Monthly Archives: July 2015

Cycle the Erie Canal 2015 – Post Tour Chores

I spent the last eight days on the annual Cycle the Erie Canal Tour that is run by Parks and Trails New York. There were around 600 people who rode the route from Buffalo to Albany New York this year. As usual, it was a well run and enjoyable ride. Yesterday afternoon I arrived home from Albany at about 4:30 in the evening. It’s great to be home, but as each tour ends it’s like the end of summer vacation.

As soon as I got out of bed this morning and got dressed, I went downstairs to start the chore of unpacking that always follows a big trip. I started with the camping gear. All of it went outside to be dried and aired in the sun: tent, rainfly, ground cloth, sleeping bag, pillows, and mattress. It can all be stored in the stuff sacks and ready for the next tour after a day in the sun. This kind of care makes it easy to pack the things for the next tour without the worry that something will not be ready. It gives me a chance to inspect everything as I roll items up and put them away.

The clothes is another story. When I arrived home yesterday evening, I just wanted to relax for a while. I took off my shoes and sat in the living room with my wife. It didn’t take long for her to ask, “What’s that smell? It smells like dirty socks.” That was right on point. I took them off and stuck them into the pannier with the rest of my dirty clothes to get them out of sight and smell until the next day.

Almost everything that I take to wear on a bicycle tour is synthetic because it dries quickly and can easily be worn more than once without washing. Socks, on the other hand, can get rank smelling even after just one wearing. I wore them all at least twice. In the future, socks may be the only clothing item that I pack for each day.

The entire lump of damp and smelly clothes went into the clothes washer. All of it is synthetic, so it all went together for a cold wash. When dry, I’ll fold everything and make sure that everything is in good shape for the next tour.

My bicycle also needs cleaning more than anything else. It is covered with grit from the stone dust trails that we rode for days. I’ll spray it with the garden hose and oil the chain afterward.

The saddle will need to be replaced. I had a very weird thing happen with it. The bicycle mechanic on the tour even thought that it was very unusual. One of the seat rails broke. I noticed it after arriving in camp on day seven because my seat was lopsided. I was able to slide both broken parts into the clamp and tighten it enough to hold together for the ride to Albany on the last day of the tour.

By the end of the day everything will be clean and put away. I will relax for a few days before going back to training on the local trails. In the meantime, I’ll start to think about where I want to go next.

C&O Canal Publications Updated

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Association reports in their June 2015 issue of Along the Towpath that two C&O Canal publications have recently been updated. The first is the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Official National Park Handbook (Handbook 142). This book was updated by the C&O Canal Association in coordination with the National Park Service. It is scheduled for release in early July 2015. The plan is to make it available on the C&O Canal Association Bookstore.

The second publication is the Towpath Guide to the C&O Canal. The work was done by the Harpers Ferry Historical Association with support from the C&O Canal Association. This publication is available now from the C&O Canal Association Bookstore.

As an enthusiastic supporter of the C&O Canal for bicycle touring, I think that these publications will enhance the towpath experience for people who are interested in riding it on a bicycle. Before my first C&O Canal tour last year I searched for information and found scattered and sometimes out of date information on the web. Both of these updated documents fill that void.

2015 Tour of the P’tit Train du Nord in Quebec, Canada

After touring the Veloroute des Bleuets, I drove to St-Jerome, Quebec, for my tour of the P’tit Train du Nord. I’ve known about this trail for some time and decided to include it in my Quebec bicycle touring experience since St-Jerome is reasonably close to Alma where I ended my Veloroute tour. This was also a memorable trip and you can read about it and view my photo album at P’tit Train du Nord Bicycle Tour 2015.