Bikepacking in the Lake District by Ed Hunton: Clear route descriptions, mapping and elevation profiles – book review –

Bikepacking in the Lake District by Ed HuntonBikepacking in the Lake District by Ed Hunton
Bikepacking in the Lake District by Ed Hunton
As summer ends and autumn begins, it’s time to pack away the sun screen and sandals, and pull on your cleats ready for a new season of cycling adventures.

And what could be better than heading off to the beautiful Lake District to enjoy exciting long weekends of bikepacking in some of this outstanding area’s most ambitious and scenic routes with Ed Hunton, an author with a lifelong passion for cycling, as your personal guide.

With many miles of rights of way, and iconic road passes like Hardknott, Wrynose and Honister to traverse, the Lakes is now the premier bikepacking destination in the UK, and Kendal-based Cicerone Press – an enthusiastic publisher specialising in outdoor activities guidebooks – has eight graded two-to-five day bikepacking adventures just waiting to be discovered.

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For those keen cyclists not fully up to speed with this off-road equivalent of cycle touring, bikepacking offers opportunities for wild camping as well as the usual accommodation options for sleeping under a roof, and an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the environment as you explore the best of what the area has to offer on two wheels.

The rides are suitable for mountain bikes (some routes are also rideable on a gravel bike), all are accessible by public transport, and many can be completed over a long weekend. This indispensable guide grades the rides from Moderate to Very Hard for bikepackers with varying levels of experience. However, all the rides are challenging and involve considerable ascent and descent and sections where you may need to push or carry your bike.

The routes combine roads, tracks, lanes and bridleways to take you among, around and over the Lakeland fells, with highlights including the off-road passes of Sticks Pass, Stake Pass, Whinlatter and Black Sail, and the highest bridleway in England over Helvellyn, England’s third highest mountain. All are suitable for any time of year, although some are more exposed than others with ice and snow a winter hazard.

For those ready and willing to tackle these ambitious routes, you will visit famous Lakeland towns along the way. The guide also features the classic Lakeland 200, which can be ridden over five days or completed as an Individual Time Trial.

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Clear route descriptions, mapping and elevation profiles are supplemented with a wealth of planning information, including accommodation listings, notes on facilities, and summary details (including grades) for each individual section of the route. Also included are tips on getting there, food, kit, bike shops, choice of bike, navigation and alternative itineraries.

So load up your bike, head for the fells, and get ready to explore the Lake District’s hidden gems as you travel into, over and through one of the most captivating and awe-inspiring landscapes in the British Isles.

(Cicerone Press, paperback, £16.95)

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