In Ride Britain, Simon Warren – the author of the 100 Greatest Climbs series – links together some of his favourite ascents to offer 40 spectacular cycling routes and a compelling vision of the great riding available throughout mainland Britain. Widescreen images, engaging writing, maps and Simon's guides to the showpiece climbs will have you itching to get out there.
Cycling has been a saviour to many of us during the last year, and we are lucky to partake in a sport that has – group rides aside – been largely left alone by government restrictions, enabling us to get outdoors and ride as often as time allows. But travel advice to stay local has often meant that unless you're a hardcore audaxer prepared to travel the length of the country on your own two wheels, there have been limits on where you can ride and still respect the guidance.
With the promise of a return to something like normal later this summer, but with overseas travel still so uncertain, Simon Warren's latest book could just be the perfect guide to getting back out there and exploring our own land by bike. From south-west England to the north of Scotland, the uphill addict has linked together some of his favourite climbs to create 40 breathtaking – figuratively and, in some cases, literally – rides.
Broken up into eight chapters, the book covers south-west England, south-east England, the Midlands, Yorkshire, north-east England, north-west England, Scotland and Wales, so no matter where you live – or where you're hoping to travel to – there will be rides in here nearby.
Simon is an engaging writer, and his style allows you to vicariously enjoy the thrills and the struggles of each route alongside him. He might climb faster than most of us, but he feels the pain and the drive to overcome it and taste satisfaction at the top that we all do.
He also has an eye for the spectacular, and the images in this book are a class apart from many of the admittedly impressive self-shot photos in his pocket guides. Here Simon has worked with experienced cycling photographers such as Andy Jones and Phil Hall to capture the widescreen nature of the landscapes through which his rides take us. Britain is often at its best when it is at its most rugged and the rider at their most isolated, and the book certainly had me wishing I could get away more to ride these stunning locations.
The layout is clear, giving you the story of the ride, a decent map and gradient profile of the route, and Simon's guide to the key climbs.
What you don't get is a link to a downloadable gpx file for any of the routes. The book is more coffee table inspiration than jersey pocket guide book, so unless you're prepared to cut it up you'll need to plot Simon's maps on something like Komoot or Ride With GPS to get a digital version you can download to your device. On the plus side, the maps in the book are of sufficient detail to make this process relatively easy.
As a guide to some of the best riding in the UK, this book is a great resource. And of course, once you've travelled to the areas Simon highlights, and ridden his routes, the author himself would no doubt encourage you to seek out more of what the area has to offer. Ride Britain could be just the start of a great adventure.
If you're looking for post-lockdown riding inspiration, this book delivers it in spades
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ride Britain by Simon Warren
Size tested: Hardback
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?
Little Brown says: "In this inspirational book, filled with amazing photographs, Simon has showcased Britain's beautiful landscape in the same way that Michael Blann and others have done for the mountains of continental Europe. The aim is always to make people want to get out and ride Britain's roads, to entice people to put themselves in the pictures on every page and ride through the stunning scenery.
The book is a seamless blend of beautiful photographs and information on the rides, including gradient diagrams and maps. This is Simon Warren taking his well-deserved reputation as the King of Climbs and displaying it in a bold new format, from pocket guide to cinemascope."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Title: Ride Britain
Author: Simon Warren
Date: November 2020
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nice images and engaging style make the rides feel tough but attainable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A link to GPS files of the routes would have been a nice addition.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? If I was able to travel the country with my bike I might.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they had the time and means to explore Britain by bike.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's an enjoyable book that will have you itching to get out and test yourself on the best roads mainland Britain has to offer.
About the tester
I usually ride: Genesis Equilibrium My best bike is: Look 585
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, The nursery run!