A difficult volume to review. Personal satisfaction warrants about two and a half stars. But objectively it is well worth four. Lots of folk might find aspects to cavil at. Purchased with no illusions, however, it should prove an excellent buy.
My objective rationale: after significant web-browsing and searching numerous bike shops, I've yet to discover anything better - or even as good; some concerns are not the book's fault; and it really is fantastic value for money.
Packed with concise information and a surprising number of vignette photos that capture the spirit of various rides. It is well-structured and easy to read/consult. The rides cover mainland UK as well as could be expected in a single tome. Anglesey, Arran, Mull and the IOW too, but not Northern Ireland.
Most rides are genuinely traffic-free. There are nice potted histories or locale descriptions, TIC contacts, brief route directions, and refreshment stops. Plus the occasional useful warning - busy main roads to cross, or challenging climbs (like NCN2: 550ft ascending the cliffs at Folkestone).
What could possibly disappoint?
I did wish for more details, book size notwithstanding. This was especially true for the Forestry Commission holdings; though, in fairness, many are not trails per se but general track networks open to off-road cyclists.
Maps. There aren't any. Plenty of map references, other cycling publications, and web-sites are given throughout. Some readers may prefer a stand-alone guide. Having said which, waymarked trails and linear canal towpaths should hardly be an orienteering challenge! And these account for a lot of the book.
Lastly, a personal thing. A little research could perhaps have extended several rides to something more meaty. But traffic-free seems to be the sacred cow. Fair enough, and it's hardly the author's fault if UK Powers-that-Be make such paltry provision for cyclists!
Some random examples:- Kennet & Avon Canal (9 miles each way), Ashridge Estate (5 mile circuit), Clumber Park (various routes between 5 & 10 miles), Rendlesham Forest (6 or 10 miles), Carnforth to Lancaster (11 miles each way), Whitby Railway Path (20 miles each way), Usk Reservoir (6 mile circuit). Is this a reasonable representation of what you're hoping to cycle? Would you augment it with your own research?
Ergo, in summary: a fine compact compendium; not necessarily everyone's cup-of-tea.