Lost Lanes has been written by podcaster Jack Thurston and will be available next month. Thurston hosts eclectic bicycle show on Resonance FM, The Bike Show. He also writes for magazines such as Rouleur and Cycling Plus. This is his first guidebook. It’s almost more of a first person travelogue than a standard go-here-do-that guidebook. The book contains 36 rides, from gentle spins to weekend camping adventures and energetic hill climbs, all on quiet lanes and byways. Each ride is accompanied downloadable route instructions plus a GPX navigation file for GPS devices and smartphones.
‘Lost Lanes: 36 Glorious Bike Rides in Southern England’ also has a great many evocative photographs, most by Thurston himself.
The book will be co-promoted by The Bike Show.
"My intention was to present cycle touring in a slightly different light than the common images of endless miles of hard toil," said Thurston.
"I wanted to get away from both the epic and the fusty and to replace it with the appeal that I might describe as ‘accessible sublime’ – something to inspire and tempt people who don’t fancy Lands End to John O’groats or a round-the-world-adventure. 20-30 miles can be plenty for a great day out, though there are rides that are longer than this."
He said his book will hopefully inspire people to "spend time exploring the countryside, travell to interesting and beautiful places, and take an interest in the surroundings, stopping along the way for food, drink, a snooze, a swim."
That was the ethos of cycle guidebooks in previous decades, said Thurston, "but it’s become a little lost with the fitness and count-the-miles approach that we see so much of these days. I wanted to present cycle touring as something that anyone with a bike can do. You don’t have to have lots of gear, and you don’t have to go to exotic places. There’s places enough within easy reach of anywhere in the UK, even – maybe even, especially – London.
"I wanted to present a positive image of the kind of carefree, safe cycling that’s possible on all the tens of thousands of miles of lost lanes in the English countryside. These roads are perfect for cycling, and need no infrastructure intervention."
He added that the routes he describes in Lost Lanes "make for the most joyful cycling – better even than Holland! I was surprised by the number of Dutch cyclists on holiday that I met while out doing the research.
"By writing the rides up as I experienced them, in the first person, I hoped to convey more of the atmosphere and the experience of cycle touring than a simple ‘turn left, turn right’ type of guide book."