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Lea Valley Canal: Ware - Tottenham?

pfnshtpfnsht Posts: 22
edited May 2018 in Commuting chat
Hey all,

Just looking at maybe moving house, further away from London. My current commute is 14 miles each way which I do 4 times a week (wfh wed), but 2 days a week I add a few more miles on.

If I moved out to the area I like my commute would be 32 miles one way which I would do 2 or 4 times a week. The shortest route is along the canal so does any one do this?

Main questions are:

1. How slow is it going to be? On the road I am 18/20 mph on a cruise but of course with all the traffic and stops it brings my average down. If the canal could be 16mph ave that would be pretty good without the stopping,

2. I have a Ridley cross with 30mm gravel tyres so I think I am already well set up bike wise?

3. How likely am I to pass scrots that might want to chuck me in the canal :|

4. Does anyone have experience of riding in and catching the train back home with bike etc. As I'd like to live in a village I'd need it to cycle a few miles from the station to the house. As I tend to work 930-6 I would wait post 7pm to avoid peak hours.

Thanks!

Posts

  • imafatmanimafatman Posts: 351
    I live in East London and have ridden the canal as far as Hoddesdon. My averages on those rides are no more than 20/kmh and that's not for a lack of trying.

    Problem is that the canal can be very narrow and also full of people with dogs. So you are constantly having to slow down and then speed up.

    Tyre wise 30mm will be fine... and there will be gravel, and lots of bumpy paving stones, etc...
  • jds_1981jds_1981 Posts: 1,858
    pfnsht wrote:
    Hey all,

    Just looking at maybe moving house, further away from London. My current commute is 14 miles each way which I do 4 times a week (wfh wed), but 2 days a week I add a few more miles on.

    If I moved out to the area I like my commute would be 32 miles one way which I would do 2 or 4 times a week. The shortest route is along the canal so does any one do this?

    Main questions are:

    1. How slow is it going to be? On the road I am 18/20 mph on a cruise but of course with all the traffic and stops it brings my average down. If the canal could be 16mph ave that would be pretty good without the stopping,

    I've not done that portion as a commute before but fairly sure it'll be very quiet in the morning. A nice ride actually. I think 16mph should be achievable.
    2. I have a Ridley cross with 30mm gravel tyres so I think I am already well set up bike wise?
    Fine, further in it can be pretty hard on the bike in winter but your route is fairly well maintained. So won't be much mud or puddles.
    3. How likely am I to pass scrots that might want to chuck me in the canal :|
    Can't confirm, but I think it's fairly unlikely you'll encounter anyone that far out. Further in there is a small risk of muggings.

    4. Does anyone have experience of riding in and catching the train back home with bike etc. As I'd like to live in a village I'd need it to cycle a few miles from the station to the house. As I tend to work 930-6 I would wait post 7pm to avoid peak hours.

    Thanks!
    None I'm afraid.

    Additional suggestions for comfort.
    Mudguards, not strap on ones
    https://www.bike-discount.de/en/buy/sun ... ium-211480 for your bottom
    The speed stones (ridges) faster you hit them the better. Become smoother with more speed.
    FCN 9 || FCN 5
  • mtb-idlemtb-idle Posts: 2,176
    I'm assuming this is the same canal that takes you to Lea Valley Velodrome/Velopark (Olympic velodrome at Stratford)?

    If that is the case then I second the above. I have been heading over from Canary Wharf to LVV a few times after work with my office Cycle Club and as stated above the obstacles include:

    - varying surfaces including gravel, sharp corners, pointy stones, steel grates, steel walkways with slippery surfaces, dog turds
    - blind corners
    - low bridges/arches
    - joggers, dog walkers, pervs, muggers, other cyclists heading in the opposite direction to you
    - the water literally six inches away from you as you try to negotiate the others listed above

    We have now got to the point where if someone says "I know the way, I will lead" (as it's not a simple commute from CW) then the automatic response is "not via the canal"
    FCN = 4
  • Thigh_burnThigh_burn Posts: 489
    I've done the route you're talking. It was a while ago and relatively early on in my cycling experience. But I wouldn't want to do it as anything other than a gentle pootle ie doing a commute has the potential for lots of misshaps. You can't go fast. In many places the bike path turns to a bog with rain. Plus you get lots of other unsuspecting people meandering along. It is beautiful though.
  • perfectmarkperfectmark Posts: 117
    To echo what others have said. I do that canal from near Canary Wharf (Limehouse cut) to the top of the Olympic park, it is a nice route, but can get busy on nice days around Stratford. I would consider doing the A10 or find another road that goes near the canal, especially for the part near Stratford.
  • jds_1981jds_1981 Posts: 1,858
    Ignore the posters above :) they appear to have missed your point about it being from Ware to Tottenham which is a completely different kettle of fish compared to Tottenham to central London.
    FCN 9 || FCN 5
  • pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
    Yep north of a406 it's pretty quiet and you should have no trouble going quick. Gets dusty in summer and muddy when it rains so it's hard on the bike.
  • greenamex2greenamex2 Posts: 272
    Done Ware to Broxbourne White water center a lot.

    30mm tyres would be about the smallest I would do it on. I use 33mm (tubeless) on a CX bike going to Hertford/Welwyn/Hatfield.

    Some good stretches but also some narrow bits. Joggers/dog walkers will be the usual hazard.


    Be interesting to see how you get on. Thinking of an occasional run into London using that route. Was probably going to use the hybrid to that.
  • imafatmanimafatman Posts: 351
    jds_1981 wrote:
    Ignore the posters above :) they appear to have missed your point about it being from Ware to Tottenham which is a completely different kettle of fish compared to Tottenham to central London.

    Yes correct it's completely different - the path can get a hell of a lot narrower the further north you go but it's less busy - it's still quite difficult to maintain decent road pace. 20km/h average on a canal is fast enough!
  • ah666ah666 Posts: 11
    Hi I ride Broxbourne to Westminster 3 or 4 times a week, via towpath to Limehouse. So do the section, you are referring to from Broxbourne to Tottenham.

    Generally its pretty good, I ride early in the morning around 6'ish and its quiet (see 4 or 5 bikes and perhaps 10 people until I get to Tottenham), I then come back around 6-7 at night and again by the time you've cleared the outskirts of Tottenham its fairly quiet. Does get a little busier with the good weather, especially around the white water rafting complex. Never had any problems with other people on the towpath

    Its fairly hard packed and 30mm is fine, I run 30mm slicks on CX and would go narrower except there are a few cobbled areas mainly under bridges which are very bumpy and slippery if wet. You can get a lot of puddles once its rained as well.

    I've ridden the area north of Broxbourne a coupe of times and its generally a bit tighter and more mud (more fun to be honest, but slower when you just want to get to work or get home)

    Good luck with the ride and say hello if you see me Black Pinnacle Arkrose with a single blue pannier :D
    Andy
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