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Cycle Tours Chilterns, Hertfordshire & Essex

This spiral-bound guide describes 20 wonderful bike rides in the countryside to the north and west of London. The area offers some excellent and varied cycling: from the challenges of the steep wooded escarpment of the Chilterns in the west to the gentle gradients on networks of quiet lanes in Hertfordshire and north Essex. The book contains 15 road rides (24-35 miles long) and five offroad rides on bridleways and byways (15-21 miles long). All of the rides are highlighted on Ordnance Survey Landranger 1:50,000 mapping, seen as the gold standard of mapping for cyclists. Junction-by-junction route instructions guide you from village to village through the region's beautiful rolling countryside. Each ride contains details of distance, grade of difficulty and refreshments along the way (with phone numbers of pubs and cafes so that you can check on opening hours). A height profile gives you warning of any hills to expect and schematic maps show how the ride can either be shortened or linked to adjacent rides for a longer day out. The Chilterns rise to over 800ft (245mts) at several points along the escarpment as it runs northeast from the River Thames at Goring towards Dunstable and Luton. Three of the five offroad rides use the fine stone-based tracks that weave their way through the area's famous beech woodlands which often form a great green tree cathedral overhead. Three of the road rides also explore the Chiltern woodlands, one from Princes Risborough and two around Tring. East of the Chilterns the rides make use of the network of quiet lanes that criss-cross this gently rolling, predominantly arable landscape. Small villages of thatched and half-timbered houses seem to vie with each other for the splendour of their village signs, often intricately carved and painted. The easiest ride in the book follows the Lee Navigation south from Hertford to Limehouse Basin in London: the towpath is one of the best in the whole country.
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