Category Archives: Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail

A Mystery at Schuyler Flatts

While snooping around the new cycle track in Watervliet (see Cycle Track in Watervliet – Update 9-8-20)  and winding back to Broadway/Rt 32, we came across a curious sign at the “dead end” at the southern terminus of Broadway. Clearly, this sign was placed with some intent. The google street view (image dated 2007) DOES NOT show the Erie Canalway Trail (ECT) and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail (MHBHT) signs. The Village of Menands notes that “The Park includes a walking and jogging trail with access to the Hudson-Mohawk Bike Path.” Maybe there are yet more signs to be found in the park!

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The sign attests to continuation of both the Erie Canalway Trail and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail. Why is it there? What was the plan? Where does it lead?

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Mystery Sign

Close Up – Mystery Sign

Option 1 – If south-bound riders on the Empire State Trail/Erie Canalway Trail/Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail were unfamiliar with the connection of Broadway in Watervliet to the I-787 underpass leading to the MHBHT south to Albany or had just missed the turn, they could follow the sign into the Schuyler Flatts Cultural Park. The park shows clearly in the photograph. After some considerable confusion, the riders might have headed south on Broadway/Rt 32 searching for more MHBHT trail signage – a futile search indeed. It would be one group of confused cyclists! (If there is any signage for the MHBHT/Corning Riverfront Park on southbound Broadway, it is well hidden.) On the following map, use the dark blue trail and the red making on Broadway.

Schuyler Broadway Route Map

OPTION 2 – South-bound riders who wanted to get to Broadway/Rt 32 would find this sign very welcoming. Following it, they would avoid the traffic and intersections on Rt. 32 in Watervliet and would, instead, have a pleasant ride through the Schuyler Flatts Cultural Park. Following the paved path through the park, riders would exit onto Broadway at Village One Apartments/Schuyler Inn. While there is no active traffic control at this intersection, there is a well-marked pedestrian crossing with blinking caution lights. Riders then could proceed south on Broadway’s wide shoulders either to immediately leave for the “Albany Rural Cemetery Bypass” after 2/10 miles or to continue south on Broadway. (The “Albany Rural Cemetery Bypass” takes one to the bicycle lanes on Van Rensselaer Blvd. and Northern Blvd. and then to those on Clinton Ave.) This, of course, assumes that our riders are familiar with this option – leaving the MHBHT at 4th St. Those not aware of the mystery sign would have vended their way through city streets and could have reached the Schuyler Flatts Cultural Park via  2nd Ave. and entered the park on Schuyler Ln.

OPTION 3 – Really sophisticated riders who were planning on the “Albany Rural Cemetery Bypass” or who merely wanted to visit the park, would have left the MHBHT at 8th St. and then taken an immediate left turn onto 1st Ave or onto the unmarked road just past 1st Ave. to visit the Erie Canal Lower Side Cut Lock Park. Historically minded riders would have left the park on what is now an alley between 1st Ave./2nd Ave., and 3rd Ave. and followed the filled-in prism of the original Erie Canal to Schuyler Ln. and the Flatts. There are a couple uncertain spots on this route, but the perseverant rider will enjoy tracing the canal from the US Army Watervliet Arsenal to Schuyler Flatts Cultural Park and the preserved remnant of the original canal.

Option 4 – Riders who got to 4th St. at the I-787 underpass (leading to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail south to Albany) could also brave the almost unride-able Schuyler Flatts Trail to the Flatts. They could hop the curb just after the left turn toward the Hudson River and follow the very scenic trail to its end at Schuyler Flatts Cultural Park. Sadly, this trail has been essentially abandoned with poor or misleading signage, broken pavement, and falling fencing. See the dark blue trail in the park and along the trail to 4th St. to follow the “Option 4” route.

