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Cycling on canal towpaths

Cycling on Canals and Towpaths

Birmingham is well known for its extensive canal network which provides traffic free routes through many parts of the city. The canals are a great asset to Birmingham and provide a way to escape rush hour traffic or a place for a leisurely walk.

When cycling or walking along the canal towpaths, always take care, particularly near locks and other areas of deep water.

Cycling on the canal

The Canal and River Trust welcomes all users and encourages all users to respect the serenity of the local environment and each other.

You can request a Birmingham Cycling and Walking Map or alternatively use the Canal and River Trust web site to search for cycle routes in the Birmingham.

Follow these hints and tips for a trouble-free cycle ride:

  • Give way to others on the towpath and warn them of your approach. A polite 'hello' and 'thank you' mean a lot.
  • Never race on the towpaths.
  • Avoid cycling where your tyres would damage the path or verges (e.g. when the towpaths are wet and/or soft).
  • We recommend you obtain third party liability insurance and equip your bike with a bell or equivalent. (You can obtain third party insurance by joining the
Staying safe
  • Access paths can be steep and slippery. Join and leave the towpath with care.
  • You must get off and push your cycle beneath low or blind bridges or where the path is very narrow.
  • Canal and River Trust does not recommend cycling on towpaths after dark, but if you do, please use front and rear lights. Look out for mooring ropes and pegs where boats are tied up.
  • Thorny hedge trimmings can cause punctures at some times of year, particularly spring. When cycling, always take a spare inner tube or puncture repair kit.