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Reply to Canalway Fundraising Tour 06-06-20 -> 06-13-20

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Reply to Canalway Fundraising Tour 06-06-20 -> 06-13-20
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wnybubba from Bflo-Roc on 6/18/2020 2:05:20 PM:
Greetings! Here is a recap of my recent Fundraising Tour that crossed NYS on the Erie Canalway Trail. It was a fun and easy ride that about anyone could do at their own pace. (Mileage recap at the end. Total miles = 371) I'm not going to go into too much detail here but welcome any questions about any aspects of the tour. Just post away here and I'll be glad to respond. I traveled from Buffalo -] Albany and pretty much lived out of my bike packs. I utilized close-by facilities for eating and restrooms and never really had any issues in that regard. I did have provisions with me, so I could stop and camp at any place that I liked - although I really only did that once on the first night. I had decent weather the entire trip (sunny and warm) and had rain one night and my tent provided fine shelter. It was my intent to utilize the "Better to ask for Forgiveness than ask for Permission" principle, however I never really wasn't comfortable with where I stayed and most of the time had some level of permission. The trail is fairly easy to follow - especially in the well used "Erie Canalway Trail" sections. Note the this trail is being used as the basis for the new Empire State Trail (EST), but my experience was that the signage for the EST was not directional and mostly just there to announce the existence of the route. (You'll love that in the middle of a 10-mile section in the middle of secluded woods that there was an EST sign - really... Who knew?) I did find that when I was in trouble route finding that I could easily depend on using Google Maps (bike routes) and obtain good direction. I especially followed with map open through Syracuse and Rome and when I needed to get to a destination such as a specific Lock that I was planning to use for nightly camping. Pavement surfaces vary, but it does make the ride more interesting. The western sections are primarily hard packed surface with a gravel/cinder topping that is easy enough to travel over. However, paved surfaces are nearly always present around both larger cities (Bflo, Roc) and then a mile out from smaller towns like Lockport, Medina, Macedon, etc. Most roadway travel is decent - some secondary roads and then some state routes, but most of them are following State Bike Routes with decent shoulders. I'm very comfortable on roadways, so my impression here might be different than others, but I never felt threatened and traffic moved over for the most part. I will mention that the section crossing over Montezuma was a very narrow shoulder on a state route heading into Fort Byron. As you get into the middle section (SYR - Utica) of the Canalway Trail you are following the historic canal. It is much different than the new Barge Canal and takes you through much remote wooded trails more times under a tree canopy and missing smaller towns. I can't say much for the historic canal as it is not maintained at all and is becoming a real swamp in most places. I rejoiced when I came upon Lock 21 and the beautiful openness of the large Barge Canal. Then from outside Utica and certainly once in Mohawk you pretty much are on paced surface through the rest of the trail. Much of the trail has been upgraded due to the Governor's Empire State Trail initiative and funding, however there are sections of trail that are a bit older that need attention because of tree roots that have undermined the trail and cause bumpety-bump and are hard on the bike and rider. The trail does have good directional signage and warnings for curves, hills and traffic crossings. I also has an abundance of interpretive informational kiosks that talk about the trail and townships it passes through. Trail conditions tend to change based on work being done (I did hit a few detours, but nicely marked). Certainly in this day of cell-phones and map apps, it is a different ride then it might have been not too many years ago. I will mention that the NYS Canal Corp is very good about being available for help. Canal workers are fairly helpful for the most part, but they could be better trained to understand what biking the trail is all about. Mostly those people I met along the trail were helpful when I asked for information about stores or what was ahead of me on the ride. Not sure what else I might pass onto you. Maybe a bit about me and my gear: I'm a 71 year old male who is in decent physical health - I'm active, take care of myself and eat fairly smart. [I'm an active hiker/climber and found there was a transfer of knowledge/experience for endurance type activity.] I was riding a Cannondale F5 bike -- a nicely outfitted (mid entry-level MTB) when it was released for sale. Mine is some 12 years old. I had a rear rack that I used for panniers (37L RosWheel/China but great bags, less than $40), one each side and an integrated top bag. I needed more space so I added a dry bag that hung on the front handlebars with my handlebar bag. I also utilized a NekTeck 21W Foldable Dual-Port Solar Charger that charged a battery pack (Anker) during the ride and I used to charge my phone at night. It worked great. Also, a friend owns Kanberra Sport who makes "Chafe Paint" and I can't imagine riding without it. This stuff is awesome and keeps everything "down there" smooth and comfortable. Google Chafe Paint anti-friction cream. I did have two incidents for need for repair. My bike was showing it's age and I had broken spokes. I got excellent help from Syracuse Bicycle and again near Schenectady at Freeman's Bridge Sports. I also learned from a friend following me on Facebook that as a member of AAA, I could utilize their service for breakdowns -- I'm covered during travel, not my vehicle. Great to know. I have a diary/journal on facebook. Not sure that a link works here on the Forum but you can try to search fb for "Dick's Fundraiser for Feeding America" or find me: Dick Hubbard (bubba) My email is my last name followed by .rdh @ gmail Lastly, I'll add that doing this as a fundraiser certainly added a special perspective. I was motivated by the extremely generous support of my friends. Incredibly, I raised over $3,000 for Feeding America. I'd say timing was perfect. [I suppose I could add highlights - let me know and I can do that.] Bring on any questions. Thanks for your interest and advise. RECAP: DATE MILES NOTES 06/06/2020 49.11 mi NT - Brown St, Albion 06/07/2020 56.22 mi Albion - S. Macedon (Lock 30) 06/08/2020 50.11 mi Lock 30 - Weedsport 06/09/2020 53.37 mi Weedsport - Canastota 06/10/2020 52.5 mi Canastota - Illion 06/11/2020 51.65 mi Illion - Lock 12 06/12/2020 44.77 mi Lock 12 - Waterford (Lock E2) 06/13/2020 13.00 mi Lock E2 - Albany Capital

John from Pittsburgh,PA on 6/19/2020 2:42:12 PM:
WNYBubba, what a great recap and thank you for sharing it with us. I hope with the rebranding of the trail into the EST they can lay down some accurate mile markers from Buffalo to Albany. There’s a few between Buffalo and Rochester (blue and yellow ones) but then they just vanished. I don’t believe they are canalway related (possibly just counting from Tonawanda where the canal begins off of the Niagara River?). Also, there’s still no true start or finish post or medallion where the trail begins and ends. For example, the trail is supposed to begin at Canalside in downtown Buffalo but there is nothing there that celebrates this amazing trail. No mile markers either, it’s just the Shoreline Trail in Buffalo. Just a some minor enhancements I’d like to see one day! :) John

ThoseDaltons from Park City, UT on 1/3/2021 2:37:38 PM:
Thank you for this detailed summary. Just now beginning to plan for a late spring tour. Have a lot of research to do, and this helped. Joe and I have biked the Katy trail, the GAP 3X (my folks had a home in Harpers Ferry), and cycled guided tours in several countries in Europe and SE Asia. The Katy Trail was easy to organize...... Now why doesn't this forum has a search option ? :)