Schuyler Flatts Route Map

More on the Schuyler Flatts Cultural ParkSchuyler Flatts Cultural Park – Located on Rt 32 between Menands and Watervliet in the Town of Colonie, this 12-acre park opened in fall 2002 on what was once the farm of the Schuyler family. The Schuyler farm was a staging area for revolutionary war encampments. Prior to this, it was the site of a Mohican summer encampment.

The area has great historical and archeological significance and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Park includes a walking and jogging trail with access to the Hudson-Mohawk Bike Path. The park itself is a tranquil, wide-open green space for strolling and picnicking. A notable feature is a replica of a Dutch barn, testimony to the extensive (and lasting) presence of the settlers from the Netherlands. Of perhaps of more interest to the Erie Canalway Trail rider is the preserved prism of the original “Clinton’s Ditch” Erie Canal located just along Broadway. Tracing imaginary lines north and south from this point, will bring one to the canal’s former route along the Hudson-Mohawk Animal Shelter and then to “Canal Rd. S.” and Erie Blvd. in Albany. North will take you to the Watervliet alley and the Lower Side Cut Lock (see more in Option 3 above).

The Erie Canal was 363 miles long and included 18 aqueducts (to carry the canal over ravines, streams, and rivers) and 83 locks (with a rise of 568 feet from the Hudson River to Lake Erie). The cross-section or “prism” of the original Erie Canal was 4 feet deep, 40 feet wide at the water surface, and 28 feet at the bottom. It floated boats carrying 30 tons of freight. There was a 10-foot wide towpath along the bank of the canal for the horses (for packet boats) or mules (for cargo barges).

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Filed under Comings and Goings, Erie Canal Trail, Local Bike Rides, Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, Trail Network, Watervliet

Cycle Track in Watervliet – Coming Soon!

The long awaited safe bikeway and multiuse path through Watervliet is coming to fruition. It originates at the park/trail head/parking lot terminus of the off-road portion of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and continues for about one and one-half miles to 23rd St. The “Watervliet Bike Path” will become shared lanes at 23rd St. for access to the Hudson Shores Park.

Map of the Project Area

Bike Way Map 2019

Those continuing to Green Isl. and the Erie CanalwayTrail/Empire State Trailwill continue on shared lanes on Broadway until 25th St. and then follow Albany St. to the Green Isl. Bridge to Troy or Hudson Ave. north – the current route of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail.

Concept of Broadway Cycle TrackBrdway Near Arsenal EST

Broadway at 4th St. Exiting From the Park/Trail Head/Parking at Current Terminus of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail

Brdwy & 4th MHBHT Watervliet 6-7-20

We were unsuccessful in getting from the City of Watervliet definitive information on the route and road treatments of the Empire State Trail/Watervliet Bike Path from Watervliet through to Green Isl. We are particularly interested in the treatment around the Rt. 2 Watervliet-Troy Bridge and the aforementioned Albany Ave./Hudson Ave./Green Isl. Bridge intersection. The New York State Department of Transportation 2018 “On-Road Routes Concept Plan” for the Empire State Trail sheds no light on this issue.

Progress Just North Of 4th St. – Note Passano Paints

More progress in Watervliet today

 James Roy Mills 1835 – Now Used By Passano Paints

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 Construction Ahead! (Heading South On Broadway)

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 Cycle Track Route between Motor Vehicle Lane And I-787 Fence (2 Views)

 Cycle Track Base I-787 Fence (North and South Views)

 View South with Arsenal Fence to the Right

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Heretofore, Broadway from the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail at 4th St. was one of the main barriers for less road-hardened riders going on to Troy, Cohoes, the Black Bridge, Champlain Canal Trail, Waterford, and the many sites along the way. The new bikeway is very impressive and will make the ride a wonderful experience. I-787 will be noisy but the bikeway will be safe and relaxing traffic wise.

 Empire State Trail staff graciously provided background resources and some of the information herein.

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Filed under Capital Trails-New York, City Review, Cycle Track, Empire State Trail, Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, Watervliet

2018 Daily Grind Ride

A report on the 2018 Daily Grind Ride by Hugh.

