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Inconvenient logistics and poor quality mapping
on 29 April 2013
There are a few good points to this book, but there are many reasons why I would advise against buying this guide. The main ones are:
1 - Most routes are linear (rather than circular), and there is very litttle information regarding travel to and from the start and end points of the rides with your bike. Many routes don't appear to begin or end anywhere near transport hubs (e.g. train stations).
2 - The maps are very poor quality and they would be completely useless as a navigational aid on the bike. As as example one route I was interested in doing (a 3 day 167km loop in the Pyrenees) is shown on a map at scale approx 1cm:30km. The entire loop was contained within a square inch of paper, and it didn't even show many of the towns/villages that were described in the guide, including one of the overnight stops. The book does give you advice in which IGN maps you can purchase for a particular ride, but surely the point of a cycling guide is that it can be used to guide you when cycling?
3 - There is a superfluous 20 page section at the back titled 'Your Bicycle' which is essentially a guide to basic bike mainenance and set-up. This just seems a bit tokenistic as most people considering going on a foreign cycle tour would I suspect already know how to fix a flat tyre, or oil a chain, and could almost certainly identify their rear pannier bag. People who are completely new to cycle touring would be much better informed with one of the many excellent instructional books on bike maintenance and touring. The pages would instead have been better used adressing issues mentioned in 1 & 2.