The United Kingdom is one big field.
Everything is extremely uniform and fully controlled by humans. Maybe this is partially due to it being an island with extensive flood plains. Loots of white mana floating around there.
Some impressively sounding natural parks look more like cute countryside that is slightly hillier than the surrounding countryside.
This uniformity does however make it quite comfortable for its Hobbit inhabitants.
It also means that whenever slightly out of the ordinary happens, e.g., a bit of slightly heavier rain, everything floods. In some way however, the Brits are very pragmatic, and as long as the flood is not too bad, they just let it be, it might be cheaper.
Decent interactive counties map: TODO districts...
There are few different versions. The most important as of 2020 are:
No one is capable of offering an official/more generalized (why can't Google Maps do this properly?) map than these people:,-4.500/zoom=7 So so be it.
Video 1. English counties explained by Jay Foreman (2021) Source.
Video 1. Being a Dickhead's Cool by Reuben Dangoor (2010) Source.
Contains the University of Cambridge, that's about it really, from that everything follows.
The city appear to exist there because it was a convenient crossing of the Cam. It also lies near the start of the ancient navigable section TODO towards north or south? Castle hill also offered a convenient fortification location near the river, and is part of the reason for the early Roman settlement. The original bridge was presumably in the current Magnalene bridge, just under the castle hill.
TODO why did the University of Oxford scholars flee to after the The hanging of the clerks in 1209? Why not anywhere else?
Anywhere north, including NE and NW: fenlands, i.e. marshes. Quite a few quarries as well. Extremely flat, very uniform, towns often have to be on top of small hills to escape the incessant flooding. Norfolk Coast AONB is beautiful if you take a train ride first, the beaches are very wide and many of them have few people if you avoid a few very busy spots.
East and SE: rolling hills towards Suffolk and the coast. Beautiful county, both Dedham Vale AONB and Suffolk Coast AONB.
South: first one of the hilliest nearby areas around Elmdon and Arkesden, then gently going down to the lush Lee River valley.
Southwest: larger and larger cities as you move towards London. From a train starting point, you can reach the Northen Chilterns, for some serious hills.
West: mostly flat farmland until you hit the River Great Ousse.
The City of London is an obscene thing. Its existence goes against the will of the greater part of society. All it takes is one glance to see how it is but a bunch of corruption. See e.g.: The Spiders' Web: Britain's Second Empire.
Video 1. Model Village at Pendon Museum by the BBC (1975) Source.
Video 2. The History of Pendon Museum by World of Railways (2012) Source. The founder was Australian. His family was wealthy, and he liked cycled around the Vale.
The city clearly exists because it is in the confluence of the river Thames and the River Cherwell. In such confluences, terrain tends to be flat, and fords are also common, with crossings wide and shallow, and so it was an important crossing place.
Notably, the Cherwell is a natural link between London and the North towards Coventry, and then Birmingham, as it, and then the Thames in which it goes into, puncture through both the Chilterns, then North Essex Downs and the Cotswolds hills. The M40.
There are valid reasons to be pro-Brexit, given the uselessness of the European Union.
The problem was how the campaign was conducted, in a purely nationalistic, populist and fake news manner, and largely supported by business leaders who immediately after still wanted to hire cheap foreign labour, use tax havens and move headquarters to other countries, e.g.:
Video 1. Monster Raving Loony Party Conference by Britclip. Source.
The British are very pragmatic. This has good and bad effects.
For example, a good effect is that many things work pretty well, such as the government. This also helped industry develop.
A bad effect is that they sometimes settle on local minima forever. Examples:
  • as of 2020, they are still using imperial units in everyday life, rather than International System of Units, which was setup by the French, who are much more idealistic, and can therefore can break from such insanity more often.
  • the persistence of the insane system of colleges of the University of Oxford
  • the incredibly late date of the decimal day in 1971, and that was partly due to the advent of the computer. That one was too much, even for the Brits, or maybe it helped that the greedy financiers were involved
  • the British train system as of the 2010's, which is completely not unified, each part operated by a different company with different standards. Private and public unification efforts are ongoing, Trainline being one of the best/only private buy from any line unification approaches.
  • Church of England priests can marry, which reduces the proportion of pedophiles. Also women were accepted starting in the 1970's in certain dioceses (non uniform rules as usual, typical of English pragmatism), including for bishop
If it ain't totally broken, just let it continue forever! See also: Section "History of the University of Oxford".
