Big Rides

Great Britain and Ireland, 25 of the best long distance road cycling gravel and mountain biking routes

Edited by Kathy Rogers and Markus Stitz

Now this book really is about big rides! The rides in this book stretch from 100 miles (old money) flat (ish) Norfolk road/gravel rides through 550 mile Highland Trail mountainous mountain bike rides to the 1730 mile Ireland/Northern Ireland Wild Atlantic Way road ride. I can’t say that it has something for everyone, but it does provide you inspiration and a good starting point from which to plan your own adventures.

Some of the routes are loops, some are one way, some will take you a long day in the saddle (10 hrs) and some will take you days in the saddle, 173 to be a little more accurate!

With this being the case, the book has to cover a lot of ground and bases. The introduction is a must read as this goes into a lot of detail about the types of bikes, the types of routes all the way to emergency contingencies and cycling legalities. As a Mountain Bike Guide and Ride Leader this section serves as good reminder of exactly what it takes to plan a successful ride, whether a day trip or a multi-day excursion.

The route description is there to entice you to do more research, the photographs compliment the route description and the maps are overviews. I like the Essential information section which provides details on how to get to the start, the Pro’s and Con’s of the ride, best time of year to complete the ride and elevation profiles. There is also a further information link that takes you to the relevant site with additional information and that all important GPX file.

Please be under no illusion that the majority of rides in this book take planning and time to ensure that you are in the right condition to complete them. Some of these rides will require you to be self-sufficient, possibly for more than a couple of days depending on the time of year you plan to go. It is an adventure book, a window into the cycling adventure possibilities within the UK and Ireland.

A fair wind and time permitting I’ll be completing the Lakeland 200 and the Tour de Peak District in the not-too-distant future. If you want your imagination sparking and are ready for a your first big adventure then the book is well worth a read as it shows what can be achieved with the right planning, preparation and determination.

Review written by: Andy Hampshire (Hampy) – #TotalMTB 
Instagram: @hampy4pmtbuk
Twitter: @hampy4PMTBUK


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