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Computer Science
Bethlehem PA

Feeling The Wind Through Your Helmet

Jeff Maher on Tuesday, 02 May 2006. Posted in Clubs, Rochester & Monroe County

As people who learn and discover new things, having regrets is a natural thing. We see a hidden detail or a beautiful quality in something that we see everyday and regret that it was not known to us sooner. It's like watching a movie you hated when you were younger only to find out that it's the best film ever. Or, taking classes with a person for years and only realizing that he/she could have been your best friend a month before you graduate. For me, this is tantamount to discovering that there are 380+ miles of one of the country's greatest bike trails about 2,000 feet from my front door after having spent three beautiful summers in Rochester. This hidden detail is the Erie Canal bike trail.

As a child, I had always biked quite a bit. I'd spend the nights after school and the days of the weekend cruising around on my mighty blue Schwinn. Even by the age of seven, I had realized the freedom that my two wheels and foot brakes gave me - I could go anywhere. And I did. I wasn't the rebelious type, but if my mother only knew how far I went out of the neighborhood on that thing, I would have been in big trouble. Over time, my distances increased and just before college started, I biked from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. with several of my relatives.

I didn't initially bring my bike to college and hurt my knee shortly after I did. So it was a missed activity for awhile. Last May, after having earned "real" pay for the first time (on co-op), I splurged and bought a new bike (Trek 7200FX for anyone interested). While the bike was great, I really needed a place to ride it. After explaining my predicament to a friend from the area, I was at Lock 30 in Macedon, NY a week later. It was like discovering heaven.

Since then, I've organized two trips along the canal with the Outing Club and both have resulted in good fun, good company, and great excercise (my legs are like rocks). This past weekend was the second of the two trips, but the first of which I rode the portion closest to RIT itself. Setting off from campus in the morning, six of us biked to Fairport, NY, ate an entire sheet pizza at Gipetto's Pizza, and zipped back to Rochester. The total distance was about thirty-five miles. Again, heaven.

Below are some pictures from our adventure...

Erie Canal 1

(Baxter and I enjoying the ride.)

Erie Canal 2

(The group crosses a pretty land bridge.)

Erie Canal 3

(Stopping to play at Lock 32. Left to right: Eric, Derek, Baxter, Beth, Me, and Alex. )

Special thanks to Eric Saunders for the pictures. He risked life and limb taking some of them while riding :-). If you're interested in more details about the canal, check out the Parks & Trails New York website.