Books and DVDs

The Trailrider Guide to Spain

We’re used to seeing MTB route guides for particular mountain ranges or hilly bits or regions, but Revolution Publishing’s Trailrider Guides move up a level in ambition by tackling entire countries. This guide to Spain is the result of a year’s research (including a lot of riding) by authors James Nathan and Lindsey Stroud and the results are impressive. The idea is to produce books that let you make the most of a riding trip without ending up spending most of it looking for those elusive singletrack treats.

The guide divides Spain into 19 “resorts” across four regions. The quotemarks are there because most of the areas aren’t really resorts as such, just handy bases from which to explore areas. Each area has a selection of rides (over 80 in total), with the idea being to present enough information for a week’s break in any of them. The mathematically-inclined will notice that said week tends to include a non-riding day, and other attractions are suggested.

There’s an amazing amount of information here. There’s plenty of background on each resort and all pf the routes are graded for distance, time, steepness, technical difficulty and ease of navigation. You get information about the proportion of Tarmac, doubletrack and singletrack, the availability (or otherwise) of local services, route profiles, waypoints for critical junctions to put into a GPS and detailed descriptions. The only thing that you don’t get is actual maps, but the authors tell you what maps you need and where to get them. Don’t be tempted to go out without a map, you’ll probably get lost.

The front of the book contains stacks of useful stuff about mountain safety, poisonous wildlife, food and drink, travelling with a bike and plenty of background about the country and people. We particularly like the section that tells you the Spanish names for all the bits of your bike and some useful phrases in case you need your freno de disco bleeding or get a pinchazo or something.

It’s all clearly presented and topped off with loads of pictures of a suitably “wish I was here” flavour. The one on the cover’s back to front, but that’s a minor quibble…

Positives: Stacks of information, inspiring pictures, good value.

Negatives: Map extracts would be nice

Verdict: Spain’s a cracking destination for mountain biking, and this book’s the next best thing to having a local showing you around. We’re looking forward to more in the series.

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