1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal Charity Ride!

Discussion in 'Touring and Expedition' started by Hop3y, 19 Mar 2011.

  1. Hop3y

    Hop3y Burnley Commuter

    I've been wanting to do something like this since I got my bike, finally got the dates down and the team together. I'm the most 'experienced' when it comes to riding my bike but I think it will be a long day (or two!)

    Has anyone ridden the Leeds to Liverpool canal in its entirety? I live right next to it and do most of my riding on there but the furthest I get is Skipton one was and Clayton Le Moors the other.

    So tips please? What will I need? I have my CamelBak and the ordinary stuff, but you experienced people will know more than me. We're doing it for Cancer Research, don't expect you to, but if you want to donate a couple of quid the page is here.[​IMG]

  2. corshamjim

    corshamjim New Member

    I've boated along some of it! There's some really lovely scenery along the way. I hope you have a great time.

    I sometimes ride along stretches of my local canal - the K&A. If you're only used to riding on the road, be sure to get some training in along the tow-path as the surface can be rough and therefore a bit punishing on the bottom! :blush: (later edit - d'oh you did say you ride mostly on the canal)
  3. Hop3y

    Hop3y Burnley Commuter


    I can't thank you enough for the donation! Thanks pal!

    I can't wait now, gonna dive on the bike (and not in the canal) at every possible opportunity now![​IMG]
  4. vernon

    vernon Guru

    Meanwood, Leeds
    The canal is 141 miles long. That's one long day ride on less than perfect surfaces. There's a decent map of the canal that also shows the locations of camp sites and pubs. There's a stretch or two where you will have to leave the canal e.g. for Foulridge tunnel.

    Also strictly speaking, not all of the towpath is open to cyclists. According to the British Waterways literature only about 80km (50 miles) is open to cyclists. Tow paths are not rights of way and are permissive paths where declared.

    The relevant documentation is here
  5. Hop3y

    Hop3y Burnley Commuter

    Thanks Vernon!

    I live in Burnley so we're setting off from Liverpool, stopping off in Burnley overnight and then onto Leeds on day 2. My sister is there at university.

    Thanks for the link.
  6. vernon

    vernon Guru

    Meanwood, Leeds
    There's conflicting views on what is open to cyclists and what isn't.

    Look here

    And the canal map that I mentioned is here.

    Enjoy the ride.
  7. Hop3y

    Hop3y Burnley Commuter

    My friends cycled it before and there's two points that aren't rideable, one is Gannow Tunnel right next to my house.
  8. bromptonfb

    bromptonfb 2013 H6R, 2012 S4L and 2015 Specialized Langster.

    the canal is 127 miles and i did 90% of it (took a wrong turn). it took me 13 hours todo a total of 115 miles. i was on a brompton (folder with 16" wheels). i'm 41, big, and reasonably unfit.

    i reckon on my cx bike i could do it in 10 hours.

    some advice, take a map of the different branches, there are more than you think.

    the going is very tough in places and there is no respite from pedaling.

    good luck.

    hope that helps.

  9. Hop3y

    Hop3y Burnley Commuter

    Thakns Shaun!
  10. Hop3y

    Hop3y Burnley Commuter

    Weekly we've raised just over £300 this week so not bad going! Got two local papers on board and have even had a hotel donate two rooms sp we can stay over in liverpool for the early get up!

    See here for more details;

  11. crisscross

    crisscross Well-Known Member

    Our family did it a couple of years ago.

    The good news - it's very flat riding! Except for the Foulridge and Blackburn tunnel bits and Wigan rises.

    The bad news - if you do it after any heavy rains several sections are pretty hard going - rutted mud etc.

    But it is traffic free, pretty and fun.

    It took us 4 days but my children were 8 and 6 at the time and they only had rubbish bikes.
  12. Hop3y

    Hop3y Burnley Commuter

    Raised over £700 so far.

    Realistically we could have done it in a day but want to enjoy it [​IMG]
    tricky&thefox likes this.
  13. Hop3y

    Hop3y Burnley Commuter

    We’re at our initial target of £1000, which for me is a massive achievement. I never thought of myself being the fund raiser type, but taking it in my stride!

    We’ve been given T-Shirts from Pendleside Hospice so we all look smart on the day. The planning is going well and still pushing for sponsorship where possible.

