Letter: State should emulate N.Y. bicycle tour
I recently and (at first) reluctantly participated in the New York State Parks and Trails seven-day bike tour along the Erie Canal, an end-to-end tour of 400 miles from Buffalo to Albany.
As a long-time road bike enthusiast here in Berkshire County with a love for our rolling hills and challenging climbs, I had many doubts this tour was going to be something I would enjoy. I made up my mind that no matter what, I would find the experience fun!
The New York State Parks and Trails organization has been doing this tour for 17 years now and the entire experience exceeded my expectations. Over 700 bikers, including tandems, recumbents, hybrids, mountain bikes and children in tow or on their own bikes made the journey over paved, gravel, dirt, grass and sometimes muddy, well-marked trails. The sights were not only educational but picturesque as we made our daily trek averaging 50 miles a day.
Breakfast and dinners were provided and many snack stops along the way kept everyone happy, hydrated and energized. Camping facilities were at school yards and parks and community centers; each offering showers, cell phone chargers, bike repair, etc. Some folks opted for B&B's along the way or both camped and B&B'd.
The most special part was the people from all over the U.S. and even a few worldly travelers. Many friends were made and lots of laughter shared on a regular basis. Exploring the towns we stayed in nightly was heartwarming because of the hospitality of businesses and homeowners.
If New York can develop and maintain a 400-mile trail bike trail, why can't Massachusetts get the support from local community members and government to do the same?
I highly recommend this bike ride for anyone who enjoys history, being out in nature and riding a bike. It just takes a will and pushing pedals for seven wonderful, fun-filled days! Check it out at www.ptny.org/cycle-the-erie-canal/annual-bike-tour.
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