A few of my girls and I are cycling the Erie Canal this week.  Or, at least, we are attempting to.

Long distance bike trips have been a dream of mine for a long, long time.  But, I have never quite figured out how to pull it off.

I wanted to bring my family along, but bikepacking without support is tricky.  Especially if you are still learning how to do so.  I am still learning.

My wife has family in New York state.  While attending a wedding last year, we drove over the Erie Canal.  From the bridge, I noticed bikers on a path along the canal.  Instantly, I began thinking of biking the Erie Canal.

For ten months, or so, I just kicked the idea around.  Then, around April of this year, I decided to go for it.

I pitched the idea to my family.  My son lives in Maine now, so he was out.  My oldest girls have jobs, so they opted out.  My 17 year old and 14 year old daughters agreed to do it with me.  Originally, my wife was eager to join us.  But, we could never quite figure out how to arrange hotels and transportation while on the road.  Eventually, she had the idea to follow us as the “Support and Gear” vehicle, or SAG, as bikers say.

So, a few days ago, late in the day on July 5, we set out.

This is me with one of my girls.  About to start.

It’s Wednesday, June 8 now, and we are tired.

We are averaging about 30 miles a day.  And, it’s hot.  It isn’t Tennessee hot, and for that I am grateful, but it’s still hot.  We are trying to bike only in the mornings and in the evenings.

We’ve been tracking and planning our route using the book: Cycling the Erie Canal.

We started in Albany, New York and are now in Utica.  Today we are headed for Rome.  Rome, New York.  Just in case you were confused.

The trail follows the Erie Canal (obviously).  It’s actually been a bit sad in places.  And, mostly lonely.  It’s just us out here.  You can tell that the world has moved on.  Once a highway of commerce and industry, the Erie Canal was eventually replaced by railroads, and then the interstate system.  The cities along the canal show signs of serious neglect.  I don’t know if that will change as we approach Syracuse and Rochester.

I wanted to bike the entire 400 mile trail, but we are not going to make it.  We only have a week.  We are thinking we will make it to Syracuse, and possibly Rochester if we are ambitious.

On Sunday, it’s a family reunion (outdoors, of course, due to Covid-19) with my wife’s NY relatives and then it’s home to Tennessee.