John Robinson and Doug Hamlin, co-founders of Our Ability, are once again challenging themselves on a 12-day bike ride trek from Buffalo to Albany along the Erie Canal.
Journey Along the Erie Canal III kicked off Sunday at Canalside in Buffalo, where the two — plus family, friends and supporters — biked to Niawanda Park in Tonawanda. On day two of the journey, the group left Tonawanda on their way to Medina, stopping in the city on Canal Street for a kick-off celebration.
Waiting for them to arrive Monday were members of the public, including a group from Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara.
Hamlin said Robinson’s wife Andrea first had the idea of taking a family bike ride after he got his three-wheeled, hand operated bike.
“John said he wanted to make it more than that,” Hamlin said. “He said he wanted to make it a fundraiser and awareness raiser.”
Hamlin soon joined in on the idea, followed by additional family members and friends. Hamlin rides alongside Robinson on his own specialized bicycle.
“We just do this really for awareness raising and fundraising for people with disabilities,” he said. “The canal’s a great backdrop.”
This is the third time the group has challenged themselves to 11 days of riding; they take July 4 off. Hamlin said when they did the trip in 2013, the group had not trained enough and they had the wrong equipment.
“We learned a lot,” he said. “But we got new bikes and trained more last year. So it’s been really a pleasure. It’s a team effort.”