North Tyne Bike Ride Guide
NTBRG is a detailed, richly illustrated, and amusingly written introduction to hundreds of miles of stunning cycling along the back roads and byways of England’s bike paradise in Northumberland. It is available as an interactive eBook for iPad® or as a printed book. Read a sample chapter here.
The area covered by the guide. The North Tyne Valley in Northumberland is close to Hadrians Wall and the Scottish Border and is linked to the world class cycling centre at Kielder by some of the best cycle trails in Europe.
NTBRG is written by a local resident, Alan James, who has ridden every inch of the rides described in the book – which are mostly on almost empty back lanes, half-forgotten Roman roads or forest tracks.
So take Alan’s word for it, he knows where all the agonising climbs are lurking, where the massive upland moors offer the most stunning views, and where the plunging downhills are at their most exciting. He’s an honestly reliable guide, not pulling punches where the few off-road bits get a bit too squelchy. One of the routes even begins with the words “this ride is better on a horse.”
Reflecting the extraordinarily rich local history of Hadrians Wall country, the book contains plenty of background too, ranging from Chairman Mao’s thoughts on the impact of the Roman Empire, through the unsavoury habits of the Reivers, to St Oswald’s defeat of the pagans. It also gives invaluable advice, which spans practical details of where to stay and how to get there, through to esoteric, but essential, hints on how to handle psychopathic sheepdogs, and which squirrels it is OK to run over.
NTBRG is also a great read when you’re not planning a bike ride. It is written in a mordant style, combining a bike rider’s knowledge of the local hills (downhills celebrated, uphills resented) with humorous insight into the local area, including where that sheepdog lies in wait before ambushing cyclists, how to identify motorcycle routes by the ambulances lurking in lay-bys, and how inaccurate paint annoys railway enthusiasts.