Books and other guides sell themselves from the cover inward so I was surprised that Excellent Books had given an otherwise contemporary guide with such an uninspiring and antiquated cover design. People do judge books by their covers.
That would be a mistake with this one because get past the cover though and you’ll find a portable, no batteries required, virus free guide to the entire Sustrans National Cycle Network and National Byway also covering sections of the National trails where bikes are permitted. There’s essential information such as traffic volumes and planned future development and in all a total of 16,500 clearly sign posted miles for all abilities.
Redemption is courtesy of clearly printed colour maps detailing the network and cyclist specific points of interest including the Youth Hostel Network for those on a budget or just looking to enjoy the company of like minded stragers. National rail network and its myriad of stations are clearly plotted throughout which frees less experienced cyclists from feeling car dependant in order to enjoy rides further afield.
While slipping unobtrusively into the bar bag or pannier, scale lends it best to pre-ride overview and planning with GPS or specific regional guides making better navigation tools. Minor niggles aside at £8.95 it represents excellent value for money and a great companion to the bookshelves of novice and seasoned riders alike.
Dated cover design hides a decent route mapping tool for all abilities – every cyclist should have one
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Excellent Books UK Cycle Route Planner
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It is a comprehensive route map covering the entire Sustrans,National Byway and areas of the National trail (or at least the sections where bikes are permitted.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
A handlebar sized full colour route map-easiy slips into a pannier for reference but too large for the map holder. Laminated cover spares contets from sticky chocolate bars, energy drinks, coffee etc
Longevity shouldn't be a problem so long as you store carefully and out of the rain.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Frankly, it's very easy to follow, nice to plan by and just the right size for coffee table reference yet still folds small enough to slip into a pannier for later consultation. Stick to route guides/maps or GPS for riding by.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Virus free, comprehensive, easy to follow and great value into the bargain.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Outdated typeset and cover design.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Every cyclist's bookshelf should have a reference copy
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, so long as they could read a map!
About the tester
Age: 35 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)