Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Michael Skinner
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Joined: 5 Aug 2019, 11:23am

Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Michael Skinner » 7 Aug 2019, 2:55pm

is there any chance you would fall into the gutter, or manage to topple over the fence?

I ride in a straight line

Mike Sales
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Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Mike Sales » 7 Aug 2019, 3:00pm

Michael Skinner wrote:
is there any chance you would fall into the gutter, or manage to topple over the fence?

I ride in a straight line


Yes, I imagine most of us here can manage that.
The question is, why would this skill abandon one just when the penalty for doing so is highest?

geocycle
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Joined: 11 Jan 2007, 9:46am

Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby geocycle » 7 Aug 2019, 3:26pm

Mike Sales wrote:
Michael Skinner wrote:
is there any chance you would fall into the gutter, or manage to topple over the fence?

I ride in a straight line


Yes, I imagine most of us here can manage that.
The question is, why would this skill abandon one just when the penalty for doing so is highest?


No logical reason of course, but lots of people could ride along a plank on the ground, wobble along it with if it was raised on two bricks and fall off if it was between two pairs of steps!

Mike Sales
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Mike Sales » 7 Aug 2019, 3:32pm

geocycle wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:
Michael Skinner wrote:I ride in a straight line


Yes, I imagine most of us here can manage that.
The question is, why would this skill abandon one just when the penalty for doing so is highest?


No logical reason of course, but lots of people could ride along a plank on the ground, wobble along it with if it was raised on two bricks and fall off if it was between two pairs of steps!


Good point. But what if the plank was as wide as the aqueduct tow path?
Risk magnitude is sometimes defined as the likelihood of an adverse event multiplied by its gravity. (appropriate word in this circumstance!)

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RickH
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Location: Horwich, Lancs.

Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby RickH » 7 Aug 2019, 3:33pm

Michael Skinner wrote:
rotavator wrote:RE: Llangollen canal:
you have to walk across the aqueduct.

I did a google image search of Chirk Aqueduct and from the photographs of it the path looks perfectly ridable, why does it have to be walked?

As you say, Chirk aqueduct is fine to ride across. But it is only the "baby" aqueduct.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a few miles (& 2 tunnels) further north along the towpath, is a whole different kettle of fish. I have ridden over it a few times when it has been quiet (near dusk, on an overcast evening, out of the summer season you won't find many folk around). Otherwise you need to push your bike across (or carry a pack raft to take you & your bike across on the water :D)

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RickH
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby RickH » 8 Aug 2019, 7:01pm

RickH wrote:
Sweep wrote:... I have ridden a fair lot of canals - one of my favourites for pretty speedy progress is Manchester's Bridgewater.

The upgrade of the "Muddy Mile", the towpath between Worsley & Astley Green (on the way out to join the Leeds Liverpool at Leigh) has been officially opened. I'm hoping to go & check it out in the next few days to see if it is as good as promised. It will hopefully mean a good surfaced path all the way from Sale/Altrincham to Top Lock at Wigan (apart from the 1/4 mile where you have to join the road to cross Manchester Shop Canal as there is no path on the canal swing bridge) .

I know one shouldn't reply to one's own post but I rode the "Muddy Mile" on the Bridgewater todsy and, a bit like Fuzzy Wuzzy*, it is no longer muddy.

In fact that bit, being newly surfaced, is probably the best bit of the towpath between Worsley & Leigh. :D they've also removed a couple of awkward barriers along that section. You can ride on a good surface all the way through to the Leigh (& beyond) without having to put a foot on the ground if you so desire.

(*Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear,
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair,
So Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy wuzzy was he!
Author unknown)

pete75
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Joined: 24 Jul 2007, 2:37pm

Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby pete75 » 8 Aug 2019, 7:51pm

Mike Sales wrote:
Michael Skinner wrote:
is there any chance you would fall into the gutter, or manage to topple over the fence?

I ride in a straight line


Yes, I imagine most of us here can manage that.
The question is, why would this skill abandon one just when the penalty for doing so is highest?


Beer!

Witterings
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Joined: 8 Jun 2018, 10:17am
Location: Chichester, West Sussex

Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Witterings » 9 Aug 2019, 9:17am

Mike Sales wrote:In these cases I always ask, "could you walk or cycle across if the drop on the one side and the canal trough on the other were removed, and replaced with a flat surface?"
If it were merely a stretch of normal pavement, is there any chance you would fall into the gutter, or manage to topple over the fence?


Not sure if you suffer Vertigo or not but it's not about whether you could cycle it in a straight line but you have this feeling that the edge is like a magnet almost trying to pull you over and for me personally it constantly goes through my mind engineers make mistakes and bridges / buildings do collapse in which case cycling in a straight line isn't going to help much :)

Granted they're few and far between but the people that have been killed when they did all probably thought ... It'll never happen to me.

