Grand Union Canal Birmingham to Lapworth?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
tommydog
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Grand Union Canal Birmingham to Lapworth?

Postby tommydog » 3 Oct 2019, 6:16pm

Last week I cycled from Stratford Upon Avon to Birmingham on the Stratford Canal and then the Birmingham and Worcester canal. This took me through bournville and into the centre of Birmingham. It was a very pleasurable ride.

This week I am minded to take the Grand Union Canal at Lapworth and cycle to Birmingham that way. But after reading local media reports, I am really worried about the safety aspect along the bordesley, small heath, tysley, acocks green stretch. I have read numerous reports of cyclists, joggers etc being attacked by gangs of youths, thrown into the canal and robbed. Others report being pelted with stones when cycling to work. The most worrying thing is the attacks have occurred in the middle of the day. Do people think these stories are exaggerated, or is there a serious risk?

If I was on an old bike, I would not worry too much, but to the untrained eye, my bike does look quite expensive. So that's another worry. Do any of you cycle that stretch of canal regularly? Do you think I have anything to worry about? I am not familiar with the area, but don't have good memories of small heath - about 3 years ago I was on a train and some youths threw a brick though the window. The poor old lady sat by the window almost had a heart attack. Maybe I was unlucky, but it has got me thinking about the safety of the area.

pwa
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Re: Grand Union Canal Birmingham to Lapworth?

Postby pwa » 4 Oct 2019, 8:15am

About four years ago I went along that stretch on a canal boat and struck up a conversation with a local youth who warned me not to moor there overnight because there were people who liked to throw stones at boat windows. So I would regard it as a slightly iffy route. On the other hand, I often walk in places others consider risky and live to tell the tale, so it probably boils down to your own idea of acceptable risk.

Canals often pass through grotty run-down areas of cities and that is part of the "charm" for people like me. You feel as though you are getting an alternative view of a place. But along with that comes a bit of risk. If you meet the wrong sort of person you can be very alone, surprisingly so considering you are surrounded by a conurbation.

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Si
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Re: Grand Union Canal Birmingham to Lapworth?

Postby Si » 6 Oct 2019, 8:53pm

Ive ridden it loads of times without issue. I also know two people who have been mugged there, and have heard of others. I think it goes in waves, a few muggings happen, police have a clamp down, safe for a while, then next set of muggers start up.

If you have a look on the BCC website you can find their cycling map and from that you can work out a fairly low traffic route into the centre that largely by passes the worst bits of canal.

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Grand Union Canal Birmingham to Lapworth?

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 6 Oct 2019, 10:17pm

I'd observe that there's a reason why pretty much every narrowboater turns left at Lapworth and goes into Birmingham via the Stratford and W&B - the Stratford Canal is just more scenic. I've never been pelted with stones taking a boat along this stretch of the Grand Union, but the only reason I ever go that way is because I like industrial archaeology and the Camp Hill->Digbeth->Farmers Bridge stretch is great for that. And if you're on a bike you can enjoy the industrial bit without having to trek through the suburbs.

@pwa is right in that boaters certainly wouldn't moor anywhere between Catherine de Barnes and (at a pinch) Digbeth, but to be honest there's only a handful of recognised sites across the whole BCN (Birmingham Canal Navigations) where people moor. On the Main Line, for example, no-one moors overnight anywhere between Birmingham city centre and the Black Country Museum.
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Si
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Re: Grand Union Canal Birmingham to Lapworth?

Postby Si » 7 Oct 2019, 4:24pm

Si wrote:Ive ridden it loads of times without issue. I also know two people who have been mugged there, and have heard of others. I think it goes in waves, a few muggings happen, police have a clamp down, safe for a while, then next set of muggers start up.

If you have a look on the BCC website you can find their cycling map and from that you can work out a fairly low traffic route into the centre that largely by passes the worst bits of canal.


Update on the above....a cyclist was attacked by four yoof the other day on the canal in question...he fought them off but received cuts, bruises and a broken bone.