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.
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.