Sorry .... slight deviation from topic.

pwa
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby pwa » 9 Aug 2019, 9:26am

If you lost balance on an aqueduct you would be most likely to fall on the canal side and end up in the drink, at which point the danger would be the approaching 17 ton narrowboat that can't stop quickly.

Mike Sales
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Mike Sales » 9 Aug 2019, 9:45am

Witterings wrote:Not sure if you suffer Vertigo or not but it's not about whether you could cycle it in a straight line but you have this feeling that the edge is like a magnet almost trying to pull you over and for me personally it constantly goes through my mind engineers make mistakes and bridges / buildings do collapse in which case cycling in a straight line isn't going to help much :)

Granted they're few and far between but the people that have been killed when they did all probably thought ... It'll never happen to me.

Sorry .... slight deviation from topic.


I sounds to me as if you do not suffer from vertigo, but from a very normal fear of heights.

Symptoms of vertigo include: :
Sensation of disorientation or motion.
Nausea and/or vomiting.
Sweating and pallor.
Abnormal eye movements and/or visual disturbances.
Hearing loss or ringing sensation in the ears.
... (more items)


I can understand your fear of the whole aqueduct collapsing. In the same way one might worry about one's airliner dropping out of the sky for some reason. Most of us manage to overcome these irrational fears of extremely unlikely events.

Witterings
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Witterings » 9 Aug 2019, 10:15am

Mike Sales wrote:I sounds to me as if you do not suffer from vertigo, but from a very normal fear of heights.

I can understand your fear of the whole aqueduct collapsing. In the same way one might worry about one's airliner dropping out of the sky for some reason. Most of us manage to overcome these irrational fears of extremely unlikely events.


Strangely enough I googled it just after I posted the comment in search of a cure and it's actually Acrophobia so you're right ... weird thing is flying doesn't bother me.
I'm currently in Chaminox having flown here without any issues at all (my wife poops herself flying) as I type this the rest of my family are in a cable car on the way up Mont Blanc which I just couldn't bring myself to do especially knowing that one of the 1st things at the top is to cross an open bridge.

Sad really and it does pee me off.

Mike Sales
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Mike Sales » 9 Aug 2019, 10:32am

Witterings wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:I sounds to me as if you do not suffer from vertigo, but from a very normal fear of heights.

I can understand your fear of the whole aqueduct collapsing. In the same way one might worry about one's airliner dropping out of the sky for some reason. Most of us manage to overcome these irrational fears of extremely unlikely events.


Strangely enough I googled it just after I posted the comment in search of a cure and it's actually Acrophobia so you're right ... weird thing is flying doesn't bother me.
I'm currently in Chaminox having flown here without any issues at all (my wife poops herself flying) as I type this the rest of my family are in a cable car on the way up Mont Blanc which I just couldn't bring myself to do especially knowing that one of the 1st things at the top is to cross an open bridge.

Sad really and it does pee me off.


Would that be the telepherique to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi? I took that ride once to traverse a snow ridge.
With us in the car were another group of climbers intending to do the same. When they emerged from the rock tunnel onto the ridge they found that the exposure was too much for them and went back down in the cable car!
The ridge here was just a walk along a wide snow path, but the drop on the left is about 8,000 feet to the Chamonix valley on one side, and perhaps half that to the glacier on the other. These guys were climbers dedicated and experienced enough to take a climbing holiday in the French Alps.
Heights are frightening to everyone who is sane, but with enough incentive this fear can be kept within bounds.

Mike Sales
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Mike Sales » 9 Aug 2019, 10:36am

pwa wrote:If you lost balance on an aqueduct you would be most likely to fall on the canal side and end up in the drink, at which point the danger would be the approaching 17 ton narrowboat that can't stop quickly.


And of course on the other side is a fence, which one hopes would be properly maintained.
A thing which always strikes me about the Pontcysyllte is that when one is in a boat the trough edge is not very much above water level, with no fence, which must give a great feeling of exposure.

Bonefishblues
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Bonefishblues » 9 Aug 2019, 10:48am

It's a very odd feeling taking a barge across it - the open side of the barge means one could literally step off into space. Not keen on heights, I'm afraid.

Mike Sales
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Mike Sales » 9 Aug 2019, 11:00am

Bonefishblues wrote:It's a very odd feeling taking a barge across it - the open side of the barge means one could literally step off into space. Not keen on heights, I'm afraid.


I imagined that.
I also wondered whether one might feel uneasy about the boat veering out of its course and jumping the low wall to land in the river far below!
Hardly any more irrational than the other fears.