Thanks to the New York Bicycle Coalition, Adventure Cycling Association featured the proposed Empire State Trail in its March 2017 Adventure Cyclist magazine. When the trail is completed, it will be probably be the longest, contiguous off-road bicycle facility in the United States. Out-of-state and out-of-country riders will flock to enjoy the Erie Canalway Trail and the Champlain Canalway Trail to Canada.
Notably, Adventure Cycling represents itself as the country’s largest cycling membership non-profit organization (three times larger than the League of American Bicyclists), and all its members are focused on touring by bicycle. With the Governor’s recent Empire State Trail announcement and 2017 marking the first year of the eight-year Erie Canal Bicentennial Celebration, there’s no better time to head out on the Erie Canalway Trail than now. (Construction began on July 4, 1817 at Rome NY.)
If you’re interested in experiencing the Erie Canalway Trail, consider participating in Parks & Trails New York’s 19th annual Cycle the Erie Canal tour. This eight-day, fully-supported bicycle tour is a great option for cyclists looking to accomplishment a long-distance tour without the effort of carrying gear and preparing meals.
If you are hesitant about the on-road portions (most of which are not overly intimidating), you can analyze the entire trail on Parks & Trails New York’s interactive map . This map uses the same technology as the Albany Bicycle Coalition’s BikeAlbanyMap. On both of these, your recommended route will consist of Google Maps’s bicycle-preferred routes (when there are no trail or recommended street routes nearby) and segments of the trail or the recommended street routes. You’ll always be “pulled onto” the best route for people on bicycles.
On the Parks & Trails New York map, look for the red (paved), magenta (stone dust) or purple (natural – packed earth) portions. On these portions, you’ll enjoy the bliss of car-free travel – no horns, no hassle, no histrionics. Thus you can select portions of the Erie Canalway Trail that are mostly or exclusively “off road.” In all probability, the bicycle you now own is suited to the Trail.
If you are up for the full, 400-mile Cycle the Erie Canal tour between Buffalo-Albany on July 9-16, 2017, go to Parks & Trails New York’s website to register . There are also two- and four-day options if you can’t do the entire eight days.
If you elect to ride all or some of the trail on a do-it-yourself tour, you’ll want to get the latest “Cycling the Erie Canal Guidebook” to use in addition to the (free) interactive Erie Canalway Trail map. The guide has 42 full-color maps, tips on planning your trip, information on lodging, attractions, and annual fairs, and festivals. Order from Parks & Trails New York for $24.95 plus tax & shipping or pick one up at your locally-owned book store. While recently opened sections and improvements to the trial that are being made each year by the NYS Canal Corporation and local communities are not in the guidebook, Parks & Trails New York’s online map is updated regularly.