At the end of September, 31 cyclists raised almost £40,000 for the Canal and River Trust in a sponsored bike ride. Beginning at the Olympic Park in London they travelled for 300 miles, mostly by road to the Anderton Boat Lift in Cheshire. The journey took four days on a route which ran parallel to the canals and rivers, passing renowned waterways sights such as the Hatton Locks flight and the Standedge Tunnel.

Use the code

If you love our canals and rivers then cycling offers a way to keep fit on a level cycle path in a beautiful, traffic free environment. Enjoy the local wildlife beside remote country towpaths and discover the waterways heritage structures along secret inner city cycle routes. A cycling permit is no longer required to use the waterways, but to make sure that all canal-users get along in perfect harmony the Canal and River Trust has created a Greenways Code for Towpaths to ensure that everybody uses the space considerately. At peak times 500 cyclists per hour use the towpaths through parts of the Regent’s Canal and they share this route with pedestrians, joggers and boaters! Remember: Pedestrians have right of way on the towpaths. The code encourages cyclists to drop their pace and ring a bell when approaching other people on the towpath.

Where to go

You can find a suggested cycle route in your area by using the search facility on the Trust website; selecting a range in miles depending on how far you want to go. Towpath surfaces can vary from asphalt and tarmac to stony ground, grass and mud. In some rural areas spiky plants, like hawthorn cuttings can play havoc with your tyres!

Bikes and boats

I’m not one for big bike journeys myself; canal boating is my first true love. But I do like to combine boating with a little bit of biking. Since the days of cargo carrying on the canals a bicycle has been a useful bit of kit for crew members. When travelling a reasonable distance by boat one crew member may travel ahead by bike, preparing the next lock for the arrival of the boat. This is known as ‘lock wheeling’. Being the designated lock wheeler can be a fun alternative to a gym workout – with all that winding of paddles and pushing of lock gates to accompany the short bursts of cycling. It’s usually such fun that it doesn’t feel like exercise!

Take a trip

If you’re a first time buyer considering which type of boat is for you, a quick cycle trip down the towpath could help you to consider your options; looking at traditional and cruiser sterns and other styles of boat. Notice also that bikes can be stored on cruiser decks, on narrowboat roofs or on bike racks secured to the stern.

If you’re not ready to get on your bike just yet you can easily browse our website to see a variety of second hand boats for sale.


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