With 2020 dragging on, we’re told to stay indoors for ever more weeks. We’ve been resigned to looking at the great outdoors through Perspex window or the gap in bedroom curtains for most of the day.
It seems no better time then for a book that celebrates the blissfully simple pleasure of being out in the countryside on two wheels.
Lost Lanes is the brainchild of Jack Thurston. A series of books that chart cycle routes on quaint lanes and country paths throughout the country.
Its next edition concerns the lost lanes of the North. From Sheffield to Northumberland and everywhere in between, 36 routes have been mapped out in great detail and easily understandable to provide the easiest escape for one to head into nature and forget about the craze of the metropolis and all its modern-day trappings.
Something that, may I add, is necessary in life every once in a while.
Each route comes complete with its elevation change, terrain (so you can prepare yourself for your idyllic lost lanes discovery to be rudely interrupted by a stint on an A road), a handy map and a list of ‘pubs and pit stops’: which can add a certain incentive to your cycle when panting up a 12% gradient or through a stubborn headwind.
— Jack Thurston (@jackthurston) April 16, 2020
Also worth noting is the difficulty ranking. Whether a route is Easy, Moderate or Challenging is handy for knowing what you’re getting yourself in for when you get in the saddle for the day.
An in depth and interesting description of things to look out for, along with some local history pair each route too.
Everything from Wordsworth, Roman walls, the extravagant life of Hugh Lowther and the military expeditions of Edward I have all been well researched and loving written by Jack. Exquisite pictures of the landscape that are included make for a rather nice read too.
An insightful introduction to the North and its history opens this book. The author has also included a guide to wild swimming and camping along these routes for the Bear Grylls ones out there.
And also tips on how to spread these routes out into a relaxed long weekend of cycling, if one day in nature just isn’t enough.
But fear not my aero-minded cycling enthusiasts. There’s no need to haul this 131-page book around on your cycle.
Crucially weighing down your precious aero package, costing you precious seconds on the flats. These routes can be downloaded onto a Wahoo. (Or alternatively a phone for those non-cycling folks who don’t have the faintest clue what a Wahoo is or does).
The one fault I have with this book is that the nearest route to me is 40 miles away, in Sheffield. Instead given the current absence of a hygienic train to board, I may be left to discover the ‘scenic’ lost lanes of my hometown, Stockport. Pretty sure Wordsworth never had a cottage in Stockport.
Lost Lanes North is available here. (£16.99)