How to holiday with your bike28 March, 2015 0 comments
Cycling holidays are a great way to combine a relaxing break with your hobby. It doesn’t matter if you intend for cycling to be the feature event or just a single element, there are ways and means to make your holiday as wonderful as you imagined.
Type of holiday. Cycling holidays come in all shapes and sizes and it is a good idea to understand what you want from your holiday before doing the research. Do you want cycling to be the main focus of the holiday, to be just an added extra, or just something that you can drop in or out of whenever you feel like it. There are always ways of integrating cycling into your holidays even if they aren’t the main feature. Getting on a bike is a great way to explore a new city or the countryside. Similarly there are so many holidays set up solely to enjoy time on your bike that you will be spoilt for choice.
Insurance. Whether cycling is the main feature or not, insurance is just as important on a cycling holiday than it is on any other, perhaps even more so. You never know when bad luck or an injury might strike and having the appropriate travel insurance can take away the worry if something goes wrong. It’s not just personal injury that you can cover, but (if you are taking it) your bike as well. There are now cycling companies specifically set up for those who are going on cycling holidays. If none of these appear to work for you then just make sure that cycling is included in activities your insurance covers. You could pay a heavy price if, after injuring yourself on your bike abroad, you find out that your insurance company covers skiing, snowboarding and waterspouts but not cycling.
Recommendations are a great way to choose a cycling holiday. Take a look at reviews of where you plan to go to see if it is easy to hire a bike, or to take one yourself. If you are going for a countryside retreat scan the reviews for mentions of places for walks or cycling. If you heading to a city then take a moment to research whether fellow cyclists have enjoyed their experience there. Some cities are perfect for cyclists, others are not quite as set up for those on two wheels. If you are taking a type of cycling package holiday then check out what those who have been before said about things like accommodation, food and the weather at the time of year you intend to go. There may be dozens of photos of blue skies and sunny rides, but if you intend to go off season then make sure you know what can be expected then.
Travelling with your bike? If you are going to be popping your bike on your car, or flying with it, then it’s good to know how to do so safely and securely. It can be scary leaving your bike in the hands of others when if you fly with it, but this can be mediated by doing some research. If you can, try to pick the carrier based on their bike policies. Some are very good at transporting sports equipment and accommodate it easily. Other airlines can make you feel punished for wanting to take a bike abroad.
You certainly have a lot more control when it comes to your car, and the technology to transport your bike by car has come on in leaps and bounds. The three main ways to carry your bike are on the roof rack (bars attach to the roof where your bike clips in), a rear rack (attached to the boot of your car) or a towpoint mounted rack. The rear rack and roof rack are the easiest and often cheapest options, especially if you already have roof bars on your car. The type you choose also depends on the amount of bikes you take and whether you might be troubled by the new height or length of your car.
Choose your level. There is a big difference between a holiday focussed on leisurely pedals down scenic canals and a grind up Mont Ventoux. This is more of a factor to take into account if you are going on a completely cycling focussed holiday, and especially important if you are going in a group. Cycling holidays are a great thing to do with friends but your abilities may differ. If your group is more interested in stopping every five minutes for a roadside coffee than actually being on the bike, or vice versa, you start to clash. All you need to do to avoid this is a good understanding of your own competitences and what you want from your holiday. After all you will no doubt be paying and taking time off from work to have this break: making sure that your holiday is a good match to your expectations before you go is the best way to avoid disappointment.