Great Flats Brewing: Serving Schenectady’s Bike Scene

Great Flats Brewing makes great beer, and as a meeting point for Schenectady’s growing cycling scene. And it’s all just blocks from the Canalway Trail!

Great Flats Brewing opened in March, 2017. Using ingredients grown in New York State, they serve fresh beer, cider, and wine.

Great Flats organized a clean up event as part of the 2017 Canal Clean Sweep, and they have recently become certified as a Bike Friendly New York business. “We like biking ourselves. Also, beer and biking go well together.”

Every Sunday,  Bike Old Dorp and Great Flats Brewing invite cyclists to go out for a night ride, and to join them for a beer afterwards.

Being close to the trail means lots of business. “It’s a big open space for people to hangout and rest, while drinking a beer or soda. It’s a great place to start a ride or take a break.”

Great Flats occupies a prime, trailside location in Schenectady – just blocks from the Erie Canalway Trail, know locally as the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Trail. They are also a quarter mile from the Electric City Bike Rescue and three miles from Plaine and Son Bike Shop.

Check out their website for more information on their beer list and new flavor releases.

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Hilton Garden Inn: Bike Friendly in Bushnell’s Basin

This month’s Trailside business, the Hilton Garden Inn Rochester/Pittsford, has served cyclists on the statewide Canalway Trail system since 2013. This year, they will become the first bike-friendly certified business as part of Parks & Trails New York and the NYS Canal Corporation’s Bike Friendly New York program, set to launch in May.

Situated right along the Erie Canalway Trail, in the historic district of Bushnells Basin, Hilton Garden Inn Rochester/Pittsford has offered cyclists convenient and relaxing accommodations since its debut in 2013.

The 107 room property features the Garden Grille & Bar, complimentary Wi-Fi, heated indoor pool with whirlpool spa, and outdoor patio with fire pit.There are also several eateries and shops within a short walking distance, or guests may take the complimentary shuttle to Eastview Mall.

The Hilton Garden Inn’s bike-friendly credentials are strong, with the hotel providing indoor bike storage, free overnight parking and keeping bike repair tools and supplies handy. It’s no wonder the Hilton was voted number one for lodging in the Greater Rochester Region on TripAdvisor. Find out more by visiting www.rochesterpittsford.hgi.com.

“Our close proximity to the Erie Canalway trail makes the Hilton Garden Inn the perfect spot for cyclists to refresh and relax during their travels,” said Jessica Conley, Sales Director for the Hilton Garden Inn Rochester/Pittsford. “We continue to see an increase in cyclists along the trail and the Bike Friendly New York program will allow us to make their stay more comfortable and convenient.”

Bike Friendly New York 

Bike Friendly New York (BFNY) is a bicycle friendly certification program set to launch in 2017. Administered by Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the New York State Canal Corporation, BFNY aims to recognize and promote businesses that provide special accommodations for bicyclists. A wide range of businesses can apply for bike-friendly certification, including restaurants and bars, lodging, shops, and museums. BFNY was conceived with businesses located along the statewide Erie Canalway Trail (ECT) in mind; however, eligible businesses across New York may apply and be certified.

More information, including the program guide and application link, can be found at www.ptny.org/bikefriendly.

 

New Transportation Service Ready to Roll on the Canalway Trail

Erie Canal Bike Shuttle (ECBS), a new shuttle service on the Erie Canalway Trail, is gearing up for our very first season!

The service was designed especially for cyclists. ECBS will operate 3 shuttle buses, each accommodating up to 24 cyclists, and have enclosed cargo trailers that will haul the bikes and gear.

Buses with trailers in tow will operate out of a Syracuse hub,  providing daily out and back shuttle runs to Buffalo and Albany.

Beginning Memorial Day weekend (May 25, 2017), ECBS will provide cycle shuttle service along the entire 360 miles of the statewide Erie Canalway Trail. In addition to daily shuttle services, ECBS has a great website loaded with helpful planning information such as free multiday trip itineraries, maps, trip & packing guidance, and so much more.

