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Birmingham, Coventry, Cambridge, London.
(5 day bike-pack)
Fri 23 Jun - Tue 27 Jun 2017

Fri 23 Jun 2017

Fri 23 Jun 2017
Sat 24 Jun 2017
Sun 25 Jun 2017
Mon 26 Jun 2017
Tue 27 Jun 2017

Preston Railway Station bound for Birmingham New Street
A dull rainy cycle ride into Preston Railway Staion to catch the 06:17am train to Birmingham New Street. The bike carriage was at the rear of the train & after securing it in another cyclist got on but he only went as far as Wigan. I reached Birmingham New Street Station where the train terminated then had to take the lift to reach street level where I left to start my ride.
Grand Union Canal
It was overcast weather but pleasant enough for cycling. Unfortunately the roads weren't and many busses didn't seem to take account of cyclists. One bus pulled out as I was overtaking him. Thankfully I was only on the roads for just over 2 miles before I was able leave and join the Grand Union Canal towpath. It isn't shown as a main cycle route so I wasn't sure what the cycling would be like. I needn't have worried as the surface was fine.
Bumpy going
 There were some very small locks were I started. There were many cyclist and a few walkers along the 8 miles I was on the canal. I seemed to be mostly in cutting with lots of trees making it rather dark. I was very glad to be leaving Birmingham as I found the buildings unattractive & uncoordinated. The canal proved the best way to escape, even though the canal was also unattractive. I did see one barge while on my ride and the only other floating objects were a fridge and many plastic bottles.
The only barge I saw
I left the canal a few miles before the M42 motorway where I re-joined the road. The traffic wasn't too bad and as I cycled over the bridge across the M42 I was amused to see a man there watching the motorway traffic through binoculars. I'd managed to plan my route along reasonably quiet lanes to the outskirts of Coventry. Entering the town I was surprised how many medieval timber buildings there were. Eventually I found my way through the shopping complex to the open area where the Lady Godiva statue is.
Godiva statue
Godiva, Countess of Mercia, died 1067. She was an English noblewoman who, according to a legend dating at least to the 13th century, rode naked covered only in her long hair through the streets of Coventry to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation that her husband imposed on his tenants.
Godiva
I left the canal a few miles before the M42 motorway where I re-joined the road. The traffic wasn't too bad and as I cycled over the bridge across the M42 I was amused to see a man there watching the motorway traffic through binoculars. I'd managed to plan my route along reasonably quiet lanes to the outskirts of Coventry. Entering the town I was surprised how many medieval timber buildings there were. Eventually I found my way through the shopping complex to the open area where the Lady Godiva statue is.
Godiva statue

The old Coventry Cathedral

Churchill and the bombed Cathedral in 1941



Coventry Cathedral old left new right

St Michael's Victory over the Devil,
a sculpture by Jacob Epstein.

Man's Struggle 1957 by Walter Ritchie (1919-1997)
I was disappointed that there wasn't an information board nearby explaining the history. There were benches to sit on so I had a drink and something to eat. I left the area and wheeled then rode my bike to the Cathedral that had been bombed during the war.
The walls are preserved but again there was no meaningful information board. Next to it was the new Coventry Cathedral built in 1958 and designed by Sir Basil Spence. To get in cost 6 so I didn't go in. I found the external design hideous. The famous sculptures on the wall were interesting. I continued through the town to look at more art and an interesting wall feature called Man's Struggle 1957 by Walter Ritchie (1919-1997).

The Cathedral interior around 1880

As I left the town I stopped at Asda to buy water then continue to the village of Brandon. There was a Co-Op shop so I checked the price of water. 2lt was 3 times what I'd paid in Asda earlier. I continued through the lanes towards Thurlaston where I left the road to join a cycle track along the old abandoned railway. I managed to find a place to pitch my tent but I took a long time to clear the brambles from the area.