'm looking forward to another trip this summer. I recall that it was about 80 percent complete back then. It was like bicycling through a living history of transportation. Can't wait.


Nine Mile Island camping area in Pendleton
 - 
Steven Gaub from Lakewood on 01/14/2020 01:27 AM
Are there hot showers? Do they allow small dogs?


Peace Bridge to Niagara Falls video
 - 
Ray S (webmaster) on 09/11/2019 09:23 AM
Not directly on the Erie Canal, but it's very accessible in Buffalo and very cool - a ride to Niagara Falls from the Peace Bridge.
https://youtu.be/Tmy5Imz9fKw
Thanks to Pat StillRiding for sharing

 
Stillriding from Pittsburgh, PA. on 09/11/2019 11:41 AM
Thanks for sharing Ray. This ride was so fun.

 
Steven Gaub from Lakewood on 01/14/2020 01:23 AM
Love the video looking forward to this as an addon ride.


syracuse hotels near trail
 - 
Dennis from Baltimore on 01/09/2020 05:58 PM
Hi looking to find a hotel for group to stay at for ist night prior to start of ride to Albany. Will also need to have parking for car to be left at for return to pick up. Planner only gives two hotels which I do not know how close to trail. Will be riding in August or late September.

 
bobthe builder from Cleveland on 01/09/2020 10:18 PM
Avoid the Econolodge Dewitt. Rooms came with condoms!


Support and lodging along Erie Canal
 - 
Jki from Columbia, Maryland on 11/24/2019 01:32 PM
I plan on biking the full length of the canal next spring from west to east, probably around 60 - 70 miles per day along with 5 friends. We want to stay in hotels or B&Bs.

Are there any outfitters that will carry our clothes etc., to our lodging each day. Also wondering what the transportation options are for getting ourselves and our bikes back from Albany to our Western start once we finish.

 
Davd Greene from Raleigh, NC on 01/01/2020 06:44 PM
I did the Erie Canal ride this past may over 6 days. I used https://www.gobikeerie.com/ which is now GREAT AMERICAN BIKE TOURS https://www.cycletheusa.com/
I rented a hybrid and pannier bags from them, and they provided phone map application of the route as well as took care of hotel reservations. I was a solo loosely supported rider, but there was a group of four woman that were supported. It was a bit expensive. I flew into Buffalo. Took the bus (<$5) to downtown where they met us at the hotel and had my bike and equipment waiting. The ride was fairly easy, but about 11 miles of it had the wrong crushed stone, so it was very loose and mushy. Parts of the ride a definitely on roadways, but not too bad. When I got to Albany, I just left the bike at the hotel and they cam later and picked it up. I took the hotel shuttle to the Albany airport and flew home. I understand they will suttle you if you need it.



Running from Buffalo to Syracuse
 - 
Ryan Sauerman from Rochester on 11/21/2019 12:20 PM
Hi everyone! I'm running/hiking from Buffalo to Syracuse (tentatively in mid-late spring). I plan on doing this over the course of 5 days. I've done adventure runs like this before (I ran across Ireland a few years ago). Just wanted to throw this out here in case anyone was interested in joining for some training or a portion of the actual event. If so, you can email me at ryansauerman@yahoo.com -subject: Buffalo-Syracuse trip. I hope to see you out on the trail!


Buffalo-Syracuse or Syracuse - Albany
 - 
Bob Emmerich from Now Rocky Pt., NY and West Melbourne,FL-Grew up West Islip, NY-raised family-Patchogue Ny on 11/12/2018 11:27 AM
If you had to choose only half of the Canal to bike which end would you choose.

 
trek620 from san diego on 11/13/2018 05:56 PM
Just finished route from Albany to Buffalo (before it was snowing). Because of the headwinds, I would say Syracuse to Albany would be my choice. Plenty to see on each leg. Be sure to visit the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse.

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 12/25/2018 04:57 PM
I rode the Cycle the Erie Canal event in 2017 and I would choose the western end, Buffalo to Syracuse. Just my personal opinion as it seems more of the canal is intact and on trails in this half. The first miles out of Buffalo to the Tonawandas are paved. I would do west to east as prevailing winds typically go that way and also at the locks you are going downhill as opposed to uphill but these are not very noticeable to be fair. Either way is fine though, it's great riding either end!

 
lindsey english from amesbury ma on 08/19/2019 08:43 AM
Gday!
I'm considering doing a section of the canal trail going west to east at the end of this month. I've been checking out different websites to inform myself about the bike trail but thought I'd ask about some specifics.
I'd do a more eastern part since I'm driving from the Boston area. I'm thinking of a 3 day trip, staying in cities/towns along trail. Good places to eat. Then of course, transport back to my starting point.
I haven't done a whole lot of riding lately and I'm not exactly a spring chicken (I'm an active, healthy 71).
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you;
Lindsey English

 
Swiss Foot from Albany on 11/03/2019 01:13 PM
Planning On cycling the Canal next weekend in its entierity, heard of a lot of rain hitting central New York last few days, curious if anyone has intel on conditions of the path now.

 
John from Cobleskill on 11/06/2019 04:06 AM
Wet. There has been a lot of flooding on the eastern end of the EC. This doesn't effect the trail much but where there is "stone dust", you might run into a certain amount of mud.

If you are tenting, finding a dry piece of ground will not be as easy as if you were doing in mid July. But none of this should stop your efforts. Best of luck to you.


Three day section of the EC
 - 
JH from Bourne Ma ( Cape Cod ) on 10/27/2019 10:09 PM
I'm planning a three day ride with my pal who has asthma. Would like to do about 35-35 miles a day. We are planning to stay at local B&B's. Can anyone recommend a section of the EC that would be scenic and have B&B's available for three nights ? Also , I was thinking of hiring an Uber each morning to bring our gear / gym bag to our next stop . Any thoughts on that cost ?
Thanks for your assistance....

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