I had the pleasure of accompanying City Engineer Chris Wallin and two of his staff on a loop of bike paths and neighborhood streets in downtown Schenectady. I went early to rent one of those new shared bicycles at one of the CDPHP bike hubs. I understand that as a “season member” that I could rent more than one bike at a time at one of the hubs for a group of Byway visitors, for example.
I had some time to get comfortable with the bike rental process and with the “unisex” bike. I found the bikes heavy like driving a Cadillac after learning to drive a VW. Maintaining balance at a slower speed seems to be somewhat different than my lighter bike. Physically the rented bikes are quite comfortable on the seat and I sat upright rather than forward leaning on my road bike. The best part of renting a bike is that somebody else worries about tire pressure, lubrication and lights, and I didn’t get chain grease on the inside of my vehicle on the ride into Schenectady. And it is relatively inexpensive. You’ll have enough left over to treat yourself to an ice cream cone at Stewart’s or a gelato in Little Italy all for less than ten bucks!
The most revealing lesson of the bike ride is how connected everything is becoming within the City. The Erie Canal Bikeway now connects to the Mohawk Hudson Bikeway with a short few blocks though the historic, sleepy Stockade neighborhood. It’s an easy connection around the fringes of Union College Campus to Vale Park which will soon be connected to Central Park! Even the short segment down State Street was a pleasure mid morning as vehicular traffic seemed to accommodate a cyclist or two. It may have been a coincidence but all the traffic lights (except two) seemed to green for us!
Schenectady really is becoming a more bike friendly city. If you want to explore the Cities’ history do it slow on a bike so that you can experience the details and personal touches that make a unique neighborhood and a memorable visit.