Back in June I took a week-long bike trip to celebrate my 50th birthday. I rode across New York State, following the Erie Canalway Trail.

I did not ride that trail at first, though. I initially had to spend a day getting from Holyoke to Albany. I loaded up my luggage (2 large pannier bags on either side of my rack, and a backpack bungied on the rack between them) and headed west, riding through Westfield, and up into Montgomery, MA.

The climb into Montgomery is long, and is steep at points, but I made okay time, considering the extra weight strapped onto the bike. After passing through the town center, I had a nice long downhill run into the town of Huntington, and got into that town’s center just under 2 hours after leaving home. Here is the Huntington library, with its blue trim (click on pictures to embiggen):

Brick library building with blue trim, with green lawn and small tree in foreground

From Huntington, I continued west on US 20, next passing into the town of Chester. 20 follows the Westfield River, and there are a few spots to get a good view, like this:

Shallow river with multiple rocks in it, with trees on far side

In Chester, the road started to take me slowly uphill. The area where it started to climb was fairly populated (not sure if this was the town center, though). I thought this old building was interesting:

Old brick building with large lawn in front, as well as a US flag on a pole, and a few trees nearby

I spent a bunch of time climbing from here, as Route 20 continued west into Beckett, MA. In Beckett, I intersected Route 8, and took that road north. After some more up and down riding (but mostly up), I got to the village of North Beckett. I stopped here to eat the lunch I’d brought with me, in a little park by a creek. There were some shady benches there, and the park contained a bunch of veterans’ memorials:

Creek with many rocks in it, seen through leafy tree branches
Large rocks with creek flowing by, and trees around
Large park lawn with US flag on pole, and multiple large stone markers bearing names of veterans, with trees in background
Curving road with white buildings on either side, as well as several trees in the distance, and grass in foreground

From there I had a bit more climbing to do as I continued north, and then I turned off Route 8 to go west, and downhill a bunch, into the city of Pittsfield. I went straight through downtown Pittsfield and picked up Route 20 again, which I followed into the town of Hancock (passing Hancock Shaker Village), and then went up another hill which peaked just before the state line.

This was possibly the biggest downhill run of the day, as the road descended for 2.5 miles, crossing into New York just a bit below the top. I continued riding west, through New Lebanon. At one point I stopped to rest, and saw these flowers by the roadside:

Pink and white flowers in front of a green field

After some web searching, I believe these are dame’s rocket.

Passing through the town of Nassau, I crossed Kinderhook Creek a few times. Here is the creek seen from one of those bridges:

Wide creek with trees on each side, and a rock wall upstream

Further along in Nassau I stopped for dinner at a place called Tacos Diablo. I had 3 small carnitas tacos, along with a pineapple soda.

Continuing on 20, there was some more up and down as I got near the Albany area. Just before I reached Rensselaer, I saw this business:

Large sign reading "Owlview Accounting and Tax Services - We Solve Tax Problems", with a picture of an owl on it

From there, it was downhill all the way to the Husdon River. I crossed the river on a bike/pedestrian bridge, and then made my way a few more miles through Albany to my lodging for the night. My total distance for the say was just about 89 miles, and took me a bit over 12 hours.

Odometer reading eighty-eight point nine seven miles

Next: the beginning of the trail itself.