Cycle the Erie Canal Bike Tour
Parks & Trails New York's 23rd Annual Bike Tour
Buffalo to Albany July 11 – 18, 2021
Every summer, cyclists leave their cars behind in Buffalo to pedal along the historic Erie Canalway Trail to Albany for Parks & Trails New York’s annual Cycle the Erie Canal bike tour.
The 400-mile journey along the legendary Erie Canal ends in Albany 8 days later. Along the way, cyclists enjoy some of the finest scenery, most interesting history, and unparalleled cycling in the United States.
Covering between 40 and 60 miles per day, cyclists travel along the Erie Canalway Trail, which is now 85 percent complete and the east-west axis of the statewide 750-mile Empire State Trail.
2021 Cycle the Erie Canal Tour Info
Covid-19 has changed our lives in so many ways.
At Parks & Trails New York, we continue to focus on the protection and promotion of the outdoors and are inspired by the increasing number of people spending time outdoors and discovering the joys of nature.
With 2021 upon us, we are considering how to provide new and returning cyclists with safe bicycle touring opportunities along the Erie Canal this summer, following all state guidelines.
Consequently, registration for Cycle the Erie Canal will open April 1 rather than January 1 this year and the ride will be limited to 300 cyclists.
The Parks & Trails New York team is meeting regularly to continue planning for July, 2021.
As part of this effort, we are:
- Continuing to educate ourselves and stay informed of NYS Covid-19 guidelines.
- Networking with other bicycle tours nationwide
- Staying in touch with all Cycle the Erie Canal interested parties
- Keeping information on our website current
- Continuing to consider and explore any and all options
Are you interested in joining us on a future tour? Keep in touch with us by joining the Cycle the Erie Canal mailing list:
The route follows the legendary Erie Canal passing locks and aqueducts and winding through historic villages and rural farmlands. Learn more about each day's route with our 2019 interactive maps.
Riders cover about 50 miles a day on mostly flat terrain. About 75% of the ride is on the off-road Canalway Trail, with the remainder on public roadways with good shoulders. Most days, the route follows the canal along level ground, although there are some rolling hills and two long, gradual climbs in the Mohawk Valley.
Riders stay overnight in Buffalo, Medina, Fairport, Seneca Falls, Syracuse, Rome, Canajoharie, and Schenectady at colorful tent cities. A variety of lodging and amenities are also available, from national hotel chains to bed and breakfasts. Rental and set up of tents and air mattresses is available from Comfy Campers.
- Camping accommodations every evening with showers and toilet facilities. Some campsites include pools or lakes for swimming.
- Eight hearty breakfasts and six delicious dinners
- Two daily refreshment stops, stocked with fruit, snacks and beverages
- Evening entertainment, including music and historical presentations
- Guided tours of the Canal, historic sites, museums, and other attractions, including the Women’s Rights National Historic Park, Erie Canal Museum and Village, Fort Stanwix National Monument, and a boat tour through the Lockport locks
- Kick-off reception and end-of-tour celebration
- Cycle the Erie Canal t-shirt and water bottle
- Baggage transport
- SAG wagon and mobile mechanical support
- Daily maps and cue sheets
- Painted and arrowed routes
- Pre-departure info packet, including training tips
- Recognition as a Cycle the Erie Canal End-to-Ender
- Amenities (for an additional fee) including fresh daily towels, gourmet morning coffee, tent and air mattress rental and set up, and evening massage
The free Rider Handbook offers everything you need to prepare!
The Cycle the Erie Canal Rider Handbook is a free, comprehensive guide to the tour. It includes everything you need to know about the ride: training and gear; travel and registration; daily itineraries and meals. This convenient resource is the go-to guide for planning and participating in the ride.
Stay connected to receive the latest info
- Receive exclusive updates by email. Sign up for our Cycle the Erie Canal Tour email list
- Stay connected during and after the tour by joining the official Cycle the Erie Canal Facebook Group
Learn how you can get a discount on your registration
Become a member
Parks & Trails New York is the leading statewide not-for-profit organization working to expand, protect, and promote parks and trails in New York State including the Erie Canalway Trail. Become a member and receive exclusive member benefits, including a discount on this year's bike tour:
- $35 members get $15 off
- $50 members get $25 off
- $100 members get $50 off
- $250 members get $100 off
- $500 members get $200 off
Volunteer on the Ride
Both riders and non-riding participants can volunteer to help out during the ride. Volunteers who commit to the entire tour ride for free. Time commitments are detailed here. There are many volunteer possibilities available, including SAG and luggage truck drivers, rest stop help, route marking and more!
Thank you to our 2019 sponsors and tourism partners
Premier State Sponsor