Erie Canal mule team in Clyde, NY.
BUFFALO, NY - More than 500 bicyclists set off from Nichols School in Buffalo Sunday morning on a 400-mile sojourn along the length of the Erie Canal to Albany.
Joining the statewide "Cycling the Erie Canal" bicycling tour are Justin Murphy, staff writer, and Annette Lein, a videographer, from WGRZ media partner the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester. They'll be chronicling their progress all the way to Albany by Twitter () and Facebook posts, blogs, photos and videos.
You can follow their progress at a special "Cycling the Erie Canal" webpage set up by the Democrat and Chronicle that also links to a photo gallery of historic photos and other Erie Canal material.
The annual trip, now in its 15th year, is sponsored by the nonprofit group Paths & Trails New York. The riders expect to make 40 to 60 miles a day, while Justin and Annette document the trip, their fellow riders, the people they meet and the animal life they observe along the way - not to mention the physical toll the journey takes on them personally.
If you've always wanted to take such a trip but haven't been able, join Justin and Annette on their trip and see it through their eyes.
The eight-day recreational bicycling tour will help highlight the beauty, history, culture and recreational appeal of the Canal system and the Canalway Trail, a prime tourism destination in New York state. This year's tour has attracted cyclists from 36 states, as well as international participants from as far away as Great Britain.
Brian Stratton, director of the New York State Canal Corporation, said, "We commend Governor Cuomo's support of the Erie Canal, one of New York state's jewels. The Canalway Trail provides a variety of tourism, recreational and financial development opportunities statewide as demonstrated through the Cycling the Erie Canal success."
Roughly two-thirds of the 400-mile bicycle tour takes place on the completed portion of the Canalway Trail. When complete, the New York State Canalway Trail System will span more than 365 miles and connect numerous cities, towns and villages along the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego and Champlain Canals, making it one of the longest multi-use recreational trails in the country.
During the bike tour, Cycling the Erie Canal participants will have the opportunity to participate in guided tours of the Canal, historic sites, museums, and attractions such as the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, the Montezuma National Wildlife refuge in Seneca Falls, Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, and the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse.
The complete schedule for the 2013 Cycling the Erie Canal Tour is as follows. (Arrival/departure times are approximate and are subject to change without notice).
Sunday, July 7-Buffalo to Medina
Overnight: Medina Middle School, Gwinn St., Medina
5:30 - 7:30am - Breakfast at Nichols School
6:30 - 7:30am - Registration at Nichols School
7:45 - Brief kick-off ceremony
8 - Start of ride
8:30- 12pm - Morning Rest Stop, Amherst Erie Canal Museum
10 and 12:30pm - Lockport Boat Tours
12 - 5pm - Afternoon Rest Stop - Middleport, Municipal Park
1 - 6pm - Swimming in Medina Middle School pool
4 - 7pm - Computer Lab available
5 - 7pm - Dinner at Medina Middle School
7 - 8pm - Talk on canal history - Tom Grasso, President, NYS Canal Society in the Middle School Auditorium
7 - 9pm - Music at campsite
Monday, July 8-Medina to Pittsford
Overnight: - Jefferson Road Elementary School, 75 Barker Road, Pittsford
6 - 8am - Breakfast at Medina Middle School
8 - 12pm - Morning Rest Stop, Holly - Canal Park
12 - 5pm - Afternoon Rest Stop, Rochester - Genesee Valley Park - at the Genesee Valley Waterway Center - Swimming(show arm bands), canoes and kayaks available
11am - Escorted bike rides to High Falls in downtown Rochester
2 - 9pm - Shuttle service to dorms and Schoen Place, Pittsford
5 - 7pm - Dinner at Nazareth College in Pittsford
7- 8pm - Music in campsite - Fred Vine
7 - 8pm - Speaker - Bob Buccieri
8 - 9pm - Swimming at Nazareth College
Tuesday, July 9 Pittsford to Seneca Falls
Overnight: Mynderse Academy, Seneca Falls
6 - 8am - Breakfast at Nazareth College with representatives from the Mormon Church & the Village of Palmyra
8 - 12pm - Morning Rest Stop - Palmyra Village Park hosted by the Palmyra Kiwanis
12 - 5pm - Afternoon Rest stop - Clyde Village Park - Town of Galan Historic Society and area churches open
2 - 9pm - Shuttle bus taking cyclists to Seneca Falls museums and dinner in Seneca Falls(3-9:30) and Vince's Park for swimming (pool 3 - 8)
4 - 6pm - Wine & cheese reception at Peoples Park, Seneca Falls
5 - 5pm - Whale Story at Peoples Park
4 - 7pm - Ice cream social (fee)
7 - 8pm Community Band Concert- Peoples Park, Seneca Falls.
