Many of us have seen our friends and family posting pictures from their fun cycling holidays or cycling adventures and had a bit of envy. Having fun, while exercising, and travelling?
For some of us, this feels like something we could never manage. We just aren’t very good at cycling, we haven’t found the right bicycle, or it just seems like something other people do.
However, it doesn’t have to be. With the world trying to find a balance between the world we knew, and the distancing required during a global pandemic, cycling holidays seem like a great way to find the right mix of holiday fun, and travel that feels safe and makes the most of the outdoors and nature.
Below are a few steps to find a way to take some baby steps towards a fun cycling tour throughout England that is rewarding, fun, and manageable for beginners.
Start by hiring a bike
Everyone can relate to the experience of purchasing something rather pricey, only to find out that perhaps it wasn’t what we expected or wanted. Many beginner cyclists make the mistake of purchasing a fancy bike, only to find out that it is not the right size, or style. This leads many to give up cycling and put the bike on a rack in the garage and forget about it entirely. It cost a pretty penny, but it can’t be returned because you used it just a bit too much. Luckily there are many options now where you can simply hire bicycles on holiday and enjoy the scenery without the commitment.
It may seem pricier to hire several bicycles at first, but it is a smart way to see what will work best for you without making a costly investment up front. It is smart to make notes on what you enjoyed about a specific style of bicycle and what you didn’t enjoy. After a few of these rental tours, you will most likely know what works best for you and also be more informed when purchasing a bicycle.
There are many options for places to hire bicycles for the whole family to get on two wheels. Places such as the Blickling Estate in Norfolk provide many hiring options for the whole family and provide safe paths for everyone to get used to cycling for longer periods of time. Their Multi-use trail is an all weather trail that offers a 4-mile, safe off-road path to dip your toe into the world of off-road cycling in a safe space. Not just boasting beautiful nature, but an 18th century tower that is now a holiday cottage and a Mausoleum to visit. The website even provides handy maps of the grounds to make your trip easier.
Shorter trips at first
We all feel pressure to start on a more grandiose scale, or be the best we can be right away. But it actually makes sense to start on a smaller scale, and work your way up. Starting with shorter paths that you can manage in smaller amounts of time will help you prepare for longer journeys in the future. There are likely shorter trips close to home to help with this, but even on holiday, you can easily fit in some small cycling trips to get used to the idea of a full-blown cycling holiday.
The Woodland cycle trails at Nostell have routes that average from about 1 hour to 2 hours 30 minutes. This family-friendly site is an ideal spot to get the whole family ready to be cycling pros. There are lovely views to take in, beautiful lakes, and interesting architecture like old obelisks can be found throughout the path. There are a few uphill paths, but luckily there are quite a few wildflower meadows along the path to enjoy while taking a break.
It is important when starting these kinds of tours not to feel self-conscious about how long it takes to finish a path. Remember that when beginning to cycle, you are gaining strength and stamina. As time goes on, you will start to move along faster, and have more stamina to go for longer periods. Luckily, paths like these are so lovely, finishing them in a hurry is not exactly the point. It is quite lovely to spend time enjoying the scenery, and it helps to remember that it is not a race.
What to bring and how to bring it
Many cyclers use a backpack to go on cycling tours as a way to carry their necessities. While this is obviously very handy, not everyone can travel with a heavy backpack on their back while cycling for long periods. Luckily, there are many ways to get around this issue and still enjoy a cycling trip.
Installing a rack on the rear of your bicycle is a very useful way to take the burden off of yourself for carrying your belongings. Many bicycles already have a rack installed. Adding roomy panniers on either one side, or both sides of the rear wheel, can allow for longer travel between cycling sessions. Many feel that these panniers make cycling less aerodynamic and therefore less efficient, so it is up to you to decide. One option is always using the panniers to travel further distances at a leisurely pace, and then remove them once you are situated and go for more intense rides without them.
You can also use a saddle-bag if you want to carry smaller items. These bags go attached to the saddle seat in the back. For shorter trips, it is a handy spot to hide keys, phones, tools for repair, or other small necessary items.