The Bike North Birmingham project has created two good-quality routes from Sutton Coldfield, starting in parkland before delivering you to the canals for the bulk of the journey. NCN 534 goes via the New Hill Valley; NCN 535 is a westerly route past Witton Lakes. The Birmingham & Fazeley Canal then continues to the city centre via Spaghetti Junction.
The canal climbs through 25 locks to Birmingham, so it’s not flat. The surface is mixed, sometimes good-quality brick or tarmac, but with rough cobbles past locks. Though clearly slower than the A5127, this is a much more enjoyable route.