My cycling bible is “Traffic Free Cycle Trails” by Nick Cotton, shown above. Weighing in with a colossal 400+ routes all over the country, I think it’s a book that should be on every leisure cyclists shelf. It isn’t particularly expensive (around £14.99 if you pay full price) and gives you great value. Most of the rides it suggests are around 5 – 10 miles long, but the author assumes that you are cycling the route in both directions. Some routes are broken down into multiple rides, such as the famous Tarka Trail in Devon (in three parts here) or the Basingstoke Canal (also in three parts).
Unlike some books I’ve read, these routes are genuinely “traffic free”. At the start of each regional section, there are also notes on mountain bike trails and land owned by the Forestry Commission suitable for taking a bike over.
Perhaps one omission is the use of any OS mapping in the book, meaning that if you’re unsure of the route, you’ll either need to have a map to hand or photocopy the guidebook. Fortunately, having now ridden many routes in the guide, I can report back that most of the trails are very well signposted and I’ve never needed to purchase any additional material.
Use it as a guide to inspire rides, take it with you on holiday – whatever – but this book is a great source of days out, providing an excellent guide to pleasant leisure routes, catering to all ages and abilities.