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Lost Lanes By Jack Thurston

Release date: 01st May, 2013
Publisher: Wild Things Publishing

List Price: £14.99
Our Price: £9.59
You Save: £5.4 (36%)
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Whatever the level at which it's performed or contested, sport has a phenomenal capacity to inspire.

The germ which ultimately triggers inspiration may lie dormant for years, but could arrive unannounced after watching a rugby match and being gripped by a desire to become a junior rugby referee. Alternatively, we may encounter a thrilling sporting comeback and feel exhilarated by the victor's indomitable spirit.

Most important of all, sport inspires us to participate, irrespective of how amateur our initial efforts might appear.

Which brings us neatly on to cycling, a sport whose star has risen inexorably over the past decade.

In addition to Chris Hoy's Olympic success, we've been inspired by Victoria Pendleton, Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins, Laura Trott and a host of other outstanding cyclists. Few of us could ever hope to achieve their exacting standards, but how many of us can strike a golf ball like Tiger Woods or take a free kick like Cristiano Ronaldo?

Cycling's superstars have, however, inspired hundreds of thousands of people to get on their bikes and for those seeking to branch out beyond a few two-wheeled laps of their local park, Lost Lanes provides both an excellent read and further inspiration.

Granted, the book's focus is on the south (although the publishers promise a much broader geographical spread soon), but Jack Thurston whets the cyclist's appetite by providing details of 36 different rides, each graded from easy to challenging.

The lanes Thurston refers to as 'strips of serenity' account for almost one third of the road network yet carry only a fraction of all motor traffic. This allows him to categorise his (mostly) laid-back cycling trips along these comparatively car-free routes: they're deemed anything from the 'best for history' to 'best for weekends away' and even the 'best for gourmets'.

Lost Lanes is part reference book, part engaging travelogue and consistently inspiring. It's also beautifully produced, although Thurston's first piece of advice is to leave it at home; details of each route are downloadable and provided at the end of each of the book's rides. Not many authors would recommend leaving their book behind, but such counsel proves inspired.

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