CYCLING DEPARTURES

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Indy Lifestyle Online
"The climb is steep, but not tremendously so, the views spectacular and the descent to the north less challenging. Whilst ascending, ponder the fact that the Mendips were the 'mountains green' in Blake's 'Jerusalem'."

This is a description of the Wells to Bristol stretch of Lands End to John O'Groats - the Great British Bike Adventure by Phil Horsley, just published by Cordee. It coincides with the AA's first venture into two- wheeled transport with the book, Britain's Best Cycle Rides.

One of the safest parts of Britain for cyclists is the Isle of Wight, and Cycling Wight by John Goodwin and Ian Williams (Off Cliffe Publications) is a good introduction to the island's back roads. Isle of Wight Cycle Tours (01983 292723) offers a range of two- to seven-day holidays on the island.

Several stretches of the Sustrans National Cycle Network are now supported by 1:100,000 scale contour maps. So far, the sections from Cardiff to Holyhead and Carlisle to Inverness are mapped out - each with two map/booklets sets, costing pounds 4.95 each. Call Sustrans on 0117-929 0888 for more details.

Country Lanes' programme of one-day rides in the New Forest is based upon the 8.30am from Waterloo. If you catch this train to Brockenhurst, the company (01425 655022) will meet you with a 21-speed bike and a choice of circular rides. After your exertions, the train home is prefaced by afternoon tea. Bicycle Beano (01982 560471) has a straightforward response to people who fear their rides in Wales and the Borders may be too demanding: "We have a completely non-macho approach to the rides." Furthermore, they promise tea and cakes when you get back from the day's ride of around 35 miles. You pay about pounds 330 for board and guiding, plus pounds 50 for bike hire if required.

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