Brtain and gravel: five years ago these two words would scarcely have been used in the same sentence. The gravel bike boom has changed that. While this kind of riding has arguably been around ever since the bicycle was invented, more and more cyclists – perhaps fed up with the increasing number of cars on our roads – are taking to gravel tracks.
Finding such tracks can prove somewhat difficult. What may look like a good gravel track on a map could turn out to be a two-mile walk through a muddy field. Cycle magazine contributor Markus Stitz has taken the work off your hands with this book.
It showcases 26 rides all around Britain, as far north as Beauly on a Scottish coast-tocoast adventure and as far south as Exeter on the East Devon Trail. So wherever you live you shouldn’t be too far from a great route. For each of his rides Stitz links up with local experts, such as Jami Wilson in the Lakes and Mark Beaumont in East Lothian. This provides some great local insights to the routes and area.
Each route comes with a map, a description, recommendations of where to stop, and a link to its GPX file. It also has some helpful tips about organising and setting off on one of these rides, from recommended kit lists to legalities and access rights.
What bike should you use for these routes? Markus Stitz’s answer: “The bike you own is the best gravel bike.”
Review by Jordan Matthews, Cycling UK's cycling development officer for Tyneside