Page:The Cycle Industry (1921).djvu/93

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79
ROADS IN GREAT BRITAIN

Lichfield. It is picked up again near Brownhills and continues from there to Wroxeter, between Wellington (Salop) and Shrewsbury.

It is largely used by London and Birmingham cyclists as a through route to the gate of North Wales (Shrewsbury), partly because it avoids practically all large towns and on account of its occupying high ground from which extensive views are obtained.

The Fosse, the second ancient road in importance, once known as a Royal Road or King's Highway, stretched from the Lincolnshire coast to a point in Devon near the mouth of the river Axe. Cychsts use the modern Fosse from Lincoln to Newark-on-Trent, Bingham, Syston, Leicester, and Narborough, almost to the Warwickshire boundary. They will find it rideable, although mostly a gated road through Warwickshire, and it emerges as a highway again near Halford Bridge. From Halford it is the main road to Moreton-in-the-Marsh and Cirencester. Below Cirencester it can also be followed to Bath and beyond, but is not a rideable road beyond South Petherton, in Somerset. Both Watling Street and the Fosse are best known for their directness in making from one point to another, but they are not straight, as is popularly supposed, except in the sense that they were laid out in straight stretches of about nine miles or so in length between pre-determined spots.

The popularity of cycling in this country is due largely to the excellent network of roads we possess. The surfaces, it is true, are fast deteriorating owing to abnormally heavy traffic which they were not constructed to bear; nevertheless, Great Britain has probably better roads, from a cyclist's view point, than any other country in the world. When I say better I do not allude to surface alone, but to their suitability for the tourist