The rise of bicycle holidays

It’s difficult to escape the cycling revolution on British roads. Everyone from MAMILS to Brompton Boys throng the roads on the daily commute while cycling for pleasure is on the rise with nearly 14% of adults cycling for fun once a month. It’s no surprise, then, that bicycle holidays are increasing in popularity.

Make the right choice

Whether you fancy tackling the mythic cols of the Tour de France or enjoying cider and sunsets in Somerset, be realistic about your level of fitness and choose the right riding partner. You might love romping up the climbs but if your friends or family prefer a few miles on the flat don’t expect them to turn into Chris Froome overnight. Making the right choice of riding partner and terrain is the difference between a great cycling holiday and wishing you’d booked two weeks in the sun.

If you love the great outdoors, a self-guided cycling holiday gives you the flexibility and freedom to go at your own pace. Cycling is a unique way to explore hidden treasures by using quiet lanes and cycle paths that motorists can’t access. A self-guided tour lets you start at your own pace and enjoy the sights and sounds knowing that there’s a comfortable hotel room and a hot shower at the end of the day.

Organising your own tour gives you maximum freedom to master your own route but you won’t have the back up you’ll experience with a guided or self-guided holiday and the logistics can be a nightmare. On the other hand, most fully guided holidays are not for the faint-hearted, preferring to tackle the highest peaks and most challenging terrain. If the very thought has you reaching for your bikini and sunscreen then consider one of the other options instead.

Saddle up

If a self-guided cycling holiday sounds like your glass of rose, then head for Europe where self-guided bike treks have been around for years. Benefit from the superior cycling infrastructure and the thousands of kilometres of scenic cycling in countries as diverse as Holland, the epicentre for leisure cyclists, and France where the roads of iconic Tour de France climbs are accessible to all throughout the summer – unless the Tour is passing by.

Whatever your destination, a self-guided tour lets you immerse yourself in another culture whether that’s pedalling through some of the greatest vineyards in the world or experiencing the fabulous coastal route between Porto and Praia de Mira Via Furadouro in Portugal. The emphasis is very much on regional cuisine, charming and cosy accommodation and taking things at your own pace for a holiday unlike any other.

To hire or not to hire

Unless you’re taking an e-bike tour, you’ll need to decide whether to hire a bike or take your own. If you plan to use your own bike rather than getting used to a hire one, make sure it’s fully serviced and fitted with new tyres. Then arrange for couriered bike transportation that gives you the peace of mind that your local friendly budget airline’s bike handlers won’t get anywhere near your precious steed.

In fact, bike transportation can be a smart choice when you want to travel light to your destination, safe in the knowledge that your bike will be delivered on time for you to start your tour. And it’s significantly cheaper than hiring a bike for the length of your holiday whether that’s a carbon fibre speed machine or a cargo bike for the kids. Bike transportation is the kind of affordable luxury that can make a cycling holiday a truly memorable experience.

There’s no wonder cycling holidays are on the rise. For the perfect blend of healthy adventure and indulgent experience, it’s hard to beat a tour through the vineyards of Tuscany or the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

If you’re going on a bicycle holiday this year, don’t forget to send your bike with Luggage Mule

Ski holidays – reasons to transport your ski equipment

Travelling to a ski resort is usually a little more complicated than reaching a summer holiday destination. First of all, it’s winter time – it’s cold and the weather can cause disruptions. In addition, the resort is usually a good distance from the airport, meaning you need to take a transfer. But the biggest issue is the sheer amount of stuff you need to take with you. Skiing is a sport which requires a lot of specialised clothing and equipment. And sometimes this is just more than you can handle.

But that’s not the only reason why skiers decide shipping skis is the better option. There are just too many advantages to ignore. Let’s take a look.

1. Unpredictable costs

You may have noticed lately, the airlines have been chopping and changing their checked luggage rules. It used to be that your board and skis went for free, but all that has changed. How much it costs varies wildly but one thing is for sure, it’ll be more than the cost of your seat. Shipping skis, instead, ensures you know the flat rate in advance and you won’t get any nasty surprises at the airport.

2. Protecting your skis

The ski season rush in smaller airports means careless handling and damaged skis. Most of us insure our ski equipment but if it arrives at the destination airport damaged, that’s at least a three-day wait to get it repaired. Having your skis shipped avoids this issue. Someone will pick them up from your home well in advance and they will be delivered safely to the resort.

3. Lost along the way

A common issue with ski gear is losing track of boot bags, helmets, and skis. Coming through the airport, you really have your hands full and somewhere along the route from the carousel to arriving at your hotel, things go missing. Shipping skis is one way to make sure everything stays together.

4. The time saved

There’s nothing worse than clock watching the carousel, knowing your driver will only wait an extra half an hour or the last bus leaves in 15 minutes. But these busy times do mean long waits and misplaced items. Some airlines will courier your items on to your hotel but many will expect you to pick them up. That could mean a six hour round trip during your holiday just to fetch your boots.

5. Missed connections

If you’re flying long distance to go skiing, you’ll likely be transferring planes at some point too. Every transfer is an opportunity for your ski equipment to go off on its own adventure. And there’s nothing worse than getting your bag back on the day before you depart – just in time to do it all again.

All in all, travelling light just makes flying so much more pleasurable. Kicking back knowing your skis are waiting for you when you arrive means the holiday can start as soon as you close your front door.

Save money, stress and time by shipping your winter sports equipment from home to hotel with Luggage Mule