Cycling is a truly unique way to experience a new destination. It offers unparalleled freedom, allowing the rider to properly explore a new destination and immerse themselves in the surrounding landscape and culture, in a way which would simply not be possible from a car. Cycling also sets the ideal pace – it is slow enough to let the rider truly soak up the surroundings whilst fast enough to allow experience changing scenery and easily reach local landmarks and attractions on a daily basis.
Another obvious benefit is the opportunity it provides to improve fitness levels, this is often easier in a new and interesting destination. It also provides a chance to have some time out and take a break from the stresses of everyday life. New social experiences often present themselves on a cycling holiday, as locals are usually curious as to where you are touring and what you have seen.
Choosing the right cycling holiday to suit your individual needs is something which involves much thought and careful consideration – whether you are booking your first cycling holiday or are on a quest for a new cycle adventure seeking out the next challenge in a new and exciting destination.
Choosing a Destination
When it comes to choosing a destination, most of us have some idea of where we want to go – this is typically determined by the following:
The type of scenery we enjoy, whether it be coastal, inland, forests, mountains, lakes etc. this usually plays an important role in the decision-making process. As well as this, the destination’s language, local culture, history and even the cuisine can all be influencing factors when making your choice.
Coming from a sun deprived island, many cyclists opt for fair weather destinations in neighbouring European countries such as France, Spain and Italy, or even further afield to the Americas, Africa, Asia or even Australia or New Zealand.
Time of Year
The time of year will also help towards decision making, some destinations may be too cold and wet during winter months e.g. northern European destinations, and for guaranteed sunshine, travelling further away may be necessary.
Some are able to take long haul flights in their stride, and sit back and relax, whereas for others the prospect of hours sitting on a plane is simply too much, and something closer to home with a short flight distance, ferry crossing or even staying in the UK, is preferable.
Level of Fitness
A cycling holiday is an excellent opportunity to improve fitness level – however, it is important not to overestimate one’s fitness levels, as this can potentially lead to injury and further complications. Most cycle tours clearly state the level of fitness required, therefore finding a tour which is appropriate for your own level of fitness, shouldn’t be difficult.
Our choices are often largely shaped by how much we are willing to spend – it may be that getting to an amazing weather destination at the beginning of February is simply not financially viable. Taking your bike on the plane may also be costly depending on the distance and the airline. It is also essential to consider how expensive the country you intend to travel to is, and how much the food and accommodation will cost.
Type of Accommodation
This will also be largely defined by budget and individual taste – for those merely looking for somewhere to sleep at night, 2-3 star accommodation will be adequate. However, for extra comfort, something more luxurious will be necessary but may not always be available along more isolated cycling routes.
There are various types of tour available, all of which largely depend on individual taste – tour types can include cycling in a group, in a pair, in a family or alone on an individual tour.
An individual, unsupported tour provides the freedom of allowing cyclists to choose their own routes and mileage and allow a cycling holiday company such as Bike Adventures to take care of the accommodation booking.
Supported tours take the stress out of planning the route, taking care of the flight, transfers, accommodation as well as sorting out emergency repairs – which means all the rider has to do is pedal.
Some of us are lucky enough to have a whole family of bike lovers, in which case there are numerous tours suitable for families – France and the Channel Islands are particularly popular destinations.
For more information on cycling tours, get in touch with Bike Adventures – we offer a wide range of cycling holidays to cater for all tastes, budgets and abilities – whether you are looking for a short UK cycling break or a once in a life time adventure across the world, we have the cycling holiday for you!