The new Sustrans maps covering Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling are now in stock.
They look really useful, and of course are just £5.75 plus postage. Well worth it. Click a link below.
New Sustrans Pocket Maps of Edinburgh and Glasgow
Sustrans continue to publish their Pocket Maps of cycling routes across the UK, gradually working north. They are just publishing maps covering Edinburgh and Glasgow and their surroundings, so watch this space for news of their arrival.
One for the mountain bikers, a fantastic challenge: the the Capital Trail, a 2-day route around Edinburgh, either as part of an event each June, or to be ridden self-guided.
More information at Markus Stitz’s ‘Fearless and Unique’ site: https://fearlessandunique.wordpress.com/capital-trail/.
Markus is about to set off around the world (on a single-speed bike!). You can follow his adventures at https://fearlessandunique.wordpress.com/.
Goldeneye cycle map for Kent re-designed
Goldeneye Cycle Maps have redesigned and reprinted their excellent map of Kent: ‘Cycling Country Lanes and Traffic-Free Family Routes’.
It’s printed in full colour showing forest, contours and places of interest using waterproof laminated paper.
From the creators of the original C2C, this is a new cycle route through the Southern Uplands of Scotland, from coast to coast.
Linking Annan on the Solway Firth and South Queensferry on the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh, the Scottish C2C is a 122 mile signed cycle route. It is a mix of country lanes, high quality cycle paths and seaside promenades with two challenging climbs, over the classic Devils Beef Tub and through the Moorfoot Hills before opening out onto a panoramic view of the Lothians, Edinburgh Castle, and the Firth of Forth. It finishes under the mighty Forth Bridge.
This is the complete guide, including maps, directions, attractions along the way, accommodation and much more.
We are back in stock of the National Byway Cycle Maps!
Four of them: Yorkshire; North East England; South West Scotland; and the Midlands.
These are long-distance routes planned to take in historic sites around Britain, using country lanes and byways. There is a detailed map, plus written descriptions of the route.
The maps are well worth it at just £4.50 plus postage.
France en Velo is a fabulous book, with lots of photography in full colour, and great maps.
An inspiration to those thinking they might do and End To End in France! And £16.50 is a good price.
Click the link here for more details.
Fancy cycling somewhere flat?
Try the new Sustrans Lincolnshire cycle map:
Lincolnshire and Wolds Cycle Map, Sustrans
Cicerone have launched a new guide book for the Danube Cycle Trail.
The Sustrans Coast and Castles South map is now back in stock.
RRP £7.99. Our price £7.50.
A brand new guide book for a brand new long-distance cycle route is about to come out: the Scottish C2C.
The guide is due out in mid-April from the excellent ‘Excellent Books’ and is by the excellent Richard Peace.
There is fabulous cycling in the Lake District. Some, it’s true, are very hilly, and there are some significant challenges if you want to go over the mountain passes.
I have cycled it myself, and my book is available here. I also have a separate website just on cycling in the Lake District, inspired by my ride and the book:
There are also less ambitious routes, and you can either find these for yourself using maps like the OS Tour Map for the Lake District and Cumbria.
Or you can use one of the available guide books.
CycleCity’s ‘Cycle Tours in the Lake District’ is a good one.
There is also ‘Cycling in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales’ from Vertebrate Books: most of the routes in that one are in the south east of Lakeland and the Dales, so it’s very good for those areas.
There is also excellent mountain biking of course. Goldeneye have an excellent map of mountain bike routes, and both Vertebrate and Cicerone have guide books. Vertebrate’s is more extensive, Cicerone’s is cheaper.
Don’t forget the Sustrans routes through Lakeland as well: the C2C, Reivers, Hadrian’s Cycleway, and Walney to Wear, all signposted and making very good bike routes.
Devon Coast to Coast maps and guide books
Sustrans have a map for the Devon Coast to Coast Cycle Route. It is in the same style as the C2C and other long-distance route maps from Sustrans, printed on waterproof paper and in a waterproof case.
Excellent Books also have their Ultimate Guide to the Devon Coast to Coast ride, which also has full mapping, plus information about places you pass along the way, accommodation etc.
Sustrans also have their new small-scale cycle maps, and their North Devon and South Devon maps show the route.
The Reivers Route – a personal post from riding the Reivers Cycle Route
The Reivers Route used to be known as the ‘return C2C route’ but these days has competition in the Hadrian’s Cycleway. I cycled the Reivers Route a few years back with my wife and found it a wilder route than the C2C and Hadrian’s.
The route was pretty well signposted, but I would definitely recommend taking the official map.
The Reivers Route starts at Tynemouth (where the C2C finishes) and heads north west to Bellingham along country lanes.
It then becomes wilder as it runs through Kielder Forest. We opted not to take the forest track routes, since my wife was on a road bike. We did hear from other cyclists that some of the forest tracks were not as well signposted as they could have been, but that was some years ago now, so any comments on the current state of signposting thorugh Kielder Forest would be good.
