2022 Erie Canal Tour: Day 5 – Syracuse to Utica with a lot of Rome(ing)

Our B&B yesterday was, well, interesting. The neighborhood was not great, the decor was a mish-mash, and I really doubt an electrician did the electrical work. On the upside, we were dry and had an uneventful night. The AirBNB hosts were good, but the property was not one of my favorites.

We wandered out for dinner and found some awesome burritos, and then came back to watch a movie before turning in. Zubby had never seen “Breaking Away”, so we watched that. I think we all enjoyed it. Fantastico Papa!

When we went to bed last night, we looked at the weather. It looked like we would have a nice day with only a small chance of rain. Today started out with rain. A good amount of the liquid sunshine came down to see us out of Syracuse. It was more than mere drizzle.

Riding out of Syracuse was much nicer than the last time I was here in 2010. They now have nice separated bike lanes for much of the route. I sure wish Lexington would take a page from this book.

After an hour or so, the weather finally cleared. We had an amazing and rare sighting: blue skies! The rest of the day was blue skies and warmer weather. Aside from the first part of the ride, the rest of the weather was epic.

We made our way east and stopped at a boat museum. It was closed, but there were a couple of nice guys who were taking a rest break there. We stopped and talked to them a bit.

As we kept going, JB broke another spoke! When we stopped for lunch, we looked over the maps to see where we could find a bike shop anywhere on the path for today. We decided we’d check out the situation when we got closer to Rome and decide what to do.

When we reached Rome, JB decided we would try the bike shop in Rome. One catch, it was about 7 miles out of our way north of Rome, and the mechanic had a hard-stop at 4:30. We used the Garmin Bike GPS to plot a course to the shop and started pushing our way there. The streets were a bit busy, but the shoulders were OK. About two miles later JB got a flat tire. Crazy, but true. We made it to Mike’s Cycle & Sport Shop with plenty of time to spare. The mechanic replaced his spoke in about 15 minutes and we were back on our way.

We stopped on the way back out of town for some drinks and snacks at a Circle-K. JB treated me to a cherry slushee. I didn’t realize how thirsty I was. I put down a good amount of Gatorade, the slushee, and some water. But the slushee really hit the spot.

Working our way back out of Rome took a bit of city-smarts for cycling. Nothing too scary, but had to be very alert as we made our way back to the trail. We reached the trail without incident. We stopped by Fort Stanwix briefly but it was closed. Plus we thought we needed to press on somewhat quickly because we were running late, so it was probably OK that we couldn’t go in.

We finally reached Utica and navigated to the AirBNB here. This place is really nice! It is a renovated apartment over a pub downstairs. We all agreed that this is the nicest place we’ve stayed so far.

After getting cleaned up, we wandered downtown Utica and found a good meal. For the record, I didn’t order the onion rings, and didn’t eat many of them…

We had originally planned for about 65 miles today. The extra miles through Rome made for a longer day but all went well. Hopefully we’ve seen the last of the broken spokes!

Tomorrow we head to Amsterdam NY. The weather looks like it will be a great day for cycling. I hope to rest well and be ready for the day.

— Dcn. Matt