  14. c00ke5ter

    c00ke5ter New Member

    <first post, hello people!>

    First of all, cracking amount to raise for Cancer Research, my dad has been through the big C so muchos respect!

    After a 10year cycling break, got a bike for the commute in Jan 2010. Enjoyed towpath rides to my folks (18miles away) so fancied a bigger challenge. Did LLC in August last year, booked four days of work but ended up doing it in two, 13hrs 24mins "riding time" according to the computer. Just over 16hrs total time, not including the overnight break.

    I started in Leeds, which seems to fly in the face of opinion. You are cycling "into the wind" (and the tops nr Barnoldswick can be hard work) but I prefer to get the "uphill" out of the way early. (Bingley five rise is fun, though which comedian thought it fun to put a Z gate just *before* the top???!!!). [​IMG]

    I fitted "slime" innertubes and had no punctures, they either worked or I got lucky. I stopped every 10miles for a general "stretch / take lid off / take water on" break, and grazed on waffles and home made flapjacks throughout the day. I find stopping for a long break / eating a proper "lunch" makes it hard to get going again, but you may prefer to.

    Obviously, wear padded shorts, even with you will feel it for a few days! I got aches in my wrists so would advise end bars just to have somewhere to "alter position" for a while. Get a decent bell, I have a very uncool clunky one that rattles constantly, but you'll need it under the many blind bridges. Even if through gritted teeth, a cheery "GOOD MORNING!" helps alert walkers and fishermen to your presence. Make sure you take some extra lubricant for chain etc.

    This is my (revised) kit list after doing it once, your mileage may vary etc...

    Bike [​IMG]

    Topeak Alien (or similar multitool)
    Leatherman (or something with pliers for removing thorns from tyres / skin [​IMG])
    Pump (and c02 canisters if you use them, tho please don't leave empties by canalside <pet hate>)
    Fingerless padded Gloves
    Permit (download from waterways site)
    Waterways key (£6 from waterways site, means you can use toilets etc)
    Cycling glasses
    Snood (those "tube" scarf things, great for keeping warm *or* protecting the back of your neck from the sun)

    Puncture repair patches. (plus general repair kit)
    Oil / lubricant.

    Wicking layer T-shirt
    Cycling baggy shorts
    Cycling padded underwear

    Loo roll (a million uses [​IMG])
    Antihistimines if you suffer from hayfever
    Plasters / scissors?
    Handwipes / sanitiser
    Suntan lotion / stick

    Mineral Water xLots (for "general" use)
    Energy drinks (I had a couple just in case needed a "pick me up" at end of day)
    Boiled sweets (something in pocket for general sugaryness)
    Extra Strong Mints (keeps sinuses clear, nothing worse than riding and sniffling if you get hayfever!)

    It's worth printing out maps / mile matrix etc from http://www.towpathtreks.co.uk/llc/ - very useful.

    Couple of pics from last time....

    Start of day two nr Church, raining but rainbow made it worthwhile!
    Untitled by ian_cooke, on Flickr

    ..and my trusty steed at the end:
    Untitled by ian_cooke, on Flickr

    Summer solstice this year (21st June) is 17hrs of daylight, so I'm going to try it in just one day

    Good Luck, and enjoy it, it's a scenic route in places.

  15. c00ke5ter

    c00ke5ter New Member

    Oh, and ensure your "support vehicle" / whoever is monitoring your progress the same maps that you have, preferably with bridge numbers so they know where you are in case of problems.
  16. phil_hg_uk

    phil_hg_uk I am not a member, I am a free man !!!!!!

    Well I never knew that, thanks for the info I shall go and get one of them :thumbsup:
  17. bromptonfb

    bromptonfb 2013 H6R, 2012 S4L and 2015 Specialized Langster.

    all the toilets were unlocked when i did it last year, well the ones i used were anyway
  18. Milkybarman

    Milkybarman New Member

    Good luck with your ride, Myself and two friends are doing it this Saturday (June 4th 2011), so the advice / tips on this post have been helpful.
    A group of friends did the ride last year, over 2 days, so in an attempt at one-up'ness, our plan is to do the ride in one day. We have a lift from Bradford (where we live) to Liverpool at 3.30am, so hope to be riding by 5am. We've done a couple of warm up rides (54 miles last Sunday) and have a time of around 15-16 hours in mind for the full course. During last weeks 54 mile'r (from Apperley Bridge to Gargrave and back), weather was bad, and Keighley to Gargrave is tough riding. To make matters worse, we suffered 5 punctures and a broken valve (all on one bike). So, we've all upgraded to slime tubes. If you're not using slimes, I can seriously recommend scabs for repairs. We used those last week, and if you can find your puncture, there is often no need to even take the wheel off the bike. But still, a lot of time wasted on repairs, which will hopefully not be repeated next week.
  19. Milkybarman

