Gone are the days of cycling holidays being synonymous with hardcore road cyclists, wanting the conquer the world’s climbs. As many of us are discovering, cycling is not just a fun form of exercise or a way to get from A to B, it also cuts down our environmental footprint and opens a door to a whole new type of travel.
Research shows, with a new appreciation for the outdoors and urge to explore, following extended periods of lockdown, we’re all desperate to get outside. But even after the Great Bike Boom, the number of us trekking out into the unknown is at an all-time high, and shows no signs of stopping. In fact, the number of cycling holidays in Europe is set to double, or even treble, within the next decade. And it’s us Brits that are the largest source markets for cycling tourism according to transport association Sustrans.
It’s really no surprise why we love them so much. Cycling holidays offer the treasured freedom along with mental and physical health benefits, but also adds to the list of sustainable habits that we need to be adopting.
So, if part of the diminishing percentage of those who haven’t yet taken your holiday on two wheels, we’re sure we can convince you to grab a bike and see why it’s all the rage. Without further ado, let’s get started, there’s a lot to unpack.
Stop off on your bike for an ice cream or have a chat with the locals, cycling holidays offer a unique insight into the daily lives in small villages you’d easily pass by in a car or touring bus.
Cycle tourists represent a growing and valuable tourist market, particularly for rural areas as it generates local trade and offers opportunities for rural businesses and services.
By visiting places outside of the traditional tourism circuits, you’re able to contribute to the local economy, which boosts opportunities for the development of cycle hire and cycling holiday operations in rural areas, and offers incentives to improve infrastructure.
Variety and accessibility
You don’t even have to be a regular cyclist! With the popularity of cycling holidays growing, specialist tour companies have ramped up their options to cater for everyone, so you can decide exactly what you want to get out of your holiday, at a pace and level that suits you.
You might want to treat your holiday like a race, not setting aside much time for leisurely sightseeing or normal tourist activities. You might prefer to take a more leisurely approach, or a good balance of both. It is entirely up to you! It’s good to know that some regions will be more suitable than others for this. For example, a trip across the flat regions of a country like The Netherlands will be manageable for most people, while a trip to the Pyrenees might not be quite as fun for someone without very high fitness levels and cycling experience.
Whether you go solo or in a group, it’s a great way to meet likeminded people.
If you do decide to travel as part of a group, it’s important to remember that everyone is different and it’s most likely that not everyone will agree on the plans, so compromise is essential.
Getting in shape
Cycling holidays are great for all fitness levels. The fact that exercise is fantastic for mental and physical health isn’t ground-breaking but exploring in the great outdoors of unknown territory can only make it better. It’s also a low impact sport, meaning its suitable for various types of people, ages and abilities.
With more of us working from home, we know it’s easy to get in a rut with your routine, so combining your holidays could be the perfect remedy to a cooped-up lifestyle. Plus, what better way to get a workout than by admiring the sights and landscapes at your own pace?
Cycling holidays allow you to explore a region in-depth and at a pace that lets you drink it all in, quite literally if you decide on a trip to the vineyard wine regions of France!
Of course, you’ll get the opportunity to visit the famous landmarks and cities of a country, but your route will take you in-between too, and really get under the skin of your chosen destination. Venture off the beaten path and you’re likely to experience an array of environments and picturesque landscapes that may be often overlooked, or that you just wouldn’t have had the opportunity to encounter otherwise.
The majority of transport on a cycling trip is powered by the greenest energy of all- yours!
Reduce your carbon footprint, with no noise pollution and very little air pollution, think of it as entering a region on your tiptoes.
You might find that you rediscover your love for cycling while on your travels and feel inspired to keep going and take up a cycle commute after you come home, even more bragging rights!
If we’ve managed to convince you go on your own cycling adventure, here are some things you should consider before jetting off:
- It is a cycling holiday so there will, obviously, be a lot of cycling involved. Go on a few extra rides in the lead up to your holiday to give yourself a psychological and physical boost.
- What to pack. Padded protection is the best bit of packing you can do, even if you aren’t on a hardcore cycling holiday, you’ll definitely appreciate the cushioned shorts after a few days! If you hire a bike from a tour operator, there will likely be an extra cost for helmets, lights, and other accessories, so we recommend taking your own, if you can. Keep the essentials in your hand luggage so you can ride even if your bag gets lost!
- Take as few valuables with you as possible, keep those you do take with you at all times.
- Rude riding. Just as jumping red lights, cycling on footpaths, and swearing at other road users isn’t acceptable at home, it’s not acceptable abroad either.
Cycling holidays are for anyone, anywhere! You might want to immerse yourself in the destination rather than focus on clocking up the kilometres or get a good balance of both! Regardless of what type of cycling adventure you go for, the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment will outweigh most challenges.
If you’re keen on the idea of a cycling holiday but aren’t ready to commit, why not test the waters with a UK cycling trip? There are plenty of scenic routes right here on your doorstep, no passport required.