The canals of Brentford have long been the town's pride and joy. Here two British Waterways employees explain why they have taken to their bikes to help residents get even more out of them.
Joe Young spends his days pedalling the length of the towpath, soothing the sometimes strained relationship between pedestrians and cyclists
"You quite often get walkers protesting to British Waterways, saying cyclists should be banned," said he said. "On the other hand you get walkers outraged that their dogs have been caught up in somebody's wheels."
Mr Young's training as a conflict resolution officer is standing his in good stead as he gives out leaflets to people involved in the old tussle between cyclists and pedestrians along the canalside.
"I try to be the soothing person in between these arguments," he said. "When you think about it, these canal pathways are such a valley of greenery and tranquillity it's a shame when people can't get on."
Mr Young has been keeping the peace along the towpaths for just six months. As well as chatting to walkers and cyclists, he is aiming to set up special days in the spring at various canal-side locations.
"I'll be telling the cyclists how they can take away pedestrian rage by giving two tinkles on their bike bells, to warn they are approaching," he explained. "Equally I'll be telling walkers that two tinkles means could they kindly step aside for the cyclist.
"When you think of all the great conflicts in the world, this particular towpath rage is a small thing, but our canals are better off without it."
Fellow cyclist Leela O'Deal has the task of scouting out for places along the canal which can be turned into allotments.
She said: "My job is to help make more use of some derelict pieces of rough land so they can be brought into production for people to grow vegetables. All the way into London there are huge waiting lists for allotments."
Ms O' Deal's job was sparked off by an agreement by British Waterways to help London Mayor Boris Johnson fulfill a target of finding 2012 new allotments in London by the year 2012.
"I've already found some places near Brentford along the Grand Union Canal which are overgrown and could be used to grow vegetables," she said.
"Our other bright idea is to use some of our older metal barges, fill them with earth and make them into floating plots of land."
Chimney sweep Fenton Willis, who has his barge St Florian mored near the Hanwell Flight, is a big fan of the scheme. He has discovered evidence that similar floating gardens were used in the area in the past.
"Just at the back of the locks I've come across old metal supports that give away the secret of a very old way of life on the canals here," he said.
"Some of the posts give the numbers of old plots of land that the canal workers used to be given. Their wages were at starvation level, and they grew their own food here to survive.
"Anything that makes our canals better known is brilliant. The more people know the more they'll fight in the long term to keep this wonderful slice of history well looked after."