We had rain, showers, or thunderstorms for five days of our ride
Doerte riding into Baldwinsville enjoying the rain!
This is nothing for us from the Pacific Northwest!

Fany 2008


Five Hundred Miles across New York 2008 Trip Report

Cycling from Niagara Falls to Saratoga Springs via the Erie Canal



Lots more photos of the Fany 2008 ride at



Saturday July 19 to Saturday July 26, 2008

This was the 8th year of the Fany!



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The Fany supports the Double H ranch!

Fany Ride Itinerary (The Plan)


Day 1: Sunday, July 20
We'll bike along the Niagara River through quaint towns and historic forts as we start our adventure. We'll bike up to Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse built on Lake Ontario in 1875. The wide flat farmlands in this scenic area are filled with fruit farms, and fruit stands abound. The Erie Canal opened trade to the western interior of our early country, so it's worth a quick visit as we explore the section written up in Ripley's Believe it or Not. We'll spend the night in Brockport, a Victorian village that sprang up along the canal.
85 flat miles climbing only about 1,200'.

Ride Day 2: Monday, July 21

Amish farms flourish here, and roads like "Farm to Market Road." have wide shoulders for horse & buggies. A beautiful day
of biking is in store! Bring a bathing suit today as we head toward the Finger Lakes in middle part of New York which was carved by glaciers over 10,000 years ago, leaving long skinny lakes and public beaches. We'll stay overnight right on the shore of one of the gorgeous Finger Lakes in Penn Yan, home of The World's Largest Pancake Griddle.
80 miles, with rolling hills through farmlands, and past lakes.

Ride Day 3: Tuesday, July 22
We'll hug the shoreline of another one of the Finger Lakes, passing a few of the more than 70 wineries which are squished into this region, making it the largest wine producing area east of the Mississippi. Our SAG will pick-up wines you that buy so you won't have to carry that Dry Reisling on your bike. Then, we'll go through the town believed to be the inspiration for the movie "It's a Wonderful Life," and maybe get a chance to see eagles in the Montezuma National Wildlife Preserve, before arriving in cute Baldwinsville, known for it's Greek Revival architecture. A free concert in town at night by Thunder Canyon.
70 Miles

Day 4 Wednesday, July 23
We'll be spending the week enjoying quiet back roads, and out of the way places, so mid-week offers a change of pace. We're staying in a nice campground, with pool & showers, and a shuttle bus to a casino.
Ride Day 5: Thursday, July 24
We'll ride almost 2 days in The Adirondack Park, the largest park in the lower 48 states; even bigger than Vermont! It's so big, that we'll bike more than 100 miles between traffic lights. Enjoy the solitude of the mountains and towering pine trees. We'll follow rock-lined streams and stay over- night in Speculator, self-proclaimed "Moose Capital of the Adirondacks," although we've seen more bears than moose there! (Be sure to lock up ALL food overnight in the truck.)
77 mi. extended climb
Ride Day 6: Friday, July 25
We'll start our day with 13 downhill miles that rewards us for yesterday's climbing. We'll cross a bridge nearly a mile long, spanning a man-made reservoir created in 1929 to control flooding on the Hudson River. A short but intense climb will reveal a glorious view of the reservoir before continuing on to The Double H Ranch. Finally, we'll spend our last overnight in the resort town of Lake George. This region is offers so much natural beauty and activities, that you might want to try to win a return trip to the area in their photo contest. Dinner option is not included on Friday because there are so many great places to eat.
73 mi.
Ride Day 7: Saturday, July 26
We'll start our last day riding parallel to the Hudson River, with views of the mountains beyond. Only 54 miles until we finish our ride in Saratoga Springs, famous for it's history, health & horses. Try the mineral waters that made the spas famous, bet on the ponies at the world renowned race track, or stroll among the Victorian architecture. You'll want to spend extra time in this amazing town!
54 miles.


The Ride! (The Story of what really happened)
Doerte and I flew into Albany on Friday. We toured downtown and stayed near the Hudson River.
Saturday morning we boarded the train for Saratoga Springs where along with the other riders we boarded the two big buses for the ride to Niagara Falls where we would begin our ride.
We camped on the Niagara High School grounds, and used the showers at the Golf Course next door. We awoke during the night to rain showers.
Day 1.
The showers let up enough for us to break camp. Heading out I noticed that several golfers were beginning play so I took note of their optimism. That lasted all of about 10 minutes. The sky grew so dark that it looked like night although it was after 6 am. It rained cats and dogs.
The first rider we met was Steve Alderson, and we immediately formed a team.
At the Falls we experienced tremendous thunder and lightening. One lightening bolt struck a tree only yards away and the bolt went to the ground in front of us. We witnessed why you never stand under a big tree in such a storm.



Still thinking about morning coffee Steve, Doerte and I headed for a bakery in Little Italy. We enjoyed delicious fresh pizza by the slice and excellent coffee. I wish I could go there every day!


