The next big step in this adventure is here. Today I’m launching a brand new series of downloadable, printable Pocket Guides for the free cycle routes I’ve already shared. Now you can take a handy guide along for the ride and support the website at the same time.
To say these have been a labour of love would be an understatement (I made the first sketch in August!), but they’re something I’ve wanted to create ever since launching the website and they’re really quite important.
For one thing, they fill a necessary gap alongside the very descriptive online cycle route guides, for something simpler that you can take with you along the way. For another, they might just fill the gap in making the website itself sustainable.
The first year was better than I ever would have hoped: over 30 supporters bought a virtual coffee and helped, with a few quid from online advertising on the side, to just hit the target of £100 and cover web hosting for the year.
But now I’ve just had to drop another £120 on year two. Advertising only brings in just pence per week and there’s only so many times I can expect people to buy a non-existent coffee. I don’t mind funding things myself for the sake of promoting local cycling, but that hundred squid also ignores all the hours poured into this project. All the while, I want to keep the online route guides free to access for everyone, to reach as many people as possible.
So here’s phase 2 of the masterplan. (Joking — there is absolutely no masterplan.)
Adventures in your pocket
The Pocket Guides are PDF downloads available through the Peaks & Puddles Shop pages on Ko-fi, the “buy me a coffee” platform.
Each guide comes in TWO formats: one designed to be printed double-sided on A4 paper and folded up to a neat pocket size, one designed for swiping through on a mobile device.
Both have simplified turn-by-turn directions plus trivia and notes on places of interest along the way.
The print versions have most of the directions on the outer pages and fold out for the full-page map. A QR code takes you straight to the full website guide with all the hundreds of photos.
The mobile version can be saved to “Files” or “Books” on your phone and viewed without requiring any data or signal while you’re out and about.
The maps are based on Open Street Map but redrawn entirely from scratch — which yes, is a rather mad thing to do, but it means they’re completely customised both to the routes and to local cycling. (Besides, I felt it would’ve been pretty cheap to charge money for a guide where the map is just a screenshot, even if I own at least one printed cycling book who’s done just that.)
Where important paths and byways for cycling are barely visible in most online maps, I’ve been able to make them as prominent as I like — while removing unnecessary noise from elsewhere. On a couple of the guides, I’ve added more detailed maps in a little breakout circle.
The route itself is in blue while other useful off-road paths are in pink. The best linking roads are dotted in pink, too, so you can perhaps use the same map to piece together a completely different adventure. I’ve also made sure it’s all just as clear printed in black and white as colour.
The Pocket Guides are just £1 each individually, with GPX route files included, or you can bag the Complete Collection for a single flat price. All payments are handled on Ko-fi using Stripe, Apple Pay or PayPal and after a small percentage in fees* it all goes back in to funding the website and more guides.
(* Buying the complete collection or several guides at once is better for me for this reason — see below for a discount)
So, now you can help keep the online route guides free to access for everyone, while getting something in return.
Buy now, get even more rides later
The nice thing with the Complete Collection is, you pay once to unlock it and can then revisit to download the latest files any time. There are just five now but will be many more in future.
As I complete more guides and add more brand new rides, they’ll be added and available for download at no extra cost for everyone who’s unlocked it.
Once the collection has grown a bit more it’s likely I’ll (very slightly) increase the price to match, so it’ll be a good investment to get in early if you’re interested.
Here’s to the next adventure!