Guide to cycling trips and travel by bicycle, including cycling trip holiday advice, long bicycle trip tips and where to cycle on holiday
Cycling is quite simply one the best ways to travel. Bike touring is green, it’s healthy, it’s slow enough to take in the country you’re passing through, yet fast enough to cover plenty of ground – whether you have a week or a year to spare.
Cycling is also open to all. Novices may not want to tackle a trail through the Nepalese Himalayas, but there are plenty of paths perfect for pedalling first-timers. From a gentle roll through the lavender fields of Provence, France, to the redwood-dotted route along coastal California, USA, to the miles of fine trails waymarked through England, Scotland and Wales, there is something for every beginner bicycler.
You don’t need to be super-fit to go cycle touring. If your aim is to pootle between wineries in the flat French countryside, you need to be physically active but not expert; if your plan is to cycle 100km a day across hilly Patagonia or the towering Canadian Rockies, you’ll want to do some serious training.
You don’t even need to know much about bikes. There are plenty of excellent tour operators offering supported cycling trips worldwide, from the rice paddies of China to the winelands of South Africa. They provide most of the equipment, bike maintenance and even a support vehicle that you can rest in if the cycling gets too much.
Of course you can plan your own cycling adventure – in this case you’ll want to know a bit about fixing bikes, and you’ll need to look into regulations about transporting your bike on planes and trains. You’ll also want to get some gear: cycle helmet, padded cycling shorts and a comfortable saddle are essentials.
But however long you cycle for, wherever in the world you chose to cycle, you’ll find touring by bike is an eye-opening experience. The freedom to stop where you chose and talk to local people as you explore, the fact that you’re not in a flashy sealed vehicle – these will open up interactions and situations that, in a car or plane, just wouldn’t be possible.
It’s time to get in the saddle.
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