Discovering quiet, traffic light routes through beautiful countryside 

Nic rides a green loop around Lichfield

Red Kite Cycles team member Nic has lived in south Birmingham all his life but hasn’t ventured north of Sutton for cycling. His favourite riding ground is usually Malvern and westwards from there. 

Inspired by Jack Thurston’s book Lost Lanes Central England, he headed up the Coventry Canal to Lichfield to start a 45 mile loop of an undiscovered area. 

“The countryside was idyllic, it was like one of those days from The Famous Five when they take off on their bikes with a picnic. 

There was a variety of terrains: canal paths, lanes, trails, bridleways, cycle paths and a small amount of urban road. 

I rode through the Shugborough Estate which was beautiful, through Little Haywood and on to Cannock Chase. Cannock Chase was the most rugged terrain where you’re riding fire tracks through the woods. That said it was awesome riding through Cannock Chase on something other than a mountain bike! 

“The premise of the Lost Lane series is that the routes are ‘touring bike friendly’, rides you can do on any bike with 35mm tyres – anything that’s not a road bike with skinny wheels.

The routes are quiet and virtually traffic free and you are often riding on narrow lanes about 4 metres wide.”

“I did it on my Trek Crockett cyclocross bike with 35mm tyres. All the routes in Lost Lanes are graded and the Lichfield loop was moderate to challenging.

There were quite a few hills! You pass the trig point on Cannock Chase which is a bit of a climb.

Adding in the extra canal section before the start made it pretty tiring. After 69 miles I opted to catch the train back home from Lichfield.

You could easily start and finish the loop from Lichfield train station.” 

I took a couple of breaks and munched a few bagels along the way backed up by a few Torq flapjacks for energy. 

The name Lost Lanes says it all. I can’t recommend the book enough.

It has so much detail about the history and geology of the area you’re riding through.  

You can buy the Lost Lanes books direct from Jack Thurston’s website and he’ll even sign it with a personal message for you if you ask.

I’m planning on working my way through the whole book!