I have long been a fan of The Bike Show podcast presented by Jack Thurston. Jack contacted me recently for some help with a project, but more of that later. He mentioned that he has written a series of books entitled "Lost Lanes" and was kind enough to send me one of the books to review. These books epitomise the kind of cycling I love: quiet lanes, mild unsurfaced sections and beautiful scenery. Jack has taken some stunning photos and has written graphic and informative descriptions of the routes.
The routes themselves are all circular and around 40 miles, starting/ending from points accessible via road and rail, so making for easy day rides. Jack has graded them from "easy" through to "challenging", to give you an idea of whether the route is suitable for you.
From Jack's description, you can do the rides on almost any bike, other than a super-lightweight racing bike, although my son once did a loaded tour with me on his carbon fibre Cube with 25mm tyres. This route included some very rough towpath sections of the Kennet & Avon canal!
Jack is doing a speaking tour about the Lost Lanes books and the most common question he is asked is "What kind of bike?", so Jack is building his ideal "Lost Lanes" bike. The bike Jack is building is 650B on wide tyres with a steel frame. I won't say any more until the bike is launched, but you will be able to see it at Bespoked Bristol in May 2019. As I said at the beginning of this article "Lost Lanes" describes my ideal rides in many ways, so I have my own ideas of the ideal bike for this kind of cycling, which isn't too far away from Jack's ideas too. The frame I chose for my own Lost Laner was the Velo Orange Polyvalent, as described here . This really a modern copy of my 1951 Calla "Old French Hiker", which I restored and updated a while ago. This restoration is documented in 4 blogs starting here
If this kind of cycling appeals to you, have look at Lost Lanes, so far they cover, Wales, the South and the West of England. Just follow this link and get one of the books and get lost in the lanes with Jack.