BMW Luxury Touring Community banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
185 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am planning an Erie Canal ride this June. I (we) are starting in Buffalo, going east.

Do any fellow members have input/recommendations on what to see and what to avoid?

From Map Source I know the canal winds thru the large cities of upstate. I have not ridden the area before.

I think following the canal it's entire length would be tedious, so I thought about detouring south to do a lap around the the Finger Lakes and/or go north toward Saranac Lake area.

Thanks for your inputs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
989 Posts
Couple of years ago, I did a similar trip with my nephew (sort of uncle/nephew bonding run), though by car. The topic of the trip was "canal locks".

The run may get a bit boring; if you have extra time, you may follow my example.

The Erie section has several locks, but they are quite utilitarian and most of the time not much happens. You will be traveling in mostly flat area, especially toward Schenectady.

We spent about 2 days along Erie, visited a few museums and then headed to Ontario. The Rideau Canal flows between Lake Ontario (around Kingston) and Ottawa. It has a series of exquisitely preserved locks, operated by Parks Canada and is quite busy - pleasure- and houseboats sail through seemingly non-stop. You can spend an easy 1-2 days along that route - and enjoy Ottawa as well.

If that's not enough, you can head to Montreal to see parts of the Great Lakes Canal (and sample the evening life of his great cosmopolitan city) - then head into Vermont to follow the Champlain.

I spent some time researching maps to locate locks en route, to generate Points-of-Interest for my Garmin receiver. During the trip, we routed from lock to lock, taking whatever side roads struck our fancy.

If you'd like these POI files, send me a PM with your email address.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
The old Erie Canal by design follows the flatest route possible and there are really no exciting or even interesting roads to ride. The original canal is gone and has been replaced by the NYS Barge Canal. The Barge Canal follows the path of the original Erie Canal in some places but not everywhere. In some places the original Erie Canal locks are still standingn one can be seen along the NYS Thruway. There is path along the canal (no motor vehicles allowed) that would actually make the trip more interesting on a bicycle. But it is interesting to a history buff to visit the "port" towns that sprung up along the canal; Lockport, Spencerport, Brockport, Fairport... In Rochester the old aquaduct that carried the canal over the Genesee River is still used as a bridge.

Possible points of interest:
- Letchworth State Park (a bit south of the canal route but well worth the ride)
- As you mentioned the Finger Lakes (be sure to take the high roads on the hills surounding the lakes as well as the low roads along the lakes. Canaidaugau and Keuka Lakes especially have great views from the high roads on the west side of the lakes. Watch out for the Mennonite buggies).
- Watkins Glenn State Park (a 3/4 or so mile hike up the gorge is well worth the time) and the race course
- If you have a little time, the area just south of the lakes themselves is fabulous riding territory. Lots of curves and elevation changes. Ride through valleys and over and along the approximately 1,000 foot high hills. Very remote, little traffic. Some roads suddenly change to dirt, but many are paved and in great shape. Lunch at Pinnacle State Park just south west of Corning is a favorite, nice lunch great view and you can play a round of golf if you want to.
- Ithaca area has more state parks.

If you are going to the Adirondacks and don't want to pound the highway, I'd suggest going around the southern end of the Finger Lakes through Ithaca and over to Cortland. Then make your way on the back roads (avoid US Rt 20 - lots of traffic and towns) over to Rt 10. Take Rt 10 to Rt 8 to Rt 30 to Rt 3 to Saranac Lake.

I'd offer to meet up with you and ride for a day, but I'll be on a cross country trip to the west coast during June.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,989 Posts
dgg155 said:
The old Erie Canal by design follows the flatest route possible and there are really no exciting or even interesting roads to ride. The original canal is gone and has been replaced by the NYS Barge Canal. The Barge Canal follows the path of the original Erie Canal in some places but not everywhere. In some places the original Erie Canal locks are still standingn one can be seen along the NYS Thruway. There is path along the canal (no motor vehicles allowed) that would actually make the trip more interesting on a bicycle.
I grew up in DeWitt, NY, and used to ride my bicycle along the Erie Canal quite often. It was great because it was FLAT and you could travel great distances with ease and not have to worry about motor vehicles. One time over 7th grade summer (1971) a friend and I rode from DeWitt to Rome and back in one day (about 40 miles each way on the canal). I still remember the feeling of independence and freedom travelling so far from home without an adult.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
607 Posts
If you delay your trip until late Aug/early Sep, then you can attend the BMW Finger Lakes rally held at Watkins Glen over the Labor Day weekend.

I attended my first Finger lakes Rally and intend to go again...what a great experience.

it might help break up some of the Erie Canal dead time for you.

Cheers,
Glenn




dgg155 said:
The old Erie Canal by design follows the flatest route possible and there are really no exciting or even interesting roads to ride. The original canal is gone and has been replaced by the NYS Barge Canal. The Barge Canal follows the path of the original Erie Canal in some places but not everywhere. In some places the original Erie Canal locks are still standingn one can be seen along the NYS Thruway. There is path along the canal (no motor vehicles allowed) that would actually make the trip more interesting on a bicycle. But it is interesting to a history buff to visit the "port" towns that sprung up along the canal; Lockport, Spencerport, Brockport, Fairport... In Rochester the old aquaduct that carried the canal over the Genesee River is still used as a bridge.

Possible points of interest:
- Letchworth State Park (a bit south of the canal route but well worth the ride)
- As you mentioned the Finger Lakes (be sure to take the high roads on the hills surounding the lakes as well as the low roads along the lakes. Canaidaugau and Keuka Lakes especially have great views from the high roads on the west side of the lakes. Watch out for the Mennonite buggies).
- Watkins Glenn State Park (a 3/4 or so mile hike up the gorge is well worth the time) and the race course
- If you have a little time, the area just south of the lakes themselves is fabulous riding territory. Lots of curves and elevation changes. Ride through valleys and over and along the approximately 1,000 foot high hills. Very remote, little traffic. Some roads suddenly change to dirt, but many are paved and in great shape. Lunch at Pinnacle State Park just south west of Corning is a favorite, nice lunch great view and you can play a round of golf if you want to.
- Ithaca area has more state parks.

If you are going to the Adirondacks and don't want to pound the highway, I'd suggest going around the southern end of the Finger Lakes through Ithaca and over to Cortland. Then make your way on the back roads (avoid US Rt 20 - lots of traffic and towns) over to Rt 10. Take Rt 10 to Rt 8 to Rt 30 to Rt 3 to Saranac Lake.

I'd offer to meet up with you and ride for a day, but I'll be on a cross country trip to the west coast during June.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top