Epic Bike Rides Of The World Book
Every autumn I like to spend some time thinking about next year, what my goals will be, my target races, which countries I’d like to visit with a bike and which rides I’d like to factor into my schedule. Aside from a few important competitions that I have to get in my diary right away so that I know whether I’m training for them or not, I like to take my time to daydream about where I might go. I explore new regions vicariously through other people’s blogs and spend time researching events that I might be able to write about either here on in one of the publications I contribute to. It’s a fun thing to do but it does mean I’m sat at the computer for great stretches of time, something I’m used to as a writer but still… sometimes it’s nice to disconnect.
And that’s where this brilliant new book comes in; Epic bike rides of the world.
I really love books and along with spending many hours a week with my nose stuck in a novel, I get really excited about big, lush, glossy coffee table books that you can dip into, particularly those with beautiful photography and something to do with the outdoors. Dave recently bought be Cabin Porn and I tried really hard not to just read it all at once as I wanted to savour it and prolong the enjoyment. I’m weird like that. And it’s the same with this Bike Rides book – I don’t want to finish it. Curling up with it on the sofa is a heavenly way to relax and provoke a daydream or inspire further research.
Rather than being a kind of guide book with a list of rides with overviews of the terrain, maps, directions and stats etc, this book presents each ride as a story or feature written first hand, much like you might read in a cycling magazine so you get a great sense of place. The locations of each ride are stunning (that’s why the ride are in the book!) and some of the photography is incredible.
There are some very brief bits of advice in the ‘Tool Kit’ at the end of each story such as where to start and finish, how to get there, approximate distance and when to go, but that’s it and the book’s better for it. It’s more about enjoying the experience of reading the book and then doing a little research of your own to make the trip yours, rather than simply replicating it. “These stories should spark other ideas,” we’re told in the introduction.
After each 4-6 page ride/story are the brief outlines of three similar rides. For example, one of the featured rides is ‘Riding The Rif’ in Northern Morocco which is appended with three more ‘self supported adventures.’
The diverse rides vary enormously in length, difficulty and level of adventure so it’s good for anyone interested in seeing more of the world with a bike. The book covers off-road and on, remote and metropolitan. It covers all the continents with some good options for those of us not wanting to travel to far (one apiece in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) and a good selection of European rides.
Covering 30 countries and 200 ideas there’s plenty to stoke your curiosity. I’m particularly inspired by the Family Bikepacking In Ecuador feature – will I be brave enough to do that when I have children? But I think the ride I’ll be doing first will be ‘Pedalling The Spanish Picos’ as I can get a ferry from Portsmouth straight to Bilbao with my bike and ride straight out in to the beautiful mountain range.
If you fancy buying a copy they have it here on the Lonely Planet shop.