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The Erie Canal Heritage Trail

  • Arrival
  • 9/7/2022
  • Departure
  • 9/17/2022
  • Ride Director
  • Charles Feerick
  • Ride Co-Director
  • Joan Feerick
  • Starting Location
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Finishing Location
  • Albany, NY
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $1425
  • Deposit
  • $725
  • Number of Riders
  • 10 (min. 16 /max. 20)
  • Space Available
  • 10
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 0

Ride Rating


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† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $50 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.

Ride Description

OVERVIEW:  “I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal, 15 years on the Erie Canal.  She's a good old worker and a good old pal, fifteen years on the Erie Canal”

Most of us are familiar with this classic 1905 “Erie Canal Song”. The song memorializes the years from 1825 to 1880 when the mule barges made boomtowns out of Albany, Utica, Rome, Syracuse, Rochester, Lockport, and Buffalo, and transformed New York into the Empire State. But how many of us have taken the time to experience first-hand what life was like in upstate NY during the 1800s?

Now is your chance! This tour is designed to take you back in time and showcase the beauty, history, and uniqueness of the many towns and small cities that have grown up along this very important and still functioning waterway. We won’t take 15 years, but we are not going to rush it either. We have built in 9 days of cycling that affords plenty of time to relish the many colorful canal communities and bucolic sights and attractions along the way.

We meet in downtown Buffalo, NY on Wednesday Sept 7 for an introductory happy hour and group dinner at a well-known local restaurant. You may want to consider arriving a day early to allow time to cycle along the Niagara River to leisurely visit the majestic Niagara Falls. If you have never visited the Falls, this is a must do.

We begin the tour with a beautiful 35-mile ride along the Niagara River before entering the Gateway to the Erie Canal en route to Lockport, and the famous Flight of Five Locks considered the engineering marvel of its day. If you do not have time either at the front or back end of the tour to visit Niagara Falls, we have put together an alternate route that allows you to visit the Falls and then cycle on to Lockport to join the group.

When in Lockport we have arranged a guided tour of the Flight of Five Locks that includes a one-of-a-kind underground boat ride. We will walk and float through an underground 2100 foot water power tunnel blasted out of solid rock, and will experience one of the most unique tours on the Erie Canal or in all America.

From Lockport we will continue east, passing through the beautiful village of Albion with its many buildings and districts that have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. We will spend the evening in Brockport before riding on to the town of Palmyra, well known as the birthplace of the Mormon religion. One can visit the home of Joseph Smith, visit the impressive Visitors Center, and even climb Hill Cumorah where legend has it that the Angel Moroni led Joseph Smith to the golden plates. 

The next day we make our way to Seneca Falls, the inspiration for Bedford Falls which is the fictional town in the classic 1946 film, It’s a Wonderful Life. One can even visit the Museum dedicated to this film. Seneca Falls also played a prominent role in the suffragette movement, and the Women’s Rights National Historic Park and the National Women’s Hall of Fame are a must see. One will have plenty of time to explore the charming streets and interesting shops and cafes in this lively little town.  We will have a group dinner and spend the night at the historic Gould Hotel.

From Seneca Falls we cycle through Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and make our way to the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse. Along the route we pass through lovely canal parks including Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct Park which has been beautifully restored to its original glory.  We will spend the night adjacent to the campus of Syracuse University in the Hotel Skyler. 

From Syracuse the bike path takes us to Chittenango Landing, a beautifully restored canal dry dock and partial village. We will pass many aqueducts and the awesome Lock 21 before reaching Rome, where we have the opportunity to tour Fort Stanwix with its impressive revolutionary war history. The next day we make our way to the quaint village of Little Falls and its lovely waterfront, Antique Mills, fun shops and dining.

The path to Amsterdam offers beautiful natural scenery as well as continued Revolutionary War History. We will spend the night at the Amsterdam Castle and have our final group dinner at their award-winning Great Hall. Our final day of cycling takes us through NY’s Capital Region along the banks of the Mohawk River. We pass through historic Schenectady and beautiful Cohoes Falls, before ending our amazing adventure in downtown Albany, the capital of NY State.  We depart the following morning.

COVID REQUIREMENTS: All participants must be fully vaccinated and be prepared to present vaccination documentation for viewing by Ride Leader if requested.

RIDE RATING: There are 9 days of required point-to-point riding. The route is rated as 1B; essentially flat with 40-50 miles per day of leisurely riding. The path is a combination of finely crushed stone aggregate and paved asphalt, and as such 28c or even better 32c tires are strongly recommended. Hybrid bikes specifically setup for the trail can be reserved by calling Campus Wheelworks (716-881-3613). The current rate for a week+ rental is ~$30/day. We suggest reserving the bike well in advance.

There will not be sag service except for emergencies. We will be renting a 9’ cargo van to transport luggage which has limited storage and passenger space. We request that each rider please limit their luggage to one small suitcase/duffel (25 lb. max) and a small backpack. 

CUE SHEETS: Electronic cue sheets (e.g. RWGPS) will be posted and available for download under Ride Leader Docs. No hard copy cue sheets will be provided, unless specifically requested in advance. 

