09 April, 2006

Canals and Tow Paths

Many of us, as we advance in years and add a few kilos, find that riding up mountains no longer holds the allure it once did. A nice flat trail along the water, with plenty of villages and canal-side cafes where one might stop for a glass of wine and un sandwich jambon is more to our liking. And a nice B&B with real down duvets at the end of the day is not unwelcome. Perhaps there will be a patio overlooking the canal where we can sip an after-dinner Calvados and exchange pleasantries with the barge men.

So we discover the civilized pleasures of canal towpaths. Some wide tires, a handlebar bag to carry our wallet, camera, and jacket, and off we go for the day. Or add a saddle bag with a pair of light trousers and a polo shirt and moccasins, and we're ready for a four-day trip. It may be on the Canal du Midi in the south of France or on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Maryland and West Virginia. There are wonderful towpaths in Germany and New York, in Britain and Denmark, and, of course, Holland has a few as well. But wherever you go, you can be sure your granny ring will stay clean.

More photos here.


Hjalti said...

I'd love to spend some time exploring the canal systems in Europe. I've done the C&0 by bike and the Osewgo/Erie/Hudson and the Chesapeake/Delaware by kayak. All that is wanting is time and money.

ctdr said...

More info please.
Where did the bikes come from in the photos? Rented?

Chris Kulczycki said...

The blue bikes came from Bretton Bikes, a first class outfit. Their site is at http://www.bretonbikes.com/. But for a day trip the local rental clunkers will do.