Caravan of cyclists gets big welcome across Orleans on way to Albany

Photos by Tom Rivers: These cyclists pedal along the Erie Canal Towpath this morning in Albion, headed east towards the Brown Street bridge crossing on the canal.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 July 2023 at 10:31 am

ALBION – It’s the 25th annual Cycle the Erie Canal tour with 750 people on bikes passing through Orleans County today.

The annual 8-day event started on Sunday in Buffalo, with the cyclists ending the day in Medina where the camped in tents on the school campus.

They were up early today headed east and were greeted with fruit, water and other snacks by the Albion Merchants Association.

These cyclists ride by The Lockstone and Tinsel, an events and ice cream business along the canal and Main Street in Albion. Justin Suarez, an artist from Rochester, painted the flower mural about a year ago at 160 North Main St.

Albion Merchants Association members Natasha Wasuck and Anita Finley offer fruit snacks and refreshments to the cyclists.

Holley is an official rest stop for the event with more food and beverages available for the cyclists.

Stan Farone of Albion is riding in the event for the sixth year. Farone said he trains for the event in the months leading up to the long ride across the state. He enjoys it so much he has a tattoo on his arm noting the journeys.

Farone, 73, said he loves seeing friends from previous rides and meeting many new people.

There are participants from 40 states in the ride.

These riders are on the towpath heading east out of the Village of Albion with the steeple for the First Presbyterian Church in back.

Parks & Trails New York organizes the event. The organization encouraged cyclists to pay special attention for these sites in Orleans County today:

Medina Aqueduct – “Shortly after rejoining the trail in Medina, you’ll ride across the aqueduct over Medina Falls. Use caution and consider walking your bike, as the trail runs right along the edge of the canal in this stretch. The Medina Aqueduct is the only aqueduct still in use by today’s Erie Canal.”

Culvert Road – “About two miles east of Medina, the Erie Canal runs over Culvert Road — the only place where a road passes under the canal. Listed in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, it’s a strange feeling to stand under the Erie Canal and have canal water drip down your neck.”

Village of Albion – “At one time, the village of Albion was the unlikely location of a unique venture, a Santa Claus School! Keep an eye out for the jolly old fellow himself as you roll through.”

Tinsel – “A certified Bike Friendly New York business, stop in  Tinsel  for smoothies, shakes, and sundaes at this shop along the trail, located right next to Albion’s Main Street lift bridge.”

Village of Holley – “Less than a mile away from the trail, a 35-foot cascade waterfall flows in Holley’s Canal Park. The waterfall flows over red Medina Sandstone — used on the exterior of a lot of historic buildings in Western NY canal towns — and is surrounded on each side by lush wooded landscape.”

Bob and Kathy Schumacher of Medina dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus and greeted the cyclists this morning in Albion. They told the group about Albion’s role as the home of a school for Santa. A new bronze statue of Santa was unveiled last week on Main Street in honor of Charles W. Howard, the founder of the Santa School.

The cyclists in previous years could easily check out the downtown by crossing the Main Street lift bridge, but that was more challenging today with the bridge out while getting an extensive overhaul. The Ingersoll Street bridge, however, is close by and cyclists could still explore Albion.

This map shows today’s route, the longest of the eight days at 62.2 miles. The cyclists start in Medina and go to Fairport.

A cyclist approaches The Lockstone building in Albion with has been transformed in recent years into an events center hosting many weddings.

These riders head east on the towpath rounding a bend between the Brown Street and Butts Road canal bridges.