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Really Wild Cycling: By Chris Sidwells

Release date: 18th June, 2020
Publisher: Robinson

List Price: ££12.99
Our Price: ££10.78
You Save: £0 (0%)
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Those of us fortunate enough to get out in the fresh air on every day of lockdown have had ample time to consider life, the universe and everything.

Walking around five miles every day since late March has provided opportunities for prolonged early morning chats with my wife, during which we’ve wondered how many of the people we see currently walking, jogging, or cycling will continue once the pandemic alerts have passed.

The majority of people will hopefully return to work and be content to once again squeeze in their exercise at the end of the working day and weekends. Others will, sadly, simply stop, though a large proportion of folks, likely to be working from home more often than they could have imagined, may have discovered a new, more relaxing world to explore while exercising

Walkers and runners are well catered-for in the exploration stakes, but Chris Sidwells’s Really Wild Cycling will appeal to riders who have caught (or recaptured) the cycling bug over the past four months.

Divided according to geography into five different regions of the UK, Sidwells insists this isn’t a list of rides to be ticked off once completed. Ride number 15, for example, On the beaches, can be copied on coastal areas, while another, Spinal Tap, is suitable for upland regions.

He cites a wide range of apps which enable cyclists to plan their routes and your reviewer’s heart leapt when he referred to Ordnance Survey maps, imaging them being unfolded on the handlebars to consider a route home along a forgotten bridleway. Sadly, this wasn’t the case: OS maps are available on GPS software.

Sidwells reminds cyclists of their rights of way along miles of bridleways, though where this isn’t possible, he highlights tiny lanes and the National Cycling Network, Sustrans.

It was pleasing to see him emphasising the need for riders to look after their bikes, especially the tyres and brakes, and to clean them after every wild, muddy ride.

Sidwells begins with a model for riding around any town and once the pedals are turning he sprinkles details of each route’s notable landmarks or buildings, but is mostly content to leave riders to discover their own highlights.

Let’s hope that this engaging book reaches a wide audience and that cyclists who have fallen in love with two wheels are tempted to dip in and discover more.

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