Jack Thurston of The Bike Show, has created what must be the most beautiful guide to cycling in South East England. The Lost Lanes book has been sat in my inbox, awaiting review for far too long, but with sunnier days ahead of us, I thought it was time to bring it to everyone’s attention.
The book contains 36 rides, each one brought to life in passionate detail. From the history of the area, to the geography and the feeling of actually been out there on your bike – it’s all enough to get you reaching for your bike.
Inside each route you’ll find all the basics such as the distance, the terrain to expect and the difficulty. Following the rides is easy thanks to the GPS coordinates that you can download. These can then be downloaded on to your iPhone (in to an app such as Cyclemeter), Android or a Garmin GPS.
Whilst you won’t find turn by turn directions inside the book, you will find them through the links included in the book. This will also show you the view on a detailed OS Map and an Open Streets Map. The turn by turn directions can be printed out so that you can attach them to your handlebars, if that’s your preferred form of navigation.
This truly is the future of cycling guidebooks and it’s great to see the publisher embracing it.
Let’s take a closer look at the three London routes included in the guidebook.
- The Eastern Extension route is described as: “Twenty almost traffic-free miles around the rapidly changing, intensely urban east London, with some breathtaking views along the way”. The route takes you from Victoria Park, all the way along the canals as far as London City Airport and across the Ferry to Woolwich and back again, past Greenwich Park. In the guidebook you’ll hear the interesting story of how Jack put this route together, you’ll read about Victorian history and you’ll spot the filming location for Batman Begins.
- The Garden City route is described as: “Joining the dots between central London’s amazing diversity of gardens, parks and green spaces”. This 14 mile route starts in Lambeth and takes you past St James Park, Hyde Park, Regent’s Park and then back down towards Soho. Along the route you’ll discover the interesting history of London’s parks.
- The Wimbledon to Weybridge route is described as: “Parks and the Thames Path make for a scenic, mostly traffic-free escape route from south-west London into Surrey”. This a nice 19 mile route that starts in Wimbledon, takes you through Richmond Park and out in to Weybridge. You also get a brief introduction to the history of the area in the ride description.
All the rides in the book include the all important pub and cafe stops – which is why we really go on these long bike rides isn’t it?
Overall, I’m really impressed with the Lost Lanes guidebook and I’d thoroughly recommend it for cyclists looking for interesting bike rides and great days out.