Adirondack Bicycle Tour 2014 Niskayuna to Gloversville

10 June (56.7 Miles)

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The motel had a decent breakfast that included scrambled eggs and sausage, so I ate there before loading the car for the short trip to Lions Park. When I arrived at Lions Park, there were a few early birds there to walk or jog on the trail. I unloaded my van and put my bicycle rack in the back seat to make it less of a theft target. It didn’t take me long to load the four panniers and the tent onto my Surly Long Haul Trucker. I was ready to move out at about 8:30 AM.

The day was cloudy and cool, but it didn’t rain. The clouds were an omen for the following three days. The clouds were not a big factor on this day because there wasn’t much to see. The first day was entirely outside Adirondack Park. The cool dry air was good for me because this was also to be one of the greatest daily distances that I would ride on this tour.

The first few miles were on the Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway that passes through Lions Park. The first ascent that I encountered on the Bikeway gave me a glimpse of what was to come. I struggled to pedal up to the top. I shifted the chainwheel into the lower gear where is remained throughout the trip. There would be many hills to follow.

The ride on the Bikeway was too short: I was enjoying the quiet and the safety. After about seven miles on it I entered the roadway and crossed the Mohawk River. The map cautions about the Mohawk River crossing. As soon as I left the bikeway I found the roads around the bridge to be busy with motor traffic. There was also no room for a bicycle on the bridge roadway. I used the pedestrian walk on the eastern side.

As I rode north, two navigation errors in the morning caused me to ride about 5 miles more than necessary. The first was a case that I didn’t go far enough and doubled back thinking that I went past the turn. The second was the case that the directions said “turn right” as the last direction and the next sheet said “turn left” as the first direction for the same intersection. I found out when I saw a sign pointing in the opposite direction for my next town. I needed to pay more attention to the trip odometer on my GPS. I also needed to be more aware of my compass heading because the right turn put me in an eastern direction when I needed to be going west.

When I finally turned west, I found the scenery was not great. This leg of the trip was still outside the park. There were lots of trailers, double wide trailer homes, and run down homes. There seemed to be lots of homes with house wrap, but no siding. Among them, oddly, there was some recent construction – large homes stuck in the fringes.

At about 1 PM I arrived in Galway. My iPhone had a signal and I could have asked Siri to find a place to eat lunch. Instead, I found a person walking the sidewalk and asked him. He sent me on a short detour from the main route for maybe a quarter mile off route toward the north from the center of Galway to get to Chuck’s Store. It was a good place for lunch and had a diner-style menu.

After lunch it took me another three hours to get to Gloversville where to most prosperous business seemed to be the Pickett Memorial Company. The search for my hotel began. I made a reservation there because there are no camping opportunities and I was concerned about having a room. This time I used my phone and, fortunately, Google Maps sent me on a 2.5 mile ride on the FJ&G Rail Trail instead of the city streets. The motel was a Super 8 in nearby Johnstown and was near a Friendly’s restaurant where I walked for dinner.

I had a little event happen before dinner. When I arrived at the hotel, the desk person told me that my room was on the second floor. I requested a room on the first floor since I wanted to bring my bicycle into the room. The desk person was very agreeable and made the change for me.

I got all of my things into the room and began to take my clothes off for a shower before dinner. Suddenly there was the sound of a key card at the door and the door swung open. I was standing there bottomless and wearing only a shirt. I said something like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” The guy at the door asked if this was room 115. Of course, it was. The guy at the desk forgot to make some changes in the computer system after he agreed to change my room and assigned to same room to a second person.

After a showering and getting the key card updated, I went to dinner, came back to the room, and went to bed.

The net altitude gain today was about 800 feet. The worst grades happen on the Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway where the maximum uphill grade was about 8%. There is also a downhill grade on the Bikeway that exceeds 9% where you should exercise caution. It is difficult to slow a loaded bicycle. This stretch is short and is marked with signs that urge caution. After crossing the Mohawk River the uphill grades were in the 1% to 3.5% range with a few at about 6%.

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