I grew up within a stone’s throw of the Erie Canal in Fairport, NY. It’s a quaint town outside Rochester, NY. Back in the early 1800s, the canal was a major economic powerhouse that fueled the growth of western and central New York. Learn more and get this journal and more at pedalshift.net/plus. By the time I was around, it was little more than a watery green line that we were dared to swim in… fodder for elementary school field trips… and the towpath was a scary place where people were reportedly mugged all the time. I always thought that was a parental fabrication to stop us from swimming in the muck, but my crime data from the 1980s is a sadly incomplete. Despite the warnings, the canal path was a ticket to adventure. As a kid you knew you could ride out as far as you wanted and only needed to turn 180 degrees and you’d be back in the familiar streets. Permanent breadcrumbs, if you will. So I was able to ride my Huffy to exotic places like Pittsford and Bushnells Basin. Only a few miles away by map standards, but to a kid on a bike? May as well have been the moon. So as you can imagine, the Erie Canal means a lot to me as a seeker of adventure by bike. So it’s no wonder I sought to ride along most of it in the summer of 2015. It didn’t take long (an hour or so) to go well beyond anyplace I ever got on that Huffy, but if I could go back in time and tell young Tim about my adventures past the turnaround points, I bet he’d be pretty impressed. If you ever wanted to get to know western and central NY… the parts that are definitely not New York City… this is the route for you.