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Given that road.cc are Bath based I'm hoping that someone on here will be able to help with a commuting route question.

I'm moving from London to Bath at the end of the month, and will be working in Bristol (near Temple Meads). I'm trying to work out what would be a good reasonably fast cycle commuting route but the only thing that comes up when I google it is the Bath-Bristol railway path. I'm used to riding on busy roads through London so a bit of traffic doesn't particularly worry me, so I was wondering if there is a suitable on-road alternative. 

Is the A4 Bath Road really that bad as a cycle commute route?

8 comments

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Tom_77 [23 posts] 1 month ago
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You could try looking at the Strava Heatmap - https://www.strava.com/heatmap#12.29/-2.49767/51.41121/hot/ride

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Jack Sexty [126 posts] 1 month ago
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Hi Paul, I'm road.cc's Bristol-to-Bath pather in chief and ride it three to four times a week! 

The A4 isn't the most pleasant route at all, although I do sometimes ride it if I'm late and/or have a particularly tasty tailwind... https://www.strava.com/activities/2580741607

There's one section of dual carriageway with a crash barrier on your left and central reservation in the middle which is particularly dodgy, and going from Bath to Bristol there's a nasty blind bend after a roundabout - best avoided if I'm honest. 

The cycle path, on the other hand, is largely an excellent cycle route and it's rideable year-round. I commute on it in the depths of winter and only tend to duck out if it's icy or really hammering it down. It can get mushy on the Bath side so I'd recommend 28mm tyres minimum in winter, but in spring and summer you can pretty much use your best road bike. If you are arriving at the Bristol end during peak hours it will be busy with children walking to school and other commuters, so you need to be cautious and your last three miles will be a bit of a write-off. 

Here are a couple of examples of my commutes, you can tick along at a decent speed most days: 

https://www.strava.com/activities/2577893140
https://www.strava.com/activities/2595221482

See you on the path some time! 

 

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paulrattew [306 posts] 1 month ago
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Jack Sexty wrote:

Hi Paul, I'm road.cc's Bristol-to-Bath pather in chief and ride it three to four times a week! 

The A4 isn't the most pleasant route at all, although I do sometimes ride it if I'm late and/or have a particularly tasty tailwind... https://www.strava.com/activities/2580741607

There's one section of dual carriageway with a crash barrier on your left and central reservation in the middle which is particularly dodgy, and going from Bath to Bristol there's a nasty blind bend after a roundabout - best avoided if I'm honest. 

The cycle path, on the other hand, is largely an excellent cycle route and it's rideable year-round. I commute on it in the depths of winter and only tend to duck out if it's icy or really hammering it down. It can get mushy on the Bath side so I'd recommend 28mm tyres minimum in winter, but in spring and summer you can pretty much use your best road bike. If you are arriving at the Bristol end during peak hours it will be busy with children walking to school and other commuters, so you need to be cautious and your last three miles will be a bit of a write-off. 

Here are a couple of examples of my commutes, you can tick along at a decent speed most days: 

https://www.strava.com/activities/2577893140
https://www.strava.com/activities/2595221482

See you on the path some time! 

 

 

Thanks Jack! In the back of my head I thought that taking the path would take considerably longer, but that looks fine (even going a bit slower it should be doable in around an hour or so). 

I think I'll need to do a few dummy runs to get my head round the different options. 

 

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Redvee [456 posts] 1 month ago
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From memory the A4 route is only around 3 miles longer than the cyclepath. Another alternative to the cyclepath is use the A431 through Hanham/Bitton/Swineford/Kelston but it's better to use that route going back into Bristol as the climb is less steep but only use in daylight as there are stretches with  no lights as there are on the cyclepath after Staple Hill tunnel. When I used the path after dark cooming back into Bristol after meeting friends for drinks I would leave the path at Staple Hill and use the road back into Bristol.

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dave atkinson [6527 posts] 1 month ago
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When I do it (which isn't as often as Jack!) I use the B2B path as far as Saltford, then come off onto the A4; there's a reasonably decent segregated path as far as the keynsham bypass. Then I go through Keynsham, nip off on the bus lane back to the A4, then follow it into town. it's about 75% cycle lanes or bus lanes that way and fairly direct. 

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dave atkinson [6527 posts] 1 month ago
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paulrattew [306 posts] 1 month ago
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dave atkinson wrote:

When I do it (which isn't as often as Jack!) I use the B2B path as far as Saltford, then come off onto the A4; there's a reasonably decent segregated path as far as the keynsham bypass. Then I go through Keynsham, nip off on the bus lane back to the A4, then follow it into town. it's about 75% cycle lanes or bus lanes that way and fairly direct. 

 

Thanks Dave. That Komoot tour is coming up as private, but I'm pretty sure I understand the route you describe. 

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Shades [489 posts] 1 month ago
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Bike path; delivers you straight into Temple Meads. It's like a dead flat time trial; you only have to slow down for crossings and the first one is at Bitton (going from Bath).  Just get on the path and 'tune-out'; nice and stress free.  Occasionally a small peloton forms and you can share the load; regulars sometimes give each other a wave.  I break off to N Bristol but I think the path gets a bit busier at the Temple Meads end, but so are the roads.  The A4 through Saltford is OK but I wouldn't go near the dual-carriageway bits, although some people do when the path could be icy; better to get the train and avoid an injury.  The A431 from Bitton to Bath saves a bit of time depending on which part of Bath you're going to; that said there's Kelston hill which risks the chance of a dodgy car overtake when you've slowed up a bit.  Reasonably easy to get a bike on the train iat Bath n the winter and cycle back when there's less risk of ice.  I spent 2 years heading S of Bath on busy roads and muddy, cr#p lanes and was overjoyed when I was back on the bike path.  My bike appreciated it in the winter as the path is generally cleaner than the road.  Some people have derestricted e bikes which go like a rocket, although I haven't seen them for a while so the fun police may have intervened!