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Inspiration for your next bike ride or cycle tour

Written by Fiona

March 31 2016

Are you looking for a new cycling routes in your local area or keen to plan a cycling tour this summer? If so, The Ultimate UK Cycle Route Planner could be the place to start.

The map, which includes an amazing 20,000-plus miles of routes, has been republished as a third edition by Excellent Books and now includes:

  • National Cycle network (NCN) route numbering.
  • A new route line and place name design to give a crisper, cleaner look that is easier to use than the previous edition.
  • Places of interest next to cycle routes, for example, National Trust properties, castles, museums etc.
  • All the classic cycle routes, such as the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands, Cornwall’s Camel Trail, Tweed Cycleway and the Scottish C2C.
  • Rail lines and stations and ferry connections so you can plan a cycling adventure that combines cycling with public transport.

Closer look: The Ultimate UK Cycle Route Planner

The map opens up to give a large view of the UK with England and Wales on one side and Scotland and Northern Ireland on the other side. The Channel Islands and London are also included.

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You can browse hundreds of different routes, each colour coded according to type, including:

  • CTC National Cycle Network traffic free.
  • CCW National Cycle Network on road.
  • PBW National trail or signed mountain bike route.
  • Other routes.
  • Roads etc.

At first, the sheer number of routes seems over-whelming and I can’t think where to start to look. So, I spread the map out on the floor of my office and consider a few things, such as the different areas that I would like to cycle in. By doing that I can then identify where the best cycling routes are.

For example, I am heading to the Dumfries area in southern Scotland this weekend and I can see now where I will be able to ride my bike.

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I also fancy revisiting the Outer Hebrides and the map clearly shows a fantastic route from south to north, through all the islands.

I have a trip to the Lake District planned later this month and The Ultimate UK Cycle Route Planner offers some clues to the routes that I might enjoy.

The maps also helps cyclists to avoid busy roads and choose traffic-free routes when accessing UK cities.

Then I spot a list of named trails – and suddenly I am fixated. The map has 300 traffic-free rides and I start thinking about ticking off some of these as cycle tour holidays in the coming years. I do love a list!

This is not a map you would necessarily take with you on your cycle tour but one that is meant for the desk planning stage. Once you have identified where you will ride you can then look for a guide that will offer more detail.

I think it’s a brilliant resource and I only wish I’d found it sooner. Buy for £9.50 (reduced from £9.95) from Excellent Books.

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