Water; the Great Equalizer in Fairport, NY




Known as the “Crown Jewel of the Erie Canal,” Fairport, NY (Monroe County) was one of the destinations for the “Our Ability” biking team. Money magazine also considers the historic town one of the “Best Places to Live” in the U.S.

In the heart of downtown resides a kayak and canoe center called the Erie Canal Boat Company. Not only does owner Peter Abele cater to everyday clients but he’s especially sensitive to anyone with adaptive paddling needs and abilities. Since opening his shop 7-years ago, he’s worked with Rochester’s SportsNet to get the word out about his shop.

In essence, he adds accessories to the standard canoe and kayak equipment to accommodate for any function the paddler has lost due to disability. Perhaps an adaptation is required on the paddle grip or maybe the seat support. Peter can provide instruction and the necessary equipment (electric Hoyer lifts) to make the transition from land to water and back again nearly seamless.

Water is a great equalizer and everyone can enjoy the freedom of being in a canoe or kayak. Wildlife is also abundant with sightings of Great Blue Heron and Bald Eagles not uncommon.

Another reason to visit Peter, he graciously volunteered to assist me by providing a pontoon boat. We meandered alongside the shoreline next to the bike trail so I could videotape John and Doug as they biked. Because canal water is smooth as silk, capturing profiles of the duo from Fairport to Palmyra was effortless.

Also, I tip my paddle to the Towpath Cafe for setting us up with a breakfast of champions; bacon, sausage, eggs, hashbrowns and a big pot of strong coffee.