March is slowly "coming around" with intermittent breaks from the cold and wind, and I'm not one to miss a chance at a longer day ride when conditions permit. I managed a good one a week ago by riding 70 miles, to and from a ride start with friends on a gorgeous day that nearly hit 70 degrees. Yesterday wasn't quite as nice, but good enough for a 50 miler down the Genesee Valley Greenway to Avon, and back home via pavement. "Pavement" on the Pangea? Read on!
I wanted to see the section NORTH of Scottsville once more before the new trail construction begins sometime this summer.
Looking South from Ballantyne Road
Yup … plans are that the section from Canawaugus Park north to Ballantyne Road will get a face-lift in summer 2021. It will replicate the trail conditions that was created last summer from Canawaugus Park SOUTH to Route 5 (Avon). Wider, smoothed out, rolled with stone dust, and with some amenities added. So, the way I've always enjoyed the trail as a basic natural surface route out of town will be no more, and I decided to commit the image to memory … alongside the multitude of memories I've amassed since the trail's earliest days when I returned to Rochester in '91 and shortly thereafter got deeply involved with the Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway as we hacked our way south.
This will all be a grand improvement for most users and I expect that bringing the trail conditions up to match that of the Erie Canalway Trail, Lehigh Valley Trail, and the Auburn Trail will stimulate a significant rise in Rochesterians doing "The Loop" as well as inspiring more to explore southward toward Mount Morris, Portageville, and beyond.
What's the "new" trail gonna look like? Kinda like this:
Looking South from Canawaugus Park
In addition to upgrading the trail surface, there have been major environmental improvements, particularly in solving wet trail and wetlands issues on and near the trail.
Wetlands Management Success!
Alas, there's a glitch in the system, from my perspective as a cyclist. Yes, the Greenway is a multi-use trail. Wonderful! That means all kinds of normal trail users can enjoy it, thereby reaching many more people than any single-use type trail ever could. As a IMBA (international Mountain Bicycling Association) member from it's inception, I'm totally wedded to the concept which advocates for respect of all users and trail conditions. But I believe that respect isn't a one-way street … ALL users should respect ALL others and especially the trail conditions. So I was very disheartened to see this …
Horses tearing up the trail
I had heard that people were getting out on the trail before it was completed and opened. And perhaps the trail had opened before the base and stone dust had truly hardened enough to withstand the impacts of horses. Or maybe there's a plan for periodic re-rolling to restore the trail surface. I don't know. But I'm disheartened to see that equestrians had been out there, done that damage, and not immediately recognized or cared what they were doing and continued riding along the entire length of the new trail. (Not to mention the piles of horse "by-products" right ON the trail.)
I had planned on riding all the way to Route 5 and returning back to Rochester on the trail, but once I got to the south end, I diverted to Avon and rode the pavement home, even with soft knobby tires. If this will be the condition of the trail for keeps and not resolved, the only time I will reasonably tolerate the trail will be on my fatbike.
That my friends, will certainly dissuade a lot of folks from biking the trail.
I'm writing letters. You can too … Thanks!