Cycling holidays are a great way for families and friends to get together for fresh air and exercise. It is the ideal opportunity to encourage children to stay away from the television and games consoles. Off road trails tend to be safer and more interesting.
Choosing Where to Cycle
Every country offers great cycling holidays for everyone, including toddlers. There are however favourite countries to visit.
France offers excellent facilities for off road cycling. One of the most popular countries for cyclists is The Netherlands because the country is very flat and has dedicated bike paths throughout.
There are few off road trails in the United Kingdom but this is changing. A National Cycle Centre has been created in the National Forest with thirteen kilometres of off road trails and a bike hire and repair shop. In the UK old railway tracks and reservoirs are ideal places for cyclists as they often offer beautiful scenery and there is little traffic.
To ensure that everyone enjoys their holiday, it is possible to combine a cycling activity with other outdoor pursuits such as horse riding. Adventure travel companies will be able to organise this for the tourists and plan a daily itinerary.
Cycling with Young Children
Cycling with young children is an important consideration. They may struggle to keep up with the pace and tire easily. Not all cycle routes are suitable for young children as some may be too steep or the pathways uneven. Tandem bikes should be considered when travelling with young children because the adult is then able to take the strain.
Another option is to use a bike with a child seat attached. Bike seats for children may slide onto the back rack of the bike. They are solid fitting and keep the weight of the bike low. A seat between the saddle and handlebars is however more sociable and fun for the child. This type of seat will not alter the handling of the bike and if the adult falls off, the child has added protection.
Alternatively, a trailer may be used to pull a toddler round. The main advantage with using a trailer is that it will not destabilise the cyclist and it follows well through corners. The trailer could also be used to carry appliances such as a tent, in addition to a child.
Specialist companies will be able to advise on an appropriate route and schedule depending upon individual requirements. With children in mind, distances may need to be shorter and other activities provided. Guides can be arranged to accompany the cyclists on family cycling holidays if required. Support vehicles may also assist those that are tired.
Cruise and Cycle Holidays
Cruise and cycle holidays are a great new idea. The boat meets the travellers at the end of each day, so anyone who does not feel like cycling on a particular day can stay on board and catch up with the party that evening. These boats often hold a number of families, so it is a great way to socialise with others. Cruise and cycle holidays are incredibly popular in The Netherlands and Italy.
When taking part in cycling holidays there is the option of taking your own bicycles or hiring them. Taking your own bicycles is the cheaper option but there is the added hassle of getting them to the venue in the first place. Shops selling equipment for adventure holidays will be able to offer additional appliances such as gps systems for bikes. Routes can be arranged to suit all abilities and may be gentle or vigorous.
Karen Staines is a cycling enthusiast who writes regularly on adventure travel and family cycling holidays.