WEATHER: Late summer in Upstate New York is usually comfortably warm and dry with average mid-September highs of ~75 and lows of ~55 degrees. That said, the weather is famously variable and temperatures can run +/- 10 degrees from these averages. Rain is always a possibility, so one must be prepared by bringing warm under layers and rain gear.   

LODGING & MEALS: Lodging will feature a combination of modern chain hotels (Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Best Western), and local classic inns and hotels. Meals to be provided include three group dinners, breakfasts most mornings, and happy hours each evening. 

LOGISTICS: Arrive on Wednesday, September 7, 2022 at the Hilton Garden Inn, 10 Lafayette Square, Buffalo. Social hour will begin at 5:00 PM. The hotel has agreed to honor the group rate for those wishing to arrive early, or to extend their stay on the back end. Those arriving by air should consider flying into Buffalo and flying out of Albany. We will transport your bike box in the cargo van. For those driving to Buffalo and leaving their car, we have negotiated a discounted parking fee ($10/day).

The ride concludes in Albany on Saturday morning, September 17. For those returning to Buffalo, we will transport your luggage in the cargo van. For an additional fee, we have arranged shuttle service for transporting people and their bikes back to the hotel in Buffalo.  We plan to depart Albany ~9 AM and arrive back in Buffalo ~3 PM. The cost for the shuttle service is $125/person. The shuttle service bike trailer is equipped to handle a limited number of tandems and e-bikes.  Alternatively, one can take the Amtrak train back to Buffalo at an approximate cost of ~$54/person + $20/bike. Unfortunately each train can only accommodate 4 bikes.

COST AND ADMINISTRATION: Estimated tour cost is $1425 per person which includes: 10 nights lodging, eight breakfasts, three group dinners, evening happy hours, the cargo luggage van, and the Lockport Cave tour. Electronic RWGPS route maps and cue sheets will be provided. The cost does not include additional lodging before or after the start of the trip, bike rental, parking fees, or the cost of the shuttle or train return to Buffalo.

A deposit of $725 is required upon ride acceptance. A second and final payment of $700 is due by July 7, 2022. The solo rider supplement is estimated to be an additional $710. Single riders who are willing to share a room are encouraged and we will assist with finding a roommate. Due to lodging limitations rooms with two beds are limited.

SINGLES & SOLOS POLICY:  A “single” is a member who signs up by himself or herself and wishes to share a room with another participant. A “solo” is a member who signs up by himself or herself and does not wish to share a room. It is recommended that singles who want a roommate try to find their own. After receipt of the initial deposit, a single without a roommate will be placed on the ride and given until July 7, 2022 to find a roommate. If they are unable to find a roommate, they will have the option to receive a full refund (minus the BAC Ride Registration Fee and Payment Processing Fee) or pay the $710 solo supplement and stay on the ride. If a single pays the supplement, they may continue to seek a roommate, but must plan to participate without a roommate if necessary. If the single finds a roommate the solo supplement will be returned. The Ride Leader will assist by attempting to match singles who apply for the ride. Solo supplement payments need to be sent to the BAC office by July 7, 2022. Checks should be made out to “BAC” with a notation of the tour name included on the check. They should be mailed to: Bicycle Adventure Club, PO Box 23998, San Diego, CA 92193. 

CANCELLATION POLICY: The BAC Ride Registration Fee and Payment Processing Fees are not refundable unless the entire tour is canceled because the number of participants registered is less than the minimum established for the tour. Refunds of tour payments will depend upon whether a replacement rider signs up, and on costs that can be recouped. The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations. If the canceling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time. If the canceling participant can't be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report are completed. If a single participant cancels and another roommate cannot be found, in addition to other costs that cannot be recouped the canceling roommate may also be liable for the solo supplement fee of the roommate remaining on the tour. BAC encourages members to purchase trip cancellation insurance.

RIDE PARTICIPANT RESPONSIBILITY: Please remember that BAC Ride Leaders are volunteers, and that successful tours depend on participants providing much of their own support. Participants are expected to come to the ride well trained, in good health and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well-maintained bicycles. All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour. We encourage you to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from the Ride Leader. While on the ride, support your Ride Leader with offers to help with various tasks such as happy hour preparation and cleanup. Please do not interfere with the ride by inviting non-participants onto any portion of the ride or tour. Please keep the Ride Leader informed of any special request you might have and respect the Ride Leader’s decisions. Before participating in any BAC tour, members should review their medical coverage and assess whether what you have is sufficient. If it isn’t, you should purchase additional travel medical coverage.  BAC maintains a policy that provides limited coverage for medical expenses associated with accidents incurred by US residents when on tours within the US. The policy maintained by BAC does not cover costs associated with self-quarantines that may be government mandated. Members should also ensure that vaccinations are up to date (e.g., COVID, annual influenza, tetanus, etc.). If travelling outside your home country you may wish to consult with a travel physician or nurse to ensure that the appropriate vaccinations are up to date.

SIGN-UP: To register for this ride, use the sign-up links just above the Ride Description. After preliminary acceptance, you will be moved to the pending list and receive an email requesting you to go back to the BAC site to digitally accept the terms of the Release of Liability (ROL), and pay the non-refundable BAC Ride Registration Fee and Tour Deposit by credit card. As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List. BAC members with questions may contact the Ride Director by "clicking" the name at the top of this Ride Description.

Bicycle Adventure Club
PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510

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