Top critical review
OK, but a bit of a missed opportunity.
21 September 2018
I liked the idea of a book dedicated to off-road cycling of the cyclocross / gravel variety, so bought this guide which was a steal at the time of purchase. It's not a bad little book. I like the layout, photos are good, the text is well written and it has some decent rides in there, but it feels a bit rushed to me and could have been so much better. I'm glad I didn't buy it at full price tbh.
My main gripes are - the mapping has almost no detail, so you can't get any idea of what to expect on a ride without reading through the text. It's also difficult to plot the routes on GPS software in some cases due to the lack of info (The Knighton route is a case in point.). OS style maps are used in many other guide books and are so much better - you can get the feel of a ride at a glance.
Secondly there aren't enough longer rides included. Many are just too short to be worth a lengthy drive to get there. I also don't like the large number of out and back rides - this feels like lazy route planning I'm afraid - hence the feeling of the book being rushed, most of them are at the end too. The Birmingham canal route is the worst example of this and especially disappointing as it's the only route within reasonable cycling distance from home. Basically follow the canal for a bit, then turn round and ride back again - really? A bit of local knowledge could have supplied a much better route.
The inclusion of the Snowdon Summit ride is odd too and already appears in countless MTB guidebooks.
I don't mean to paint the book in a bad light - there are some routes I'm going to try for sure, but the potential was not realised IMHO.