“We’ve done a lot of planning and outreach, and really tried to design our services around the needs of cyclists using the Canalway Trail.”, says Diane Kolifrath, owner of Erie Canal Bike Shuttle.

ECBS will also offer several supported-ride packages, from posh “Inn-to-Inn cycle & stay” trips, to bike & camp trips. These packages include your overnight accommodations and gear and luggage transport (optional bike rentals can be arranged as well).

To celebrate its first operating season, ECBS is offering some great discounts.  The grand opening special allows rides between May 25th and June 1st for only $45 for the West or East Shuttle, or only $75 for full Erie End-to-End. All summer trips booked before May 1 save 20%;  book before June 1 to save 10%.

“The Erie Canalway Trail offers so much, “ offers Diane Kolifrath, “great local flavor, rich history, beautiful scenery, and attractions for both kids and adults. Our goal is to make it fun and easy for people to plan an exciting vacation on the awesome Erie Canalway Trail.”

Find out more about ECBS’s services at www.GoBikeErie.com, or call (949) I-BIKE-NY.

Best of luck Dianne and the whole ECBS crew. Dependable and convenient transportation is a critical piece in attracting more visitors to the Canalway Trail, and ensuring a high level of service for trail users.

Going the Extra Mile for the Cycling Tourist

Hostel Buffalo-Niagara offers far more than a roof and a warm bed to cyclists making their way through Buffalo on the Canalway Trail and other long distance touring routes. The hostel offers a long list of amenities geared toward cyclists, a location in the heart of downtown Buffalo, and a welcoming family atmosphere. That’s why they are this issue’s featured Trailside business.

Hostel Buffalo-Niagara has been welcoming visitors from around the world to downtown Buffalo since 1996. The hostel has approximately 50 beds, and a location in the shadow of the iconic Shea’s Performing Arts Center sign on Main Street provides easy access to all of Buffalo’s charms. True to the traditional hostel concept, lodgers rent a bed, and have access to shared bathroom facilities. Hostel Buffalo Niagara also provides access to a full kitchen and luggage storage, all for a low price.

hostel-exterior-w-bikeAs with many hostels, Hostel Buffalo-Niagara has come to attract specific groups of travelers, including backpackers, travelling artists, and cyclists. Affordability and a great location have a lot to do with enticing these groups, but the hostel’s management has made special efforts to cater to cyclists. Manager Jon Privet explained that they were influenced by experiences with reduced rate biker/hiker campsites found in Western parks, believing that cyclists should be rewarded for choosing emission-free, low-impact transportation, and shouldn’t pay the same rate as more energy intensive modes. As a result, the hostel began offering a significant discount to thru-cyclists who weren’t travelling with a car.

They didn’t stop there, though. Hostel management has created an in-house bike share program, where lodgers can use a bike for local exploration at no cost. There’s also a bike storage room, and of course bike tools available for minor fixes. Cyclists also benefit from management’s knowledge of local cycling routes, and connections to the local cycling scene. In the summer, the hostel offers a free “bike breakfast” each Wednesday for local bike commuters, and they are involved in a local bike registration system called Bike Indexhostel-buffalo-niagara

The hostel also posts great stories and pictures of thru cyclists on its Facebook page.

Manager Jon Privet explained that Hostel Buffalo-Niagara’s bike-friendly ways stem from being “inspired by touring cyclists.” Well, Hostel Buffalo Niagara, you inspire us and serve as a great example of a Canalway Trail business going the extra mile for cyclists!

 

 

 

Trail Ambassadors Establish New Post in Chittenango

The Canalway Trail Ambassador program recently expanded to the trail in Central New York. Already, one of the new Ambassadors based at Chittenango Landing has logged more than 15 hours on the trail.

Trail Ambassadors like Chittenango’s Dave Kellogg are volunteers who provide a warm welcome to Erie Canalway Trail users and offer assistance with directions, local attractions and lodging, and other issues that may arise on the trail. Dave’s work with the Old Erie Canal Working Group,which works to promote the trail and Canal corridor to both locals and visitors, served as his introduction to the Ambassador program.

