OVERVIEW - erie canal (new York) BIKE tour
Experience six days of bicycling the historic Erie Canal, also known as the New York State Canal System, as we celebrate 200 years of history. On July 4th 1817, construction commenced on the 363 mile Erie Canal to connect the Hudson River with Lake Erie to open shipping between New York City and the mid-western US. Enjoy canal-side villages, towns, and cities, as we make our way from the Niagara River in Buffalo to the confluence of the Mohawk River at the Hudson River near Albany.
On this tour, you’ll enjoy mostly flat terrain riding along the path that parallels the gently flowing water of the Erie Canal System. There will be daily breaks to learn the history of the Erie Canal at museums or Canal Locks as well as the villages and towns that developed along the Erie Canal. Guests will have an opportunity to take canal boat rides through the locks and enjoy lunches overlooking the water during much deserved breaks from pedaling.
Dinner the first two nights will be at restaurants that provide Canal views and the opportunity to take a stroll along the Canal or enjoy an after dinner treat to celebrate the day’s accomplishments. This is the only fully-supported tour that travels the entire length of the Erie Canal while experiencing the original and current features. It’s a must-do for history enthusiasts and best appreciated by avid riders due to the daily distance covered. However, all ability levels will enjoy this tour knowing the van is always available for guests desiring a respite from riding. Please call to discuss any concerns or questions you might have about the tour.
Day 1, SUNDAY (Meals - lunch, dinner)
We gather near the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport before departing to the start location in Buffalo where we will make our way along the Niagara River before heading northeast toward Lockport to stop for the night. Today’s ride distance will be the shortest of the tour but offers unique views of the Niagara River several miles upriver from the famous Niagara Falls. In Lockport, we’ll have the opportunity to visit Locks 34 and 35, take a 2-hour canal boat ride that also goes through the Locks, learn about the Flight of Five, and visit the Erie Canal Discovery Center before eating dinner and settling in for the night.
Day 2, MONDAY (Meals - all)
After breakfast, we’ll depart eastward to pass through several villages and towns, such as Gasport, Middleport, Brockport, and Spencerport, all named as the Canal was built. This will be a longer day of riding with several stops, including to see Lock 32 & 33, Old Lock 62, and other unique features. We arrive at The Del Monte Lodge and Spa in Pittsford, our stop for the night, with time to get a massage at the Spa if you chose, take a Canal boat ride, or walk the Village and canal-side shops on Schoen Place before a canal-side dinner.
Day 3, TUESDAY (Meals - all)
This will be the longest day of the tour as we continue heading east toward Syracuse, our destination for the evening. It includes stops every hour to see Canal Locks and other features as we transition from the active working Canal system to the original “Old Canal” route. The frequent breaks help to make the day go quickly and there are opportunities to shorten ride time by shuttling forward in the van. The day ends with a delicious dinner at Strada Mia 313 before heading back to the Courtyard Marriott at Armory Square.
Day 4, WEDNESDAY (Meals - all)
Today we depart for Rome. Rome, New York that is. As we roll out from our hotel and navigate through Syracuse neighborhoods, we’ll head east along the “Old Canal” visiting the Chittenango Landing Canal Museum to learn about boats and artifacts from the day. Next, our travels take us northward to reconnect with the active Canal system and follow it along until the end of the tour. In Rome, we’ll enjoy lunch and visit Fort Stanwix before making our way to Utica for the night and a waterside dinner at Aqua Vino.
Day 5, THURSDAY (Meals - all)
Now following the Mohawk River portion of the Canal system, we continue to explore the history of Canal Locks and make a stop at the Old Fort Herkimer Church, which was built between 1753 and 1767. Lunch will be enjoyed at the Little Falls Marina situated along the Mohawk River. The day concludes in Fultonville where the van will shuttle guests north to Johnstown for the evening.
Day 6, FRIDAY (Meals - breakfast, lunch)
On the last day of the tour, we begin in Fultonville as we progress downhill toward the Hudson River and count down from Canal Lock 10 to Lock 2. Highlights of this day include crossing over Flat Stone Creek Aqueduct built in 1856, views of Cohoes Falls, and ending at Canal Lock 2. Guests will have the opportunity to shower and sightsee before a late lunch. Those requiring transportation back to Buffalo, where guests might consider visiting Niagara Falls (see below) and the surrounding area before returning home, should plan to arrive at the gathering location near the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport between 7 – 8 pm. Alternately, guests may choose to depart from Albany via airlines, train, or rental car.
This tour is best experienced on a gravel, touring, comfort, or hybrid bike (or a road bike that can accomodate the tire widths suggested below). A mountain bike is not recommended due to the typical gearing, which is not appropriate for the flat terrain of this tour. The riding surface on this tour varies from paved path, "stone dust" (very small stone "chips"), grass and dirt, and paved roads. Therefore, tire widths from 28 mm up to 35 mm is suggested.
To reduce knee, shoulder, back, and neck issues associated with longer riding times, it is highly recommended guests bring their own bicycle. If you need to ship your bicycle, we are able to provide the name of a preferred partner bike shop that will professionally unpack, assemble, prepare your bicycle for the tour, and store the box for use when shipping back home. Bike shops charge a nominal fee to assemble and prepare a bike and a separate fee to break-down and repack a bike for shipment. You might also consider self-assembly and break-down of your bike by shipping to your pre-tour hotel. Most hotels will store the bicycle box during the tour but check beforehand to confirm.
If you prefer to rent a bicycle, please indicate your desire on the reservation form. There will be a charge associated with renting a bicycle that will be determined at the time of your request and dependant upon the equipment selected.
Erie Canal (NY) BIKE TOUR SUMMARY
Price: $2,195 (double occupancy)
Single occupancy supplement: $575 additional
Length: 6 days / 5 nights
Daily mileage range: 32-78
Total tour mileage: 350
Daily biking time (estimated): 2 – 6 hours
Terrain: Mostly flat with some rolling hills
Ability level: Avid and above (due to distance)
Start location: Buffalo, NY
Ending location: Albany, NY
Accommodations - 5 nights
Meals - Breakfast (5), Lunch (6), Dinner (5)
Activities - Canal boat rides, museums, historic sites, sightseeing
All transportation and luggage transfers during the tour
Ride support and daily, detailed route directions
Mechanical support, snacks, and drinks while riding
Van shuttle back to start location in Buffalo at the conclusion of tour
Gratuities and taxes for accommodations, meals, and included activities
What's not included:
Transportation to starting and from ending location in Buffalo, NY
Accommodations prior to tour Day 1 or after tour Day 5
Del Monte Spa massage
Gratuities for tour leaders
Alcoholic beverages at meals
Any activities not mentioned above as included
Guests may consider arriving prior to the tour departure date or staying after the tour conclusion date to visit the majestic, world-famous Niagara Falls. Supplementary days before or after the tour are not included in the tour price or itinerary but If you desire to include this as part of your travels and would like additional information or recommendations, we are glad to assist. Please let us know.