Parks & Trails New York's Cycle the Erie Canal
20th Annual Bike Tour Buffalo to Albany July 8 – 15, 2018
More than 650 cyclists left their cars behind in Buffalo on July 9 to pedal along the historic Erie Canalway Trail to Albany in celebration of the Erie Canal Bicentennial as part of Parks & Trails New York’s 19th annual Cycle the Erie Canal bike tour.
The 400-mile journey along the legendary Erie Canal ended in Albany on July 16. Along the way, cyclists enjoyed some of the finest scenery, most interesting history, and unparalleled cycling in the northeastern United States.
Covering between 40 and 60 miles per day, cyclists traveled along the Erie Canalway Trail, which is now 80 percent complete and will, by 2020, be completed as part of the statewide 750-mile Empire State Trail.
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 2017 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
What if I can't do the full 8 Days?
If you can't commit to the full 8-day tour, there are two different 2-day and 4-day ride options available.
If you register for our 2-day or 4-day options, you must make your own arrangements for transportation to and from the tour. All options include dinner and camping accommodations the night before.
2 DAY OPTIONS:
- Buffalo to Pittsford, July 9-10: This option begins in Buffalo and ends in Pittsford. Riders should arrive in Buffalo for an overnight on the evening of July 8.
- Canajoharie to Albany, July 15-16: This option begins in Canajoharie and ends in Albany. Riders should arrive in Canajoharie for an overnight on the evening of July 14. Parking is available both in Canajoharie and Albany.
4 DAY OPTIONS:
- Buffalo to Syracuse, July 9-12: This option begins in Buffalo and ends in Syracuse. Riders should arrive in Buffalo for an overnight on the evening of July 8. Parking is available in Buffalo. If you would like to park in Syracuse you will need to make your own arrangements - visit www.downtownsyracuse.com/lifestyle/explore-downtown/ for more information about parking in Syracuse.
- Syracuse to Albany, July 13-16: This option begins in Syracuse and ends in Albany. Riders should arrive for an overnight in Syracuse on the evening of July 12. Parking is available in Albany at the Amtrak station in Rensselaer, NY for a fee. If you would like to park in Syracuse, you will need to make your own arrangements - visit www.downtownsyracuse.com/lifestyle/explore-downtown/
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.
Learn how you can get a discount on your registration
Become a Trailblazer
Become a Cycle the Erie Canal Trailblazer and fundraise to help PTNY Close the Gaps in the Erie Canalway Trail! Registration is only $100 and includes a free Cycle the Erie Canal jersey and guidebook and special recognition on the tour.
Cycle the Erie Canal Trailblazers are a group of individuals who believe in the vision of a completed Erie Canalway Trail… and are ready to help make it a reality.
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 sponsors and tourism partners
Premier State Sponsor