After publishing two editions of my own bicycle trail guide, I got to know other guide books out there. Some are useless, while others are very inspiring to browse through and consider riding.
Whether you actually cycle any of them is secondary. Just exploring the possibilities, dreaming and scheming a way to do them is a buzz.
Here are a few guides I have checked out that will get you perhaps planning your own grand tour…far away.
In the U.K., Cicerone has been for a long time a big name for hiking and cycling guides. I had a few books sent to me and the quality is excellent.
You can tell the authors have ridden the routes many times. The books have plenty of detail and directions. At the beginning of the book is a primer to get familiar with the way the author rates trails.
There’s also some insight into what you need to prepare for the rides and conditions to expect. Colour maps and photos round out the guide.
Here is a sample of the two types of the many riding guides offered – MTB trails or longer cycling tours.
If you favour mountain biking, pick your flavour. The Lake District is a hilly and beautiful place in England. The rocky highlands in Northern Scotland push your limits and give you awesome views when you finally make it to the top.
Both guides give you a taste of what to expect with difficulty ratings and elevation graphs. MTB riding in Europe is different than Ontario. Expect more open established paths (centuries-old), with some side roads, farm fields and a recommended pub at the end!
Bike touring can be all road riding but I found these ones use paved path off the road too. Following along the famous Rhine, Danube or Loire Rivers gives flat terrain with scenic historic sights.
After looking at the guides, I am thinking of now doing sections of the Rhine River, one summer soon. The Loire Valley in France, I have done and it was a marvellous time. Then perhaps trying a few MTB trails in the Lake District is next.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Detour – Cycling Across Canada on a Recumbent
An old riding mate, Paul Stockton from the Toronto Bicycle Network, (TBN) sent me his book to read. Though I am not much of a road rider anymore, his tales of cycling across Canada from the comfort of my couch were enlightening and entertaining to read.
A few years ago he got laid off with a “package”. Just the excuse to go for a spin — a long one.
Paul has a dry sense of humour and many years of touring behind him. (India, New Zealand, Switzerland, the North Amerian Pacific coast…)
He details his daily encounters with other riders, local friendly Canadians, the ever-changing weather and contending with 11 flat tires.
To make it even more “fun” he went basic, no electronics (left his cell phone at home) and promising never to enter a Tim Horton’s on the way. If you ever considered the journey, here is a book to get you going.