Cycling the Erie Canal – Day 2

(Subtitle: Rain + ‘Stone Dust’ = ugh!)

Miles today: 46.6,  Total miles: 94.6

When we arrived last night in Medina, after dinner, one of my first concerns was to look over the weather forecast for today.  It didn’t look good, and today lived up to its expectations.

We had a nice breakfast at the B&B, then watched hoping that the rain would stop.  It did for a few minutes, just long enough for us to load up the bike and get out back to the canal trail.

Unfortunately, we don’t have many pictures of today’s ride.  The reason is: my camera is not waterproof.  We wound through about 47 miles of beautiful countryside from Medina to Rochester.  We saw fields of crops, apple orchards, flocks of ducks, geese, small towns, and many miles of trail.  We also saw a very cool bridge where the road tunnels *under* the Erie canal, built long before modern equipment.

The first 27-ish miles of our ride were mostly done in the rain.  We had periods of dry, but the rain kept catching us, and some of it was pretty heavy.  We were fortunate enough to avoid any thunderstorms.  We heard thunder far away, but none of it came close enough to cause us any difficulty.

The trail from Medina to the city of Rochester is made of what’s called “Stone Dust” – a very fine gravel that is packed down and mixed with some sort of powdered stone.  When it is dry, it is a reasonable surface to bike on.  It stays smooth (no potholes) and rides pretty well.  But when it gets wet… it is terrible.  Today, it was definitely wet with lots of puddles.  The consistency of the top layer was like riding on peanut butter.  We could feel the bike “dragging” through the trail, and the grit and mud kicked up all over us.  We were completely coated, from head-to-toe, in mud by the time we reached Brockport.  You can see a picture of how caked the bike was at the bottom of the posting.  Our average speed went down by about 5 miles-per-hour, making for a very long day.

From Brockport on, the ride went pretty well.  We had a few sprinkles of rain, but it was mostly sunny and warm.  The trail was still too wet, but at least we weren’t getting soaked as well.

One thing we didn’t see today were other bikers.  We only saw two other riders in the first 35 miles.  One was heading out of the rain – she was smart.  The other was a young guy who was on his way to New York City.  He had ridden all the way from Seattle!

All-in-all, it was a pretty hard ride, but we enjoyed the day.  It was really nice to see the Rochester skyline and know the end of today’s ride was coming along.  We rode through Genesee Valley park and turned off the path to approach the University of Rochester – our stopping point for today.  I used to ride the canal when I was a student at the UofR, so it seemed like a good stopping point for us together.

Tomorrow’s ride is a bit shorter, we’ll start at the UofR again, and go to Newark – about 35 miles or so.

Here is a link to today’s ride.

Peace & Blessings,

Dc. Matt

2 thoughts on “Cycling the Erie Canal – Day 2”

  1. It’s so great to share this adventure with you two! Keep up your high spirits and enjoy the adventure!
    Love you.
    ps: Road crew-don’t lose ’em!

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