Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — Cyclists come in the thousands each year down the Erie Canal Towpath, but those pedaling people are only potential consumers for canalside communities.
Parks and Trails New York, the advocacy organization that organizes the annually Cycling the Erie Canal event that creates a 500-resident tent city in Medina, came to Albion this week to show local officials and business owners how they can attract visitors and consumers that may be speeding by just outside of their grasp.
Representatives from PTNY, the New York State Canal Corporation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the Western Erie Canal Alliance gathered with local officials Wednesday to showcase ways to appeal to cyclists. Those travelers are a group that looks for specific things — bike shops and bathrooms — but also seeks more general things, like directions to places worth seeing and information about where they have arrived.
And on Thursday, a group of cyclists showed them firsthand what it’s like when someone unfamiliar with the area makes the decision to pull in to Medina, Albion or Holley. They came, they saw and they con ... structively made recommendations for more things that welcome in those unfamiliar with the area.
“There are things that can be done to make it more welcoming ... we went up to the Crooked Door (Tavern), we wouldn’t know about it because of (a lack of) signage. You had to know to go there,” Robin Dropkin, the executive director of PTNY, said towards the end of the group’s first ever “bike around” followup to the “Bicyclists Bring Business!” presentation. “Albion has a lot of potential, but for a bicyclist, you have to give them reasons to stop, you have to communicate that.”
Similar observations were made about Albion’s church district and attractions that are removed from the downtown business district that is the entranceway to the village from the canal. The cobblestone district are short bike ride away is also unknowingly missed by many.