Sometimes a book comes along that makes you want to – literally – stroke every page, put it to the very top of your coffee table pile, breathe in its honey-scented aura, and worship at it’s printed alter.

Such a book has landed on our desks and we are utterly smitten.  Matt Carroll is launching his new anti-lycra, pro-slow cycling book Escape Routes– A Hand-Picked Selection of Stunning Cycle Rides Around England this week and it’s truly the bee’s knees of the cycle ride guides.  Matt’s gorgeous tome embodies everything we love…  well-thought through and beautifully scenic bike rides throughout Britain (including some of our fave places like Holkham in Norfolk, Southwold in Suffolk and Deal in Kent),  lush photography of beach huts and stately home gardens, the sweetest hand-drawn maps and the prerequisite list of stop-off spots for a little light refreshment – and very idyllic they are too!

Here’s the official blurb about the book…(or should I say Bible)…

To be released on 3rd May 2011, Matt Carroll’s Escape Routes challenges readers to ditch the car and get pedalling.  It features a hand-picked selection of 60 stunning countryside rides across England.  Whether you’re simply after a seven-mile pootle or want to escape for the day on a leisurely 20-mile jaunt – taking in proper country pubs, gorgeous Grade I-listed manor houses and pottery studios in Cornwall – this guidebook has something for everyone.

Matt used to shave his legs, don the Lycra and spend all his money on carbon fibre frames. However things have changed and he is now a self confessed ‘reformed cycle geek’ and is on a mission to encourage us to enjoy the ride with his ‘Slow cycling’ campaign. (Precisely our kind of chap!)

Instead of stressing about how many calories you’ve burnt, the number of miles you’ve notched up and being first away from the traffic lights on the way to work, Matt believes we should all take things a little slower.

We’re really happy to be teaming up with Matt to promote the book in the coming weeks, and are delighted also be stocking Escape Routes in the BEG Bicycles shop from next week.  In the meantime, have a look at Matt’s brilliant promo videos, including a great ride in Hertfordshire for townies here.

Feels like we’ve cycled and gone to heaven.