Book Review: Big Rides: Great Britain & Ireland

What’s it about?

Big Rides: Great Britain & Ireland is a guide to the long distance cycle paths of the British Isles, aiming to provide inspiration to any would-be adventurers.


Kathy Rogers & Markus Stitz

Where can I get it?

Direct from Vertebrae Publishing



Big Rides: Great Britain & Ireland Review

Long distance riding has really taken off again in recent years. With the increased availability in adventure, touring and gravel bikes the options have increased. You can now easily get hold of a wide tyred bike that can take on almost any terrain and have fixing points to attach your overnight supplies. Some riders will go the full beans and take a small bivvy tent to wild camp, whereas many will be finding overnight stops in hotels. One of the reasons this type of cycling appeals to so many is that there’s no right or wrong way to do these things. The adventure is everything.

So with that in mind, what adventures are out there? Big Rides: Great Britain & Ireland attempts to address this by providing some inspiration and ideas. By its own admission, it’s not a full trail guide for each ride but a great resource to decide what to take on. For example, if you know that you’ve got say 7 days to ride in then you can identify what is going to be achievable. There are some bits I’ve covered myself, like the Avenue Verte on a London to Paris ride.

Big Rides: Great Britain & Ireland Pages

Each trail in Big Rides: Great Britain & Ireland has a great long-form description giving you can idea of what you might see and endure along the way. Amazing photos of the scenery help to give you an idea of what you’re missing by not riding! Finally, some useful information is provided. A map of the trail and a handy elevation guide are really useful. So you won’t be stung by accidentally doing a ride with brutal hills. Some information on how to get there is provided, useful when not every trail is easy to get to by public transport. Route variations and other titbits are also covered and links to find further, more detailed, specific trail information.

A series of icons also help guide readers as to what to expect. Ranging from accommodation to route characteristics, surface materials and if there is any handy waymarking for the trail. Another area that’s covered is when to take on each trail. This is key, especially when riding say the Highland Trail. It obviously wouldn’t be much fun in December. But according to Big Rides: Great Britain & Ireland, it’s not great in August either.

Big Rides: Great Britain & Ireland is a great resource for any budding cycling adventurer.