Harold Briercliffe Cycle Touring Guides

by Adam on 2, December, 2012

I’m sure a few of you fellows may recall a televisual series hosted by the redoubtable Ms. Clare Balding in which she travelled around this Sceptred Isle following routes originally plotted by a Mr Harold Briercliffe, indeed it even inspired several foolish souls from this parish to attempt a character building route around Hebden Bridge.

At the time, tracking down the original pamphlets was a labour worthy of Hercules himself, however since those far off days Anova Books have brought out a revised edition of three of the books for the princely sum of £9.99 (although a bit of shopping around can dig up and bargain or two).

As a guide I am afraid they have not weathered the past sixty years too well, the route descriptions are a joy to read and Mr Briercliffe’s pen and ink illustrations are an artwork in themselves. The issue is with the increase in modern day traffic, Mr Briercliffe will happily send you along what is now a major arterial “A” road, whilst this may not have been such an issue when the guides were originally penned it could lead to a sticky situation in modern day Britain. To be fair to the publishers this issue is partly redressed by the end of the chapters having an insert for suitable Sustrans routes.

Please don’t let this put you off the books, as I have said the narrative is written in style that can only put a smile on your face, providing a wonderful window as to how cycling was in post war Britain, the pages are peppered with original 1950’s cycling advertisements and while it may not be desirable to follow the routes to the letter, I am sure with a little map work a suitable and interesting route could be pulled together.

Christmas is coming, why not treat yourself to a little read as you settle down to you post Christmas Dinner watching of “The Great Escape”?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dodger (FKA EmGee CeCe) December 2, 2012 at 7:38 pm

We only ever mention “Hebden Bridge” in a whispered voice… I was there… but I’m not proud of the hell that is for ever etched onto the collective memory of those Assembly who were there !!!



penny December 2, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Marvellous ! One has ordered the Southern edition.


Mistress Brim December 2, 2012 at 7:47 pm

One has also ordered the Southern edition….the North is a mystery…


Adam December 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Mistress Brim,

No mystery, it’s very much like the south just a bit better.


Mistress Brim December 6, 2012 at 4:58 pm



Swiss-Zweirad-Miss December 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Thank you very much for the recommendations, Mr Adam! I have ordered (and already received) all three editions – plus “Britain By Bike: A Two-Wheeled Odyssey Around Britain”.
Swiss Benno will definitely get a treat this Christmas – all these fabulous books, and a Guv’nor jersey from his wifie.. he truly never has had it so good.


Adam December 16, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Hasn’t he just?
I usually have to resort to hints involving hanging the relevant “suggestion” at eye level around the house.


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