Cycling holidays are an increasingly popular way of seeing the world, with potential itineraries in just about every corner of the globe. They’re a great way to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people, regardless of your level of expertise: if you can ride a bike, there’s a destination and route map that’s right for you.
For many of us, normal life moves at a crackling pace, so taking to two wheels is a great way to force yourself to slow down and smell the roses. A well-planned cycling itinerary means there’s no hurry to get from A to B, and because you’re moving at a slower pace, you’re far more likely to notice the finer details that you tend to miss when moving at motorised speed. You can pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at a scenic spot along the way, or pause at every village and vineyard for refreshment breaks, and at the end of the day, you’ll feel you’ve earned yourself a celebratory bowl of pasta or frothing pint of beer.
Consider just how much work you want to put into this trip: are you looking for a hire-and-go situation or do you prefer your itinerary, accommodation, meals and transportation to be pre-arranged? Are you treating your holiday as a get-fit boot camp, or would you prefer an e-bike to take care of some of the work? These are important questions to consider in the planning stages, and your personal travel manager can help you find a tour operator with the right level of involvement and assistance to suit. Whatever you choose, it’s a good idea to do some bike-riding before you go – getting bike-fit will greatly enhance your enjoyment. You might also want to brush up on the basic of bike maintenance – although many cycling holiday operators provide on-the-ground support, it’s useful to know how to fix a puncture or put on a chain.
In a nutshell, there are two ways to approach a cycling holiday: establish a base and use it as a hub to explore the surrounding villages and countryside, or follow a point-to-point itinerary that allows you to stay in a new location every night. Both options have their merits: the first allows you to settle in and really get to know a destination in depth, while the second allows you to cover more ground.
It’s the age-old question: lycra – to wear or not to wear? For some people, comfort is everything and bike pants are the only option, but for others, what works well on a bicycle saddle works less well when you want to stop for lunch at a pretty bistro on the town piazza. Our advice: figure out what works best for you. If your sartorial standards preclude you from being seen in public in bike pants, a gel-filled seat cover is a great option, as are cycling under-shorts that can be worn under normal clothing.
From the olive groves of Tuscany to the paddy fields of Vietnam, whatever your desired destination you’ll find a cycling holiday to suit. We recommend you choose a destination that suits your fitness level and preferred level of exertion – don’t choose ten days in the Alps if you’re not prepared to put in the serious training beforehand. It’s also a good idea to combine your destination with an area of interest – wine lovers can head for Chile’s Ruta del Vino while nature lovers might prefer Tasmania’s 400-kilometre Launceston to Hobart route.
Whether it’s a two-week meander down the banks of the Danube or a weekend in Capetown’s Western Winelands, your personal travel manager can help you choose and plan an idyllic cycling holiday.