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on 30 May 2012
I bought this book for my boyfriend as he has just treated himself to a new mountain bike. Now he is going through the book every other night planning his next trip. It is really good to get an idea of areas around you to head off to as well as areas further a field.
Only downside is it doesn't have a bike trail map so you pretty much have to figure it out for yourself when you get there but otherwise highly recommendable!
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on 1 May 2011
I have a box of various maps and guides along with several regional guidebooks from a range of sources, including Bike Maps own guides to the Peak district, which are really clear and useful. So having one book with 500 mountain biking areas in it for England and Wales is an excellent idea and this guide does not disappoint. As well as providing routes for local areas, the guide has come in handy for finding routes in new areas I did not know about. It's also really motivating and makes you just want to get out and discover these great new routes! The book is clear, concise and practical, with straightforward easy to follow maps and instructions, including details of where to park, pubs, cafes, and trail conditions and gradients. Really useful features are atlas style maps with all the areas marked and the mini area maps showing where the route is in relation to major towns/villages. Trail centres are also covered, with a description of facilities and route gradings. All in all, at over 600 pages, this book offers incredible value with enough in it to keep all riders of all abilities satisfied.
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on 22 May 2016
It's a pretty good book, informative and lots of info, unfortunately there's probably too much. Let me explain, being so much what is in there is very superficial. A good starting point, but you will need more in depth information.
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on 2 June 2011
Now this simply stays in my car with the relevant OS maps. Ride regularly around South Downs and similar areas....and thought I knew most of the routes! Been VERY useful linking routes as well as highlighting new ones. Make a lot of trips to Afan, Wales and was impressed with the overall quality, coverage and detail this book offers. If you want to expand your riding with minimal 'thinking' then this is an essential purchase! Do it!
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on 18 October 2011
This is the best MTB guide book I've ever read. It's designed to stay in your car or at home to use as a reference for planning where to go for your rides. Not (as one reviewer suggested) as a map to take on the trails.

So, the way I've been reading it is when I want to go somewhere I simply pick this book up and look at where the best trails are that will be nearby. And that's exactly what you want from a reference book. It'll tell you a bit about the area and amenities such as pubs and tea stops, bike shops etc. It'll also tell you which OS maps you'll need when you get there. It'll also tell you about travelling there by car or train, and provide an overview map of the some suggested routes.

Great book, well written and informative.
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on 7 September 2015
I bought this book based on the number of very good reviews it has, expecting it to give me some good ideas for where to ride with my kids, but the reality is that it is completely useless!

The typical profile page is like something which predates the internet. There is a large amount of information telling you things that can be found in 30 seconds flat on Google or Tripadvisor, such as how long it might take to get to a location, whether you can get there by train and what the nearby pubs or bike shops are, but there is next to nothing about the actual riding you'll find when you get there.

A typical example, taken at random, has the following for Henley on Thames.....

Route Idea: Roads S through Harpsden Wood. Trails W through High Wood. Trails W to Rotherfield Peppard. Trails NW to Stoke Row, then on to Nott Wood and D481. Trails and roads back to Henley via Lower Highmoor, Bromsden Farm & Broadplay. Distance 28km.

Other than that, the only indication at all as to the type of riding available is "Great riding through Chiltern beechwoods, best in summer".

Is it singletrack? Is it technical? Who knows? You certainly won't find out from this guide! I can find a bridleway and read contour lines on an OS map without a problem, and now that they're all available online for free, I can easily go looking for potential places to ride anywhere in the country from my computer. What I can't know without local knowledge is what the actual trails are going to be like when I get there.... Is that moderate gradient bridleway a smoothly surfaced double width track through relatively wide spaced trees, or is it a dark, damp, rooty bit of singletrack through dense forest? This is what I was hoping this book would give me an indication of, but there's absolutely nothing at all to give you even a sense of the technical difficulty of the "routes" they suggest. My boys are perfectly happy going round the red routes at places like Swinley, so they're not complete novices, but finding the wrong couple of miles in the middle of a 12 mile ride can completely kill the day and potentially put them off riding natural trails.

Furthermore, thinking of my home riding in the Surrey Hills, you could ride for miles on boring fire roads with no way of knowing that some of the best trails in the country are within yards, but again this guide does absolutely nothing to help you out here beyond saying "to make sure you ride all the best bits, several companies offer guided rides".

This book could be made superb by the use of a bit of modern technology to provide an actual route shown on a map along with an easy/medium/hard rating, or to go one step better, a link to download a GPX file. As it stands though, it's just a collection of very superficial, often out of date information (talking about a new bike park being built in Esher due to open in 2011 which has already closed down, for example) which anyone could improve on given the ability to understand an OS map (which you would still need with this book anyway) and half an hour on the internet. Just start with an online OS mapping tool, find a roughly suitable looking area then google GPX tracks in that area...
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on 17 June 2016
What a great book!!!! Has actually rekindled my interest in MTB as i was slipping over to the insideous world of the roadie. Really like the idea of planning your route using O/S maps and not being spoon fed a Sat Nav style, "Turn Right Here" type guide. This book alows you to get out into the countryside and have a real adventure. It has an excellent guide at the begining of the book telling you how to use it so that you can get the most out of this fantastic resorce.

If you want to get away from the crowds and spoon fed trails this is the book for you!!!!!!!
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on 12 June 2011
I wish I had read this before I took my latest ride in the Lake District! It's intended to be a "check it out before you go" book, rather than one to use on the trail, and it fits this brief very well. There are good web references to bike parks, too. One review earlier questions who wrote this - I know one of the many people involved (and no, that's not me - I hadn't seen the book until a few weeks ago when I was given a damaged but still very useable copy), and I know (a) that they are mad keen mountain bikers themselves, (b) that this has been a major labour of love, and (c) they have recruited people from all over the country to put in their best locations and rides. So - check it out!
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on 2 March 2014
There are lots of fine books out there for mountain bikers but none quite like The Good Mountain Guide. It’s a weighty volume not intended to squeeze into your Camelbak next to the chain tool and spare inner. Rather than cover a single area, it covers England and Wales. And, rather than giving prescriptive directions, it offers an overview of the area with Ordnance Survey mapping with the legitimate trails marked on. This allows scope for the twin virtues of initiative and imagination to devise your own routes, although there are serving suggestions. The idea is that visiting an unfamiliar region, the book will kit you out with all the information you need to find the best base, the best trails, the best cafes and, for the confirmed bermbuster, the trail centres.

The book has a good geographical spread from the chalk streams of Sussex to the peaty burns of Northumberland with a huge sweep of downs, mountains and moors to sink your knobbles into. The photos are particularly good, with many fine contributions from muddybums and bogtrotters, especially. There is one shot that I think is outstanding, taken by Simon Barnes, featuring brightly-lit night-riders conferring in the forest like an illicit convention of wizards. If that doesn't make you want to straddle your steed and get Out There, I can't help you.
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on 14 November 2015
I have purchased this book for Christmas for my son who is a Mountain biker. I don't ride myself but I thought I would just have a quick look at the book. Even for a non rider it looks an excellent book for anyone wanting to know lots of rides in England and Wales.
The book was nicely packed and was vey quick to be delivered.
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