On the picture perfect Sunday afternoon, August 15, the Underground Railroad Education Center and the Albany Bicycle Coalition jointly conducted an Arbor Hill/West Hill “Slow Roll” bicycle ride (see stats at end of this post). The fun, safe, low-stress, low-speed bicycle ride took advantage of numerous bicycle lanes, trails, and low congestion streets in the neighborhood. The group stopped at several points where speakers led discussions on the history and future of the neighborhoods. Stops included the Harriet and Stephen Myers Residence, Arbor Hill Park, Tivoli Lake Preserve, Bleeker Stadium/Swinburne Park, and the Arbor Hill Library. The Tivoli Preserve stop highlighted the 9-mile Patroon Creek Greenway Trail currently undergoing study by the City of Albany (see http://albanyny.gov/800/Patroon-Greenway-Feasibility-Study). The new Greenway Trail would connect the Albany Waterfront to the Six Mile Waterworks and points beyond with access from Arbor Hill and West Hill. We also discussed the daylighting of the Patroon Creek and making nearby mountain bike trails more accessible to Tivoli Preserve and its adjoining neighborhoods.
Our Arbor Park Stop pointed out the nearby site of the original Dudley Observatory. We also noted 1962 Urban Renewal Plans for the area that would have put a school where the historic Harriet and Stephen Myers Residence still stands. The 1964 plans are more representative of the current configuration.
RIDE STATS – The ride covered 4.37 miles “door-to-door” and started at 1:15 and ended at 2:45 (1 hour 30 min) with 44 min of actual riding with an average speed of 5.7 mph. The ride thus met its goal of being a “slow roll” that riders of all abilities could enjoy.
We ended the ride with an “ice cream social” in the shady back yard of the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence.
The Albany Bicycle Coalition will be conducting a “Bike the Branches Slow Roll” in conjunction with the Albany Public Libraries on September 25.
Co-Sponsored by the Albany Bicycle Coalition and the Underground Railroad Education Center. Join us for a leisurely tour of Albany’s Arbor and West Hill outdoor treasures. Sunday, 8/15, 1 PM. Start and finish at the Meyer’s Residence/Underground Railroad Education Center, 194 Livingston Ave., Albany.
This will be a 3.5-mile fun, safe, low-stress, low-speed bicycle ride. The ride will take about 60 to 90 minutes. We will take advantage of numerous bicycle lanes, trails, and low congestion streets in the neighborhood. We will visit key sites in Arbor Hill/West Hill including Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence/Underground Railroad Ed Center, Arbor Hill Park, Tivoli Preserve, Bleeker Stadium/Swinburne Park, and the Arbor Hill Library. There will be time to discuss these neighborhood gems as well as a great potential new gem – the 9-mile Patroon Creek Greenway Trail currently undergoing study by the City of Albany. The new Greenway Trail would connect the Albany Waterfront to the Six Mile Waterworks and points beyond with access from Arbor Hill and West Hill.
There is no charge for the ride. The not-for-profit Underground Railroad Education Center and the Albany Bicycle Coalition would welcome your donations to support our respective programs.
Registration not required but if you want to join our ride, please e mail –
While COVID-19 has eliminated or moderated several bicycle-related activities, the fine early fall weather provided plenty of opportunities for social distanced rides. Looking ahead, there is some nice riding in late fall and winter whether for recreation/exercise or errands/work. Here are a few riding tips to encourage your riding and to keep you safe:
Check your lights front and rear. “Too many lights” are just about right in the low light, fall and winter conditions. Your lights are to make you visible (both day and night), but also to avoid those hidden ruts, potholes, and bumps in the street. Road debris at night is another hazard which good front lighting will help you avoid.
Add a helmet or head-mounted lamp to help see those potholes, debris, etc. at night. While a front light in blink mode makes people more aware of your presence, the headlamp helps you see obstacles. The advantage of a headlamp is that when you move your head, the light goes with you. When on trails with little or no street lighting, both the headlamp and front light (in steady mode) will light the path.
Replace the batteries. Keep your re-chargeables charged.
Have someone view your bicycle from behind in the dark with the lights “on.” Ensure that your gear or clothing does not block the light beams (front and rear) and that the rear light(s) aim toward following vehicles.
Spoke lights or spoke reflectors are both fun and provide visibility from the side.
Watch other people on bicycles and judge their visibility index as a guide to improving your own.
Add an extra “blinky light” front and rear and use them both as nighttime supplements and as “daytime running lights.”
Use a helmet-mounted rear-facing light.
You will probably ride safer and smarter if you are comfortable – so plan your riding gear accordingly. Think layers.
As you bundle up, look at your outer layer. If it is dark in color, either choose something that is not or pick up a reflective vest from your locally owned hardware or big box home center.
Wet leaves and snow are slippery so anticipate your stops and turns.
Pay special attention to puddles of water or clumps of leaves as they can mask the plentiful potholes, ruts, utility caps, and craters in the paved surface.
Recall that some pavement markings can also be slippery when wet or extra slippery when covered with wet leaves, snow, or ice.
Keep your chain clean and lubricated (especially after riding in melted slush).
You might want to inspect your tires for wear. You might swap the front to the rear (since the rear takes the most weight and wears quicker). If planning to ride in snow, you might invest in wider, knobby tires for better traction (if your bike accepts them).
Consider reducing tire pressures from max by 5 to 10 psi for better grip.
Sunglasses are very important this time of year as well. With the days getting shorter, there is a greater chance you will finishing or starting a ride in low light conditions. Switch your tinted lenses to a rose or clear lens for better visibility in low light conditions.
When riding into that low fall sun, remember that the people in cars behind may not see you, as they also will be blinded.
Plan your braking and turns to avoid a spill.
Be mindful of slippery metal surfaces (such as utility covers and grates).
Fall and winter is a good time to get ready for next year’s riding with a tune up from one of our local bicycle shops. This is a good time to support your local shop and to help them over the slower winter season. November through March is good time to get that special attention from your bicycle mechanic. Find out where at – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/
Throughout June, the Albany Department of Planning and Development will host six virtual meetings to discuss cycling and walking in the City. Each of the six meetings will be based on a grouping of neighborhoods and corresponds with the meeting numbers listed below.
Neighborhood Meeting #1: Monday, June 15th – 6:30pm – 8pm
Entering the city from the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and the “serpentine” at the Rt. 378 Bridge.
Part of the Collar City Ramble – in addition to walks and bicycle rides – is free kayak rides on the Hudson from Troy’s new boat launch. (It’s so new that it’s still “under construction” on Google Maps.) Here’s Pam, a Transport Troy and Albany Bicycle Coalition member, acting as “Harbor Master” along with some volunteers (kayaks in the background).
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What else is there to see? The new mural on River St.
Here is a view of the developing Uncle Sam Trail running from the Rt. 378 Bridge in South Troy to 101st St. in N. Troy.
Progress on the “sea wall” near the Green Isl. Bridge (in the background).
Riding back to Albany on the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail.All in all, a day well spent.
Albany Bicycle Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Membership dues and donations are fully tax deductible. Annual dues are $25.00. Any donations are welcome. The 2020 CARES Act allows taxpayers who don’t itemize their deductions to adjust their income up to $300 per taxpayer ($600 for a married couple). This adjustment is available for cash gifts to public charities, such as ABC.