Canal paths and cargo trikes

Last week I took the Christiania (without baby) over to Three Mills to pick up a stack of recycled scaffolding board. Contrary to the doubt of the chap who loaded them up (“they’re really heavy, you know, will you be able to get them home on that?”) the Christiania dealt admirably with the load. But I noticed something about roads and paths.

On the way there, I took the path along the Limehouse Canal. I thought this would be pleasant, especially on a slow-moving trike, and it looked more direct than the road.

In practice, what I found was a rough-surfaced (sand/gravel) path, heavily cambered towards the river. On the trike, with its slight tendency to drift down the camber, this makes for difficult riding. (The bike path along Cable St, while tarmacced, also has an awkward and variable camber which is harder going on a trike, but at least there I’d go into the kerb not the canal if I lost concentration.)

Even worse were the mini-‘steps’ (lines of stones on their ends sticking out of the path, possibly to give better grip for pedestrians but extending across the whole path leaving either no, or very little, smooth part for bikes) at intervals. There was no warning of these. I just suddenly found myself bouncing alarmingly over them with no option to avoid. I was genuinely worried I might damage the trike (happily it’s tougher than that), and if I’d had L in the box he’d have been proper upset.

But wait! There’s more. A very steep bridge over the canal, which advises cyclists to ‘get off and push’. Fine, it’s a steep bridge, I wouldn’t want to build a new one; but again, there are mini-steps all the way up and down to bump the bike, or in this case the 35kg trike, over, and no smooth part to help you along.

This path should be great both for leisure cyclists and for actually going somewhere. But the stone bumps would put me off taking a regular bike on it, or going for a ride there with a young child on a bike; and given all of the above issues it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever take the trike (especially with L in) there again. It’s a desperate shame. This is exactly the sort of path that should be a lovely ride, happily shareable by cyclists and pedestrians and enjoyable for both.

I took the road back — a longer route, and with 30+ kg of scaff board in the box — and knocked 10 minutes off the journey. Bah.

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