Ride the Rockies
Erie Canal

Erie Canal

Erie Canal 2008 tour
0. Buffalo
1. Medina
2. Pittsford
3. Seneca Falls
4. Syracuse
5. Rome
6. Canajoharie
7. Scotia
8. Albany

cycling the Erie Canal 2008

An 8-day 400 mile bicycle tour from Buffalo to Albany

sponsored by Parks and Trails New York

July 6-18, 2008 I rode along the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany.  My wife, Nina, came along with me in the car and we camped with the tour group along the way.  This is the schedule of the trip that provides setting for my 5th novel.
day date 2008 ended at miles ridden
0 Saturday July 5 Buffalo 0
1 Sunday July 6, 2008 Medina 47
2 Monday July 7, 2008 Pittsford 53
3 Tuesday July 8, 2008 Seneca Falls 62
4 Wednesday July 9, 2008 Syracuse 39
5 Thursday July 10, 2008 Rome 50
6 Friday July 11 Canajoharie 63
7 Saturday July 12, 2008 Scotia 42
8 Sunday July 13, 2008 Albany 39

That's a total of 395 miles ridden (I guess they like to round it up to 400).

About the Erie Canal

To get an idea about the importance and size of the Erie Canal.

Canal Length Year
Locks Height boat raised Aqua-
Width Depth
Erie 363 miles 1825 83 568 feet 18 40 feet 4 feet
Suez 102 miles 1869 none 0 feet - free flowing 0 197 feet at
26 feet
Panama 48 miles 1914 3 85 feet -
up and back down
0 110 feet
at locks
43 feet

Since the Erie Canal was put out of business by the railroads, there is no question that the Suez and Panama canals are of more importance today, yet the Erie Canal is still quite impressive.  It is more than twice as long as the Suez and Panama put together.  All dug by hand, it was built long before the invention of the automobile and years before the other two canals.  It played an important part in settling Michigan  and the whole Great Lakes region (Michigan didn't officially become a state until January 1837).  Imagine traveling west by horseback or stagecoach and all that bouncing and jolting.  Then visualize sitting on a canal boat, gliding along smoothly and comfortably.  It would take a month to travel from Albany to Buffalo but by canal it was only a week.  I know which method I'd use to travel.  All along the canal major cities sprang up and it even played a major role in the growth and importance of New York City

The figures above represent the size of the canals when first opened.  All of them have since been enlarged for bigger boats.  Today the Erie Canal is mainly used by tourists, and I think of it as a linear park.  In the summer it is kept open and the locks raised and lowered even for canoes.  In the winter the canal is closed and parts of it drained.