Escape routes review

Escape routes cover and slightly the back of the book

“Have you ever dreamt of escaping to those beautiful, barely populated countryside corners of England? Of swinging your leg over the saddle and setting off along narrow lanes, gliding through spectacular scenery in your own sweet time, and pausing wherever you wish?”

This is the introduction to Escape Routes by Matt Carroll and it is exactly what the book delivers.  Covering 60 handpicked routes from all corners of England.

Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately about this book – it’s not really for the more hard-core cyclists amongst us. It’s meant for casual, everyday cyclists. Therefore, the routes you’ll find in here range from 5 to 20 miles. I.e. 1 to 3 hours rides at gentle paces with lots of stops. This is a book less about the pedalling and more about the enjoyment of the things you’ll see along the route.

The first thing that strikes you when you thumb through the book and you get that waft of new book smell is the illustrations. Hundreds of gorgeous pictures of parts of the UK that beckon you to see for yourself. From colourful huts lining a beach to small cottages in the middle of rolling English countryside. You find yourself stopping to check where exactly this scene is so you can make a note to explore it soon.

Spoilt for choice

There is a little bit of a paradox of choice in Escape Routes. You hardly know where to start. Fortunately, the publishers seem to have foreseen this and provide you three good ways of finding your first ride. The first, and probably the most likely method, is from the large map where you can pin point the nearest ride to you. The second is by picking a ride from a theme such as history or by the river. Finally, the routes are categorised by area.

Following a ride

Inside the Escape Routes book with a picture of the author and directions

My first choice was the Aldbury to Frithsden. The ride is the one nearest to me. Having said that, even this route is 30 minutes train ride away to Tring before a short pedal to the starting point. You can’t help but feel is it worth my time for a short 15 mile route?

None the less, we had a great cycle around the area and the directions were easy to follow. I scanned the relevant page in the book so I didn’t have to carry it with me as it is a little heavy.

Inside are also plenty of great stops such as 19th century pubs, vineyards and woodland trails. These help turn the ride into more of a day out rather than just being about pedalling.

There’s plenty more rides I’d like to try out although I think I’ll be incorporating them as part of a larger trip as they are a little too short for my liking.

Review of Escape Routes in a sentence

Beautifully written and illustrated, great locations, will inspire you to ride but would have liked some longer routes. 4/5

Where to buy: £11.46

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5 Responses to Escape routes review

  1. John 11/07/2011 at 11:03 am #

    It sounds an even better idea for a book on a Monday morning!

  2. Craig 11/07/2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Sounds like an excellent book for the bookshelf of the casual rider looking for something scenic. Although the interiors do look a bit chic for this shabby, down-at-heel, family cycler.

  3. Velotex 12/07/2011 at 11:35 am #

    What an excellent concept for a book. I’ll be sure to add this to my “what-books-to-buy-list”. I like to cycle competitive, but my family is understandably not that into it. I’m sure this book will have a bunch of routes which I can go enjoy with my whole family. I’m on a mission to conform my family into avid cyclists .

  4. lovethybike 29/07/2011 at 2:50 pm #

    I have been busy escaping by bike to the beautiful, countryside of England for a while now and have only just started writing about it… check out my website. I hope you have a great time following the Rhine.. another ride I am keen to do.

  5. Andrew Ebling 04/09/2011 at 6:48 am #

    My wife just bought me this as a present (she rocks!) and we completed ride No. 7 together from this book while on holiday recently (Wareham to Corfe Castle). It was a great ride with a bit of everything including superb and varied scenery. Was worth the price of admission for this ride alone – very much looking forward to checking out the rest.

    Thoroughly recommended!

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