Tuesday is the day to be out on the Erie Canalway Trail in the Albany and Syracuse areas, with organized group rides in both areas providing fun introductions to social cycling.
Across the Canalway Trail System, local cyclists and cycling groups use the trail for outings of varied length and intensity. Some cyclists are just out to enjoy the view, while others are looking to burn calories or train for an event such as a century ride or self-supported bike tour. Whatever your style, there’s plenty of room for whatever type of cycling you’d like to do on the Erie Canalway Trail – with nearly 300 miles of off-road route and a variety of trail surfaces. There’s also great groups and events that can help introduce you to trail riding, including the two groups rides profiled below.
Tuesdays on the Towpath – Madison & Oneida County
Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum (CLCBM) and Syracuse Bicycles Shop teamed up to host a spring/summer ride series in 2012. Since then, their creation, Tuesdays on the Towpath, has grown to include new ride options and new partners.
The Tuesday events are guided rides, generally on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. They use either the Old Erie Canal State Park section of the Erie Canalway Trail (ECT), on roads that follow the route of the Old Erie Canal through downtown Syracuse and the Inner Harbor, or on trails connected to the ECT including the Oneida Rail Trail. Most rides are between 8 and 10 miles, with stops along the way to talk about Canal features or historic sites. The Tuesday rides attract recreational riders of all ages and abilities, and on all types of bikes. When possible, local museums keep special hours for rides. After the rides, the group heads to local establishments to “test” the local food and craft beverages.
According to CLCBM Executive Director Chris O’Neill, the ride series has been a great success. She points to two main reasons: it serves the recreational rider, an under-served market, and provides a fun link between local cultural heritage, outdoor recreation, and area bike shops. Over the years, Tuesdays on the Towpath has drawn support from Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, Parks & Trails New York, Syracuse Bicycles Shop, and Mello Velo Bike Shop. An ongoing partnership with the Erie Canal Museum provides historical credibility. Beginning in 2014, rides became a partnership with Old Erie Canal Community Working Group (OECCWG), with communities and organizations alternating as hosts and guides for the weekly rides.
Partners for the Tuesday rides have even introduced an overnight tour on the Canalway Trail, Tour the Towpath.
It’s historic. It’s scenic. It’s social. So, if you’re in the Syracuse area on a Tuesday, don’t miss this great weekly ride. More information from Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum.
Towpath Tuesdays – Capital Region
Another great, trail-focused ride series is hosted by Bike Barn, in Cohoes, north of Albany. Their weekly ride also happens to be on a Tuesday.
“Tow Path Tuesdays” are organized group rides, led by Bike Barn staff and other experienced cyclists, that follow one of three different routes. Bike Barn classifies these rides as “entry level,” meaning that cyclists of all abilities are welcome, as are all types of bicycles – hybrid, mountain, road, etc. Each route contains some street riding, but the focus is on multi-use paths including the Erie Canalway Trail.
Bike Barn’s tried-and-true Watervliet to Albany route is entirely on trail, with cyclists taking in great views of the Hudson River and the Albany skyline. It’s a great option, and a great way to meet other trail enthusiasts in the Capital Region.
The group generally meets at the Van Schaick Pond parking lot in Cohoes, and the ride begins at 6:00 PM sharp. More information is available on Bike Barn’s Meetup page, or by calling (518) 238-BIKE.
Get in the habit this spring and summer by finding an organized ride that suites your style.