Archive for May, 2011
(Part 1 of 2) “Bike or Die 2011” Roch Trails Map 2010
It was a sunny 80-degree Saturday and we had just suffered through 5 days of continuous rain. After taking a scythe to the lawn, we were ready to play. I pumped up the bike tires, got our water bottles filled, and stood panting by the door until Charlie was ready to go on my loosely described “fun ride.”
My desire was to ride out to the Genesee Riverway Trail, and show him the newly completed (2010) sections. What I realized en route, is that Rochester has GREAT bridges, many of which we crossed while on the trail, and that the Genesee River perfectly reflects the varied geography that makes this area so gorgeous (literally). (Oh, I also learned that 30 miles is about 5 miles too many for Charlie.)
The Genesee Riverway Trail is an amazing (ongoing) effort which will connect the Barge Canal Path (east/west), with a new trail going north/south along the Genesee River, to Lake Ontario. It extends through the scenic heart of Rochester, from Genesee Valley Park to downtown, and continues up to Lake Ontario. It provides pedestrian access to the Genesee River, including its scenic gorge, three waterfalls, eight pedestrian bridges, and eleven parks.
The first section of the trail starts in Genesee Valley Park, where the river meets the canal. This first section forms a scenic figure 8 around the river, starting in the park and heading north to the Court Street Bridge (Dinosaur BBQ), with the Ford Street Bridge in the center of the 8. This (9 miles) looping section makes a great beginner ride, as it is relatively free of traffic, and loaded with great spots to enjoy scenic bridge views, colorful restaurants, bars and coffee shops.
At Court Street, you are in downtown Rochester. Here is where we lost and found the trail several times as it winds back and forth across the Genesee River. The views from the bridges downtown are quite spectacular, but trying to follow the trail (as of 2011), requires some knowledge of the local roads or a map.
Going along the west side of the river on a pedestrian path, we were able to get a close-up view of the Erie Canal Aqueduct, a unique 1842 stone arch canal structure used as subway, railway and roadway.
If you could stay on Saint Paul and go north, you would be taking the most direct route, but it is a one-way street flowing south and not friendly for northerly travelling bikes. One more street east is Clinton (very heavy traffic), a one-way travelling north, and over the river lies State St. either of these would be better than this short section of St Paul.
We relocated a trail sign at Platt Street, via St Paul, and crossed the pedestrian bridge (Pont de Rennes) at High Falls. We continued zigzagging north to cross back over Smith St, Bausch Memorial Bridge, back to St Paul (which is now a 2-way street), and continue to ride north.
Crossing the most unusual bridge yet, we veered left off St Paul on a steep and winding downhill to the RG&E Station #5, a hydro plant, which spans the river and (during the day), you can ride right across the river on a pedestrian/bike-only bridge, through the power plant. This was the part I wanted to show Charlie — the newest section — Lower Falls Park
The river water levels were spectacularly high and the falls created a beautiful rainbow. There is an actual park area created in this tiny space, with a picnicking area and several scenic overlooks of the 86 high falls (Rochester’s highest). “Casconchiagon” is a Seneca word describing this area, meaning “river of many falls”.
As you ride up a steep slope out of the park, you cross the Driving Park Bridge (also sports scenic views) to arrive at Maplewood Park.
The Driving Park Avenue Bridge was constructed in 1890, by the Rochester Bridge and Iron Works. The bridge is 717 feet long, spanning the 200-foot-deep Genesee River Gorge. At the time the bridge was built, many mills were located at the Lower Falls as they had been from the early days of settlement. The quickly flowing water was used for power in gristmills and other types of manufacturing.
(Part 2 Continued next week)
The mill was built in 1823 by Judge Charles Kellogg. He was a member of the New York State Assembly (1808-09, 1821-22) and later reelected to Congress (1825). Eventually the mill was sold to the Weed family, where it remains today.
The Hazelnut Kitchen was founded in 2007. The Chef/Owners, Jonah and Christina McKeough relocated from Philadelphia to Trumansburg. With degrees from the CIA, in Hyde Park, NY. Together they worked in numerous well-known restaurants throughout the country.
At 215 feet, Taughannock Falls is the highest free-falling waterfall in the northeastern United States, and one of the highest waterfalls of any kind east of the Rocky Mountains. (33 feet taller than Niagara Falls!)