Contributed by Leslie Latimer of Gus’ Bike Shop, North Hampton, NH
A Bicycle Touring Adventure on the Erie Canal Trail
We recently returned from riding a nine-day adventure riding across New York on the Erie Canal trail. This is the third and longest bike trip we have taken with our friends, a group we named “Le COVID Bubble”.
Being a linear trail we had to figure out how to get to the start of the trail, and we choose to take Amtrak. We drove to the Albany, NY station and rode to Buffalo, and then biked the 360 miles back to the cars on the Erie Canal trail. Amtrak offers “roll on bike service” but the slots are few, so you’ll need reservations for both you and your bike. There are also shuttle services that can take you and your bike across the state to the start of the trail.
The scenery was breathtaking and the conditions were not unexpected since it was mid July – hot and hotter.
The towns are charming and quaint. Some are full of cultural options like the Women’s Hall of Fame, or Fort Stanwix, and others were one stop eateries and one hotel. We averaged 40 miles a day so that we had time to see the sights and tour shops and museums.
We planned months in advance in order to make lodging reservations and coordinate our days accordingly. Some of the small towns have limited lodging options, so planning ahead ensures you’ll have a place to stay. For those camping there are free sites up and down the canal at the locks. Nine days on the road can be a chore for anyone to map and plan and make reservations. Luckily our riders were all eager to join in the planning phase of the trip. We take turns being the “Director of Fun” for a day. The director scopes out the bakeries, cafes and sights, and plans the day.
Terry cycling gear was the ideal choice
Traveling by bike is made easier and more comfortable when you have the right gear and clothing for the trip. I took 3 outfits and rotated them over the week. I washed them in the hotels along the way. I picked mix and match tops and bottoms from Terry, using fabrics like Soleil shirts that were SPF protective for the hot days in the saddle, and cute fabrics and designs that made them stylish for dinners out. They also dried overnight and were ready to go the next day. For bottoms I picked a skort and the Metro short, as well as the new Peloton LTD chain link short. Since my bag was small and I carried all of my own gear for the week, it helped that everything was light-weight and wash and wear.
We had adventures every day as well as field trips to museums and many points of interest. Instead of being kitted in a race kit, these Terry pieces allowed us to hop off the bike and go into a museum looking presentable. The “urban apres velo” look carried us into dinner each night looking great, and then served us each day on the trail.
I found the light-weight fabrics stood up great to the trail conditions when they were dry, hot and dusty, or wet and covered with trail spittle. We encountered every condition on the trail and the clothes held up great.
In our group we had one gal that likes the sleeveless Sun Goddess jerseys, and another that likes the short sleeve Soleil tops, whereas I prefer the long sleeve Soleil tops because they keep the sun off my arms, and they keep you feeling cool. The same variations happened with our chamois choices. One rider likes the thin liners while another likes the thickest, and I am in between. The great news is that Terry makes a chamois for every preference. The Terry styles are sporty and feminine yet athletic and comfortable.
There were lots of surprises along the way, like unexpected rain showers, and some days were longer than others. We didn’t expect to fall in love with a town called Little Falls, and sleep with the windows open listening to the water. We didn’t expect to love the Mohawk River Trail. We didn’t expect we’d be pulling over for Amish horse and buggies on the trail. All were part of the great adventure. We did expect to laugh and ride and eat and sing tunes and drink locally crafted IPAs. Mission accomplished.
We have started planning the next bike tour already!
Visit Gus’s Bike Shop online at gusbike.com
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