Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Biking The Canalway Trail from North Tonawanda into Buffalo

High winds, heat, and a potential storm - great day for a bike ride along the Erie Canal and Niagara River. 

Though I'm not a cyclist, I like riding my bike for recreation as well as transportation.  Why am I not a cyclist?  Probably because I identify myself as a backpacker, a mountaineer, and a kayaker - those are the schema around which I base my life.  Also, I've never really embraced the cycling culture, I look ridiculous in bike shorts, my bikes are ill suited for what I do, and I don't hang out with other cyclists.  I'm just a guy that rides a bike. 

Of course, I'm training to tour the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo next month so I guess I am kind of a cyclist; however, I wear my bicycling shorts underneath a pair of hiking pants.

Anyway, I started from my home in North Tonawanda, weaving through the sleepy streets riddled with bike flipping potholes till I reached the relative safety of the Erie Canalway Trail, which is paved and generally car free.

Niawanda Park was busy as usual with people holing hands strewn out across the trail - always keep a hand on your break and watch your speed.  Because of the wind, there weren't many cyclists out but a few joggers and walkers abounded. I even saw a roller blader: I didn't think people did that anymore. 

A little while past the Grand Island Bridge and not quite to the LaFarge plant, I saw a curious sign.  One that has been there for a while apparently and one that I never paid any attention to. 

I didn't pay much attention to it this time either, until I saw this sign: 

Yes, the Town of Tonawanda succumbed to the marketing tactics of annoying road side attractions like South of the Border.  Anyone who has ever driven through the Carolinas know about their obnoxious signs which appear for hours before and after passing the tourist trap. 

So what was there, warranting four signs - two in both directions - this:
 A short paved trail led to a shallow muddy flat with a sign stating "The Original Erie Canal" with a blurb about the foundation of the waterway on both sides.  Nice sign, but I'm not sure if this was the dedication spot or what, I'll have to find out more information. 

I peddled down through Tow Path Park, Squaw Island, and Broderick Park before turning around.  All in all a good day. 

A breezy day at Tow Path Park in Buffalo

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