Monday, July 13, 2015

Cycle The Erie Canal

I haven't posted my Take Five in a few weeks.  Things have been a tad hectic at work and I've been traveling quite extensively.  I have a week or so off before I leave town again.

I was reminded of an amazing trip I took last year - Cycle the Erie Canal trail.  You start in Buffalo and end in Albany and average about 50 or so miles per day.  Most of the cycling is on the Erie Canal Trail but some is on roads because the trail is not complete across the state.  This is the largest fundraiser of the year for Parks and Trails New York.  It is also intended to serve as an awareness campaign of the trail itself.  Many places, as I mentioned, are incomplete or are in bad shape.  I would love to see a completed trail and would do the trip again in a second.

The 2015 event kicked off yesterday.  The cyclists would have started this morning from Medina, New York on their way to the next stop in Pittsford, New York.

I want to note my five favorite memories and photos from last year.  Amy Moritz, Bona alumna,  Buffalo News sports writer, blogger ( - byline to the finish line), former wellness coach, and friend enjoyed the trip with me.  She wrote an excellent piece for The Buffalo News Refresh section this past Saturday.  We are also planning something for summer 2016 so stay tuned for that!

The one and only time I have been hosed down
On our third day it was pouring rain at the start of the day.  Pouring rain.  We had to cycle anyway because you have to get to the next point.  Unless there is a thunderstorm, you suffer through.  At first I was pissed that we had to struggle in the rain.  Then I embraced it.  It became my favorite day of the ride.  You got to see the canal and the canal trail in a very different way.  You had to figure out how to maneuver through mud and yuck on the trail.  I wore a white rain jacket as you can see below.  It was sparkling clean throughout.  Someone asked me how it stayed so clean when the rest of me didn't?  I have no damn idea.

At one of our rest stops a gentleman was manning a hose to wash some of the dirt off of our bikes to ungunk our gears and chain, etc.  He looked at me and asked me if I wanted him to hose me off.  To be fair, he asked everyone so I wasn't special.  Um, yes, please.

Each night we camped and each morning we packed up.  I dubbed our "tent city," BonaTenture because Amy and I are both Bona alumnae.  Comfy Campers is a God-send.  We paid extra for someone else to set up our tent each day and take it down each morning.  Brilliant business model.  After a day of cycling and sightseeing, the last thing we wanted to do was set up a tent.  It came with air mattresses, which they inflated and deflated each day, and coffee each morning.  Cheers!

We also met a couple of other Bona alumnae.  We aren't the only two who are crazy!  And it shows the Power of a Bonnie.  We are everywhere.  We run the world.

New York State is incredibly beautiful
Everywhere you turned (literally) you could see idyllic settings.  Barns and farms, fields of crops, former locks now overgrown with greenery, the trail itself, the smooth as glass water.  All are worth the trip.  All photos taken from the Erie Canal trail.

Sense of Humor and History
One of the highlights of the trip was a stop in Seneca Falls.  I was brought to tears as we toured the Women's History Museum.  To think about the battles our ancestors fought to ensure we have the liberties and freedoms we have is moving.  The fight is far from over, but the trip reminded us that we have come a long way and we have what is required to continue the fight.

With Amy Moritz at the Women's History Museum.

The Erie Canal is teeming with history.  While some visits were serious as above, some were tongue-in-cheek.  The picture below is at the Canal Museum in Syracuse.  I thought I would see what this guy is looking at.  It's the museum itself.

The Finish
I was exhausted by the end but also exhilarated.  I biked across New York State.  That's pretty damn good!  And I'd do it again.

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