When I was out last week, I noticed that some of the lanes I was riding were part of one of our national cycle routes. I'd heard a bit about about them from cycling friends but knew very little really.
Looking into this a little more revealed that we actually have a huge number of these cycle routes which combine genuine traffic free routes (disused railway lines, byways and so on), quiet lanes and cycle paths next to larger roads. They are set up and managed by a body called Sustrans.
So yesterday in the library, I was delighted to find a book by by Sustrans entitled "Cycling in the UK" which shows, region by region, the cycle paths (including whether they are on road or traffic free) with more detailed review of a select few. It also lists some longer routes, points of interest, places to stop and eat etc. It's a really nice book to read, the information is easy to interpret and it's in large scale full colour too.
It really has me fired up for another day out now. There's a route I'm keen on that would involve a train ride out followed by a forty mile ride home including about sixteen miles on a totally traffic free path! Wonderful - and just the stuff folding bikes were made for!
Sustrans also have an iPhone app (free to download) showing all of the cycle paths on maps which are zoomable to a high level of detail. It uses the iPhone's GPS technology to locate you and show paths near to where you are.
Part of the fun of adventure is in the planning for sure, but now I can't wait for a warm dry day to take the Dahon out on some new roads.
Bring it on!