Fresh out of the Bikemagic mailbag, the latest guide in Cicerone’s mountain biking series hones in on the South Downs.
The book is the first guide to cover the new South Downs National Park, with Peter Edwards setting out 26 routes, ranging from nine to 35 miles in length.
Mountain Biking on the South Downs (£14.95) is the second in the series, following Ian Boydon’s guide to the Lake District, published in March.
The 236 page book is divided into seven sections – starting with the introduction, before moving onto The South Downs Way National Trail (detailing a three-day, 97-mile ride), before sections on routes around Winchester, Chichester and Petersfield, Arundel and Worthing, Brighton and Lewes, and Eastbourne.
The introduction covers all bases for those new to mountain biking or the South Downs, covering an array of topics, including trail centres, when to go, equipment, navigation, hydration and food.
As for the rides themselves, each route starts with a run down of the key facts – distance (on and off-road), grade, ascent, time, start, finish, pub and cafe – followed by a brief overview and route profile. Maps (Ordnance Survey) are clear and turn-by-turn directions easy to understand.
Other key features in the book include a map of the whole area so you can easily find your nearest ride, as well as a comprehensive table, spread over two pages, comparing the key info from all 26 rides.
The book measures 17.5cm x 12cm, meaning it’s small enough to throw in your backpack, or to just keep at home or in the car for inspiration. All in all, this is a comprehensive guide to a superb area for mountain biking.