Category Archives: Rail Trail

A Century of Riding Bliss

A Century of Riding Bliss

 As another step toward exploring all the bicycle paths in New York State, cyclist Ed set out over the 2016 Labor Day Weekend to complete the following Century.charlton_pumpkin-comp

Summary – Home in the New Scotland Ave. area of Albany – to Slingerlands, Albany, Mechanicville, Ballston Spa, Amsterdam, Niskayuna, and back to home. Total per Google maps – 107.6 miles and with various diversions – 115.0 miles.

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  • 2.2 miles Home to Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail
  • 7.0 miles Albany County Rail Trail to Corning Riverfront Park/Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail
  • 5.0 miles to Watervliet
  • 5.8 miles through Watervliet/Green Island to Black Bridge and the Delaware Ave. Trail through Van Schaick Island and Peebles Island, Cohoes, to Waterford.
  • 9.0 miles Rt. 4 from Waterford to Brookwood Rd. to Old Champlain Canal Trail (gravel) Upper Newton Rd. to Rt. 4 to Mechanicville/Main St.
  • 4.1 miles South St. /Pruyn Hill Rd. climbs to Johnson Rd., right onto Staniak Rd., to Coons Crossing Rd., to Zim Smith Mid-County Trail
  • 9.1 miles Zim Smith Mid-County Trail to Ballston Spa
  • 0.8 miles left E. High St. right Low St. to Ballston Spa Front Street Park
  • 3.6 miles Rt. 67/Rt. 50 South from Ballston Spa to left Outlet Rd.
  • 4.0 miles outlet Rd., right on Ballston Bicycle Path to Ballston Lake, right on 146A
  • Few yards north on 146A, left on Lake Hill Rd.
  • 15.2 miles Lake Hill Rd. becoming Stage Rd. in Charlton, jog left to Maple Ave. Left on Packer Rd. to EaSt.ern Ave. becoming WeSt.ern Ave. in West Charlton. Right Westline Rd. Left Waite Rd. to Rt. 67 north of Amsterdam
  • 4.8 miles Left Rt. 67 to Amsterdam to roof of Riverfront Center parking lot (this included about 2 extra miles looping around downtown Amsterdam looking for the route to cross to the Riverfront Park/Gateway Overlook Bridge.
  • 0.5 mile bridge/elevator from roof of Riverfront to “Riverlink Park.” Over the new (August 2016) Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Bridge to Erie Canalway Trail just past Erie St. amsterdam_finding_way_to_new_bridge-comp

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  • 29.0 miles Canalway Trail/5S thru Pattersonville, Rotterdam Junction, Schenectady over to Scotia – on a (nasty, nameless) trail at end of Collins Park to Freemans Bridge
  • Back to Schenectady/Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail to Lions Park, Niskayuna
  • 3.2 miles Left Old River Rd., Right Rosendale Rd., Left Rt. 7, right British American Blvd (bike lanes) to Cornell Rd., to Shaker Trail (paved), and to left on Airline Dr
  • 2.3 miles Airline Dr that becomes S. Family Drive to left on Sand Creek. Sand Creek to right Morello Drive – left on Central 1 block, to Lincoln Ave.
  • 3.2 miles Lincoln to the City Dump and Six Mile Waterworks Trail, Rt. on Multi-Use Trail along Fuller to Circle by UAlbany, Tricentennial Dr.
  • 4.6 miles UALBANY Bike Path to WeSt.ern Ave., left on WeSt.ern to HomeSt.ead, left on Hazlehurst which becomes Berkshire to Right on Ormond becomes Friebel Rd. / left on Krumkill to New Scotland, Right on New Scotland, and back home.

This is a good ride to gain an appreciation of the touring opportunities in the area.  The ride could be broken up into two or three segments for those wanting to commit to a “century” ride. [Ed.]

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Filed under Albany County Rail Trail, Local Bike Rides, Rail Trail, Rides

The Black Bridge and Beyond

If you’ve taken the Black Bridge (or some other) route to Waterford (see earlier post), you’re in for a pleasant (but unusual) treat if you use it as your starting point to explore the Champlain Canal Trail north toward Mechanicville.

