On Saturday, July 7, over 700 cyclists will begin to gather in Buffalo, in preparation for Sunday’s Cycle the Erie Canal tour. This is the 20th anniversary of the bicycle trip, which is a celebration of Erie Canal Bicentennial and Barge Canal Centennial.
The cyclists will embark from Buffalo, following the Erie Canalway Trail from Buffalo to Albany – altogether a 400-mile excursion. The statewide nonprofit group Parks & Trails New York organizes the trip, ensuring that cyclists are safe, happy, and informed along their journey.
A recent study shows that the Erie Canalway Trail annually receives close to 1.6 million visits and generates an economic impact of $253 million.
At this point in time, the Erie Canalway Trail is 80 percent complete. In the year 2020, the trail will be finished. The project is part of an even larger statewide 750-mile Empire State Trail.
Each year, the massive tour leaves from Nichols School. It would be great to see this tour actually embark from the Erie Canal Terminus. If that were to ever happen, the cyclists would travel past the Erie Basin Marina, on to LaSalle Park, and up to Porter Avenue, where they would make the connection to the new bike-ped bridge, which would take them to Niagara Street. The optimal time to make this embarking transition would be when the Niagara Street Now infrastructure project is completed.
“The 20th annual Cycle the Erie Canal tour is a wonderful way to celebrate the Erie Canal Bicentennial, Barge Canal Centennial, and explore Upstate New York. Plus, it’s fun, healthy, and good for the economy,” says Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin. “We have cyclists aged 6 to 82 from 37 states and several Canadian provinces, as well as Australia and the United Kingdom, and they all get to experience what makes the Erie Canal and Upstate New York so special.”
Schedule of Events for Buffalo
Saturday, July 7
Buffalo–Pre-tour activities- registration, reception, orientation
Tent City Location: Nichols School, 1250 Amherst St, Buffalo
Sunday, July 8
Buffalo to Medina
Tent City Location: Clifford H. Wise Middle School, 1016 Gwinn St., Medina
6:00am-8:30am – Cyclists depart
8:30am – 11:00am – Morning Rest Stop, Amherst Veterans Park
11:00am – 12:30pm – Lockport Boat Tours
11:00am – 4:00pm – Afternoon Rest Stop, Middleport Municipal Park
The NYS Canal Corporation and the New York Power Authority are Premier State Sponsors of Cycle the Erie Canal. The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is the event’s Heritage Sponsor. Brookfield and Nalgene are Supporting Sponsors. Other sponsors include Wegmans and Hodgson Russ. Eleven regional tourism agencies also sponsor the ride. Parks & Trails New York is New York’s leading statewide advocate for parks and trails, dedicated since 1985 to improving our health, economy, and quality of life through the use and enjoyment of green space.
Lead image courtesy Parks & Trails New York