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Lake District Essential Trails Book review by Phil Chaplow

Lake District Mountain Biking: Essential Trails ISBN 0-9548131-8-9
Price 15.15 (Amazon at time of review) Route CD 7.50
Download example route (pdf)

The Book
I have glanced through other books in this series published by Vertebrate Graphics in bike shops, whilst impressed with the content I have always relied on others to guide me round The Peaks and Yorkshire Dales as my digital mapping doesn't extend to those areas. When I first heard about the Lake District Essential Trails I was looking forward to getting a copy to see if it contained any new routes or variations on classics which would give my local rides a fresh edge.

When my book and CD dropped through the door I eagerly thumbed through the book to see what it had to offer. Before getting to the routes an introduction informs you that the routes have all been ridden by the authors, this is apparent later with the details given in the descriptions. So many routes are available in publications and on the Internet which gloss over details which can prove crucial to navigation. A quick basic guide to Mountain Biking follows covering basic kit and rules to follow. Then we get to the routes. 

The Routes
The first section is Classics. Ten routes are detailed and mapped in full colour. Photographs help to give the book a nice feel and give an insight into what to expect. I have ridden most of the trails and can vouch for the quality chosen. The layout seems to work well enough and the routes should prove easy to follow although I would recommend always taking a good map with you. The small format of the book is designed to be carried with you but I don't think I would use this option, instead I would recommend the CD version which allows you to print a PDF copy to take with you. 

Seven Epics follow, again the routes are all a good selection. Two local ones which I have never ridden appealed and I have completed one of them already. Not quite an Epic in my opinion but I guess everyone has different perceptions of route grading. It certainly gave me a few new Bridleways to consider when riding from my door. In fact the book encourages you to link rides with other routes, often suggesting ways to increase the mileage.

The Enduros section lists routes more up my street. Ranging from 21 to 44 KM the seven routes cover some of the best the Lakes has to offer. There's plenty of choice for all weather riding and they are sure to deliver the goods. For those seeking even more then the Killers give three rides from 40 to 60 KM. Some variations to my normal routes, I will hopefully try the suggested routes soon.

Would we recommend it?
I can recommend this book to both locals seeking inspiration and those who seek to travel to the Lake District for riding. Taking the book along with you is not ideal however. Buying both gives you the option to sit in a comfy chair to choose your route and then print out a copy on the computer to take with you. The biggest failing I can see is the failure to put a GPS tracklog of the route onto the CD, something which may be addressed in the future.
The book retails at 15.95, the CD at 7.50. Buying both as a bundle costs 21.00 inc postage direct from the publisher. A sample route can also be downloaded from their website.

Want to read someone else's review?
Review on Planet Fear by Matt Hason if this link is broken please let me know.



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