Category Archives: Local Bike Rides

Leave That Prius in the Garage …

… and get out in the sun with your family for summer fun on your bicycles. The following builds on some of the thoughts expressed in the January 2016 Bicycle Times.

Family Bicycle Rides 8-17-16 A

The magazine highlighted some of the many benefits of getting your family out on bicycles to enjoy the summer in a healthful and non-polluting fashion. Regardless of its size or composition, nothing beats a bicycle ride for learning (or re-learning) to enjoy each other’s company. Not only is the ride healthy as opposed to traveling by car to some high-cost destination but also it brings the family members closer together. This is particularly true if you are a car free or near car free family as the simplest chore or errand can turn into an A+ social experience.

In addition to the immediate benefits to the family members, a bicycle ride always presents an opportunity to engage more intimately with your surroundings and with your fellow citizens. What better way to build community than a friendly “hello,” “good morning,” “or good afternoon” – a social grace that is missed when we travel around air-conditioned cocoons. This is particularly true if your family includes an infant or toddler in a trailer or bicycle seat. Who cannot smile at the sign of a small child riding with his or her parents on a bicycle and waving happily to everyone? On a more altruistic note, the active presence of a family unit riding together shows others that it is safe and fun.

If the ride is of reasonable length and includes frequent stops for playgrounds, running around, and exploring, any small child will enjoy the experience. Parents would be wise to enhance this experience as opposed to the building the mileage. Typically, a family with young or inexperienced riders will seek out routes that have minimal or slow motor vehicle traffic. A side benefit of this type of exploration is that the cycling family can discover the low stress ways to navigate the city. In this regard, parents would be wise to confer with other families on the routes that they’ve discovered with a special emphasis on the attractive features of that route or the features of that route that will be attractive to young ride-alongs who are looking for some adventure. A benefit of family bike rides – particularly when the young members are riding their own bicycle – is engendering a spirit of independence as well as awareness for the needs for the skill of riding in traffic. What better opportunity to learn the rules of the road than to ride as a family with close adult supervision and guidance? (If you expect your children to wear a helmet when you are not around, you’d better wear one yourself at all times.) As children grow older, they can map the route and lead the ride for the entire family.

For longer rides that may involve an overnight, other considerations come into play. The same Bicycle Times issue offered some ideas on bicycle touring with young children. Aspects include careful planning of the route, careful packing, and – above all – ensuring that the experience will be positive for the youngsters. The fact that the trip is short is less relevant than the quality of the time spent together and the opportunities for exploration and excitement. Not only do the young family members experience the joy of independent travel but they have an opportunity to learn valuable living skills such as cooking over an open fire or camp stove, pitching a tent, basic care of their bicycles, gathering firewood, and roasting marshmallows.

In the same January Bicycle Times a number of tips were offered for planning a trip. First, select a route that is relatively traffic-free. Forget the miles – focus on having a good time. Factor in the terrain as a hilly route will reduce the number of miles between needed rest stops. If your child is small, ride while he or she is napping with the suggestion to limit “trailer time” to about 4 hours a day. Remember that a child will need his or her own baggage, so plan to lighten the load as much as possible leaving behind many toys, heavy books, and related items. Nevertheless, never pass up a good playground!

Stop early enough in the day so that there’s time to enjoy the campsite as a family unit. Pack delicious, nutritious food. Bring a favorite bedtime story book (but just one) to help children get to sleep. Engage children in helping out at the campsite whenever possible. One last thought is to team up with another family (or families) with children of similar ages so that there is a portable playgroup to help the success of the trip.

While some families have traveled internationally with their youngsters, a simple ride to the river, a favorite park, or Stewart’s ice cream store presents a tremendous opportunity for family growth and enjoyment.

