The travel industry has not been slow to realise the potential of the cycling boom, offering a great many destinations that can be enjoyed by both individuals and groups across the world.
You don’t have to be a serious cyclist to enjoy many of these packages – if you fancy a sedate cycling holiday through the French countryside or perhaps somewhere closer to home, north or south of the border, with the family in tow, then there is bound to be an itinerary to suit your requirements.
At the other extreme, there are the cycling holidays aimed at those who want to test their fitness and endurance by cycling across some of the most challenging landscapes on the planet.
Needless to say, it is not recommended to book one of these trips if you aren’t physically and mentally fit. Not only will you be wasting your own money, but your newfound companions are not going to be impressed by the ‘passenger’ holding up the rest of the group.
Itineraries To Suit You As A Cyclist
What about if you are a semi-serious cyclist who doesn’t want to take things too easy? Well, there are cycling holiday itineraries to suit you as well, taking in cycling destinations such as Southeast Asia, Africa and New Zealand.
Depending on the individual package, you will find that in many cases the price will include flights, meals and accommodation, along with more practical items such as route maps, and in the more extreme cases, local guides to ensure everyone stays on the right track.
Cycling holiday our operators will be able to advise on what you should be packing in your panniers. And don’t forget insurance!
For those intent on experiencing the more gentle side of cycle touring, there are a few rules that should be borne in mind.
First and foremost, arm yourself with Ordnance Survey maps of the area that you will be visiting and plan your route on a daily basis so that the distance you need to cover from last night’s hotel or boarding house to the next is easily achievable.
Check the landscape you intend to cross, too, so that you won’t encounter any unpleasant surprises in the form of steep gradients or rivers without a nearby crossing point.
In Case A Cycling Emergency Arises
Daily cycling equipment checks, including tyres and lights, energy bars and water should become second nature, and ensure at least one member of the group has a mobile phone in case an emergency arises.
Inform guesthouses or hoteliers on your cycling holiday route of your likely arrival time that evening so they can act as an extra insurance policy should you and your group be overdue by a significant period of time.
You must remember that while the landscape is there to be enjoyed, you must be respectful of the elements and how conditions can change very quickly, particularly in exposed areas.
Booking a Cycling Holiday Trip
So where to look for a cycling trip? In the UK, a good starting point is the sustainable transport charity Sustrans, which can offer plenty of information on starter cycling holiday rides for those new to touring as well as long-distance routes. The Internet is a great source of both offers and ideas.
Due to the volume of companies and packages that can be found, it would be unfair to mention simply one or two as these could be construed as recommendations.
Suffice to say, tapping the key words “cycling holiday” into a search engine will be enough to open up broad new horizons, whatever your ability as a cyclist.