Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall Biking on the Farmington Canal Greenway 10-11-09

Emma & I went biking on the Farmington Canal Greenway in Hamden after dropping Terry off for her hike on the Quinnipiac Trail. After dumping the missus off on the side of the road (literally) we headed over to the Farmington Canal. We started at the Todd Road parking lot near Sleeping Giant State Park.

It was a great Fall Sunday & there were a lot of people out enjoying the trail.
Emma did a pretty good job staying to the right & calling out to people when she passed them. I did have to tell her to give a bit more room & heads up to some folks. This is one of the older rail-to-trail projects in the state, and the pavement gets narrower during primetime. Everybody needs to be polite & ride safely when it gets busy. Most of the people using the trail were bike riders & walkers, with some dog owners and joggers mixed in. We were taking our time soaking up the Color, but some bicyclists were booking and the speed differential of the users was very noticeable. Almost everybody that we met was pleasant, but we were passed by a gaggle of about 9 street bicyclists dressed up like a hot air balloon festival who were incredibly loud yakking back & forth to each other. It was disruptive to the other trail users.

We stopped at Lock 12 Park in Cheshire for a break. Emma couldn't climb the black walnut tree, so she decided to practice on the railings.

The canal locks are reconstructed to show how the canal looked in 1820 when boats traveled from Massachusetts to New Haven. The canal gates actually work and Emma was able to open & close them. A really nice guy from the Historical Society had the small museum open and was able to answer questions.

There was a beefy fountain that was set for kids, adults, and puppies. Emma liked this. There was a port-a-let at the beginning parking lot, but this was the only cool water along the route. Emma was getting hot after biking a bit.

Emma stopped for all the road crossings. The Hamden section had these two removable bollards at all the crossings to keep cars out. The twin bollards in the middle of the trail were actually a hazard to ride a bike through - I think that they should be replaced with a single bollard. Most of the car drivers were polite and stopped at all the crosswalks.

The Cheshire crossings have just one bollard & I think this is a lot safer for bike riding. We went though a variety of trailsides; commercial, residential, woods, swamps, farms. It was a beautiful ride - about 12 miles round trip from Todd Road up to Cornwall Avenue and back.

Emma & I had a great time. Hopefully the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path is this popular sometime in the future. We concluded our expedition with a stop at Kelly's Kone Konnection at the Glenwood Drive-In on Whitney Avenue in Hamden. Emma had some kind of chocolate-fudge monstrosity while I tried the pumpkin cone - with success on both accounts.

Visit the Farmington Canal Greenway website for trail maps and other information. This Greenway will be a major link in the East Coast Greenway; a national pedestrian route stretching from Maine to Florida similar to the Appalachian Trail. By all means take the kids biking on the Farmington Greenway this fall.

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