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Where to Cycle in Solihull

The best places to cycle in and around Solihull are the miles of almost traffic free country lanes. If you ride all the Cyclesolihull routes you will visit most of them!

However if you would like to get completely away from traffic there are a variety of lengths of off-road paths which can be great for short rides with small children. These include parks, canal towpaths and paths alongside some roads. This page summarises the best places in Solihull for short lengths of surfaced off-road cycling

Parks
Solihull's Parks can be a great place for a quiet cycle and are particularly suitable for young children learning to ride and gaining experience.

In Solihull the best place for traffic free cycling is Tudor Grange Park with its half mile long dedicated cycle circuit, consisting of a two intersecting loops and a long straight section in the middle. The circuit is generally open for free public use but is sometimes closed for booked activities. The circuit has some hills so is good for practicing gears and bike control. There is also a short segregated cycle route through the park, connecting the Tudor Grange Leisure Centre to the town centre

There is a 0.75 mile segregated (i.e. between cyclists and pedestrians) cycle route through Brueton and Malvern Parks, connecting the town centre to Warwick Road and passing the Parkridge Nature Centre. Shirley Park also has a short length of segregated path.

Some parks have significant lengths of wide unsegregated paths which are good for cycling. These include Hillfield Park, Monkspath, Elmdon Park, Elmdon, Lavender Hall Park, Balsall Common and Marston Green informal recreation area. There is also an off road route connecting Meriden Park in Chelmsley Wood to routes in Sheldon Country Park (Birmingham).

Other parks where the paths are narrower are Olton Park, Meriden Park (Chelmsley Wood), Bentley Heath Recreation Ground, Jobs Close (Knowle) Park and Dorridge Park. Also in Dorridge is the nearby traffic-free Conker Lane. These parks are covered by a council byelaw which prohibits cycling in most public open spaces but in most of them there is minimal signing, if any, about this and sensible cycling is tolerated by most people with no prosecution ever being pursued by the council. You will regularly see people cycling in these parks and unless you come across someone who feels strongly that cycling should be actively prevented in the park you are unlikely to have a problem doing this.

Canals
Solihull is crossed by two north-south canals - the Grand Union Canal which goes from Birmingham to London entering the borough at Olton and Chadwick End (8 miles within Solihull), and the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal from Birmingham to Stratford entering the borough at Solihull Lodge and Hockley Heath (6 miles within Solihull).
Canals are now run by the new Canal and Rivers Trust which encourages cycling on towpaths and has abolished the requirement to have a permit. Cycling is possible on both canals although the towpaths are generally narrow and right against the water. The best sections for cycling are between Olton and Catherine-de-Barnes on the Grand Union and the northern section of the Stratford Canal near Dickens Heath. Here the path is surfaced and any mud is localised. In other locations the surface is rough, and generally only suitable for mountain bikes. Cyclesolihull routes M3, M4 and M7 all use sections of canal towpath.

Off - Road Routes along the Highway
These are not very common in Solihull but there are some useful lengths:
- Stratford Road between Marshall Lake Road and Hockley Heath (3.8 miles)
- Catherine-de-Barnes Lane and Bickenhill Lane between Catherine-de-Barnes and Birmingham Business Park (3.4 miles).
- Hobs Moat Road and Lode Lane between the Coventry Road and Rowood Drive (1.7 miles).

There are also other more fragmented sections of cycle route along parts of the Stratford Road in Shirley. Significant lengths of new cycle route are being built in the Chelmsley Wood area at present with much of it opening in 2013 and 2014.

Signed Cycle Routes
These use a mixture of paths, quiet roads and cycle lanes to create a fairly continuous route avoiding some busy roads. The most important ones are:
- Monkspath Cycle Route: Stratford Road/Creynolds Lane to the town centre (2.5 miles).
- Knowle Cycle Route: Knowle Village to the town centre via the M42 footbridge and Brueton Park (2.5 miles).
- Cornyx Lane to the town centre (a short route via a subway under the Solihull bypass avoiding some busy junctions).

Routes further afield

The nearest high quality cycle routes outside Solihull are the 7.5 mile Rea Valley Route between Longbridge and Birmingham City Centre. As far as Cannon Hill Park, the route is mainly off-road and all significant road crossings are signalised. In Stratford the 4.75 mile Stratford Greenway is a classic flat high quality railway path. Both these routes are part of National Cycle Network Route 5. North of Birmingham there is the 4.5 mile North Birmingham Route between Brookvale Park and Sutton Park visitor centre. Recently completed in the area are two Sustrans Connect2 schemes. In Birmingham there is a new route linking the network of paths in Castle Vale to Sutton via Pype Hayes, the Newhall Valley to Sutton Park which itself has extensive paths of varying standards. Another completed Connect2 scheme is the upgrading of the Kenilworth Greenway (just across the border in Warwickshire) and extending it into Kenilworth town centre with a link to the University of Warwick.

 

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Cyclesolihull rides go ahead unless there is persistent heavy rain (not just showers), very strong winds, snow or ice. Rides are rarely cancelled (5 in 2010 due to snow and ice) but if we feel this is necessary because forecast bad weather we will try and put information about this on the website before the start of the ride.

 

Where to Cycle

Although Solihull does not have any long distance off road cycle routes and the very successful National Cycle Network has yet to reach the Borough, we are lucky to be surrounded by a dense network of country lanes, many of which are almost traffic free. If you are new to cycling this is a good place to start - these lanes form the basis of most of the Cyclesolihull rides and the 30 routes cover some 400 miles!

"I have lived in Solihull many years but never knew this lovely lane existed"

Rider on a Cyclesolihull ride