More than 650 cyclists and 80 volunteers pedaled 400 miles between Buffalo and Albany as part of Parks & Trails New York’s Cycle the Erie Canal tour in July. The 18th annual tour brought out more people than ever before, demonstrating the appeal of cycling across the state beside the historic Canal.
The Cycle the Erie Canal cohort represented 38 states, with New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, and Massachusetts having the largest numbers of riders. Riders came came from Canada and even Australia, demonstrating the world-class status of the Erie Canalway Trail, which is one of America’s longest multi-use trails.
One of the first-timers to the tour was Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy of Albany, a major supporter of making communities across New York State safer for walking and biking. In addition to her personal accomplishment of completing the 400-mile trek by bicycle, she is the first legislator to complete the Erie Canalway Trail End-to-End.
A longstanding tradition of the tour that seems to be getting better every year is the warm welcome communities give to the riders. Riders also encountered several miles of new and enhanced trail as the Erie Canalway Trail gets closer to completion (80% of the trail is now complete).
Besides offering great cycling, a long-lasting feeling of camaraderie, and a fun history lesson, the Cycle the Erie Canal tour demonstrates the economic impact that cycling tourism can have on communities across New York and the importance of completing and enhancing the 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail. According to the 2014 Economic Impact Study of the Erie Canalway Trail, the more than 1.6 million annual visits to the trail generate a $250 million economic impact and support more than 3,400 jobs.
Stay tuned for the announcement of details for next year’s tour, or plan your own Erie Canalway Trail adventure at CycletheErieCanal.com.