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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

 
John from Cobleskill on 04/04/2020 06:10 PM
Yes if you use tires that are made with kevlar.

 
John from Pittsburgh on 04/06/2020 06:32 PM
Buffalo to the Tonawanda’s is paved. Schenectady to Albany is paved. The off trail parts are on local roads. Everything else is crushed gravel.

 
wnybubba on 04/06/2020 07:15 PM
@John from Pittsburgh
I'm not all that familiar with the trail east of Pittsford (outside of Rochester) but the trail is paved around Rochester for sure.

 
John from Pittsburgh on 04/06/2020 10:00 PM
You are correct. I recall some paved trail in Rochester but it’s beginning and end points escape me.
Does anyone know?

 
Bop from Rochester on 04/07/2020 05:17 AM
Greece (Long Pond Rd.)to Pittsford, paved. Many tree roots bumps.

 
John from Cobleskill on 04/10/2020 05:59 AM
The PTNY site is pretty close to what is paved and what is stone dust but it's not 100% because I know of a section around Schoharie Crossing that is stone dust but on their map, they show it as paved. But other than that, it is correct as far as I know.

https://www.ptny.org/bike-canal/map/

 
Steve M. from Evergreen, CO on 04/21/2020 02:21 PM
We are planning to hopefully ride the route in late June. I would comments on whether a road or Mt. bike is more appropriate. Thanks!

 
wnybubba from Bflo-Roc on 04/21/2020 04:02 PM
I think what feedback you will receive is that either work, just personal preference. The trail has minimal elevation gain/loss so gearing isn't a significant concern in that regard. What will make a difference is the tires you choose. I just ordered a decent "rolling" mtb bike tire for my planned tour.

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Tagged: Canajoharie

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.

 
Rick Hancock from Grafton on 04/18/2020 09:10 PM
I think he means is the camping area usually full. At least that's how I'm interpreting it.

 
wnybubba from Bflo-Roc on 04/19/2020 10:50 PM
Well... at this time any State campground is closed due to the NYS PAUSE Executive Order.

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How well is the trail marked?
 - 
John from Cobleskill on 04/04/2020 06:32 PM
I'm concerned about how well the trail is marked from end to end. I have ridden parts of it (the eastern end) and some of it is really lacking on markings. In Rome, the signage is very poor and I ended up on a road that had way too much traffic because I missed the turn. I went back in a car and still couldn't find the marking of the trail. I felt very unsafe on the section I did take. I've driven through the Syracuse section of the ECTrail and haven't been impressed with the signs. Losing your way seems all too easy.

I've thought about a digital map that I could follow on my IPhone but I haven't found a good working solution. I've tried Google Maps and Maps.Me app.

I'm really concerned I will find myself off the trail with no clue as to how to get back to the trail. Am I worrying too much? Or can someone out there help me?

 
John from Pittsburgh on 04/06/2020 06:24 PM
I agree that parts of the trail are poorly marked and need improvements. I think I read about 20% of the trail is on local roads.

I would check out the PTNY’s Cycle the Erie Canal Page, they have an interactive map with the trail marked. I always carry my charged phone (google maps and Maps.me as you’ve mentioned) plus it could’t hurt to print out some paper maps of the trickier sections where the trail is not so obvious.

If you get lost you can always go back a bit. The trail goes through towns and past other cyclists. Someone should be able to assist you I always figure. I’ve only met the friendliest people when I get lost and people are always eager to assist.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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