Cycling the canal

Before you get any crazy ideas – no, I am not cycling the Erie Canal. No, a group of about 700 people – median age of 63 – are cycling the Erie Canal. They made it to Brockport this morning.

Some of the early cyclists got to see the Lift Bridge in action.

As the chair of Walk!Bike!Brockport (group of college/community folks interested in promoting active transportation in the village) I work with the Village Welcome Center to welcome the cyclists to Brockport with water, live music, and a free post card service. Erie Canal riders could fill out the post card, and the village takes care of postage.

Many of the recipients of the cards were grandchildren – hopefully we’ll see them in a future Cycle the Erie Canal.

The tour is operated by Parks and Trails New York which has been doing this for 24 years. I asked a couple riders why they like the tour, and what I heard was the accessible trail (not a lot of hills), evening lectures about history and civil engineering, and getting to see small town communities along the way.

Erica showing some love for Brockport.

The village has been working closely with PTNY over the last few months as a pilot Erie Canal Trail Town. We are exploring ways to increase tourism and use of the canal in order to build sustainable economic futures for canal towns. Erica – who is part of the PTNY team working with the village – is also on the bike tour this year.

The “peloton” came through around 10 AM.

All in all, the event was quite a blast. When you think of it, all we did was stand outside a trail, cheer on bikers as they make their way through a 400 mile tour, and provide them with a little bit of local Brockport hospitality. Simple pleasures like this is why I love living in Brockport.

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