Help with roads marked A

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You mean "A-roads". A road with a number prefixed with an A and signage on a green background. Yes, its perfectly legal to ride on them (Unless there is a "No cycling" sign displayed).


Europe Endless
Most A-roads where cycling is prohibited have an (M) suffix - like the A1(M). They're essentially motorways, and you wouldn't want to be on them!!
You'll also find stretches of A-roads where cycling is prohibited, normally where there's tunnels or some such. The A505 Baldock bypass and bits of the A55 in North Wales spring to mind.


Bird Saviour
As said, it really depends on the road. For instance, in and around Warwick there are two A roads that spring to mind. A4177... which is perfectly ok to cycle on, it's more like a B road with a 50mph limit. But the A46 ... no way hose. It has no (M) after it but it is like a motorway... a very fast dual carriageway with 3 carriageways in parts. the only thing that gives it away before the slip road onto it is the sign for the "alternative cycle route".

So really i think it's all down to your own judgement. I think that an A road with a 50mph limit is ok, but once the A road start becoming dual carriageways with a national speed limit sign (so 70mph) i think i would start considering alternative routes.


Married to Night Train
Salford, UK
A couple of very general 'rules':

The smaller the number, the more busy the A road. So the A1 is generally bigger and busier than the A1079. Although I wouldn't choose to ride on the A1079, unless I was needing to ride as fast as I can. It's not a perfect rule, but it's a clue.

The other thing is that an A road in an urban area may well be more attractive to ride than in a rural area, because it's likely to have a lower speed limit. So I'm happy on the Fulford Road, but I wouldn't be keen on riding on it once it leaves York and becomes known just as the A19.

Generally, I use A roads in town, but try to avoid them when out riding for fun, unless I really have to use one. B or unclassified roads are just nicer. The first tour I did, I rode the A1079 to Beverley, and then once over the Humber Bridge, took to the A17 (or was it the A15?) for a while into Lincoln. Madness, and I didn't know any better at the time. Much nicer to take a slightly longer route on the back roads.


Well-Known Member
I've actually seen a few cyclists on the Robin Hood stretch of the A3, don't see the point, when there is adequate paths on the side.


Leafy Cheshire
Ausra said:
Thanks for help. I was looking mainly roads between Liverpool and Manchester - I'd prefer to ride this direction. I even don't know Liverpool as a town, so I don't want to lose myself somewhere in Wales. :ohmy:

Sounds to me like you've got the hang of the Uk already! Keen to get out of Scouserpool and avoid Wales! :laugh:

(puts helmet on)


Legendary Member
Ausra, have you been to Wales? It's a beautiful country. Why don't you put the bike on a train and go there one day? (I suggest the train because there really are some nasty A roads between you and Wales!)


Resting in suspended Animation
A-roads vary a lot and much of it is personal preference. Why not start a thread about some of the roads you might be going on and I'm sure people will post up a bit of knowledge.


Married to Night Train
Salford, UK
Ausra said:
I joined CC in Liverpool, bet their "club ride" means "going non-stop 60 miles". I don't know - maybe it is the only way you ride here in UK? Sometimes I like just to ride slowly, even if I have road bicycle.

You need to come on an East Yorkshire posse ride some time. I've been known to fit 3 cafe/pub stops into 50 miles*. Plus additional cake carried for emergencies.

Just today we did 45 miles or so, with icecream and pasties.

I think what you call riding slowly, I would call 'pootling' - just ambling along, enjoying the countryside, seeing what's to be seen. Nothing wrong with that at all!

*a couple of months back, I joined a ride that managed 3 cafe stops in 27 miles!:wahhey:
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