Welcome to the only free editorial online guide to bike rides in the UK. My routes cover the kingdom – from the Shetland Islands to the Isles of Scilly and many places in between. I live in Yorkshire and love Scotland so those are the regions with most rides. I’m an old fashioned, t-shirt and shorts type cyclist and not one of the Lycra brigade. In keeping with that I cover modest distances (rarely above 40 miles) and like to focus on what I’m passing (often stopping off to have a really good look) rather than how fast I pass it. I like local history and quirky features in the landscape that other people wouldn’t spot or know about. The guides tend to focus on those details and the ‘what it was like’ of the ride rather than “left here”s and “right there”s although they’re included at the end of each write-up too.
I’ve researched, devised and described rides for magazines and newspapers since 1999 and many of the features are reproduced here. My work has been published in, for instance, The Times, Guardian, Yorkshire Post, Dalesman, Countryfile and Cycling Active.
Why cycle? Walking is too slow and a car is too quick to see things especially if you’re driving and it removes you from the environment. A bike, though, is just right. You see, experience and absorb your surroundings becoming part of it rather than simply an observer. Every bike ride is a journey that ends with a sense of satisfaction that you never get from motorised transport. Sometimes, at the end of a ride when I start my drive home, roads and junctions that I’ve previously encounted on the bike seem somehow different and I feel like a different person. The route is suddenly no longer mine and I’m not an explorer.
By the way, the reason I appear in so many pics isn’t that I’m an egomaniac; it’s just that one of my clients, Cycling Active magazine, requires the same cyclist in pretty much every pic. Since I usually cycle alone that has to be me – with the help of a self-timer on the camera. I’m an expert with that, believe me. I normally wear a red t-shirt to stand out against the often green background but do wash it between rides. There are also a lot of pics of my son and occasional riding partner, Bertie.
Contact: If you’d like cycling editorial or pics for your business or organisation then please contact me via paulkirkwood[at]talktalk.net or call 01423 339941.