    Milkybarman New Member

    we did the ride Saturday. A few points / tips - the most important one - we rode from Liverpool to Leeds, for a couple of reasons ; firstly we live within 10 miles of the Leeds end, so we thought it would be a good idea to know the home straight, but also because generally the wind would be in our favour at this time of year (west to east). But, rather annoyingly, the wind was in the opposite direction (east to west), so straight into our faces, with gusts of upto 25mph. We'd seen the forecast, so knew to expect it, but with hindsight (and what I advise to you), we should have changed the route back and rode to Liverpool. The wind played a major part in the ride ; for around 60 - 70% of the ride, we found ourselves continuously pressing, with no respite. Had we taken the opposite route, it would have been much much easier. I reckon when we were into the wind, it was costing us 2mph, and probably cost us 2 hours in total, and made the ride a lot harder than it needed to be.
    Other stuff - we set off at 5.40, from the original start point of the canal, in Canning Place, in the centre of Liverpool, then traced the path that the canal would have run, before picking it up at the current start point. The Liverpool stretch is dirty, the canal is a rubbish tip, not pretty at all, but once you've covered 15 - 20 miles, its clear again. The ride in general, was ok, we were reasonably well prepared, and knew what to expect. We didn't have a support vehicle, but had arranged for someone to meet us at the half way point (Church), with hot food, clean clothes, a bit of maintainance gear. At this point, one of our team of 3 quit ; he had been struggling since about 40 miles, so knew he wasn't going to make it home. Other than this stop, the only real break we had was at Gargrave (after about 90 miles). We were getting cold, so stopped off for some very sweet tea and 10 minutes sat in the sunshine at the Anchor Inn. Other than this, we tried to ride for an hour at a time, then took a 5 minute break. The path is generally good, there are stretches of upto 5 miles at a time, where its paved / tarmac'd, the rest was hard dirt, and as the weather had been dry, it was compact, easy enough to ride, but occasionally it was quite rutted, so you had to keep focused. The only mechanical problem we had, was a broken chain on about 70 miles ; we removed a link, and within 15 minute, back on track. The ride took us just short of 16 hours, I think riding time was about 13.5. Where the track was good, we were pushing for between 11 - 13mph, where it was bad, worst case we were down to about 7mph. Once we had passed 70 - 80 mph, exhaustion set in, and it was just a battle of endurance, with will-power taking over. It is physically / mentally very demanding. Ankles, wrists, hips, shoulders and arms felt like lead by 90, with 40 miles still to go (our total mileage was about 130). Energy - other than hot soup / sandwiches at the half way point, we relied on mars bars, marathons (snickers), dried fruit and nuts, which were fine, instant energy (you will need lots). Fluids, generally just water, there are villages en route where you can fill up, and also canal boat filling stations where you can top up. Toilets - none of the british waterways were open, so had to rely on bushes. Maintenance - we carried a small tool kit, which enabled us to rejoin the chain, then just spare tubes / patches which weren't needed, because no punctures ! we had slime tubes, so use these, the thought of having to repair / replace a tube when you can hardly lift your arm above head height does not bear thinking about.
    This is a seriously tough ride, you really need to be mentally prepared aswell as physically. If you have any doubts about your ability, you will not finish. Once past 90, it's a pure mental battle to the end. We finished at 9.20pm, the last stretch of 10 miles through home territory were ok, we'd expected it to be the hardest bit, we ached like you will not believe, it was getting to dusk, we were cold and it was starting raining - but the stretch to Leeds was ok, good paths and not a lot of pedestrians.
    Good luck - be prepared for a long hard day, check the weather, reverse your route if you have to !
    Next year - coast to coast.
  20. Milkybarman

    Milkybarman New Member

    IMG_0862.jpg Canning Place, Central Liverpool - 4th June 5.40 am

    IMG_0879.jpg Lock 1, Central Leeds - 4th June 9.20pm