For those of you playing the home board game version of Cycling the Canals of Britain, I’m including the provisional itinerary of my trip and a Google map of the journey. I’d welcome any suggestions for better routes than the ones I’ve marked, attractions I must visit and those I can avoid and especially places to eat.
Arrive Thursday May 4
I arrive in Birmingham about noon and the first thing I’ll need to do is walk to On Your Bike and pick up my hired bike. It’s about a half-mile walk and wouldn’t be difficult if I weren’t hauling luggage. From the bike rental, I have to ride to Hatters Hostels where I’m staying the first two nights of my trip. Hatters is in the Jewellery Quarter and by bike, Google Maps doesn’t have a very direct route to the hostel because the A4400 / Queensway / A38 is in the way. Fortunately there’s a ready-made bike path in the form of the canals and I will travel there by following the Digbeth Branch and then the Birmingham and Fazeley canals.
I’ve never stayed at a hostel before, so this should be an experience, although somewhat tempered by having a private room and en suite bathroom. I may have time to take a shower before going to a meeting of the Birmingham Canal Navigation Society at the Titford Pump House, which appropriately enough is on the Titford Canal, a branch line of the Old Main Line Canal.
Friday May 5
I’m to meet Andy Munro, author of Going for a Balti: The Story of Birmingham’s Signature Dish, possibly for lunch somewhere in the Balti Triangle (marked above on the map). I also hope to have an opportunity to explore the Birmingham canals like the Old and New Main Lines, but I may have to take a quick trip down to Bournville that day. Friday will be busy, but luckily so many of the things I want to see are clustered at the intersection of the main lines, the Worcs & B’ham and the Birmingham and Fazeley. Just going to pick up my bike Thursday I’ll pass by the Bullring shopping area that includes the bizarre Selfridges (flashbacks of The Corbomite Maneuver) and the quaint St. Martin in the Bull Ring church. There’s also Brindleyplace, the National SEA LIFE Centre and the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.