Here’s the long and short of it on the 16th annual Cycling the Erie Canal — for some like the first-timer 9-year-old from Brooklyn it’s a big thing and for others, well, not so big. Although some got caught in rain Thursday, most were enjoying the sunshine in Rome as they set up camp on the lawn at Fort Stanwix.
Some have a lot more experience, like people from Rochester and Kentucky doing the trip the third time, or the Boston biker on this route the fourth time coming up on 1,500 bike miles this year when he gets to Albany in a couple days, or the volunteer on his sixth straight trip.
But these eight days are jut a bit part of the 10 1/2 month excursion by Peter Dudfield bicycling around the world — the circumference is more than 24,000 miles. He’s in it for the money, but not for himself. He’s raising donations for the International Disaster Fund of the British Red Cross. So far he’s up to about $20,000 U.S. There’s a donations link at the bottom of his website www.peterpedals.co.uk After the Erie trip ends, he’s headed toward New York City to fly to Morocco before returning to England by October to work on his PhD in math and physics.
So far he’s had about 10 flat tires and is on his third set of tires (“the rumble strips wear them out,” he said.). He said you have to clean and take care of your bike, noting that on this trip there are often hoses for riders to clean their rides.
The riders are from all over.
Several are from Rochester or that area.
A mother-daughter (going to be a high school junior this fall) duo from Brockport.
Dr. and Dr. from South Australia. (They courted on bicycles.)
The retired state police scuba divers (Ford from Troop D and Bloom from Troop E -- who admit to having been a little competitive in their former jobs) who had been bicycling 21/2 years and a little over a year, respectively.
And organizers said Israel is also represented on the trip
Covering between 40 and 60 miles per day, cyclists travel along the Erie Canalway Trail, which is three-quarters complete. When the Trail is finished, it will be the longest multi-use trail in the United States. A recent study shows that the Trail annually receives more than a million and a half visits and generates an economic impact of $253 million.
“The 16th annual Cycling the Erie Canal tour is a wonderful way to explore the Erie Canal and Upstate New York. Plus it’s fun, healthy, and good for the economy,” says Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin. “We have cyclists aged 9 to 90 from 35 states and as far away as Israel and Australia, and they all get to experience what makes the Erie Canal and Upstate New York so special.”
The cyclists ate in area restaurants, or had deliveries to their campsites, last night, then after breakfast at the Y they were off to Canajoharie for the night, then their final two days on the trail.
Some of the crew people will have a week off and then work on a similar trip down the Hudson.
On the net: http://www.ptny.org/canaltour/