Mon, 29 Aug 2005

Ride starting Fri Aug 26 10:22:37 2005

61.85 km 202927.66 feet 38.43 mi 20283.00 seconds 338.05 minutes 5.63 hours 6.82 mi/hr

Rode the Ontario Pathways trail from Canandaigua to Phelps Junction. Parked the car at one end of the trail just south of Phelps Junction. The associated railroad is the Sodus Bay Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad. It crossed the New York Central at Phelps Junction. After it was abandoned, a portion of it was converted into a siding off the New York Central, so the rail-trail actually begins shy of Phelps Junction.

Bicycled to Canandaigua on county roads. Once there, I found the western end of the rail-trail. Starts right in the middle of town next to the existing FGLK line. Parallels it on the south side for a while, then turns to the south. This is the first rail-trail I'd ever been on which is both mowed and has no ATV traffic. They have the entire railbed gated off to exclude ATVs. Without much traffic, the railbed is given over to grass. Some bicyclists have worn a narrow strip of dirt. Even that is missing in some spots, so if you bicycle this, count on several miles of riding on grass. There's a short section where they couldn't get ownership or an easement, so they negotiated access from a neighboring farmer. Further on, they built a complete new deck for the bridge over Flint Creek. Fortunately, the steel was still in place, and they were able to reuse most of the bridge decking.

Stanley is an interesting place, because three railroads come together at one point. The Lehigh went from northeast to southwest, and the Pennsy went from northwest to southeast. The Lehigh seems to be completely overgrown, and the Pennsy south of town is grown over. The Pennsy bridge over the county road is gone, but the abutments remain. Interestingly, all the grading on the south side of the abutment has been removed, so the abutment looks more like a concrete wall than anything that ever held up a bridge.

The rail-trail turns a sharp corner to head northwards towards Phelps Junction where I had parked my car. Before too long, you hit a closed section of the trail. They need to rebuild the bridge deck over County Route 5. Don't take the railbed once you hit Flint Rd. The railbed crosses at a very sharp angle, and there's no Ontario Pathways gate on the other end. Stay on Flint Rd. until you get into Flint. You can climb up the embankment like I did, or follow the approved path and take the first right after passing underneath the railroad bridge. Look for the Boces office; there's an access trail at the back of it.

After you cross Ferguson Rd., but before you enter the woods, keep your eyes out for the Rochester to Geneva trolley line that crossed the railroad. I didn't plan this ride well enough and didn't know exactly where the trolley line was, so I missed it. In Orleans, check out the old water tower next to the railbed. It's still being used by the fire department now. At this point, the railbed is again closed. Ontario Pathways owns a ways down the railbed, but they haven't improved it since it soon dead-ends in a section they have no access to. So if you ride down this way, the trail soon peters out into brush after you cross the old highway bridge.

I rode on Route 488 around the closed section, but I might have done better to turn right and go down Wheat Rd on the other side of the creek. Wheat Rd. is used to gain access to the railbed again. Flint Creek, which I've crossed twice already, is now on my right. There's another bridge to cross Flint Creek, and immediately after that is the Lehigh Valley mainline out of Geneva. There's no sign that it's open as a rail-trail (informal or otherwise), and the bridge is out and there's no way to cross the valley there. You would have to route the trail down to creek level, cross on the Ontario Pathways bridge, then make your way back up to the level of the Lehigh.

Shortly after that is another bridge over Flint Creek (four in all), the end of the rail-trail, and my car.

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