Cycle the Erie Canal Tour

July 10th – 17th

Eight days, eight cyclists.

Buffalo to Albany along the Erie canalway trail.

400 miles.

Epic adventure.

Our group of eight (along with just 642 other cyclists), joined in Parks & Trails New York‘s (PTNY) 24th annual “Cycle the Erie Canal” tour or CTEC for short.

PTNY did a fabulous job in organizing the event.   The event kicked off with a pre-ride dinner in Buffalo the night before we started cycling along the canalway.   Each day was structured the same, breakfast at the campground – open between 6 and 8 am, which includes a route briefing for that day’s ride.   Then riders start that day’s route whenever they are ready.  Therefore, the 650 riders are spread out along the canalway trail. 

Depending on what area the trail took us through, we might stop at one of the 57 canal locks or 17 lift bridges and watch a boat go through, or stop for ice cream or wander in a local bakery.   The park service set up SAG (support stops) as well about every 15 to 20 miles.  The SAG stops had lots of food to refuel, including PB&J sandwiches, cookies, fruit (the watermelon was the best), water and Gatorade, and of course restrooms for needed potty breaks

Upon arriving at the end of a days ride, we either stopped at the campground or rode to our lodging, which was typically roadside motels.    There were only a handful of riders like us who didn’t camp.  We greatly enjoyed having indoor plumbing, AC, and a nice bed to sleep in.   Two nights of the tour scheduled dinner in town and we also ate in town a few other nights, rather than ride back to the campground.  Yes, we pampered ourselves!


For those that know the area, after leaving Buffalo, we stopped for the night in Medina, Fairport, Seneca Falls, Syracuse, Rome, Canajoharie, and Schenectady, arriving in Albany on the 8th day   All the towns along the way were so gracious with many locations providing opportunities for historical information. 

Did I mention tire flats?  Sixty percent of the trail was gravel roads; 40% paved.  So, a tire flat is bound to happen, right?  We felt great in only having 4 flats (well, none would have been better).  And, ironically, each of the 4  men had flats on 4 different days.  So only half of our days did we have a flat to change and none of the women had a flat.  I wonder how that happened? 

Dave and I wouldn’t have enjoyed ourselves as much without knowing that Murphy was in such great hands, hanging out at our RV near Buffalo with Frank.  We are forever indebted to Frank for agreeing to Murphy sit while we rode CTEC.  Here’s a picture of Frank visiting his daughter who lives in Philadelphia.  They each drove over 3 hours for a lunch date.

With another epic adventure in the books, we are looking forward to exploring Canada.  Stay tuned for updates from Canada!

6 thoughts on “Cycle the Erie Canal Tour”

  1. Loving the updates. Can’t wait to see some of the pictures from this Merchberger adventure. Amy and Ryan Along with Rex and Abby send Murphy some hugs.

  2. What a FABULOUS summary of the most amazing cycling adventure. Spectacular weather, glorious views, and awesome history all along the route. Not to mention the most wonderful cycling companions ever! SO MUCH FUN. I’m so happy for your continued adventures northward and look forward to reading all about your experiences!

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