Though not an avid bicyclist, Perry Seale decided to take on a 400-mile journey that follows along the Erie Canal with his four daughters as a tribute to his father-in-law.
“He’s getting up there in age,” Seale said about his father-in-law during a morning rest stop at Schuyler Town Hall on Friday. “This may be one of his last trips. It’s a great opportunity to do something with him.”
Seale, of Lebanon, N.H., is one of about 500 cyclists participating in the 15th annual Cycling the Erie Canal Tour, organized by Parks and Trails New York.
“It’s been great, with a few minor mishaps,” said Seale, saying for example one day he fell over his handlebars. He also took a wrong turn before arriving at Schuyler Town Hall, which tacked on four miles to his journey.
Fred DiMaggio, of Bethlehem, another cyclist on the tour, also rested in Schuyler.
“The ride has been really great,” he said. “We finally had a break in the weather. We had rain and hot weather further west of here.”
DiMaggio said rest stops like the one in Schuyler, where cyclists had fresh fruit and water provided for them, makes the trip more enjoyable.
“It’s really nice,” he said. “We certainly appreciate the hospitality.”
“The tour is a wonderful way to explore the Erie Canal and upstate New York. Plus it’s fun, healthy and good for the economy,” Parks and Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin said in a news release.
The journey for the cyclists started on July 7 at Nichols School in Buffalo and will finish on Sunday at the Albany Visitors Center. Cyclists travel 40 to 60 miles a day, with about three-quarters of the trip on completed portions of the Canalway Trail. The rest of the trip goes along public roads. Overnights for the trip include Buffalo, Medina, Pittsford, Seneca Falls, Syracuse, Rome, Canajoharie and Schenectady.
Cyclists could also do some sightseeing during their stops, such as visiting museums in Seneca Falls and the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse.
Officials said participants come from 36 states, several countries and their ages range from 4 to 89.
“They all get to experience what makes the Erie Canal and upstate New York so special,” said Dropkin.
Though the route generally follows along the canal, cyclists have had to endure some rolling hills and two gradual climbs in the Mohawk Valley.
On Friday, the cyclists pedaled from Fort Stanwix in Rome to Schuyler Town Hall, where they had their morning rest stop. They then journeyed to Rotary Park in Little Falls for an afternoon rest stop, with a detour because of the flooding from two weeks ago. They stayed the night at Canajoharie High School.
Page 2 of 2 - Phyllis Zitzer, of Harrisburg, Pa., visited the refreshment stand provided by the town of Schuyler on Friday.
“It’s my first time doing the tour. It’s fabulous,” she said. “Everything is so well organized. There’s so much to learn about the canal and the community. The towns have just been wonderful in welcoming and supporting the cyclists.”