Museums in Seneca Falls open late. See local brochure for schedule.
Wednesday, July 10 - Seneca Falls to Syracuse
Overnight: Burnet Park, Syracuse
6- 8am - Breakfast at Mynderse Academy
8 - 12pm - Morning Rest Stop, Port Byron Middle School
12 - 5pm - Afternoon Rest Stop, Camillus, Sims Erie Canal Store/Museum. Canal Boat Rides - 45-minute tour over the only restored aqueduct in NYS at 11, 12 & 1.
3-4pm - Reception - light refreshments/cash bar Rosemont-Gifford Zoo at Burnett Park - drawing for Terry Cycling saddles - must be present to win
2 - 9pm - Shuttle Service to Erie Canal Museum (until 8:00) and Armory Square
5 - 7pm - Dinner at Rosemont-Gifford Zoo
7 - 8pm - Sam Clemence - Engineering the Erie Canal, Rosemont-Gifford Zoo
7 - 9pm - Music by Chris Farrar at Rosemont-Gifford Zoo
Thursday, July 11 - Syracuse to Rome
Overnight: Fort Stanwix National Monument - James St, Rome
6 - 8am - Breakfast at Burnet Park
7am - Syracuse Erie Canal Museum open
8 - 12pm - Morning Rest Stop, Chittenango, Chittenango Landing Boat Museum
Canastota - free admission to the Canal Town Museum
12 - 5pm - Afternoon Rest Stop, Verona Town Hall
Throughout the afternoon - Rome Erie Canal Village available, YMCA available for swimming(see local brochure for schedule and other services available), Ft. Stanwix tours until 8:00pm
4 - 9pm - Dinner shuttle to area restaurants
Friday, July 12 - Rome to Canajoharie
Overnight: Canajoharie High School, 136 Scholastic Way, Canajoharie
6 - 8am - Breakfast at Rome YMCA
8 - 12pm - Morning Rest Stop, Town of Schuyler Town Hall
12 - 5pm - Afternoon Rest Stop, Little Falls, Canal Park
3 - 9pm - Shuttle bus to downtown Canajoharie
5 - 7pm - Dinner at Canajoharie H.S.
7 - 9pm - Music - George Ward, Erie Canal Music & more
Saturday, July 13 - Canajoharie to Scotia
Overnight: Collins Park, Mohawk Ave./Schonowee Ave., Scotia
6 - 8am - Breakfast, Canajoharie High School
8 - 12pm - Morning Rest Stop, Fultonville Town of Glen Offices
12 - 5pm - Afternoon Rest Stop, Mabee Farm Historic Site
Until 8:00pm - Swimming available at the park
1:45 p.m. - Meet at Information Tent Walking Tour of historic Stockade Area. Walk over as a group. Tour starts at 2
4 - 5pm - Reception at Collins Park
5- 7pm - Dinner at Collins Park
7 - 8pm - Program & Celebration
7 - 9pm - Music at Freedom Park area at Collins Park
Sunday, July 14 - Schenectady to Albany
6 - 8am - Breakfast at Collins Park
8 - 11am - Morning Rest Stop - Peebles Island State Park
10 - 3pm - riders finish at Corning Preserve, Albany
10 - 2pm - Showers available at Steuben Athletic Club
3pm - Finish line closes
Some Cycling the Erie Canal events are open to the public. For more information on Cycling the Erie Canal, contact Parks & Trails New York at (518) 434-1583 or visit www.ptny.org.