Erie Canalway Trail Epic Tour
10 Day Epic Tour
Built in 1825, the Erie Canal was considered an engineering marvel. It facilitated trade between the busy port of New York City and the rural farmland of upstate New York. Long overtaken by railroads, highways and airplanes to move goods, the 385-mile long beautiful waterway is now used for recreation and has been designated a National Heritage Corridor. We will ride the entire length of this historic canal. Most of the time, we’ll be on the flat towpath that mules used to pull the barges long ago. Come cycle through time with us!
The tour still has space. Make your travel arrangements.
Mostly flat terrain on a mixture of crushed stone and paved trails and roads. Average 42 miles per day. Moderate cycling level. Leisurely with an e-bike.
9 nights lodging, 9 breakfasts, 7 dinners, 4 picnic lunches, daily snacks, vehicular support, luggage transfer, mechanical instruction and support, Cycling the Erie Canal guidebook, Erie Canal Discovery Center entrance fee, cue sheets and GPS files, trained guides, and shuttles at the start and finish of the tour to the airport and our WT office.
$195 for a hybrid bicycle specifically designed for women. $295 for an electric-assist bicycle (e-bike.)
Fly or take the train into Buffalo, NY and out of Albany, NY. Or fly round-trip to Rochester, NY. You can also drive to Rochester, NY and leave your car at our WT office during the tour. We will provide a shuttle from our office in Rochester at 11:00am on the first day of the tour to the starting hotel. At the end of the tour, we will shuttle you to the Albany airport by 2:30pm, or to your car in Rochester or the Rochester airport by 7:00pm. If you take a train to and from the tour, we recommend you take a taxi, Uber or Lyft to and from the train station and our tour.
"If time and money were not an issue, I would attempt to do all of your tours. This was my third tour, and it will definitely not be the last!"
DAY 1: We start our tour with an afternoon orientation, followed by a bike prep and then dinner together. Our hotel is in downtown Buffalo, a short distance from the terminus of the Erie Canal. If you arrive early, take a walk to the largest city hall in the country. The Art Deco building is just a few blocks from our starting hotel and has an observation deck with a beautiful view of this historic city. 0 miles.
DAY 2: We’ll run this tour as we do our other epic tours. We’ll begin our ride on a paved bike path along the Niagara River through downtown Buffalo. Our shorter ride will give us plenty of time to explore the Erie Canal Discovery Center at the end of the day in Lockport.
You’ll get a better appreciation for the construction of the series of locks necessary to move the boats up more than 70’ here. You can see some of the original locks built in 1825 alongside the modern ones being used today. It’s fascinating to think that the method of raising and lowering boats in a canal hasn’t really changed that much over the centuries, and the same method is used today in the Panama Canal. 32 miles.
DAYS 3 – 9: Our days will quickly fall into a comfortable rhythm. We start early with a light breakfast provided by the hotel. Then we’ll pack our bike bags with snacks of raisins, nuts, energy bars and peanut butter sandwiches. We’ll make sure we have an extra layer of clothing and perhaps a rain jacket with us. We leave on our own, usually between 8- 9am and cycle at our own pace.
We’ll ride on a variety of terrain. About 44% is unpaved trail, 20% paved trail and 36% paved roads. We’ll cycle past farmland, through rural communities and into larger cities, staying in the historic downtowns. The canal moved not only food and goods from the Midwest, across New York and into NYC, but it moved people and ideas too. It helped spread social reforms such as the abolition of slavery and women’s rights. Abolitionist Frederick Douglas and suffragist Susan B. Anthony are both buried in Rochester, NY.
At times, we’ll ride beside the current canal while at other times, we’ll see the historic remnants of the narrower original canal from 1825. Sections of the canal were reconstructed and widened throughout the years.
About every twenty miles, we’ll meet our SAG vehicle along the route. It holds water, snacks, tire repair tools and a first aid kit. Even if you don’t need anything, you can stop to chat and talk about the wonderful tailwind or view. If you’re too tired to bike anymore, you can take a ride in the SAG vehicle to our hotel for the night. The SAG makes sure everyone is in safely at the end of the day.
Lunch is on your own during most days. When we’re not providing a picnic lunch, we encourage you to stop and get a taste of the local fare for something heartier than the snacks out of our SAG vehicle. Once at our hotel, you’ll find your luggage, (delivered earlier by the WomanTours van and trailer), and can check in to your room.
We have a variety of lodgings on this tour, from chain hotels to spas. We rotate roommates every night, unless you’ve requested a specific roommate or to upgrade to a single room. There will be time to shower before dinner and perhaps take a dip in a hotel hot tub. If anyone has experienced bike problems during the day, you’ll use the time before dinner to work with the guide to fix it. If it’s a complicated repair, we’ll help get your bike to a professional at a bike shop.
Then we’ll all eat dinner together, usually served buffet-style outside. Our traveling chef will create hearty and healthy dishes from our trailer kitchen. While our chef will accommodate guests with specific allergies and provide a nonmeat protein source for vegetarians, she cannot adhere to everyone’s likes and dislikes. We ask that you be flexible. A couple of the dinners on this tour will be in restaurants.
After dinner, our guide will hold a map meeting to discuss the highlights of the day and go over the details of the next day’s route. 42 miles on average per day.
DAY 10: Our final ride is on a beautiful paved section of trail. If you want to cycle all of the way into downtown Albany, you can cycle the extra miles and then circle back to the ending of our tour where we’ll have a picnic lunch.
After we celebrate our hard-earned accomplishment, we’ll load up our bicycles and shuttle to the Albany airport by 2:30pm and then to the Rochester airport or to your car in Rochester by 7:00pm. 23 or 37 miles.
Erie Canal Discovery Center & the Lockport Flight of Five
Women’s Rights National Historical Park
National Women’s Hall of Fame
Montezuma Wildlife Refuge
Syracuse Erie Canal Museum
Historic downtowns of Buffalo, Syracuse, Schenectady & Albany
CANCELLATION & REFUNDS: To sign up for this tour, we require a nonrefundable deposit of $300. The balance of the tour price is due 75 days prior to the tour and is nonrefundable.
DISCOUNTS: Save 2% if you pay by check.
TRIP INSURANCE: We will provide you with a source for trip cancellation insurance. We strongly recommend insurance, especially for a trip of this magnitude.
SAG VOLUNTEERS: We use 3 volunteers to drive a support car during this tour. Each driver works once every third day supporting the riders until the last cyclist finishes for the day. She provides food, drinks, flat tire assistance and moral support, and becomes an integral part in the success of the tour. In return, each volunteer receives a discount of 40% off the full tour price. If you’re interested in a position, please email or call us.
Erie Canalway Epic Tour Itinerary
|Aug 11, 2019||Buffalo, NY||0|
|Aug 12, 2019||Lockport, NY||34|
|Aug 13, 2019||Brockport, NY||45|
|Aug 14, 2019||Pittsford, NY||27|
|Aug 15, 2019||Seneca Falls, NY||54|
|Aug 16, 2019||Syracuse, NY||46|
|Aug 17, 2019||Rome, NY||47|
|Aug 18, 2019||Little Falls, NY||40|
|Aug 19, 2019||Schenectady, NY||60|
|Aug 20, 2019||Troy/Albany, NY||23 or 37|