Family Bicycle Rides 8-17-16 B

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The Black Bridge Isn’t

Here is a nice day ride from Albany to Sunny Waterford. From Albany Bicycle Coalition HQ in Pine Hills, it’s 4.4 miles to the Boat Launch/Row Center at the Corning Riverfront Park via the Conventional Bicycle Lanes on Clinton Ave., Broadway, and Erie St. (Can’t wait for the new entry to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail at Colonie and Quay Sts. so one can avoid the crazy exit ramp from I-787.)


Row Center

Starting from this nice view of the Hudson, you have 4.5 miles from the Row Center to the car park/fishing spot in Watervaliet where the tunnel leads under a roaring I-787 to the pretty calm streets of the city.


Under I-787

Take a right onto Broadway. A recommended detour of a couple blocks (take the first left you can) will result in the best glazed doughnuts in the area from the Schuyler Bakery (637 3rd Ave. – open Tue – Sat) (Coffee is a Stewart’s – four or five doors south of the bakery.)



You can take your coffee and goodies down Broadway to the memorial park behind McDonald’s or save them for Green Island – see below.

Pay attention, as there are several challenging intersections and sometimes-heavy traffic on Broadway. As you get near the north end of Watervaliet at 23rd St., follow the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail straight ahead and not to the right onto NY Bike Route 9. Caution advised. Simply follow the MHBHT signs until you enter the Sovereign and Independent Nation of Green Island (which is green but not an island) for a rest stop at the Heatly School or the GIG (“Green Island Gazebo”) Park (with views of N. Troy and the Federal lock [it’s federal because its tidal]) (3.3 miles and 7.7 miles from the Row Center).


Green Island Gazebo & N. Troy

Now, here’s the well-kept secret – just past the school and park on Hudson Ave., the route turns left onto Tibbits Ave. and passes the large Paine Street Park on your left. Take the first right turn after the park and leave the MHBHT to go on Cannon St. Ignore the road closed signs as you pass between the gigantic concrete barriers and you’ll be on gravel but only for 1/10 mile, so don’t despair. Travel on and you are at the non-black Black Bridge (1.2 miles from the Green Island School and 8.7 miles from the Row Center).


The “Black” Bridge

The bridge takes you across the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson – stop and lean on the rail to enjoy the sight (on both sides) before you enter Van Schaick Island, Cohoes. (Cannon St. now becomes Railroad Dr. and later Delaware Ave. and finally Second St.)

You are now on a paved “multi use” path which will take you to Peebles Island and then again over the Mohawk to Broad St. in Waterford. While on the path, be mindful of the several intersections especially the intersection with Van Schaick Ave. that has no advance warning or stop signs and that of Ontario St., Rt. 470 where people in cars will show no mercy and there is a busy Cumberland Farms “quick stop.” (Be sure to contrast the Van Schaick House on your left with the monstrous development on the right.)


Van Schaick House

Be courteous to the walkers and joggers and verbally announce your presence when you overtake and with a “thank you” especially if they step aside to let you pass.

As you cross from Peebles Island into Waterford, see our remaining Dutch replica ship, the “Onrust,” to the right and the Canal Harbor. At Broad St., you’re about 12 miles and 1.5 hours from the Corning Riverfront Park.

You can spend days in Waterford exploring the old and new locks and other structures of the Erie, Champlain, and NYS Barge canals. The Waterford Historical Museum is located in the 1830 Hugh White Homestead just east of Saratoga St. Rt. 32 as it heads south to Cohoes. However, all this is another adventure.

Turning left/west onto Broad St., from Second St. and passing four streets on your right, you’ll come to the old Champlain Canal.


The Champlain Canal Trail at Waterford

If you’re on 700X25 tires, lock up and take a walk up the canal towpath. If you are on wider tires, take the towpath past old Lock #5 about 1.5 miles to the landfill and Momentive Performance Materials industrial complex. The northerly path then continues on to Mechanicville … but more on that later…

Heading back south to Waterford, continue directly across Broad St. to join up with the bicycle/walking paths for some easy touring along the canal with a visit to the Harbor Visitor Center (scene of the annual tugboat rally). Again, you can spend days exploring.