British weather is not as bad as the stereotype, at least not in the southern half of the country.
Notably, it does not rain that much, and when it rains, it is a very light rain, which Brazilians from São Paulo or , at most, a "drizzle".
It feels like the weather forecasts are almost always worse than reality, maybe it is a way to not make people disappointed.
What there is relatively a lot of is wind, and fog. But the wind is generally warm and wet, it is very maritime.
The United Kingdom is a great place to cycle in general as there's plenty of small country roads and interesting new small towns to discover, perhaps much like the rest of Europe, as opposed to the United States, which likely has some huge infinitely long straight roads with a lot of nothing in between.
Of particular interest is the large amount of airfields and small air raid shelters in the fields, an ominous reminder of world war 2. The airfields are in various states, from functional military fields, many converted to civilian usage, some have barely any tarmac left but still see usage. And some were just completely abandoned and decayed and became recreation grounds and farms. The UK is therefore also a great place to be if you want to learn to fly as a hobby!
Great set of long distance routes.
They are very well chosen for their high safety and level interest, so you can just go into them without putting much thought into it.
Sometimes they go a bit too much on the side of safety, making certain transitions annoying, but in general the selection is spot on.
The routes do sometimes go on a bit of gravel, so they are most adequate for hybrid bikes rather than road bikes, although road bikes would be able to to much of them. A more road-bike dedicated possibility is the The National Byway.
Note however that there are many many other local routes which are not in the network, but arguably equally, or more worthwhile.
Their diginal map distribution mechanisms are a bit shitty and sometimes asks you to pay for certain formats, which is hard to understand given that the maintainer of those maps, the Ordnance Survey appears to be public... "How to see the Sustrans National Cycle Network on Google maps?"
Googling "National Cycle Netowrk KML" leads to: from which we can download the KML. then shows how to make that viewable on Google Maps by going through on the browser. TODO 2021-11:
  • KML: nothing happens after the upload finishes, the "Select button remains grayed out
  • CSV: you need to "Choose a column to title your markers", but all I tried give "Oops! We're having trouble finding those locations. Did you pick the correct location columns?"
"Ralph Hughes" is listed as the creator/responsible of the exports, but can't find his email. Sent an email to and he did reply a few days later that they are aware of the issue, and are particularly trying to reach out to Google about it. Great news! GPSPrune 20.2-1 can open the KML however, so that file can't be entirely wrong.
OpenStreetMaps has them on by default though if you just click "Cycle Map" layer. It is not as incredibly detalied as the Ordnance Survey one, e.g. does not show which side of the street to ride on, but still, is very good.
It runs along quiet roads, rather than a mixture of roads and tracks like the National Cycle Network, making it more appropriate for road bikes.
TODO interactive online app? Ahh, those charities that try to make money by individual transactions... when they die, nothing will be left of all their work.
Edit: noticed that it is on by default on OpenStreetMaps web UI under the "Cycle Map" layer marked at "NB".
A disaster. More cars and less trains...
  • Losing Track by Channel 4 (1984), especially episode 5
    Today the makeup of UK transport looks very different from the one envisaged by Dr Beeching. Rail passenger figures have almost doubled over the past 10 years; commuter trains are crammed; young people are deserting the car for the train; and Britain's railway bosses are struggling to meet soaring demands for seats. The legacy of Beeching - dug-up lines, sold-off track beds and demolished bridges - has only hindered plans to revitalise the network, revealing the dangers of having a single, inflexible vision when planning infrastructure.
    "The crucial lesson to take from the Beeching anniversary is that you have to be flexible when planning transport infrastructure. Beeching was not," says Colin Divall, professor of rail history at York University. "Yes, many loss-making lines did need closing down, but nowhere near the number earmarked by Beeching, as we can now see with terrible hindsight."
They are not public in any meaningful modern sense, just like "public universities" in the United Kingdom: are public universities in the UK owned by the Government?.
They actually abolished the original legal requirement for those institutions to have free scholars as set out by their original charity school beginnings!!! WTF!
But the broadening of scope beyond the Church of England/medieval material was a good thing at least.
Deep tech (have labs) unicorns:
Almost deep tech but possibly without labs:
  • Exscientia