Tag Archives: Erie Canal

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

Celebrating Trails in the Area – Not Once But Twice in the Same Issue of the Times Union!

South End Bikeway LinkCelebrating Trails in the Area – Not Once But Twice in the Same Issue of the Times Union!

Letters in the Albany Times Union – 4/17/16

#1 – Erin Walsh wrote about the Uncle Sam 3.1-mile paved rail-trail that runs through North Troy and Lansingburgh. She reported renewed interest in the trail, highlighting its value to the immediate community and the greater Capital Region. She noted that Capital Roots, Transport Troy, the National Park Service, Troy Bike Rescue, and Troy city have all taken an interest in the trail’s renewal.

You’ll have a chance to –

  • do trail cleanup on 4/23
  • join a community bike ride on 5/22
  • take a historical and nature walk on 6/4
  • join a community bike ride on 9/24 – the famous “Collar City Ramble”

Erin is an enthusiastic supporter of complete streets and other pro-pedestrian/cyclist initiatives in Troy and the Capital Region. Contact

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#2 – For those who choose not to read the paper paper, you’ll miss the wonderful map of the South End Bikeway Link created by local artist and bon vivant, Frank Smith. I hope that you’ll soon be seeing this map elsewhere in the City of Albany.

In any case, the illustrative map highlights better than words the essence of this second letter – a call for immediate completion of a safe and protected connecting link between the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail trailhead on S. Pearl St. and the \southern terminus of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail at the Slater/Dutch Apple moorings.

Under city contract, Alta Planning + Design is conducting a feasibility/design study of this critical 1.3-mile link. Stay alert for meetings hosted by the city and Alta.

Just think – Voorheesville to Buffalo on an (almost) continuous trail!

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Filed under Activism, Albany County Rail Trail, Erie Canal Trail, protected bicycle lanes, South End Bike Link

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
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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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Filed under Erie Canal Trail, Local Bike Rides

Close the Gaps Ride

Close the Gaps Ride – The Bike Barn Cycles and Parks & Trails New York collaborated on a “Close the Gaps” ride on 9/22/15. PTNY runs the annual Cycle the Erie Canal bike tour and advocates for finishing the 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail from Buffalo to Albany. The trail is 78 percent complete as an off-road trail. There are still critical sections that need to be closed – including Broadway in Watervliet. When the gaps are finished, the Erie Canalway Trail will be the longest of its kind in the country – with safe, enjoyable bicycling and hiking from one side of New York to the other.

Parks & Trails have collected postcards from trail riders over the past year asking the Governor and other decision makers to Close the Gaps. They plan to drop them off at the Capitol after the ride. They’ll have cards at the start for you to sign one and plan to take a group photo at the pedestrian bridge in Albany.

PTNY also provided snacks at the pedestrian bridge. Be sure to check out those Bike Barn riding shirts.

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Bike Barn Cycles

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“The Joy of Bicycle Travel”

??????????????????????This was one of the main points by Jim Sayer, ED of Adventure Cycling, during his talk in Saratoga Springs on 1/26/15. As is his custom, Jim was taking a swing through part of the US to drum up bicycle touring but also, of course, to promote Adventure Cycling as the lead bicycle touring organization in the US and as an international leader. He highlighted the many different types of tours offered ranging from van supported, inn-to-inn, family fun, and self contained.

Jim covered the Adventure Cycling program and urged attendees to support their local advocacy groupLeague of American Bicyclists, New York Bicycling Coalition, Albany Bicycle Coalition, Parks & Trails New York,  Bike Toga, and so on. He made a big push for the United States Bike Route System which, when realized, will be the world’s largest. An audience of about 50-60, including at least 6 ABC members, also heard about touring initiatives and routes around the world and in Canada.

One of the major points raised – and of interest to local advocates for the Erie Canalway Trail “close the gap” push, the Madison Avenue Traffic Calming/Protected Bicycle Lanes initiative, and the multi-sponsor South End Bikeway Link was the many economic impact studies that demonstrate how bicycle tourism generates BILLIONS in states like Oregon, Montana,  Michigan, and Arizona.

Jim’s enthusiastic presentation and the programs he described were quite inspirational. We were all grateful to Bike Toga for hosting the event including a nice spread of beverages, fruits, and snacks.

 

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Filed under Activisim, protected bicycle lanes, Rides, Riding in Albany, Support the Cause