Journey of ability passes through Orleans today along towpath

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 June 2016 at 12:00 am

ALBION – John Robinson and Doug Hamlin are riding the Erie Canal Towpath today through Orleans County, part of a 350-mile-plus journey along the Erie Canal Towpath.

The two men are using adaptive use bicycles to make the trip for the fourth straight year. Robinson and Hamlin make the long ride to highlight inclusivity, showing that people with disabilities are capable of big accomplishments.

“People with disabilities want to work, they want a family, they have hopes and dreams just like everybody,” Robinson said at about noon today while taking a short break by the canal bridge on Keitel Road.


Robinson is a congenital amputee without full arms and legs. He overcame countless obstacles to become a successful businessman, husband, father and inspirational speaker.

He is pictured with his wife Andrea today on the canal in the Town of Albion.

Robinson was inspired to undertake the first Journey Along the Erie Canal in 2013 by his wife and two children after receiving a three-wheeled, hand-operated cycle as a donation. His family helped him learn how to ride and then train for the statewide journey.

Doug Hamlin and his wife Pam are making the ride together. Hamlin uses a specialized hand cycle for the ride.

“If we can inspire one person to ride an extra mile it will have been worth it,” Hamlin said.

Robinson and Hamlin are partners in Glenmont-based Our Ability, a network of consulting, public speaking, recruitment and professional services that champions the inclusivity of people with disabilities in the workplace.

They are using the trip from Buffalo to Albany to celebrate launch of New York Business Leadership Network, a coalition among businesses in New York State interested in both hiring and building supplier diversity of businesses owned by individuals with disabilities.

Today is day 3 of the ride. The cyclists started in Medina at the Prospect Avenue Lift Bridge this morning and are going 32 miles east to Spencerport. To see the schedule, click here.

Hamlin, Robinson and the group of cyclists are off after a short break by the Keitel Road canal bridge. The trip ends on July 8 in Albany.