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Canal Boating Article: Bikes and canal boat hire

Canal boating

Canal boat holidays provide you with the chance to get out and see the great outdoors! For those looking for an active holiday, bring your bike aboard and take advantage of the many cycle routes that you'll encounter on the way.


Where can you cycle on a canal boat holiday?

Not all trails are legal for bicycles so here's a quick guide to the signs.


Yellow Arrows

These indicate a 'footpath'- as it says on the tin, suitable for walkers only.


Blue Arrows

These show a 'bridleway'. Bridleways are fine for cyclists and horse riders as well as walkers. These are some of the best places to get out on your bike and see some great countryside. Watch out for horses though - be sure to slow down if you overtake them.


Red Arrows

This is a 'byway'- legal for cyclists, walkers, horse riders and motorists.

You'll find that there are many trails perfect for rambling or riding, and the appeal of canal boat renting is that you can moor up your canal boat as and when you find them.


Some of Britain's 'National Trails' cross the canals and make perfect points to explore the local areas of outstanding natural beauty.


Offa's Dyke Path

This Welsh national trail crosses the beautiful Llangollen Canal at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. At 177 miles long, you won't see the whole trail on your canal boat holiday, but you could make the trip to the stunning Eglwyseg Crags or Llandegla Forest. For more information on a trip down the Llangollen Canal, check out our Blackwater Meadow Marina.


The Ridgeway

The Grand Union Canal meets 'The Ridgeway' close to Tring. Located in the striking landscape of the Chilterns, The Ridgeway takes you to secluded valleys and enchanting woodlands. Dozens of cycle paths exist in this area- the Grand Union Canal's towpath itself is a popular cycle route.


Our Union Wharf Marina provides the starting place for a canal boat renting holiday in this area. You shouldn't need to plan too much- the staff at your marina will strap your bikes onto the roof of your boat and leave the rest to you. Simply decide how active you want your canal boat renting holiday to be as you cruise down the canal.


One of the key advantages of a canal boat holiday is getting away from it all, heading off to rural locations, sometimes far from the nearest shops. This could be a problem if you have any sort of misadventure while on a bike, so a little preplanning is required. Take a puncture repair kit with you as a bare minimum. Most people find a bike spanner is another useful tool, for tightening loose bolts after a long ride on bumpy paths.


Please be very careful when cycling on the canal bank. Walkers and dogs, sheep,swans and fishermen all use the canal towpath too, so avoid danger by keeping a good look out for other canal users.


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