Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

Good news, Edgbaston tunnel towpath is about to be widened. Bad news, it will be closed for 10 weeks from 2nd January to 16th March 2018.

* Update: Closure due to start from 22nd January

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/notice/10724/edgbaston-tunnel-worces...

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You would think that it would be pretty predictable that metal plate would be slippery when wet. After all they’ve been building ships decks out of the stuff for years. I expect it will also be very noisy. 

Yeah, but this is for cyclists.  Everything cycling related has to be invented from scratch.  It's not allowed to look at solutions that work properly elsewhere and copy them...

Steve said:

You would think that it would be pretty predictable that metal plate would be slippery when wet. After all they’ve been building ships decks out of the stuff for years. I expect it will also be very noisy. 

It is open! Unfinished but open. Check it out.

Kim said:

Yeah, but this is for cyclists.  Everything cycling related has to be invented from scratch.  It's not allowed to look at solutions that work properly elsewhere and copy them...

Steve said:

You would think that it would be pretty predictable that metal plate would be slippery when wet. After all they’ve been building ships decks out of the stuff for years. I expect it will also be very noisy. 

I checked it out.  The path is now lovely and wide - enough space for two cyclists to pass.  Contractors were still doing some work involving metal poles and an angle grinder at one end - I assume hand-rail related.

Concerns about the slipperiness of the metal plating are unfounded - traction has been enhanced in the traditional manner: ie. by pouring loose gravel all over it.

I'll check it out on my commute in the morning. What is the fascination with topping with loose gravel? Like riding on a sea of marbles!

My initial criticism of loose gravel has been modified following winter commuting. Once the hazardous loose gravel has cleared, the remaining rough surface remains grippy despite frost and dew - unlike some of the bricked sections on the canal towpath, which have left me on the floor twice to date.

Assuming it's done competently, and swept of the loose stuff when they've finished, I've no objection to the use of gravel in this context.  It provides a grippy surface, and a sheet metal bridge is at much greater risk of ice than the surrounding ground.

I'd forgotten how awful the new surface on the rest of that towpath was, though.  It's not a route I use regularly, simply because I live at the wrong end of Selly Oak.  It's not rhe gravel (the loose stuff is now long gone, and most of the rest has remained attached), but the undulation of the underlying tarmac.  On the rigid-forked hybrid that I usually ride around town, it gives my wrists an unwelcome pummelling.

I ride it regularly and I would say it is getting worse.   The chippings are wearing off unevenly, with black patches of uncovered tar appearing near the Selly Oak aqueduct.   I've never known that not happen with spray and chip.

Rode through it today with a cyclist coming the other way and had plenty of room! It is a bit gravelly but all looks in good shape!
As for the path in general, i'm almost tempted to switch the suspension on at times. 

Rode through this morning and quite impressed. No loose gravel and plenty of room to pass. Seems to be an issue with water ingress at the city end which may be preventing the completion of the surfacing

Whilst looking for something else I randomly stumbled upon this blog post by a German who rode the Worcester and Birmingham tow path last year.   His conclusion was:

How could the situation be improved? Well, it’s obvious, really: Widening the path by an extra foot or two (where possible) will eliminate the hairiest of squeezing manoeuvres, but what’s really needed is resurfacing.

And yes, he was referring to the spray and chip path.

Looks to be an interesting blog site about classic bikes, BTW, and all in English for some reason.

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