There’s a great pleasure to a long bike ride. Everything from the preparation in the days running up to it, to the excitement amongst participants and finally the ride itself. Exploring the roads and countryside of either distant countries or within our own shores.
It’s the latter I want to focus on today. Because after all, it can be a lot cheaper. There’s no travel insurance to compare, flights to book or bikes to pack on planes.
Below are three books that contain excellent routes to try in the UK. I’ll be specifically focusing on outside of London, as I assume you already have a copy of the London Cycle Routes eBook!
Britain’s Best Bike Rides
This eBook has been written as a collaboration between the Guardian and Sustrans. It costs just £2.99 and is available as an eBook only. Inside the book, you’ll also find links to the GPS coordinates and maps on the Guardian website. The rides themselves don’t contain turn by turn directions, so you’ll need either a Garmin, your GPS smartphone or a printer to get the route.
From Dorset to Chester, there are some excellent routes included but do note that the descriptions are fairly short and there are no pictures. Therefore, before taking off on the rides you may need to do a little more research of your own.
Best for: Short rides around the UK
Scotland Mountain Biking: Wild Trails
If 2013 is the year where you’ll discover the joys of mountain biking, then this is the book to do it with. It contains 25 routes in Scotland which vary in skill level. The shortest ride in there is 6 km long and the longest is 290 km.
Scotland is one of the best places to travel to for mountain biking and you are certain to get interesting terrain, sweeping views and lots and lots of rain.
The book is authored by Phil McKane, who is a Scottish Mountain Bike Leaders Association ride leader. His wide raining experiences shows through in the book. The book is skilfully illustrated by Andy McCandish. He’s a photographer for Mountain Bike Rider magazine.
The book is the latest in a long series from the publisher and it shows in how well the rides are described and the quality of directions.
Best for: Mountain biking in Scotland
The 100 Greatest Climbs
For a bit of inspiration for your inner roadie look no further than The 100 Greatest Climbs. Reading the book is one thing, attempting them is quite another. From cobbled streets, to windswept mountain passes – just thinking about it makes me feel nauseous!
This book is a great guide for those looking to push themselves. Each ride is rated on a scale from 1 to 10 for difficulty. Many of the rides have been picked out from some of Britain’s most challenging cycle races. The book isn’t just about the steepest climb, it’s about the most enjoyable routes.
From Cheddar Gorge, to Porlock, it’s all waiting to be explored!
Best for: Breathless cycling
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.