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600 cyclists will travel canal and reach Medina today

Staff Reports Posted 12 July 2015 at 12:00 am

Group heads east on Monday, through Albion and Holley

File photos – Some of the cyclists are pcitured in Albion last year, when they stopped at a welcome station.

The 17th annual “Cycling the Erie Canal” bike tour starts today with more than 600 cyclists leaving Buffalo and heading east on a 400-mile bicycling tour to Albany.

The cyclists will arrive in Medina today and will stay overnight in a “tent city” outside the middle school. On Monday morning, many of the riders will reach Albion before they head to Holley and head to Fairport.

The bike trek concludes next Sunday, July 19.

“The Erie Canal is truly an engineering marvel and along it are some of the most scenic examples of natural beauty in the entire state,” Governor Cuomo said in promoting the event. “I welcome the cyclists who are coming from far and wide to participate in this world-renown tour and encourage them to enjoy all that New York has to offer.”

The eight-day recreational bicycling tour will help highlight the beauty, history, culture and recreational appeal of the canal system and the Canalway Trail, popular tourism destinations in New York State. This year’s tour has attracted more than 600 cyclists from 36 states, as well as international participants from as far away as Australia.

Helen Zamboni of Avon, Livingston County, is pictured at “tent city” in Medina last year. The cyclists will again stay in tents outside the middle school tonight.

Roughly two-thirds of the 400-mile bicycle tour takes place on the completed portion of the Canalway Trail. When complete, the New York State Canalway Trail will span more than 500 miles and connect numerous cities, towns and villages along the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego and Champlain Canals, making it one of the longest multi-use recreational trails in the country.

Participants will have the opportunity to partake in guided tours of the Canal, historic sites, museums, and attractions such as the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, the Montezuma National Wildlife refuge in Seneca Falls, Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, and the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse.

“The New York State Canal Corporation is pleased to sponsor Cycling the Erie Canal,” said Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton. “The Erie Canal is a beautiful and historical treasure not only to New York, but the entire country, as demonstrated by more than 600 participants from 36 states.”

Medina and Albion today are both hosting the “Traveling Troubadors,” a concert from a boat featuring The Old Hippies, a band from Batavia. Medina hosts the concert at 2 p.m. and then the band plays in Albion at 6 p.m.

Medina at 7 p.m. will also host a talk on canal history by Tom Grasso, president of the New York State Canal Society, at the middle school auditorium. The band, Pocket Change, will play at tent city from 7 to 9 p.m.