by Dave Warner

More than 600 hundred cyclists and 90 volunteer support personnel made their way along the Erie Canal, passing through Little Falls during the day on Friday. The group was part of the 21st annual “Cycle the Erie Bike Tour” which is an eight-day 400-mile ride from Buffalo to Albany.

Parks and Trails New York is the organization that puts on this ride every year. According to Susan Tailor, who is one of the SAG (Support and Gear) volunteers “There are 139 riders this year who have done it four or more times. People feel it’s a great ride to come back to and they do it every year.”

“It’s a very well supported ride. We take care of them so they are free to learn everything about the canal and stop at every canal museum. By the end of it, they know everything there is to know about it,” she said.

She went on to say that every town along the ride, welcomes them with open arms. “It’s really wonderful.”

Parks and Trails is attempting to get more and more of the canal trail finished each year and the ride is less and less accessible for vehicles, so Tailor said that it becomes more important to have the support people who have the gear and experience riding along to help with any issues that might arise “so they can have a good time.”

Larry Draves and David Swinnich were two of the rides with the group, and Larry said, “at the beginning, it was really windy, and that made it a real challenge.” David said, “We had the wind in our faces, so it was tough.”

According to the pair, that made new parts of the trail very soft for riding. “If you didn’t keep peddling, you fell. It was like sand,” said Larry.

For Larry, this was the second year he’d made the ride, for David, it was his first. “It’s really hard work,” said David.

The pair stated that they were eating their way across New York, but that they were working it off at the same time. Larry said, “It’s a win, win.”

David said, “everyone is so friendly along the way, it’s just great.”