“We decided to “grind it out” it out on Saturday August 18th from one Daily Grind to another.” 

     by Hugh Johnson

On August 11th it was looking as if “Mother Nature” was going to cooperate and allow for a an Albany Biking Coalition (ABC) ride from the “Daily Grind” in Albany to the one in Troy along the bike path.

Well, at the last minute, rain developed forcing the ride to be cancelled even though some rode through the rain for Daily Grind Ride -18 Part “A.”

DG Pre-Ride 8-11-18

The “A Team”

A week later, the same dilemma unfolded. This time the weather trends went from better to worse, but by Saturday morning, there was hope that we could squeeze the ride despite some gloomy forecasts.

I, being a retired NWS forecaster, put my thinking cap on and looked at lots of data. It looked to me besides a few rogue showers, we might be able to squeeze the ride in. After much discussion, we decided NOT to cancel the ride.

Most of the group, consisting of 11 bikers, met at the Daily Grind on Lark Street in Albany. However, two met with the remainder of the group at the Albany Riverfront Park boat launch. As the group left the Daily Grind, a new line of showers associated with the actual cold front blossomed to our northwest and strengthened. Luckily, the folks who rode from the Grind got down to shelter under I-787 before the big dump.

Unfortunately, there was some small faux pas, as Glenn had to swerve to avoid a biker on the wrong side of the road, taking action only to find his back tire caught in a crack. As a result, the law of physics took over. The wheel stopped the forward momentum of the bike but not the rider. As a result, Glenn took off from the seat and landed onto the road. Fortunately he was probably going less than 10 mph so while a “perfect storm” of events leading up to the minor accident, it could have been worse. He had wrapped his knee up in a Band-Aid as it was scrapped, but luckily not significantly injured. He showed up a few minutes behind the rest of the group.

It took some convincing, but I persuaded all the folks to remain under the bridge. It took some time for the really heavy rainfall to arrive but when it did, I think everyone was glad to be hunkered underneath the 787 bridge as the rain came slashing. We remained anchored for the better part of an hour until the rains finally let up. Our forecast dilemma was not over. There was yet another batch of showers trying to work toward us in the Schoharie Valley. However, I noticed our wind had shifted to the north and there was a distinct cooling compared to the earlier stifling feel to the day. I surmised the cold front had gone through and the next batch of showers would likely remain south of us.

We started, still with some light rain, and MANY puddles on the bike trail. Slowly we ambled, well maybe NOT so slowly. We got to the Rt. 378/High St. Bridge where we had to climb one of our few hills, the curvy extension from the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail to the bridge. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was still water flowing down the incline, but it was no problem getting up to the bridge. After that, we stayed on the left side of the bridge and ended up over another bridge overlooking the Wynantskill which was roaring quite a bit due to the rains (see picture).

Wyantskill 8-18-18

The Power of Troy

We regrouped, and then zig zagged our way across the still developing “Uncle Sam Trail” through the riverfront of Troy. At a brief stop, Pam talked about the Burden Iron Museum (second photo below). We did leave the trail, climbing one short but very steep hill that put us on 3rd Street and to our destination, the Daily Grind Café in Troy.

Burden Iron 8-18-18

Burden Iron Co.

We got in and had a nice brunch/lunch for half price. The staff was very friendly and the food delicious. We hung awhile with chatting away. I checked the radar again and alas, it looked as if the second batch of rain was JUST going to miss us!

We headed back to a slowly clearing sky and a refreshingly drier air mass. As a little perk, we even had a tail wind back to Albany (a north wind). The trip back saw a much drier surface, with just a few remaining standing puddles. As usual, the riders split up a little as some had to get somewhere with a deadline. Some were tired and needed to rest more. By the time we pulled into the riverfront, the sun was brightly shining leaving only a small evidence of the earlier deluge. The ride was a little over 20 miles.

