Italy 12:14 – 26 September 2021
Travellers Tales

WHAT IS A CYCLING HOLIDAY? And HOW TO PLAN YOURS

Here is my quick guide to planning your cycling holiday

Posted in the Cycle Tours collection on 24th March 2021

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Cycling Holiday is...

  🔵 A multi-day tour or a multi-night single centre

  🔴 Guided or Self Guided

  🟡 With family, friends, as a solo traveller or with your better half

  🔵 A road, leisure, mountain and gravel?

  🟢 Take your own bike or rent

  🔴 An electric bike or muscle bike

  🟡 A DIY holiday or Package

 

There are many different ways that you can enjoy a cycling holiday.

You might want to take your family on a leisure cycling holiday for everyone to enjoy. Maybe you are taking a break by yourself, travelling alone and looking to join a group? Or are you looking for a full road workout and experience with your pals?

 

Whichever it is, here is my quick guide to planning your cycling holiday...

 

🟡 What Style of Holiday Do You Want? 

There are two formats - a single centre or tour. Whilst it is a more expensive choice the satisfaction of touring, hands down beats a single centre. You get so much more for your money. Each and every day you see different scenery, experiences, views and routes. Because you cover different terrain each and every day, your holiday seems to last so much longer than being stuck in one place! The tour operator manages your luggage whether you go with a guide or on a self-guided trip, leaving you free to enjoy your ride. All you need to carry is what you need for the day.

But don’t get me wrong, a single centre cycling holiday is wonderful. You can really explore the local area and get to know it really well. Do take care in choosing your base location and make sure that you have investigated the local routes and rides available, whether you do this as a DIY holiday or through the tour operator. 

 

 

🟢 What is the Best Destination for Your Cycling Holiday?

You probably have an idea of where you ideally want to go. Investigate your preferred destination on the internet and try to find out if the area is popular with cyclists. Travelling somewhere where the locals welcome cyclists and cycling is popular, like Italy, makes so much difference to your experience.

What are the roads like? Check reviews on TripAdvisor or tour operator websites. 

 

🔴 Who Am I Going to Travel With?

Am I going with my pals, my family, my partner or travelling alone? 

 🔹 Everyone should experience travelling alone at least once in their lives! It isn’t everyone's cup of tea, but if you haven’t tried it we would encourage you to give it a go at least once! Look for small group holidays. It is a mind-broadening experince!

 🔸 Family cycling has had a real shot-in-the-arm over the last few years with the advent of electric bikes! From Grandpa and Grandma through to the youngest children - single centre or tour, guided or self-guided a family cycling holiday using electric bikes becomes a true reality! Electric bikes really do make it possible for everyone to cycle together and enjoy their rides. So long as they have basic fitness, why not take them along? 

 🔹 If you are going with your pals on a road race style cycling holiday make sure that the rides suit all abilities. Most tour operators offering a single centre package offer a daily choice of routes graded by difficulty and distance so you should not have a problem selecting rides to suit everyone.

 

 

🔵 Guided or Self Guided?

Modern cycling GPS systems mean that taking a self-guided trip isn’t as challenging as it once was. Many countries do not have the kind of maps that we have here in the UK for example. And road numbering and road signs are not what you are used to either! But if your budget and navigational pride allow ( I am speaking to the chaps now! ) go with a guide.

A guided cycling holiday isn’t just following the bloke upfront. A good guide shows you the secrets of the area, sets the right group pace, and can vary the route and itinerary when needed. They help explain the local history and keep you right on track for lunches, coffee stops and the like. It really does change the experience quite dramatically and you’ll have a different kind of holiday. Also, the guide is there to help with technical issues and you do not need to worry about the navigation or pace!

Of course, many will want to go under their own steam, and the modern GPS units make this much easier than it once was. Your tour operator should be able to provide GPS or GPX files if you prefer to take your own system.

 

 

⚫️ Should I Rent a Bike or Take My Own?

If you have hauled your bike through the airport and luggage check-in, you’ll know what a burden it can be! To make no mention of dealing with it at your destination! Frankly, having done both, I always rent a bike for my holiday. These days bike rental fleets are updated regularly and you can ride something really interesting, such as the Pinarello F10 Dogma that I treated myself to in Emilia Romagna last October. 

 

🟢 What Should I Take With Me?

No doubt you’ve chosen somewhere warm and sunny for your trip!  But don’t get caught out by the lure of the sunshine! You can still get relatively cold and wet weather even during the peak summer months. So pack your short order kit but do make sure that you have sufficient clothing in case the mornings turn out to be chillier than expected and in anticipation of those summer storms! If you have clipless pedals, take them and your helmet too. For the casual leisure cyclist who doesn’t wear Lycra, take some padded shorts and a pair of shoes with good stiff soles. Oh and make sure that you have something to wear under your cycling helmet. The sun can burn through the helmet vents. Other than that, you need the usual standard things for a sunny climate, sunscreen, shorts etc.

 

Have a great cycling holiday, where ever you go, whatever you ride!
Ciao,

Tim