Early morning at Niagra Falls Along with Steve, we were the first people to see the spectacular Niagara Falls on Sunday morning. With the rain, the mist, and the fog we didn't get the best of views.



From the bakery we actually had to get riding and join the route. The rain came and went again and again through out the day. Finally stopping for the afternoon after a conversation with the priest at Saint Joe's catholic church. We also were lucky to enjoy their annual chicken bbq.


That night we camped at the fireman's hall in Brockport and were served the best spaghetti and meatballs ever (except for Mom's of course)


Lake Ontario Lighthouse The Lighthouse on Lake Ontario during a brief break in the day's rain.

Day 2

Off to the Finger Lake town of Penn Yan. This was Amish country and we lucky to see one buggy as the family was leaving the Aldi grocery store. I wonder what they had in the back of the buggy?

Waterfall Stop Steve, Mike, Doerte, and Steve at the waterfall stop


Lots of good laughs!

Day 3

Lots of rain late today as we rode for Baldwinsville. We passed through the famous town of Seneca Falls home of famous bridge that Jimmy Stewart jumped off of in It's a Wonderful Life, and most importantly the Women's Rights Museum. They also have a good coffee shop which is so important for us from the Pacific Northwest.
Womens rights Museum Doerte at the Women's Rights Museum in Seneca Falls.

We really liked Seneca Falls. We even saw another week long bike ride going the other way. It was called the Bon Ton.




Baldwinsville was a very nice stop. We camped right in town, and had access to the local pubs, library, bike shop and laundry. in the middle of the night we were evacuated to the courthouse due to severe thunderstorms and a tornado watch. I am not sure why, but they wanted to be safe. I was tired the whole next day.


Day 4

This was our first big climb day with two substantial climbs and some screaming descents through beautiful Amish farm country with views all the way to the Adirondack Mountains. We had a mostly dry day, and ended at the campground near a big casino that looked like a grain elevator.

The best pizza and pasta salad!

Our lunch stop after a big climb and some screaming descents on country roads.

We had the best pizza ever! 


What a fine looking team!


We were evacuated from camp too early in the morning  

The tornado watch / severe thunderstorm evacuation in the middle of the night! We were all rustled from our tents and herded to the courthouse. We looked like a bunch of zombies walking down the street.


The town mayor came to thank us for coming and asked if we would vote for him. Unfortunately for him none of us were registered in that county.


Although Karen took role to account for everyone, one guy supposedly slept through the whole thing thanks to ear plugs! 


Day 5

We were off early for Speculator in the Adirondack Mountains. This day began in the rain, and included the biggest climb of the Fany. Luckily at the top of the climb was the local ladies auxiliary supplying us with burgers, coffee, and an assortment of baked goodies. Yum Yum!


Speculator is a very small village with a population was 348 at the 2000 census. The village is named after a nearby Speculator Mountain. This was one of my favorite stops along the tour.


The rain stops as we enter the Andirondack Park Yeah! The Adirondack Park!


Day 6

This day started off dry but a little foggy with all the moisture off the ground. We had a fantastic 13 mile descent and overall a very fast ride all the way to Lake George. We stopped at the Double H Ranch for a rest stop, and met up with Tony and his team.

Steve heads for home! The saddest day of the ride.

After crossing the big bridge and having lunch Steve heads home a day early.



We toured Lake George with Steve. It is ultimate tourist trap surrounded by beautiful forests and mountains. 

Our last group breakfast on day 7 Our final breakfast. Mike, Doerte, and Steve get ready for the final ride to Saratoga Springs. We had perfect weather for the last day of the ride.

It was bittersweet in that we had such a good time on the ride and now it was sad to soon have to leave all our newfound friends.


Day 7

Our final day on the bikes, we were off to Saratoga Springs- and a man short! It was a fine, dry ride, mostly along the shore of the Hudson River. Coming into Saratoga Springs we saw the jockeys and race horses. Uncle Matt was waiting for us at the finish. He would make a very good volunteer for any bike ride.

Uncle Matt from Northvale, New Jersey met us at the finish! He's looking great!


Our group photo in Speculator, NY

Every has their team t-shirts and rain caps on.



Karen Empie (left) organizes the Fany ride each year. She does a fantastic job! . 



Back home

What a wonderful experience we had! It was such a privilege to ride with all these wonderful people from the East Coast. We had an excellent time! It is quite the experience to shrink our lives to a bicycle, backroads, and small group of people who become close friends.


Thanks to Karen Empie for putting this ride all together and making sure every one had a good time, learned some stuff, and stayed safe!



More Fany Ride Photos!

Mike and Doerte from West Seattle, WA http://www.flickr.com/photos/84805602@N00/sets/72157606530514683/


July 19-25, 2009 will be the 9th annual Fany ride!


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