Strap on your helmets, pull up your kickstands, and prepare to have the most fun that’s allowed on two wheels. No matter how old you are, there’s nothing more exhilarating than putting your pedals into action and coasting upon a scenic adventure.
Western New York has a surplus of dedicated bike paths meant to keep you safe on and off the road. Below are six awesome bike rides built for every level of rider, arranged from shortest to longest.
1. Outer Harbor & Greenway Nature Trail
Starting Point: 1111 Fuhrmann Boulevard, Buffalo
Distance: ~ 5 Miles
Begin your day by parking at Charlie’s Boat Yard and grabbing a quick bite to eat. This little waterfront restaurant is always hopping during the summer months, with a huge outdoor patio. By the way, they serve brunch! If you’re striving to hit the road fast, you can always get a bite to eat from their grab-and-go window.
Once you’ve filled up, saddle up your cycles and witness the splendor of Buffalo’s emerging waterfront. Start by going north on Fuhrmann Boulevard, eventually veering off to the left through a guided maze of nature trails. Spend a little time exploring the Greenway Nature Trail and areas around Wilkenson Point, then circle around to the Times Beach Nature Preserve before heading back.
At just over 5 miles, this ride is perfect for beginners and the little ones. If you’re up for it, don’t forget that the Tifft Nature Preserve is just down the road!
2. Follow the River to the Falls
Starting Point: Niagara Scenic Pkwy, Niagara Falls, NY 14305
Distance: ~ 8 miles
Perhaps the most scenic ride on the list commences by parking your car at Devil’s Hole Park in Niagara Falls. Follow the Robert Moses Parkway and ride past DeVeaux Woods Park to see the Niagara Whirlpool in action. Continue alongside the Whirlpool Rapids, eventually reaching the city. Once inside, the city is yours to discover.
At just under 8 miles, this ride is perfect for any one just looking to step out and have fun!
3. Solitude in the Suburbs
Starting Point: Clarence Center between Utley and Barnum Roads
Distance: ~ 9 miles
Sometimes, you want to get away without really getting away. For a quiet ride encumbered in isolation, try the Clarence Pathways. First, Park your car on Clarence Center between Utley and Barnum Roads. Going east will take you past the Arrowhead Golf Course and into Akron. Turn right where the trail ends at Rte. 93, go left on John St., and right on Parkview Dr. After about a quarter mile you’ll come to the beautiful Akron Falls.
Travel back and unwind at the Clarence Center Coffee Co. and Café at the corner of Goodrich and Clarence Center. Don’t let the name fool you, they have a lot more to offer than coffee. Stop in for Happy Hour on Fridays and Saturdays and enjoy live, local music. Sample the Chipotle Pesto and Bacon Flatbread, or their Loaded Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
The total ride is about 9 miles. Parking near the trail is also available at the Clarence Highway Engineering and Building Department Complex on Goodrich Rd.
4. Blaze through Black Rock
Starting Point: Aqua Lane Park, Tonawanda
Distance: ~10 – 15 miles
For a more thorough ride, drive over to Aqua Lane Park in Tonawanda, and prepare your pedals for a pleasant trip lakeside. Start by going south and follow the Riverwalk past Riverside Park to the Black Rock Channel. Cross the bridge and take a quick tour of Unity Island before crossing another bridge leading into Downtown Buffalo. Cruise through the Naval Park and Erie Basin Marina for good measure, then head back.
As an alternate route, don’t cross the bridge at Squaw Island. Stay straight instead and follow the bike path next to Scajaquada Expressway into Delaware Park. Both trips will run about 10-15 miles.
After a fun day traveling beside the Black Rock Channel, move to dry land and try out Sun Cuisines which is home to some of the best Thai food in our great city!
5. Roll on the Riverwalk
Starting Point: Kohler St, Tonawanda
Distance: ~ 14 miles
Make life simple and park your car next to the river on Kohler St. in Tonawanda just down the road from Niawanda Park. Kick off your journey by bearing north. The trail will end on Creekside Dr., but you should continue to stay on the road until you reach Park Rd. Then, turn right, pick back up on the trail, and follow it all the way to the scenic UB North Campus.
Later, drop your bike back at the car, and cross the street to Mississippi Mudds. Put your feet up and chill out on their iconic rooftop patio overlooking the Niagara River. Treat yourself to WNY’s best grilled chicken sandwich and a full serving of their famous Louisiana Sweet Fries. There’s a playground for the kids and plenty of ice cream, so don’t be afraid to settle in.
This ride has a total length of about 14 miles. You can also head south on the Riverwalk towards Downtown Buffalo, or follow Tonawanda Creek all the way into Lockport.
6. Trail the Canal
Starting Point: Tom’s Diner, Main St. in Lockport
Distance: Day-long Ride
For long distance riders, a trip along the Erie Canal will be just what you’re looking for. Start early and grab some breakfast at Tom’s Diner on Main St. in Lockport. They have it all, from hearty potato pancakes and breakfast sandwiches to a wide selection of omelets you can create yourself. Once you’re fueled up and ready to roll, leave the car and head east down Main St.
Remain on Main St. until it turns into East Ave. Hang a left on Spring St. and stay straight. Cross the bridge over the canal and turn right onto the bike trail. From here, how far you ride is totally up to you and your level of endurance. Coming out of Lockport, pass through Gasport and Middleport until you reach Medina. Keep going and you’ll eventually make it all the way to Rochester.
The road to Medina and back is about 32 total miles. After 50 miles of cycling, you’ll reach Rochester. This ride is not for the faint of heart, so be prepared for a long day and be sure to drink plenty of water. There are several places to stop along the way.
This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated.