Published: 23 February 2012
Guide: Eddie Allen
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Stoke-on-Trent in the West Midlands is one of 18 designated Cycling Towns that benefitted from sizeable investment in cycling infrastructure and promotion. A former industrial heartland and epicentre of the potteries during the Industrial Revolution, the town has an extensive canal network, with the Trent & Mersey and Caldon Canals converging on the town.
Today the canals serve as major cycling and walking arteries, bringing sustainable travellers into the city from the outlying districts on traffic-free routes. However the towpath routes are just part of a whole network of routes and amenities for Stoke’s cyclists.
Cycle route provision
National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 5 is the area’s major long distance route, passing right through Stoke-on-Trent’s city centre. NCN5 runs all the way from Holyhead in Anglesey to Reading in Surrey. However, locally, route 5 follows the towpath of the Trent and Mersey canal, with two branches – one following the canal to the east as far north as the Harecastle Tunnel, the other heading through the city centre and north through Hanley, picking up the branch of the Trent and Mersey that circumnavigates Harecastle. North of Hanley, NCN 5 joins NCN55 at Forest Park. NCN55 follows quiet roads eastwards until it connects with the Biddulph Way and heads north out of the Stoke conurbation.
There is a further network of traffic free routes exploiting Stoke’s green spaces – Festival Park, Grange Park, Hanley Park and Forest Park. Further advisory routes on quiet roads are identified on Cycle Stoke’s maps, detailing the north and south of the Stoke-on-Trent urban area.
In the city centre there are eight cycle parking locations along Bethesda Street, Stafford Street and Bryan Street, close to the Octagon Shopping Centre. There is a further cluster of cycle parking south of the railway station and in the university district. Burslem also has four parking locations in the town centre. For a full picture of cycle parking in Stoke check out Cycle Stoke’s maps on the links further down the page.
Cycling and trains
Stoke railway station has sheltered, on-platform cycle storage allowing commuters to combine bike and rail travel. In terms of taking bikes on trains, policies differ considerably between train operators. For full details of operators’ cycle policies click here.
Being a renowned cycling heartland, Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding area is blessed with a great choice of bike shops, from established independents like Brian Rourke on Waterloo Road to big chains like Halfords, which has three outlets in the Stoke area. Cycle Stoke’s map and Open Cycle Map both identify bike shops in the area. Also, check out our Bike Shop finder.
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