As summer and relative freedom loom, I thought it might be agreeable to share with you one of my favourite bike rides. Cycling has been a necessary pass time for me throughout the various lockdowns. Getting out on my own and seeing the beautiful sights quite close to home has given me the energy I needed to face week after week of confinement. My cycle, as you will see, is a road bike. This means I also have the thrill of worrying about being run over by an errant driver, which is refreshing in view of the more commonly petrifying COVID concerns.
I jest of course, generally speaking drivers are careful not to come anywhere near you. It is imperative to wear a good quality helmet, have blinking lights and high visibility outer wear, however. My directions will jump about a little, rest assured there is a satnav guide tour at the bottom of this post.
Our tour begins, as it must, near New Street Station. I would cycle up Holloway Head, turning onto Bath Row and through Edgbaston Park Road, taking a right onto Somerset Road then left onto Farquhar. Once at University there is a right turn down a leafy path which cuts through to the Barbery centre and then onto Quinton Road. From the end of Quinton Road, I would turn left onto California Way and take the third exit at the roundabout to get on West Boulevard. West Boulevard is a dual carriageway so take extra care here. After about two hundred metres turn left onto Woodgate Valley Country Park. This paved path, pictured above, goes on for some 3.5km and is delightful and traffic free.
Now comes the difficult bit, Lapal Road South leads you to Manor Way, which is again a dual carriageway/ highway so be sure to take extreme care here. Thankfully this only goes on for a few hundred metres, the roundabout takes us off this dangerous road and through Blackberry Lane and Hasbury. The former has a punishing sudden incline so do watch out for that.
Onto the cause way and turning left onto Hagley Wood Lane, you will find yourself faced with a 11-12% gradient incline. this is the real test of the ride. I have so far managed to make it up 90% of this without stopping, hopefully with my new cleated pedals I will be able to do the full thing without difficulty. the views at the top, pictured, are staggering. Take some time to see Birmingham from afar.
Downhill most of the way from there. St Kennelm’s Road and Dark Lane, where I hope to live, are peaceful gently descending and ascending in turn. The legs may be a bit tired from the menacing climb to the top of Clent but otherwise the rest of the ride is pleasant. Old House Lane and New Town Lane are wonderful countryside roads. Yew Tree Lane and Egg Hill Lane the same. The latter has a sterling view of Bartley reservoir, which is not too far should you wish to have a brief detour. I have presumed that I would wish to do so hence have included it on the tour, embedded below.
From there, onto Shenley Fields Road and Gibbins Road, we begin to feel familiar territory. The Tour then takes us onto the protected Blue Cycle Path from Selly Oak to the town centre, where the trip began and will end.
Overall, this tour is a standard 40km tour which should take no longer than 2 hours if you are cycling at pace. I have found it to be uniquely freeing and challenging at the same time. This is an excellent way to get out of dodge and not have to go too far to see some truly stunning countryside.
If you are a keen cyclist, do download the Komoot app.