In the mood for a "gentle" ride to match today's gentle weather predictions (temps, anyway), I pulled out my "lazy bike", a Bachetta Giro recumbent touring bike for the 1st time in … well … a long time, and got on the road in an unhurried manner. I had plotted a route for another century+ (in blue on the map), but my curiosity got the better of me in Fairport and sent me down the Erie Canalway Trail (in green).
You see, I've been looking at the Canal Trail's interactive trail map on the Parks and Trails New York website. It's an amazing resource and if you play with it a bit, you'll quickly understand why I'm mesmerized by it.
And tempted as well.
Nothing new jumped out at me till I got just past Macedon. I've always known about an earlier and defunct canal lock (Enlarged Erie Canal Lock 60) just off the side of the existing canal, but never stopped to really check it out. To say it's been "well cared for" doesn't do it justice. I highly recommend a visit. It's accessible via Quaker Road, just east of O'Neil Road, just east outside of Macedon. If you are on the canal trail by Lock 30, continue out on the north side of the canal, cross O'Neil onto Quaker. It will soon be on your right and there's a sign. Perfect picnic stop!
On into Palmyra, back on the trail at Aqueduct Park, back to the north side at Muddy Waters and headed to Newark, the new developments appear. A few weeks ago, I was diverted off the trail due to workers clearing trees. A couple weeks back, a group of friends riding through Newark were told of a paving operation on the trail. Today, I got to see the results. I admit, dirt or pavement, it's all the same to me, but I understand how these improvements are A Good Thing™ for many trail users. Thank you Canal Corp!
And yes, I confess, my speed picked up a bit flying into Newark.
After Newark, I was in Unfamiliar Territory, trail wise. I have never followed the trail east of Newark, so today's adventure really begins here. From here to Clyde, I find that the trail has nicely finished sections (paved or stone-dust surfaces) alternating with detours out onto parallel roads. One such road was "Old Route 31" which is little more than a lane-and-a-half worth of nice pavement, but the signed and marked trail fully consumes a full half-lane of it. Sweet! But another section was a surprise. It appeared that one section had (perhaps?) recently received a nice new stone-dust treatment along the old canal prism and then abruptly stopped mid-trail in the woods. Beyond that point was little more than a rough and rooted single track, and I'm not riding the best bike for these conditions. Not knowing what lies ahead, I move ahead. Slowly.
It eventually leads to a private driveway crossing where continuing forward is prevented by a gate with private property signs on it. Having had experience working on rail-trail "issues" elsewhere, I guess (without evidence) that there's a local resident squatter problem that needs addressing. I head down the driveway to the road alternate and get back ON the trail past "The Issue", whatever it might be.
But on the way there, I visited the village of Lyons from a "trail" perspective that I don't get from road-riding the area. And I discovered why there's a spur road in town called "Drydock Road". Duh. There's a dry dock right there on the canal! Pretty Cool!
I learned about the two dry docks on the canal, how they store tugs and equipment there over the winter, and a bit of history. It seems that the Hotchkiss family, that I learned of on the Peppermint Kiss ride, had an unfortunate time there. The son of Hiram Hotchkiss worked on the Dipper Dredge #3 and was killed in an accident. The Dipper Dredge #3, apparently no longer in service by the looks of it, is on display there in the dry dock. Also in Lyons is a huge mural featuring "Sal", the mule made famous by Pete Seeger in the song "Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal".
Eventually, and slowly, I made it to Clyde and stopped for lunch at the bike-friendly Kee Kee Cafe for a grilled cheese panini and a coke. From here, I mostly reverted to my originally planned route, with a detour and backtrack at a bridge out and a couple mindless alterations, back toward Rochester through the Wayne County drumlin field, and not very quickly due to "noticeable" headwinds. Century #18: 103 miles. Tired, but not sore, I packed the Lazy Bike away, wondering when is the next time I pull it out, and when will I get around to cycling the entire length of the Erie Canalway Trail?
Soon, I hope.