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Ride – Cycle The World from Dorling Kindersley presents cycling routes from around the world, and claims it will have you 'itching to jump in the saddle.' Like many similar guidebooks, nearly everybody should find something of interest, but it can only really be regarded as a starting point: further information will be required before actually mounting your steed.
Most of the 256 pages are given over to introducing 100 worthwhile cycling routes. You can start to see the problem already, because at best that gives on average 2.5 pages per ride. In reality, each entry gets between one and six pages, but even the latter isn't enough to do the 7,226 mile African End-to-End (Tour d'Afrique) justice.
Fortunately, Ride doesn't waste too much space on the inevitable guide to 'choosing a bike' that all such books feel the need to include: two pages is your lot. There is a wealth of relevant information readily available from other sources, including our own Buyer's Guides, which will serve you better.
Advice on 'Preparing for your ride' takes another two pages, and is of equally limited value. Perhaps recognising this, the author points you towards a handful of websites for further guidance.
Ride is part of Dorling Kindersley's Eyewitness series of travel books, which try to 'show you what others only tell you.' In practice this means more pictures than most guide books.
Ride has pictures aplenty, but most of them are not cycling-specific, and come from photo agencies such as Alamy Stock Photo and Getty Images: they could equally well feature in the general Eyewitness guides.
Contrast this with Escape by Bike, for example – where every image was taken by the author, and virtually every one is directly related to cycling. Or take a look at Cyclist: The Rides Volume 2, where big beautiful pictures are the priority and an inspiration.
Is the all-important information cycling-specific? I have used a normal Eyewitness book for non-cycling aspects of trips to Italy, so I looked to see what was included the Dolomites. Peaks such as Marmolada and Tre Cime di Lavaredo are mentioned, and indeed their associated passes make for good cycling climbs.
This book's route of choice, though, is the Sella Ronda loop through the Pordoi, Sella, Gardena, and Campolongo passes – an excellent choice, and a very encouraging sign of well-tailored content. I've ridden the Sella Ronda myself, and it was one of the most enjoyable and scenic days out I have ever had on a bike. It's included in the Maratona dles Dolomites event, too.
Obviously I haven't ridden everything featured, but judging from the areas I do know it looks like every ride would be worth doing.
For the home market, our own End-to-End is an obvious choice – but what else should be included from the British mainland? The answer here is the Whitehaven to Tynemouth Sea-to-Sea in England, and the Welsh End-to-End (Lon Las Cymru).
Lee Craigie contributed the Applecross peninsula route in Scotland: I think it is a great choice, and it is good to have it confirmed by someone with extensive experience of such cycling.
Even with that limited selection, Britain is over-represented: Russia has no entries, for instance, while India and China have just one each.
France has four entries, meanwhile, the most recognisable of which is based on the over-hyped Alpe d'Huez. Still, while the best thing you can do at the top is carry on round the Col de Sarenne for a really enjoyable loop, that's exactly the route suggested here.
The list of contributors is extensive and credible: I recognise many of the names from their work elsewhere, often on related projects.
For example, who better to supply the route following in the footsteps of Hannibal than Felix Lowe, who has actually written an excellent book about that very journey?
Emily Chappell is another contributor with enough experience to make some great recommendations – and the skills to write about them.
Ride promises 'maps and elevation profiles for every ride', but that really is over-selling and under-delivering: neither are detailed enough to help with proper planning. Fortunately you can download GPX files of the routes from an associated website (and get a flavour of the articles accompanying each route while you're at it).
Ride – Cycle The World is a great starting point for epic journey, and even seasoned riders will surely discover new things. I was not aware, for example, that the patrol road between the inner and outer Berlin Wall is now a fairly flat tarmac path, and the whole circuit makes for a 100-mile history trail: it's now on my list.
Useful as a unique selection of routes in an attractive format, but can't deliver on everything promised
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ride Cycle The World
Size tested: 256 pages
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
From Dorling Kindersley:
Get off the beaten track and discover over 100 incredible cycling adventures across the globe.
See the world on two wheels and explore the most thrilling on and off-road cycling routes. Whether you're an experienced, ascent-loving road cyclist or are planning your first cycling trip, this stunning guide will help you plan the perfect bicycle tour.
Inside the pages of this inspirational travel guide you'll find:
- 100 rides around the world, chosen by cycling and travel experts, from day cycles around cities to bikepacking journeys across continents
- Maps and elevation profiles included, with downloadable GPX routes available too!
- A beautifully presented guide with stunning photography throughout for anyone looking for epic bike rides
- Each chapter explores a different continent, with rides arranged geographically and details of distance, total ascent and road surface
- Top tips for getting the most out of each ride - including refuelling spots, breathtaking viewpoints - as well as suggestions for alternative ways to tackle a route
Ride will take you around the world to see all the places on your bucket list! In Europe, you can power up mountain passes in Italy's Dolomites or tackle Bolivia's infamous Death Road in South America. Cycle the famous Cape-to-Cairo route across Africa or go island-hopping in Japan.
Awe-inspiring images and descriptions of each bike ride will have you itching to jump on the saddle. This travel book includes all you need to plan the nitty-gritty of your trips like handy maps, elevation profiles and practical information such as distance, difficulty, and road surface. We've also included facts and figures on the world's most famous cyclists and iconic races, plus information on the history of cycling, how to choose a bike and what kit to take.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Title: Ride – Cycle the World
Author: Rachel Laidler
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley - Eyewitness
Nicely presented, plenty of colour, but mostly small pictures.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
You will become aware of new routes, some of which you may be able to cycle.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It can never be more than the briefest of introductions to any route.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Probably, if I needed some inspiration when planning holidays
Would you recommend the product to a friend? More likely to pass on my copy
Use this box to explain your overall score
It does a lot well and covers a lot of ground, but lacks detail and can't fully deliver on every lofty ambition.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,