Orleans canal villages prepare to welcome 650 cyclists on Sunday and Monday

Posted 6 July 2018 at 9:13 am

The 20th annual Cycle the Erie Canal tour showcases canal towns

File photos by Tom Rivers: These cyclists ride along the towpath towards Medina in July 2015.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent

The canal villages in Orleans County are preparing for a big welcome for 650 cyclists beginning this Sunday when they embark on a 400-mile ride along the canal. The cyclists start in Buffalo and head east to Rochester, covering 40 to 60 miles each day.

They stay overnight in Medina on Sunday and then ride to Fairport on Monday.

This is the 20th annual Cycle the Erie Canal bike tour, which is organized by Parks & Trails New York.

The cyclists are expected to start arriving about noon in Medina on Sunday. They will camp in tents on the grounds of Wise Middle School, where they will have access to the swimming pool and internet.

Medina’s Tourism Committee has planned several events for the cyclists and community. The committee has arranged for a shuttle to run continuously from 3 to 7 p.m. from the school grounds through downtown and the Canal Basin.

From 4 to 6 p.m. the Foolz Band from Rochester, with lead singer Mary Ellen Hayden, will put on a concert in the Canal Casin. Jim Hancock, the Tourism Cimmttee chairman, urges everyone to bring their lawn chairs and enjoy this band, which is making its first appearance in Medina.

Hayden, he said, has performed with Janis Joplin, the Stylistics and J and the Americans.

The Medina Railroad Museum has agreed to stay open until 7 p.m. to allow the cyclists ample time to tour the museum.

The Albion Merchants Association had snacks, water, coffee and other goodies available for the cyclists when they passed through in July 2016.

At 7 p.m. in the auditorium of Wise Middle School, Tom Grasso, past president of New York Canalways Organization, will give a talk.

“Tom is an expert on the canal and a very popular speaker,” Hancock said.

From 7 to 9 p.m., Dave Stockton and the band Pocket Change will provide music.

Sue Phillips, owner of the Book Shoppe, will be at the school with books. She has agreed to ship any books the cyclists may wish to purchase.

“It’s going to be a very nice day,” Hancock said.

After breakfast at the school on Monday morning, the cyclists will be off to Fairport. The Albion Merchants Association will be waiting for them 10 miles into the trip.

The Merchants will be set up at 7:30 a.m. on the northwest side of the Main Street lift bridge welcoming cyclists with water, coffee, fresh fruit and granola bars.

The next rest stop will be at the Holley Canal Park where cyclists will be greeted by the Holley-Murray Historical Society serving Gatorade, water, coffee and Danish.

The Orleans County Tourism staff will be meeting and greeting the cyclists during their stay and at the rest stops.

“Help us welcome them to our friendly communities with a simple wave and a smile,” said Dawn Borchert, the county’s tourism director.

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