Cycling holidays allow you to feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. You can discover different landscapes in attractive, exotic surroundings. Also, cycling is a great way to exercise. It can help you bounce back from an illness or injury. Plus, your mental health should get a boost too.
You can book cycling holidays which last a few days. Or, enjoy a one-two week cycling break, to explore destinations at your own pace. This is one way to embrace slow travel, a trend that gained some momentum among travellers recently. However, before you mount your saddle, we’re here to share how to prepare for a cycling holiday. Also, we’ve found some of the top cycling trails for a top cycling holiday across the UK and Europe.
How can I Prepare for a Cycling Holiday?
To train for a cycling holiday and avoid returning home over-tired or burned out you should do the following:
- Give yourself a warm-up by getting your body ready. Go on some weekend rides (or extend them) before your cycling break. Psychologically you’ll also feel prepared too.
- During your holiday, have a ‘recovery day’ where you take a complete break from cycling. Another option is to plan days when you decide to go for shorter, flatter or more tranquil rides.
- Prepare your bicycle – if you’re taking your own and not hiring one. Make sure your gears and brakes are in good working order. Also, you might want to have these serviced or even replace them beforehand.
- Take removable layers of clothing that’ll wick away sweat (such as a base layer, packable jacket, or arm, and leg warmers), and doesn’t cool on your skin during descents.
- Make sure you have a comfortable saddle for any endurance rides, by testing it in advance. Although, if you’re hiring a bike it’s usually no problem to fit your own saddle.
- Remember to fuel correctly each day. Eating porridge for breakfast provides a slow release of energy throughout the day. Then in the evening, have a portion of pasta, rice, or a potato dish. In hot weather, remember to drink more and eat less. While in cooler weather drink less and eat more.
If you follow these steps, you should return home with an improved level of fitness. If you are a beginner the health benefits should be even more pronounced, once those aches and pains ease off…
Cycling Holidays for Beginners
A good distance to cycle every day is between 40-60 miles if you’re on a bicycle tour. However, this can be shorter or longer, depending on your level of fitness. As it’s your cycling holiday do what is comfortable and only push yourself as much as you’re confident to.
With any holiday the emphasis should be on enjoying yourself. Remember to carve out some relaxation time too, such as stopping at a wellness retreat. There’s no need to place pressure on yourself. Unless you’re ready for a challenge! Otherwise, cut down the distance and enjoy a leisurely cycle each day.
On your first day, you should do fewer miles. This is because you’ll be slower and not in your best physical shape on day one. So, just set yourself a manageable goal. Then, the longer you cycle, the stronger and faster you’ll become each day and the further you’ll be able to ride.
For easy rides that allow you to take in some of the best scenery in Britain, you could follow an old railway line, cycle through tunnels, or find a flat, traffic-free track. You can always break up your chosen cycle trail to stroll around nature reserves and stay in country villages too! Here are some good places for cycling in the UK, which are suitable for beginners.
1. Lake District Cycling Holidays
Plan a cycling holiday within a World Heritage area in the Lake District. You could follow the part of Hadrian’s Cycleway with the district. This is a coast-to-coast cycling route that covers 174 miles. Decide which part you want to cycle along and which pubs to refresh yourself in by viewing Hadrian’s Cycleway Guide Book. Whichever part you pick, it’s very accessible for casual cyclists. On your bicycle, admire Hadrian’s Wall inside England’s wildest and most dramatic countryside.
2. Cornish Cycling Holidays
Try the Camel Trail in Cornwall, which follows old and historic railway lines. Embark from the fishing port of Padstow and finish in a hamlet called Wenfordbridge. Along the way, you’ll cycle past moorlands and through the wooded Camel Valley. There’s the bonus of an award-winning pub en-route too. This trail appeals to all because it’s most of the route is traffic-free. Also, the 18-mile route can be broken up into small chunks to cater to everyone’s overall fitness levels.
