Cycling the Erie Canal

I had a great adventure, today! I didn’t leave the Village of Albion. I didn’t knock anything off my Adventure Bucket List. I didn’t go exploring or visit any exciting location. But, it was a great adventure, just the same!

Every year, about 500-600 or so cyclists make a group journey along the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany – it takes them eight days to make the trip along this 400 mile section of the Erie Canal. They started out in Buffalo on Sunday with their first over night stop in neighboring village Medina, where they set up a tent city at the Medina Middle School. Today – Monday, was day two, which will end in Fairport for the night. Cyclists have come from all over the world to participate in this ride for the past 17 years.

This year, I was lucky enough to be able to join several members of the Albion Merchants Association and others from our Village that gathered to greet the riders and offer them free bottles of water and information about our historic downtown. It was an incredible morning! I arrived at the stop point on the northwest side of the Main Street lift bridge about 7:30 am – there were already a few early starters beginning to come through. Over the next couple of hours, many more passed through and most stopped to talk, get some water, rest a little, and ask lots of questions about Albion. Many also took the time to cross the bridge and ride through downtown and visit two of our historic churches that were open to the cyclists…..a few also rode further up Main Street to get coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts or Tim Horton’s. Two and a half hours later, I was hot, tired, and so very happy to have taken over 120 photos and met some wonderful people out on an adventure of a lifetime! I can’t wait until next year and see how many more great people I can meet!

Here are just a few of the photos I took! For more photos of the cyclists when they were in Medina and Albion, check out the Orleans Hub coverage by clicking HERE and HERE!

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Main St lift bridge from the welcome stop!

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A few riders got an earlier start than the bulk of the group

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A cyclist takes time to read the canal information board

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There were many different types of bikes – several variations on this ergonomic style looked really comfortable!

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Members of the Albion Merchants Association and Pawlak’s Safe-A-Lot prepare the welcome tent with free bottled water, information, and a supply of books on the canal and Albion/Orleans County history available for sale

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Welcome to Albion Where History Lives!

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The merchants gave me this sign to hold as I greeted the riders, but I was so excited to talk to them and take photos that I kept forgetting to flash the sign, so I gave it back! 🙂

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Another cool and comfortable looking bike!

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This gentleman came all the way from Poland to participate in this ride! He was such a nice and interesting man to talk to – he had all kinds of questions about Albion! I also read on the Hub that someone came from as far away as Australia!

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These two gentlemen were from NC – the one on the left was from Raleigh and the one on the right was from the NC coast! And….to prove what a small world it is….when I told him I lived in Sanford for many years, he asked about what I did there and we discovered we had a mutual friend – one of my former co-workers at Pfizer!!!

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There were several tandem style bikes!

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Soon, there was a steady stream of riders coming through!

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With most stopping for water and information – quite a few were interested in seeing examples of cobblestone and sandstone buildings in our Village

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Bikes parked so the riders could stretch and walk around a little

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More cool style bikes

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These ladies were from Albany – the one in red told me she teaches the history of the canal in her classrooms, but this is the first time she’s participated in this ride!

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LOTS of riders during the peak time

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Many added hat brims to their helmets to help shield the sun, but not many were as colorful and pretty as this lady’s!

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This family had quite a set up – an ergonomic tandem style bike for Mom and Dad with an attached cart for their two-year-old daughter – the youngest rider in the group! (BTW – I heard that the oldest rider was 91-years-old)

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This is Sherri Swift and her two-year-old daughter, Cadence – with Dad, Sean, who really does have a head! They drove from Tulsa, OK to participate in the ride!

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Sherri and Cadence being interviewed by Mr. Orleans Hub, Tom Rivers

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Just as they were getting ready to move on, Cadence came up to me and asked if I wanted a picture of her in her helmet! How cute is that? Of course, I did!

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Riders enjoying the benches and shade on their break

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One gentleman early on asked me how often the bridge is raised – he really wanted to see that! Alas, he was long gone when this boat came through and the bridge was raised to the delight of those who were there at the time!

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One of many riders snapping photos of the bridge fully raised and a boat passing under it!

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This boat made many riders very happy!

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The mural located beside the welcome station

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And they just kept coming…….

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The lady in the yellow and green on the left walking towards me was from California!

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A nice trucker stopped to allow the bikers to cross Main Street to the other side of the bridge on their way out of town!

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Headed on their way to the next town and, eventually, Fairport to stop for the night

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And, there goes Cadence and her Mom and Dad….

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Cyclists checking out the Pullman Universalist Church to see the Medina Sandstone construction, Tiffany stained glass windows, and the other history features of this gorgeous church!

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Bill Lattin talking with a cyclist about the history of the Pullman church

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Admiring one of the amazing Tiffany stained glass windows

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Touring our lovely downtown area and Courthouse Square

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The Presbyterian church was also open for touring

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These riders were so kind as to come back inside so I could photograph them in the beautiful Presbyterian church

So, there you have it…..the 17th annual Cycling the Erie Canal Journey! I’m sure that as I am writing this, all the cyclists are sound asleep in their tents in Fairport, resting up for the next leg on their eight-day journey! I wish them safe travels and perfect weather and hope they all love every inch of route and all that NYS has to offer them! See you all next year!!!

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