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I seem to have this curse about me, the “Hughie curse.” With few exceptions, weather almost always tried to get in the way when I participate in these “organized” events. The same issue happened when I lead a Pine Bush Hike in both May and June. The May hike was washed out but we snuck the June one before it rained. Today was no exception but we won out over Mother Nature!

Our riders were Barb, Oliver, Brent (ride leader), Hugh, Glenn (road warrior), Pam (co-leader), Dana, Mark, Ed, Dick, and Lorenz.

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Filed under Local Bike Rides, Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, Troy Cycling, Uncle Sam Trail

Wheels to Waterford History Ride – Sun, 8/5/18, 9:30 AM, Albany Riverfront Park Boat Launch, $20 Fee

Wheels to Waterford History RideSun, 8/5/18, 9:30 AM, Albany Riverfront Park Boat Launch, $20 Fee

Join with the Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center, the Albany Bicycle Coalition, and the http://www.bikebarncycles.com/ ). for a sponsored ride from Albany to Waterford and return. The ride will feature an exclusive tour of the Waterford Museum, stops at some key canal and local features along the way, and a light lunch on the museum grounds.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The escorted ride will be on the very flat Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike and the Black Bridge trails to Waterford and is mostly “off road” with some quiet on-street sections in Watervliet, Green Island, and Waterford. In Waterford, we will follow the Old Champlain Canal towpath to Lock #4 and the Museum grounds.

The rider fee covers lunch, museum admission, and a donation for Albany Bicycle Coalition’s programs. We will have a monitored bicycle lock-up area at the museum. The “rain-or-shine” ride totals about 23 miles. We will depart promptly at 10:00 AM after sign in and will be back in Albany by around 2:30 PM.

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How to Register? – Send an email to lorenzworden@gmail.com. Use “Waterford” as the first word in your subject line. State the number of riders you are registering and choose a vegetarian or non-vegetarian lunch option for each. A parent or guardian over the age of 18 must accompany children under age 18 who are capable of this ride. Since this ride involves a considerable outlay by the sponsors, please register only if you are committed to attend. Please register by Tuesday, July 31. If you register and are unable to attend, please notify us before that date.

What to Bring? – Helmet, lock, water, $20, and appropriate riding gear. Please check your bicycle over before the ride (air, lube, etc.).

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Filed under Black Bridge, Empire State Trail, Erie Canal Trail, Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, Rides, Shop Local

The Black Bridge – On the Ground

Barton & Loguidice are the project engineers for the unpaved section of the Black Bridge trail on the Green Island side of the Mohawk River. A recent report by these engineers OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAstimulated a visit to see the work accomplished to date. For more on this project, see “Black Bridge Revisited – A New Beginning.”

For background and information on this riding opportunity, see also –

The Black Bridge Isn’thttps://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2016/08/04/the-black-bridge-isnt/

The Black Bridge and Beyondhttps://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2016/08/09/the-black-bridge-and-beyond/

The following views tell the whole story of progress to date:

  1. Entrance to the trail that was previously unpaved with trail view north toward Cohoes and Waterford/Railroad Ave. – Delaware Ave.
  2. Trail view south toward Green Island/Cannon St. with Silhouette Optical visible through the trees to the right
  3. Parking area with rest stop #1 that will have with a shelter and info kiosk and Rest stop #2 that will have with a shelter
  4. Rest stop #3
  5. Retractable pylon and new lighting fixtureThe Black Bridge is a connecting route on the New York State Canal Corp trail system/Empire State Trail. It goes between the Mohawk Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and the Champlain Canalway Trail. A cyclist can now leave the Albany Riverfront Park and travel to Peebles Island, Waterford, and the Champlain Canalway north without having to cross I-787

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The Black Bridge is a connecting route on the New York State Canal Corp trail system/Empire State Trail. It goes between the Mohawk Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and the Champlain Canalway Trail. A cyclist can now leave the Albany Riverfront Park and travel to Peebles Island, Waterford, and the Champlain Canalway north without having to cross I-787.

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Filed under Black Bridge, Empire State Trail, Erie Canal Trail, Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail