As bikepacking has grown in popularity (and fashionability), plenty of guidebooks have appeared. While it’s small enough to slip in a frame bag (393 grams, for the weight weenies), this one is not light on information. It looks lovely, with masses of glossy, Instagram-worthy photos on virtually every page. Emma Kingston also provides plenty of useful information for both total novices and cycle tourers wanting to adopt a more streamlined approach for off-road adventures. There’s advice on what to take and how to pack it while keeping your bike nimble enough to be fun to ride off road, plus tips on wild camping, wild swimming, safety, and how to leave no trace.
The 20 routes are arranged by region of England (including one on the Isle of Man). Most are 50-70 miles and suitable for a weekend adventure but there are also some longer and wilder trips, up to 125 miles across the North York Moors, that would warrant a proper multi-day trip. Rather than dry ‘turn left here’ instructions, each write-up begins with an evocative scene-setting cameo that drops you into the middle of the journey, before giving an overview of what to expect on the trip.
Maps are a little basic but GPX files of all the routes are available to download, and there are sidebars listing water, accommodation and food stops, along with navigation notes.
Review by Rob Kingston Cycling UK's former communications and media officer (no relation)