If you’re looking for a self-guided or solo holiday, Northern Island is a great choice…
3. Cycling Holidays in Northern Ireland
For a self-guided cycling holiday in Northern Ireland, find an ‘off the beaten track’ route from Belfast. Each can be mapped out for you by a travel provider. They can also book your accommodation and luggage transfers too.
One route that is perfect for novices, of all ages and abilities is The Lagan and Lough Cycle Way because it is traffic free. Spend a week or less taking in cityscape views along the 20.3-mile route. You’ll cycle through a number of beautiful parks before finishing at Lisburn docks. Love wildlife watching or nature photography? You might want to stop in at The Belfast Lough Nature Reserve to watch the bright redshanks, oystercatchers, and black-tailed godwits.
What is the best time for cycling?
The morning is the best time for cycling, which is great news if you love to capture a sunrise! As the sun is at its lowest then, you can avoid the peak heat and embrace comfortable morning weather.
As you start to pedal, your increased blood flow will also wake your body and you’ll feel fresh to enjoy the rest of the day. After a cycle in the morning, you could then stop for lunch and explore the sights of a coastal village, shelter from the sun under a tree with a picnic, or even go for a dip in the sea!
Here are some beautiful European cycle holidays where you could begin at sunrise…
4. Cycling Holidays in Holland
Welcome the dawn of spring by hopping over to Holland. Its flat and lush landscape is the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely cycling holiday. There are many easy-to-follow cycle routes to choose from. To find one, look up the Numbered Junction Network for recreational cycling or book a bike tour in Holland.
For instance, after arriving in Amsterdam you can cover an easy-moderate route to Bruges. As this route spans over 200 miles you can always cycle a small section of it. You’ll pedal through national parks and the Kinderdijk UNESCO World Heritage Site while admiring windmills and tranquil tulip fields. During the route, relax in historical towns for refreshments. Bite into warm waffles or sup historical beers within medieval market squares.
Another cycling holiday destination, where you find medieval market towns and monasteries is Austria…
5. Danube self-guided cycle holidays
Head to Austria to peddle along the Danube cycle path which runs within the delightful Danube Valley and the famous Schlögen bend. The path starts in Schärding and comes to a halt in vibrant Vienna. It’ll take you eight days to complete at leisure because the path is virtually flat. This should make it a dream to follow.
Austria’s mountains create a wistful setting for slow travel. So, take time to breathe in the fresh air and admire the Danube River as it runs between the green and mountainous landscape. Alternatively, relax and float down the Danube River during a river cruise.
If you find being surrounded by crystal clear waters refreshing find a cycling route around lush Lake Garda.
6. Lake Garda Cycling Holidays
Lake Garda shouldn’t be ignored as a destination fit for cycling holidays. It’s one of the most picturesque locations in Europe. Also, it’s easy to follow its 140km circuit that’ll take you past imperial castles, Roman ruins, and mysterious, healing springs.
A Lake Garda cycling tour will give you the opportunity to see some of Lake Garda’s ancient sights and taste its range of fresh fish when stopping at a lakeside village. Some prehistoric Pile-Dwelling Villages have even been added to the UNESCO world heritage list. Spend an afternoon exploring them, before trying a grilled lake whitefish dish.
7. Cycling holidays in Majorca
One for the autumnal months of the year, follow the rural flatlands of Majorca during a tailor-made cycling tour in the sunshine. Start in Llucmajor (outside Palma) to reach coastal Port de Pollenca within six days. Or pick your own route and take time admiring Majorca’s charming countryside, such as Llucmajor’s orange groves.
During your cycling holiday rub shoulders with the locals, when stopping at farmers’ markets, and cafes, or resting in boutique hotels. This way, you’ll learn more about Spain’s culture and history by immersing yourself in this top Spanish holiday destination.
Travel insurance for cycling holidays
Whichever holiday destination attracts your attention for a cycling holiday, don’t forget Free Spirit UK travel insurance. There are many features and benefits of taking out a policy, such as Coronavirus Cancellation Cover. For more information contact us.