The Top Tube Map shows 3 different kinds of routes – surfaced paths, unsurfaced paths and canal towpaths – some of which are linked by short road sections.
Surfaced paths are suitable for any kind of bike and are usable in dry or wet weather.
Unsurfaced paths don't have a hard covering and may not be well marked out. In winter or wet weather, they can become muddy so extra care should be taken when riding on them. These routes are best suited to bikes with wider tyres such as tourers, hybrids and mountain bikes.
Canal towpaths have a variety of surfaces – gravel, brick-paving, concrete slabs, grass and earth. They can be bumpy and slippery, especially in winter or wet weather, and are best suited to bikes with wider tyres. Take particular care around locks where the water is deepest. As of July 2012 you no longer require a permit to cycle on the canal. The newly-formed Canal & River Trust asks that you observe their Towpath Code when riding on the towpath.
On-road sections link the paths together on some routes. Usually, they only require you to ride on one or two quiet back streets away from traffic.
Most (if not all) of these routes are unlit at night. Take care when cycling after dark and ensure that your bike has suitable lights front and rear.
The National Cycle Network is a series of routes that span the UK. It’s made up of 13,000 miles of traffic-free paths, quiet roads and signed on-road sections. National routes 5 53 81 533 534 and 535 run through Birmingham. These are ideal for heading out of the city and exploring the wider area. For more information about the network see www.sustrans.org.uk© Copyright 2011-2020 Top Tube Map. Forward, by bike.