In a crowded area of Southern England it can be hard to enjoy cycling, but it is easy to forget that Kent is known as ‘the garden of England’, a garden with many hidden corners.
Jack Thurston is host of ‘The Bike Show’, a unique program on which interviews are often conducted during a bike ride. “Because you’re out in the world, you get this sense of a real journey,” explained Thurston.
Thurston’s first book, ‘Lost Lanes’, takes the reader on a journey through 36 bike routes in the South of England, ranging from the north of Essex to the Isle of Wight, carefully picked out by Thurston and conveying his passion for cycling.
“The fact that I was trying to find these best rides to recommend to other people and have faith other people would enjoy these,” Thurston said, “it made me put in a bit more effort and thinking about something in a more focused way reminds me how wonderful it can be.”
It is easy to look past the natural beauty of Essex, with the stereotypical television exposure that the county gets, but Thurston is keen to set the record straight.”
“I enjoyed and was most surprised a lot by Essex as I don’t cycle there often,” said Thurston. “There are some amazing little villages. You feel like you’re in another world.”
It is very easy to get into a routine of getting on a bike just for the sake of having one, but with ‘Lost Lanes’, Thurston takes his readers much deeper, allowing them the freedom of the South of England and reminding them that feeling the wind in your face and cycling the winding roads can be one of the most satisfying experiences.
Lost Lanes is not just a list of the 36 routes that Thurston carefully put together for the satisfaction of his readers. It also offers an array of photographs, enticing the reader into going to see the destination in real life.
The book also includes past times, such as the best local pubs for the perfect rest bite after a great ride, or if the ride and its sights have worn you out, there are lists of the perfect places for camping.
This is Thurston’s first venture into creating a book, and if ‘Lost Lanes’ kicks off proves to be very popular to a wide audience, he understands there is a possibility to delve deeper across the country to create another.
“If this one sells well, maybe there will be another chance to do another part of the country,” Thurston said. “Picking the 36 rides was quite hard, being limited to a number of pages in a book I could even do another one on the South of England with there being so many rides.”
There are of course many hidden bike routes across the whole of England but what makes ‘Lost Lanes’ so remarkable is its emphasis on the enjoyment of cycling, how it can be enjoyed by anyone and how you can explore the country simply by riding your bike.
Perhaps Thurston will extend the book into a series of ‘Lost Lanes’ across other parts of the country, unlocking more hidden corners that remind us of the beautiful regions of this country that are easily forgotten.