Guidebook: Vertebrate Graphics White Peak Mountain Biking
In 2004 Vertebrate Graphics produced White Peak Mountain Biking. Then came South West Mountain Biking in 2005. 2006 sees the third title in the series, partner to the first, White Peak Mountain Biking.
Whereas the Dark Peak guide covered the moors of the northern half of the Peak District this one covers the southern half; limestone as opposed to grit stone for those wondering where the dark and white come from. That said this guide does actually include a couple of bonus rides from the Dark Peak as well. All in all it features some 26 rides split into three categories: classics, epics, enduros and bonus. Whereas the first guide didn’t have an orientation map at the start of the book listing all the rides this one does. I was disappointed that it doesn’t include an associated table of the rides listing length, type, ascent / descent and difficulty alongside the map. Instead the only detail listed is the page number of the ride. Fair enough the above-mentioned information is included at the start of each ride description, but I’d like to be able to appraise the whole book on one page to help me make a quick decision about which ride to do. The three ride categories are split into colour coordinated sections of the book, each section preceded by another map, this one showing the rides in that section as scale drawn colour-filled outlines – presumably there was not enough room on the initial map for these scaled indicators of where the routes go. Basically all the information is there – and is much easier to decipher than in the previous guide – but I think it could still be better.
As to the guide itself, the maps and photos are top notch. Vertebrate have been in the design game long enough to be market leaders on this front. It is compact – 172 pages that feel more like 100, but at the same time do not feel flimsy – and fits in the pocket easily. The ride descriptions are good, though we have obviously not tested all of them yet! It includes all the usual information on what kit to carry, road and off road rules and etiquette, a directory of bike shops, bike hire centres, pubs, cafes and accommodation, and even a section on night riding. There are also a hand full of lists at the back: top down-hills, top up-hills and top single track.
As with the previous guides you can also buy the associated CD which allows you to print off the maps and leave the guide behind if you really need to save weight. The CD costs £7.50 (plus P&P). How about going to DVD and including videos of some of the best rides?
All in all, at £14.95 it is a quality guide to a beautiful area of the country, and a significant step forward from the other books on offer for the area.