Dave’s duties as an Ambassador has allowed him to meet cyclists and trail users from the surrounding communities, other states, and across the world. Dave also contributed to this year’s Cycle the Erie Canal (CTEC) bike tour by creating temporary trail signage directing CTEC riders to the Fayetteville Feeder Canal Trail and to local businesses. He was there to answer questions about the Feeder Canal, and reports that about one-third of the tour cyclists stopped at the trail juncture.

Last week, Dave met Peter from Dublin, Ireland. In a perfect example of Trail Ambassadorship, Dave engaged Peter in conversation and found out he has been cycling non-stop for 3 1/2 years, with recent trips through New Zealand and Australia. Before allowing him to head off on his way – next stops Buffalo, Montreal, Maine, Boston, and back to NYC – Dave showed him around Canastota and the village’s Canal Town Museum.

The Canalway Trails Association New York (CTANY), in collaboration with Parks & Trails New York and the New York State Canal Corporation, initiated the Canalway Trail Ambassador Program in order to provide a “presence” on the trail and enhance the experiences of trail users.

In 2008, Ambassadors began riding on a segment of trail in Schenectady County as a pilot project under the auspices of the Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, as the Canalway Trail is known in this area. In 2012, the program expanded to the Rochester area. The new Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum/Old Erie Canal group is the first Ambassador program in Central New York.

To learn more about the program and join the ranks of Canalway Trail Ambassadors, email PTNY at canaltrail@ptny.org or call 518-434-1583.

Dave Kellogg

Dave Kellogg 2

Jumpin’ Jacks – A Trailside Favorite in Scotia

For many in the Capital Region, the arrival of spring is marked by the opening of legendary Scotia car-hop, Jumpin’ Jacks, within sight of the Erie Canalway Trail.

Courtesy All Over Albany

Courtesy of All Over Albany

Jumpin’ Jacks’ annual opening for the season coincides with the peak of spring fever and a renewed appetite for grilled burgers, hot dogs, and ice cream. Crowds line up for opening day around the end of March and don’t leave until Labor Day, when the drive-in closes for winter.

When Jumpin’ Jacks opened in 1952, it only served ice cream, but by 1957, owner Jack Brennan added a charcoal pit, expanding the menu to include the familiar favorites such as the Jackburger, steak sandwiches, hot dogs, and fish fries.

In addition to offering food and drinks, Jumpin’ Jacks hosts weekly concerts, fireworks, and water skiing. Check their Facebook page for more information about the entertainment schedule.

Erie Canalway Trail travelers can easily access Jumpin’ Jacks with a short half-mile detour across the Western Gateway Bridge (NY-5), which crosses the Mohawk River between Schenectady and Scotia. Jumpin’ Jacks is located directly across from Scotia’s Collins Park.

Stockade Inn fortifies trail travelers in Schenectady

Located just off the Erie Canalway Trail in Schenectady’s Stockade Historic District, the 18 guest rooms of the Stockade Inn stockade room 1provides high-quality service–including complementary high speed internet access, cable TV, HBO, individually controlled heat and air conditioning, private bathroom and vanity, and a business style desk–to trail travelers and other sojourners alike. The Stockade Inn has had a long relationship with the Erie Canalway Trail and trail users and provides free indoor bike storage. The Stockade also advertises to Canalway tourists online and in print publications, including Parks and Trails New York’s Cycling the Erie Canal guidebookstockade outdoors

Opened in 2003 in a building dating to 1818, the Stockade Inn also offers private event rooms, an on-site restaurant specializing in American cuisine with Tuscan influences, and a dining lounge whose menu features gourmet lounge fare, martinis, dessert, coffee, and wine for visitors. There’s live jazz every Thursday and Friday night at the Stockade. As if that’s not enough, the Inn’s operators also own the Van Dyck Restaurant & Brewery, which is within walking distance from The Stockade Inn, where guests can dine and enjoy 10 varieties of beer made on-site.

stockade4A business that provides comfort, fun, and historic meaning, and goes out of its way to cater to trail users? What could be better?!