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Hee Haw

After riding from the Black Bridge along the bikeway and after crossing from Peebles Island into Waterford, turn left/west of 2nd St. onto Broad St. (10.9 miles from the Row Center at the Corning Riverfront Park). Pass four streets on your right and come to the old Champlain Canal (11.1 miles from the Row Center). If you’re on 700X25 tires, lock up and take a nice walk up the canal towpath. If you are on wider tires, take the towpath (you’ll cross Division St., the only intersection in this area) past the foundations of the Weigh Lock and then those of Lock #5 and dry dock about 1.5 miles to the landfill and Momentive Performance Materials industrial complex (12.7 miles from the Row Center). The northerly path then continues on to Mechanicville.

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What’s comin’ outta those pipes?

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Momentive Monolith

But where is that path?

As you cruise over the landfill (with its ominous ventilators spewing forth God knows what) toward the fencing, you think that you’re in Gitmo with no way out. (The landfill covers the Old Champlain Canal – so guess where the leakage goes?) But as you get to the end where it appears that you are completely fenced in, you’ll spot a narrow, deeply rutted path leading down to the right (easterly) through the tall weeds and grass. After a tick check at the bottom, remount and head on a winding, unmarked  narrow paved road (Google says cross Clute St. onto Bells Lane North which changes into School House Lane). Notice up and to your left the original towpath that is inaccessible at present. Lo and behold, where the unmarked Schoolhouse Lane bears left at 13.4 miles from the Row Center and 2.3 miles from Waterford, you’ll come to the Half Moon Trail skirting the old Champlain Canal on your left.

The Half Moon Trail is a nice ride on hard-packed stone dust. At “high noon,” there is no shade, so choose your ride time accordingly if it’s hot hot hot. A curious feature of the trail is frequent “Hazard – 100 Feet Ahead,” “Hazard – Keep Left,” or just plain “Hazard” signs. After expecting an alligator or two to rise from the canal, it seems that these signs are to alert trail users to the utility poles along the side if the trail. Those lawyers in Hal Moon must be looking for something to do…

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The North End Trail Head

Along the trial, watch for historical markers and remnants of the 200-year-old canal and later railroad structures. Cross Brookwood Rd., Lower Newton Rd., and an unmarked gravel pit road.  At 16.4 miles from the Row Center and 5.3 miles from Waterford, you’ll arrive at a trail head with parking for 4-5 cars, no hint of where you are, and stick-on letters on a utility pole saying “1 Mechan School” (20 Upper Newton Rd. according to the Town website). Just across the road is a barricade across the trail, which at this point is just grass, weeds, and brush leading on to Lock #8 and Mechanicville – clearly unrideable. There must be a plan here …

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Future Plans?

Time to turn around and enjoy the peaceful, quite trail back to Waterford to continue learning about “Canal Days.”

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A peaceful ride back to Waterford…

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Filed under Erie Canal Trail, Rail Trail, Rides

Rail Trail Officially Open

Local dignitaries, reporters, the public, and some people on bicycles and skates assembled near the Stewart’s on Delaware Ave. Delmar to celebrate the official opening of the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail.

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Brought to you by …

There’s a handsome “D&H” sign and some very nice gardening easily accessible from Hudson Ave.

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The “D&H” Lives On

Although it was nice to see the celebration of a long awaited event, the best part of the day was riding from the ceremony to the trailhead on S. Pearl St. If you haven’t ridden the trail yet, you should.

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This is just great!

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What’s not to love?

 

What’s Next?

  • There is a cooperative effort to pave the four miles of trail from Adams St. to Firefighters’ Park in Slingerlands to be completed this year. The Slingerlands-Voorheesville portion is scheduled for 2017.
  • At the other end of the trail in Albany, under city contract, Alta Planning + Design are conducting a feasibility/design study of this critical 1.3-mile connection between the S. Pearl trailhead and the Corning Riverfront Park/Albany waterfront.

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Filed under Activisim, Rail Trail