Get on your bike!

If you are thinking of doing something a little different for your next holiday, why not try a cycling holiday. They can be fun, relatively cheap; don’t harm the environment and, best of all, you can do things at your own pace. In this blog we will look at what you can do to get the most of your trip as well as a selection of some of the best cycling holidays in the world.

Choose the right equipment and footwear
Wearing the correct clothing for your cycling holiday is vital, so make sure you pack a good pair of cycling shorts or trousers, cycling gloves, cycling jerseys, cycling shoes and a cycling jacket. It is also important to have some layered clothes especially if you are cycling high up in the hills where it can be very cold.

Don’t forget your cycling sunglasses which have some advantages over standard sunglasses in that they have wrap round lenses to keep flies and any debris out of your eyes, and most have shatterproof lenses for safety. Sun cream is also essential especially when the weather is hot and humid and it’s the middle of the day.

Drink plenty of water
To prevent yourself getting dehydrated, make sure that you take a water bottle with you – just like the professionals do! Drinking water regularly whilst cycling will enable you to cycle for longer without feeling fatigued, allowing you can see more of the country you are visiting.

What is your level of fitness?
You should check that your fitness levels are capable of handling the trip so you can go at the pace you are most comfortable with. One thing you don’t want to find is that you either can’t keep up with the group or alternatively you are held back by the group who aren’t as capable as yourself. As well as this you have to decide whether you want a linear route, by going point to point, or a circular one, where by you can return to your ‘home’ each day. It is also important to check the cycling trip’s ability level rating so you know exactly what to expect before you set off!

Salzkammergut cycle path, Austria
It has been said that the Salzkammergut is Austria’s own answer to the Lake District, so bearing in mind this comparison it does sound a very tempting place to visit. The location is very picturesque with it being in the foothills of the Alps with spectacular mountains and lakes to distract you while you are cycling! The great thing about this holiday is you can select which trail you want depending on what level you are at.

Southern Jewel Cycle Adventure, New Zealand
When you hear the word “jewel” mentioned, you know that it’s going to be something special, so this adventure in New Zealand really is one that is worth investigating. The tour starts and finishes in Christchurch and you have the option of either a 40 mile or a 60 mile ride. Along the way the views are certainly a sight to behold with snow capped mountains as well as historic goldmining towns to view along the way.

Cycling in Cumbria
There are certainly some fantastic locations in the UK for cycling and there is no doubt that you won’t do better than going to Cumbria where there really is everything you could wish for and more! If road cycling is what you are looking for, then the Lake District National Park and the rolling hills of the Eden Valley are experiences you won’t forget in a hurry. Alternatively, you can try mountain biking and the Lake District was voted best UK destination in the ‘What Mountain Bike’ magazine in 2006. If you are looking for a cycling holiday for all the family, one of the options is traffic free rides.

Jotunheimen National Park, Norway – a classic road cycling holiday

Jotunheimen is the highest mountain area in Scandinavia, which makes for an awesome cycling vacation as you venture through Norway’s eye catching National Parks as well viewing the fjord scenery on offer. As well as these benefits, if you want to experience the cleanest of fresh air there is no better place to breath it in!

New Forest, Hampshire
With 100 miles of traffic free tracks as well as ponies to spot, it makes this cycling experience a very popular one. If you are looking to go for a gentle family cycling break this is a great destination that caters for everyone’s needs. There are some very pleasant places to stay such as Careys Manor Hotel.

Remember your Travel Insurance!
Whilst on your cycling break, you want to relax and unwind. So put your mind at ease by taking out travel insurance – just in case! You can purchase great value travel insurance direct at 24/7 travel insurance. For a week’s family cycling holiday in Europe, it will cost you only £14.00* – a small price to pay so you can enjoy your cycling all the more!

*Premium £14.00 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on a family comprising of 2 adults aged under 55 and 2 children under 18 taking out a “Standard” family single-trip 24/7 travel insurance policy for 7 days in Europe excluding personal possessions cover and purchased within 14 days of departure date. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (November 2008) and are subject to change.