Canal towpaths from London to Manchester or Preston

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Frantic
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Canal towpaths from London to Manchester or Preston

Postby Frantic » 24 Jun 2019, 10:06am

Has anyone cycled along the canals towpath from London to Manchester or Preston. I wondered if it was possible, according to Canalrivertrusts map it is, just wanted confirmation
Last edited by Graham on 26 Jun 2019, 11:56am, edited 1 time in total.
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andrew_s
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Re: Canals

Postby andrew_s » 24 Jun 2019, 3:18pm

Whilst it may be technically possible, that doesn't mean it's practical, especially for a long distance.

Only a relatively small proportion will be surfaced. Of that which isn't, if you are lucky, it will be dry-ish and short-ish grass with a worn & smooth track on it, but if not it may mean that you may find your speed reduced down to 5-6 mph. As well as bumpiness and mud, trying to ride through long, coarse grass can render your gears inoperable quite quickly, and you'll have to stop and spend 15 minutes getting oily fingers picking out bits of grass wrapped tightly around the jockey wheels and stuffed between your sprockets.

I'd suggest trying to route along various stretches of the various canals in cycle.travel. If C.T is reluctant to use it, and/or the path shows as "rough unsurfaced path", it's probably not cycleable in the sense of going somewhere, rather than just exploring.

pwa
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Re: Canals

Postby pwa » 24 Jun 2019, 3:27pm

I have hired narrowboats and really enjoyed it, but more than half of the tow path I've seen has been basically a grass verge with 20cm of dirt track, and that verge is also where boaters bang in their pegs to moor up, so you have to watch out for them too. I'd not want to do more than a short distance on that sort of surface.

random37
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Re: Canals

Postby random37 » 24 Jun 2019, 4:16pm

It's a towpath. It's for horses to tow boats along.
I wouldn't suggest riding a bike that way unless you had to.

Mike_Ayling
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Re: Canals

Postby Mike_Ayling » 24 Jun 2019, 11:11pm

andrew_s wrote:Whilst it may be technically possible, that doesn't mean it's practical, especially for a long distance.

As well as bumpiness and mud, trying to ride through long, coarse grass can render your gears inoperable quite quickly, and you'll have to stop and spend 15 minutes getting oily fingers picking out bits of grass wrapped tightly around the jockey wheels and stuffed between your sprockets.



A bit easier if you have a Rohloff or any other IGH!

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foxychick
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Re: Canals

Postby foxychick » 24 Jun 2019, 11:41pm

I love cycling the canal towpaths they are awesome, done the preston to kendal canal, stretford in manchester to llangollen in wales, leeds to liverpool at 127 miles the longest canal in britain, the peak forest canal, the macclesfield canal, the sankey canal in warrington, rochdale to halifax, the huddersfield canal, beats cycling on a busy road any time of day. The nature and tranquility are something to be-hold you will never forget it so go for it. I think you can cycle from london to york by canal?

brynpoeth
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Re: Canals

Postby brynpoeth » 25 Jun 2019, 5:50am

Conflicting opinions again, I suspect Both are Correct :wink:
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fausto copy
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Re: Canals

Postby fausto copy » 25 Jun 2019, 10:46am

I agree with Foxychick, there are some amazing canal paths, though I wouldn't want to do it all in one go. :wink:
A couple of miles pounding along bits of lumpy hardcore from Devizes to Bradford-on-Avon on the Kennet & Avon is enough for anyone to be grateful to get off and not bother going all the way to Bath. :lol:

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Canals

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 25 Jun 2019, 11:15am

foxychick wrote:I love cycling the canal towpaths they are awesome, done the preston to kendal canal, stretford in manchester to llangollen in wales, leeds to liverpool at 127 miles the longest canal in britain, the peak forest canal, the macclesfield canal, the sankey canal in warrington, rochdale to halifax, the huddersfield canal, beats cycling on a busy road any time of day. The nature and tranquility are something to be-hold you will never forget it so go for it. I think you can cycle from london to york by canal?


There's a water route from London to York (from Weybridge to Ripon, in fact) but that's not to say it's all cyclable. Long parts of it are river rather than canal (the Soar, Trent and Ouse/Ure), and whereas canal towpaths are generally owned by the Canal & River Trust (who permit bikes), riverside paths are generally owned by the farmer and usually only have a right of way for pedestrians.

The Rochdale and Huddersfield are lovely canals with reasonable surfaces and very much worth cycling. The Macc and the Llangollen (other than the latter's last few miles) are rural single-track of the sort pwa describes, and though I agree they beat cycling on a busy road, I think I'd prefer cycling on a quiet road. :)
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Bonefishblues
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Re: Canals

Postby Bonefishblues » 25 Jun 2019, 11:27am

I think the obvious answer is to do it by pedalo.

A couple of days should do it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beTmxgxb7gY

rotavator
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Re: Canals

Postby rotavator » 25 Jun 2019, 11:41am

I have cycled most of the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal and especially recommend the section from Pontypool to Abergavenny because of the good views to the east. Mudguards rec if it has been raining.

Bonefishblues
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Re: Canals

Postby Bonefishblues » 25 Jun 2019, 11:44am

rotavator wrote:I have cycled most of the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal and especially recommend the section from Pontypool to Abergavenny because of the good views to the east. Mudguards rec if it has been raining.

I think that's a bit off the OP's route :D

hamster
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Re: Canals

Postby hamster » 25 Jun 2019, 1:54pm

fausto copy wrote:I agree with Foxychick, there are some amazing canal paths, though I wouldn't want to do it all in one go. :wink:
A couple of miles pounding along bits of lumpy hardcore from Devizes to Bradford-on-Avon on the Kennet & Avon is enough for anyone to be grateful to get off and not bother going all the way to Bath. :lol:


:lol: That's the bad bit - after Bradford it's smooth and really pleasant all the way to Bath!

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fausto copy
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Re: Canals

Postby fausto copy » 25 Jun 2019, 2:17pm

rotavator wrote:I have cycled most of the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal and especially recommend the section from Pontypool to Abergavenny because of the good views to the east. Mudguards rec if it has been raining.


I'll have to try that section next time then.
I've done Brecon to Abergavenny and found it all gorgeous.

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RickH
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Re: Canals

Postby RickH » 25 Jun 2019, 2:52pm

It is something I've considered (but not yet got round to attempting). Get a cheap train ticket down to London & then ride back home, following canals as far as possible. :D