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Seeking advice about which canals to cyckle along

8 May 2022
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- we're a couple from northern Norway (60+) and we hope you can give us some help and recommendations regarding bicycling on towpaths along canals and rivers in England. We have already looked at some possibilities and maps, but it's difficult to decide where to go, as we don't know anything about the English countryside. One of the possibilities we have looked at is Grand Union Canal / River Soar, maybe with a base in Leicester. Is that a good idea and a good way to get a little more familiar with a rural part of England? We plan to have this adventure by bicycle for approximately one week from June 12..

We look forward to receiving some advice and recommendations.

Yours sincerely: Tone Kjellmo and Jörgen Mathisen, Olav Duuns vei 22, 8021 Bodö, Norway

tel +47 48049003, e-mail [email protected]


Mon 9 May 2022, 12:21

Here you go:

Generally in Britain, rivers don’t have cyclable paths, except in urban areas. Canals do but they might be rough in the more rural areas. Around Leicester you’ll be able to ride a short way out of town but then the towpath gets rougher.

The Kennet & Avon canal is almost certainly the best towpath ride in England:

Tue 10 May 2022, 10:39

A few questions that may make replying meaningfully a bit easier.

Are you wedded to the idea of cycling next to waterways, or would roads and traffic free trails be OK?

What types of bikes will you be riding?

What types of surface are you happy riding on?

I like to go to new places and often include towpaths on my rides. I plan my routes on and I check them out on google streetview where I can. Often the only way to see the towpath is to look from a bridge. I use a touring bike with 32mm slick tyres and have never failed to get through and can't remember having to push in summer - however mostly it's not on improved surfaces.

Tue 10 May 2022, 12:32

Forgot to mention, the National Cycle Network Facebook Group often has posts about canal cycling, so should give you some data points.

PS 60+ myself.

Thu 14 Jul 2022, 15:49

Thanks Graham for your information. I am checking it out.

Sat 16 Jul 2022, 22:08

Check out YouTube if you want to know what the Kennet and Avon canal route (recommended above) looks like.

Sorry if this is too late for your holiday but it might help someone else.