The route came out of the forest and dropped down through Newcastleton. We had a quick stop off to see the fabulous Bewcastle Cross, and then headed down to Carlisle using the signposted country lanes.
From Carlisle, the road rises pretty steadily to Caldbeck, from where there are some quite entertaining (!) ups and downs to Bassenthwaite.
It’s then quite straightforward to Cockermouth where the route joins the Workington branch of the C2C. In Workington it turns south, running on cycleways almost all the way to the finish at Whitehaven on the slipway, exactly where the Whitehaven branch of the C2C starts.
Would I recommend it? Most definitely.
We’ve the map in the shop here, and this is a link:
The Aberdeen to Shetland Sustrans map set
There are two maps in the Aberdeen to Shetland Sustrans set, and very good they are too. I’ve used the maps for part of the route, and only occasionally got lost.
First I cycled around Orkney, taking in the prehistoric sites and the lovely Italian Chapel along the way. The Sustrans maps are perfect for any sort of cycle tour of the Orkney Islands.
Then I crossed to John O’Groats, cycling along the north coast of the mainland to Tongue. The road along the coast is surprisingly hilly, and when I did it was very windy, but the views along the coast are wonderful.
From Tongue the road runs south on what must be one of my favourite stretches of cycling road. Rising past the most northerly of the Munros, past lakes and tarns amongst the heather, and dropping down through forest. The road then runs alongside the River … at … And then there is one of the most amazing of youth hostels: Carbisdale Castle. I thoroughly recommend it.
From there, the signposted route runs on down via the Black Isle to Inverness. All very scenic!
I haven’t cycled from Inverness to Aberdeen, or on Shetland, so any comments appreciated.
Click below to link to buy the map at the shop.
The Lochs and Glens North Sustrans cycle route
I’ve cycled a fair bit of the Lochs and Glens North Sustrans cycle route (route 7), though it’s about 4 years ago now, so any comments to update this appreciated.
I cycled from Inverness to just south of Pitlochry, before going off on The Salmon Run towards Perth.
First of all, it’s a fantastic route, with wonderful mountains around.
Parts are on road, generally the old main road which has been by-passed, and those sections are excellent.
There are other sections where a cycle-way has been built near or right next to the A85. A few of those sections had started to crumble a little when I was there, so I would be interested to know if holes have been patched.
I came across other cyclists doing LEJOG who were after speed rather than quiet and safe roads, and they were sticking to the A85. For someone like me where time was not of the essence, but a pleasurable cycle was, the Lochs and Glens North route was great.
The map was very well designed – no problems at all with finding the way. Which, if I’m honest, is unusual for me!
You can click here to link to the map itself:
New Zealand bike ride
Gap years are a great idea. It’s my ambition to have one.
So in the absence of my own, I gate-crashed part of my son Richard’s. Well, he had told me that he planned on a cycle tour of New Zealand, and how could I resist that?
So here’s what I learned – or at least a small part of it.
New Zealand is a beautiful country, with a friendly people and excellent cycling. Four weeks was long enough to get a flavour of the country, north and south islands, but an extra couple of weeks (or months?) would be better!
I can recommend the following as good cycling places from personal experience: the Bay of Islands, Coromandel Peninsula, Giant Redwoods Mountain Bike Centre at Rotorua, the 42 Traverse at the Tongariro National Park, the West coast from Fox Glacier to Wanaka via the Haast Pass. The following were recommended to us while we were there, but we ran out of time: the Queen Charlotte Track, and Wanaka to Queenstown via the Crown Range. We didn’t cycle in Aukland itself, but we were pleased not to. It seemed very busy, very hilly, seemingly not at all cycle friendly.
We stayed in excellent quality official Youth Hostels (http://www.yha.co.nz), and there is also a variety of private ones, though the official ones are usually more geared up for cyclists.
Guide books: Cycline New Zealand Cycling Guide has the best maps, and though they don’t cover all of New Zealand, they covered most of the areas we wanted to visit. It has limited other information, and some descriptions not entirely clear. Lonely Planet‘s Cycling New Zealand has the best information by far on places to stay and to visit, but the maps are not very clear. As a recommendation – use the Lonely Planet guide to plan roughly where to go, and take the Cycline guide with you – the maps are good enough to use on the ground.
When to go: late October was OK for north island, but would have been a bit cold in south island. The south gets cold again around March/April. Roads are busiest in the school holidays – Christmas to mid January.
We hired bikes in New Zealand, rather than take our own. Generally that was fine, though at two places the bikes on offer were of a poor standard. Highly recommended though is Natural High Bicycle Rentals of Christchurch: we were able to pick up bikes at Nelson (arranged over the internet) and drop them off in Queenstown, using a bus to take us as far as Fox Glacier. I don’t know if Natural High have been badly affected by the earthquake; if so, my heart goes out to them, and I’d encourage cyclists to use them, so as to help Christchurch back on to its feet.
And if (when?) you go, don’t just cycle – walk and kayak at Abel Tasman National Park, and walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Would I go again? Oh yes. Bring on that gap year.