At the beginning of last week, we went on another Bikes and Bridges adventure – we rode over every road bridge along the Ashby Canal. The canal is only 22 miles long, but we rode over 110 miles.
Read about our first Bikes and Bridges adventure here: https://teamlaurelsports.blog/2020/06/12/bikes-bridges-our-motorway-bridge-adventure/
We filmed our adventure and here is the link to the video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/gb1dIpPP7p8
The planning for this adventure started when we seemed to be crossing lots of canal bridges on our recent rides, so we decided to cross all of them. The Canal and River Trust website has all of the bridges on the canal marked on with their reference names and numbers, which was really useful. However, many of these are footbridges by the towpath, so we checked Google Maps Streetview, to check these were bridges that we could actually ride to and over. Some bridges were on private driveways or gravel tracks, so we discounted these. Another thing about these bridges is that quite a few of the roads are dead-ends, so we had to turn around after the bridge a lot.
We planned to ride along the canal from North to South, so we would end at the junction with Coventry Canal. We split the bridges into 3 days – one day from the North of the canal to Market Bosworth, one day between Market Bosworth and the A5 and one day for everything south of the A5.
The A5 is quite difficult to cross, so we looked for sections with bike paths, and hence, we needed a third day, despite only crossing 4 bridges south of the A5.
Day 1 (Saturday 20th June) saw us ride roads familiar to me, as we headed past Market Bosworth on small country lanes, heading north. Before we got to the first bridge, we went over the Snarestone Tunnel, although we couldn’t tell exactly where it was.
The first bridge was by a car park so we could ride all the way to the bridge, but the bridge itself was gravel, so I had to walk over it (Andrew could ride it as he had cyclocross/gravel tyres). Some of the bridge had been knocked down.
The bridges were all fairly close together, so we crossed the bridges quite quickly before heading home. We saw a man with some dogs, pushing a canoe over the bridge, so I think the dogs were going for a boat ride.
We looped back to Market Bosworth and saw a tandem for sale. Unfortunately, it looked a bit long for me to ride, so we didn’t buy it, which was a shame.
We rode 36.4 miles and crossed 7 bridges:
- Gopsall Wharf Bridge 58
- Town Bridge 53
- Turn Bridge 52
- Bates Wharf Bridge 51
- Congerstone Bridge 47
- Carlton Bridge 44
- Bosworth Wharf Bridge 42
On day 2 (Monday 22nd June), we rode back over Bosworth Wharf Bridge to continue heading south along the canal, to cross all the bridges up to the A5.
We had an incredible 14 bridges to cross today, but again most of these were fairly close together, although it did involve quite a lot of turning around once we had crossed the bridge (to reduce the distance by cutting out extra loops).
We stopped for a break on Shenton Aqueduct, which was lovely, and we saw another dog on a boat. For a long time, I thought this was a train bridge because it is quite close to the railway line.
As we got closer to Hinckley, we used the bike path and one section was like a pump track, because of the steep gradients.
We rode along the bike path by the A5 for a while, to cross the last bridge, but as we crossed a roundabout and the road to get to the bike path on the other side, we couldn’t pass due to overgrown bushes. Luckily, we found a smaller bike path cut-through that enabled us to get back on the route (and also shorten our route).
We rode 36.5 miles and crossed 14 bridges:
- Coton Bridge 40
- Wellsborough Bridge 37
- Bradfield’s Bridge 35
- Sutton Wharf Bridge 34
- Sutton Lane Bridge 32
- Daddlington Wharf Bridge 30
- Wharf Bridge 25
- Higham Bridge 23
- Basin Bridge 22
- Wykin Bridge 21
- Dodwells Bridge 17A
- Coventry Road Bridge 17
- Nutts Bridge 16
- Lime Kilns Bridge 15
On day 3 (Tuesday 23rd June), we rode to the A5, crossed and continued to the first bridge down a small track. These were roads that we had ridden along on the Motorway Bridges ride, so we roughly knew where we were going.
We crossed another 2 bridges, before we headed to the junction and the last bridge. We turned into the car park and past the barrier to ride over the bridge. We then followed the path so we could see the bridge from the grass verge. There were some people fishing there. I thought it was amusing that there was a sign post on the other side of the river, directly the boats where to go. We headed back along the way we came and that was the adventure finished.
We rode 41.4 miles and crossed 4 bridges:
Mill Bridge 8
- Mill Bridge 8
- Bramcote Road Bridge 6
- Bulkington Road Bridge 5
- Marston Junction Bridge 15A
The first day had the nicest scenery but the aqueduct on the second day was cool. It was a bit annoying to keep turning around (after crossing the bridge) but overall, it was a nice adventure.
My final comment
I really enjoyed the first Bikes and Bridges adventure, which is why we chose to do another one. Most of the roads were quieter than the motorway bridges, which was nice. My favourite part was Shenton Aqueduct because I had ridden under it a lot recently, and it really lovely from the canal.