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Big Bucks for the Erie Canalway Trail

The Times Union reported on 12/20/15 that the Canal Corporation announced grants for the following Erie Canalway Trail-related projects:

Bicycle Related Project’s –

  • Schenectady County: $75,000 – Repaving two miles of trail from the Mohawk River overlook east of Lock E-8 to the newly paved section at I-90 Exit 26 bridge over I-890.
  • Green Island: $44,000 – Trail improvements on the former D&H Railroad bed, benches, lighting, and landscaping.
  • Montgomery County: $100,000 – Trail improvements between Fort Hunter and Root to make a cohesive path with previously paved sections


Other ProjectsFonda: $30,000 – Canal side Park off S. Bridge St.; Niskayuna: $150,000 – Repairs and improvements in Aqueduct Park, including restrooms, stabilized walkways, increased dock, capacity, and boat storage; Halfmoon: $100,000 – Car-top boat launch at Crescent Park; and Fultonville: $50,000 – Dock extension on the Mohawk River section of the Erie Canal at the Mohawk River Scenic Overlook Waterfront Access Facility.

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BikeShare in Albany – August 9-15

On June 20, 2014, the Capital District Transportation Committee announced its CAPITAL REGION BIKESHARE MONTH.  This will include short-term BikeShare pilots in Albany, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, and Troy.  There will be 25 bicycles for use between 10 am and 8 pm at one or more locations announced by the cities.  The Albany BikeShare will be in Washington Park in Albany from Saturday, August 9 through Friday, August 15.  There is no cost to participants, although a credit card will need to be on file as security for the bikes.  More information and updates will be available here.

2 CitiBike New Yoker & Intro of NYC Bike Share 6-3-13 COMP


4 Paris COMP

5 Boulder BikeShare COMP


Other City Dates were/are as follows: Schenectady Thursday July 10 – Wednesday July 16, TroySunday July 20 – Saturday July 26, and Saratoga Springs Wednesday July 30 – Tuesday August 5.

The signature program in New York State is CitiBike.  Here are some statistics on NYC followed by global data.

The Cold, Hard Facts  . . . on CitiBike in New York City (as of May 2014)

Trips – 9 million+
Avg. Trip – 14 min, 16 sec
Miles – 16 million+
Annual Memberships – 10,700
Casual Use Passes – 400,000
Fleet – 6,200 bicycles
Crash Reports – 100
Carbon Offset – 5,832,377 lbs.
Flats per Month – 511

(Source: NYC Bicycle Share., LLC as reported in Bicycling, July 2014)

Global Bicycle Share

Percentage of world population in cities – 50
Fleet Size (52 countries, 600 cities; early 2014) – 570,000
China Fleet (82 programs) 380,000
World’s Largest Program Fleet (Wuhan, China; 9 million people) – 90,000
Programs in USA – 36
Predicted USA Fleet (late 2014) – 37,000
Paris Fleet – 24,000+
Paris Stations – 1,700+
Paris’s Increase in People on Bicycles in the Streets (2007-14) – 41%
Average Annual AAA Cost to Own a Car and Drive 10,000 Miles/Year – $7,800
Bike Share Annual Membership – less than $100
London Fleet – 9,000+ (launched 2010, 6,000 bicycles)
Programs in España – 132
Programs in Italia – 104
Programs in Deutschland – 43
Weight Loss Going from Driving to Cycle Commuting – 10 lb/year

(Source: Bicycle Times, September 2014)

1 CitiBike TU 3-22-14 COMP

3 Capital Bike Share DC COMP

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Riding & Walking in Albany – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Today, Sunday, April 13 was too pretty a day not to have some “riding in Albany” shots to enjoy. You will know from the foliage that these were not taken today but rather, during the bicycle count on 10/9 and 10/10/13. All are from two of our “killer intersections,” Madison and New Scotland Aves. and Allen-Western-Madison.








As a significant footnote, Assembly Member Fahy made a left turn off Madison Ave. onto New Scotland Ave. during the count on 10/10/13.

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