Every journey begins with a single step.

Take your first step and complete your 1st Mile with the Canalway Challenge. Walk, cycle, paddle, or use a wheelchair. We invite people of all abilities to participate. Click the SIGN UP tab above for your 1st Mile and then challenge yourself for more if you'd like to keep going.


"One mile turns into two, turns into 90 and, before you know it, turns into a more healthy and active life."

-- John Robinson, Our Ability, Inc.

Start Today!

The Canalway Trail/Empire State Trail is accessible for all types of activities, including walking, using a wheelchair, and cycling. The trail is accessible to people with mobility challenges and meets Americans with Disabilities (ADA) standards. Off-road Empire State Trail sections are 10-12 feet wide with a paved asphalt or stonedust surface. Stonedust is compacted, finely-ground material that provides a stable trail surface. Stonedust is not as smooth and therefore not as fast for tires as asphalt, but bikes with wide tires, recumbents and hand cycles all work fine.


Provider Location Equipment/Services
Access CNY, TRAID Center Serves a six county region: Onondaga, Madison, Cayuga, Tompkins, Cortland, and Oswego counties Adaptive trikes available for free loan; inquire about transportation options
Green Lakes State Park Fayetteville Adaptive paddling on Green Lake
Erie Canal Boat Company Fairport, Lockport, and Medina Standard and adaptive cycling and paddling equipment rental for use on the Erie Canal and Erie Canalway Trail
Journey 2019_360miles_569px.jpg

Journey Along the Erie Canal

Each summer since 2012, John Robinson, CEO of Our Ability, Inc has hand-cycled all 360 miles from Buffalo to Albany to raise awareness of the needs of people with disabilities. Journey Along the Erie Canal has grown to include thousands of individuals with disabilities, community leaders, and allies who meet to cheer on or join John and his team. We regret that due to pandemic precautions, Journey Along the Erie Canal will not take place in 2021.

John Robinson is a renowned entrepreneur, advocate, and motivational speaker whose personal story has inspired thousands. Born without full arms or legs, he has overcome countless obstacles to become a successful businessperson, family man, and inspirational keynote speaker. He founded Our Ability, as a way of helping to mentor and inspire people with disabilities and advocate for employment. Robinson first learned to ride a bike in 2010.

Hand cyclists riding along the Erie Canal in Fairport

Pass to Play

Summer 2021 - TBD

Rochester Accessible Adventures Pass to Play program offers deep discounts on adaptive cycling and kayaking equipment at Erie Canal Boat Company's Fairport and Lockport locations. Trained staff are available to help you get started.

Rochester Accessible Adventures transforms recreation businesses to ensure individuals with disabilities are able to access inclusive active recreation and sports opportunities.


Adaptive Events


Erie Canalway offers event sponsorships of $500 to community events. Applications open in January. We will list adaptive events here, so be sure to check back in May 2021. Events will subject to Covid-19 safety precautions. If you are hosting an adaptive event, please consider applying for sponsorship.

Many thanks!


The Canalway Challenge is funded in part by a grant from Market NY through I LOVE NY, New York State’s Division of Tourism, as part of the State’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

® I LOVE NEW YORK is a registered trademark and service mark of the New York State Department of Economic Development; used with permission.