Our 400 mile bike ride along the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany actually started in Albany where we left our van. Our bikes and bags were trucked and we were bussed to Buffalo (which may will be the title of my new CD, "Bussed to Buffalo.")
In Buffalo we joined about 650 of our new close friends at a rich kids middle school to camp out and enjoy the pre-ride festivities. Sure, we were roughing it in a tent, but there was also wine tasting and some pretty cool music.
We launched our ride the next morning, riding through Tonawanda, along the Niagara River. It's amazing how so many riders can spread out so quickly.
Passing through Middleport
One of the few on-road portions of the ride was through the wide-open farmlands of Galen.
We overnighted in Seneca Falls, birthplace of the women's rights movement.
A lot of the trail looks like this. Reasonable surface and just plain beautiful.
This delightful short tunnel in Little Falls is part of a section that is converted rail bed. The signs call it the "Miracle Mile and a Half."
Finding our tent bag among the other zillion bags was often ... interesting.
It's the Erie Canal ride, so I should have at least one photo of a lock in action.This one is in Verona.
We played tourist in Schenectady, guided by a friend we met on our Maine bike tour. Tricia listens to Thomas Alva Edison and Charles Steinmetz trying to impress her with science stuff.
It had rained a lot the night before our last day, and even rained a bit on us as we rode toward Albany. There were a few puddles, but nothing too deep to ride through.
We made it! Though the sign says 360 miles, the paths we took were pretty much 400.
Wandrer keeps track of everywhere we've biked using our Garmin GPS tracks. Here's our route. The lines below the canal are our rides around the Finger Lakes.
Tricia rode her Salsa Vaya with 42 mm tires. She used her rear rack to carry one small Ortlieb pannier for the rain coat, rain pants and bike lock. Chosen for its wider tires and the ability to carry a few extra things.
I rode my Trek Grando with 42 mm tires. I'd removed the front rack. On the rear rack I used a Castelli trunk for my rain coat and pants.
We used Garmin GPS units to track our ride and provide navigation with PTNY-supplied files. I used my old 520 Plus, Tricia used her Garmin Explore 2.
In addition to our bag of clothing and such for each of us we took two larger bags. One held our Alps tent, sleeping bags, and NeoAir sleeping pads. The other carried our tiny Helios camp chairs, dirty clothes, a tarp and other assorted crap.
The route itself was amazingly flat, with the exception of one heck of a 10-11% one-mile climb up to Canajoharie High school where we stayed.
Parks and Trails New York did an amazing job of feeding us and moving tons of cyclist stuff to each new camp site. I can't believe how smoothly they made it work.
A note on eBikes:
This bike ride allowed eBike riders to participate. Due to the number of issues this created, we have a list of suggested policies for next year's ride:
- Ebike riders, rather than use gas powered generators to recharge every night as they did this year, will be provided stationary bikes that will power generators to recharge their batteries. Upon arrival at each campsite they can pedal these bikes until their batteries are charged.
- Due to the unfair speed advantage, eBikers will not be allowed to choose their tent site until 80% of human-powered bikes have arrived.
- Ebikers will not be allowed to overtake human powered cyclists on any hill, no matter how small. Violations will result in the confiscation of the eBikes battery.
- Ebikers are not allowed to talk to or offer "encouraging" words to human-powered cyclists on any hill, or when overtaking anywhere on the route.
- No Ebike with tires larger than most motorcycles will be allowed on the route.
These new regulations will help the ride proceed in a smooth, equitable fashion.