Most Erie Canalside communities are familiar with the abundance of cyclists who pedal through on the Erie Canalway Trail. In fact, there are millions of visitors on the trail annually.
As part of the longest multi-use trail in the nation and a premier cycling destination, the historic corridor’s glory days are not just in the past, but in the years to come.
What’s an easy way for you to help your community harness the power of a growing trail and its proximity to your town? Encourage businesses to become Bike Friendly NY certified!
You can start by identifying a business close to the Canalway Trail that you think is well equipped for cyclists. Stop by during slow hours and talk to a manager/owner about applying for Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the New York State Canal Corporation’s Bike Friendly New York certification program. Make sure you come with a phone or tablet in hand and the application form up and ready to go so you can help the business apply on the spot if they are interested. Assure them the application process will take no longer than 10 minutes and that participation is absolutely free.
The requirements for certification are quite simple:
- The business has bike parking.
- This can be as simple as a nearby bike rack.
- Employees have knowledge of local cycling routes/resources.
- Know where nearby Erie Canalway trailheads are along with any other local cycling routes. Brush up knowledge on nearby bike shops and bike repair stands.
- Business has a physical location with posted hours.
- Is there a sign on the door that says when the business is open? Perfect!
Of course, anything else businesses can do to accommodate cyclists is a plus. When filling out the application, be sure the manager/owner selects as many amenities/services that they can (they must select at least two additional amenities) from the list provided. These can be as simple as posting a menu or venue information outside to having a repair kit and pump on hand. If they can offer something not listed, you can write it in the “other” section.
Furthermore, you can help the manager/owner fill out the “additional information section” where they can answer the question “What would you want cyclists to know about your business?” This information will appear on PTNY’s interactive Bike Friendly New York map, which cyclists can use to determine which businesses to stop at.
After the application is sent, processed, and approved, PTNY will send the business a window decal to attract cyclists, a Bike Friendly New York welcome packet, and list the business on the insert that gets sent out with our guidebook and add it to our online map. The certification will be valid for three years.
If the application is not approved, you can make suggestions to the manager/owner on how to improve their accessibility to cyclists. Often, all businesses need is a bike rack and they’re good to go. But sometimes, infrastructure doesn’t need to change at all — people just need a little more knowledge on local trails.
For more information on Bike Friendly New York, visit https://www.ptny.org/cycle-the-erie-canal/bikefriendly.