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Reply to Questions about a solo ride Buffalo-Albany

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Reply to Questions about a solo ride Buffalo-Albany
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Tony from Michigan on 3/3/2020 11:58:26 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 3/3/2020 1:20:55 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 3/3/2020 11:47:39 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 3/4/2020 3:31:01 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 3/4/2020 9:55:53 PM:
Also look into and CouchSurfing for over night stays.

wnybubba on 3/4/2020 10:13:48 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 3/6/2020 8:31:55 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 3/24/2020 1:16:24 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.