Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cycling the Erie Canal - Day 8

Day 8 – Cohoes to Albany (25.3 miles)
I volunteered to shuttle the car today. So after breaking camp and a final breakfast, Gary and Harold left from Scotia, cycling towards Albany, and I drove the car to the finish line in Albany.  It was only a 21 mile drive to the finish and I was there in practically no time.  And then I couldn’t find the place where we actually finished. The street that we were supposed to finish on wasn’t actually a street, although Garmin seemed to think it was. There was absolutely no one around and it didn’t look like an adequate enough place for a finish line for 500 bike riders, cars, families, luggage trucks, etc. but after talking to a security guard who told me I was in the right general area and that the car would be safe, I parked and attempted to cycle from the finish line backwards on the course.

This is the finish location?
Day 8’s ride finished on an elevated bike path, through a plaza, and down an elevator. So it was a little bit difficult to backtrack the course from the regular cue sheet. After a few false leads, I finally figured it out and was able to backtrack all the way to the day’s only SAG stop where I met up with Harold and Gary. More or less, between yesterday and today, I covered the entire Day 8 ride except for a 2 mile loop through the town of Cohoes.

No visible evidence of "Clinton's Ditch" here
The second half of today’s ride was from Cohoes to Albany along the Mohawk Hudson bike path. Good views of the Hudson River, Albany skyline, and the bridges crossing the Hudson.

Final mile into Albany
We were finished before 10AM, and showered, changed and were back on the road before 11AM.  It was over 1000 miles and almost 17 hours with rain and traffic until Karen picked me up on I-85 in Pendergrass and we were home by 4AM Monday morning. We did get a lot of rain leaving New York State, so rain came at the right time for everyone.
My thanks to Gary for allowing us to use his car and both Gary and Harold for putting up with me for over a week.

To summarize the ride in one paragraph:  It is definitely a ride to consider if you haven’t done it before.  A well organized safe ride, friendly people, lots to see, a relaxed pace, not overcrowded or rushed like BRAG, great SAG stops, and a lot of history along the way. Spending three nights with Russ and Gillian, and Aunt Jean was a bonus, as were the great meals we had at their homes in Batavia and Fairport. I'm glad we did the ride.

Next up on the agenda is Ride The West with America By Bicycle in September. I fly out to Portland, Oregon on August 31. Approximately 15 former North 2010 riders and/or spouses will be on this ride, so it will be a great reunion with old friends. I am looking forward to it.

Here is today’s final ride:

1 comment:

  1. Joe, thanks for the great write-up on the Erie Canal bike ride. Gary M. gave me this blog link and I know him through Harold Moreau. BTW, I'm a former Western NY guy - born in Jamestown and lived in Buffalo a few years before migrating to Michigan and then on to Georgia. But I've never ridden bikes in NY. My wife and I are looking to ride BonTon Roulet (aka Finger Lakes Bike Ride) in 2013. Have you done that ride and if so, any tips? Have fun on your next adventure. Thanks, Newt