Cycling has become à la mode in recent years. The hipsters of London’s Shoreditch and Hoxton took to the streets on their single gear vintage bikes a couple of years back and since then, boutique bike shops - offering coffee and cake as well as a pick-me-up for your trusty wheels - have popped up everywhere. The London 2012 Olympic Games and recent Tour de France success of Bradley Wiggins, have further boosted the bike’s rep. It comes as no surprise then, that a key travel trend for 2015 is the cycling holiday.
Recent reports have shown that travellers are now looking to get more for their money when discerning what to do with those all-important days off. Combining an adventure or sporting achievement with the experience of exploring somewhere new is now high on the holiday priorities list. Cycling, being an accessible activity that most are able to take part in, has naturally become the go-to activity of choice. Be it a full-on two-week cycling holiday – gears and all – or an afternoon city tour, it seems that on two wheels is the way forward this summer. Why walk, when you can ride?
If an all-out cycling tour is what you’re gearing up to, then look to routes that will inspire you and enrich your journey as you push on. Picture-worthy landscapes and good roads are what will make your cycling holiday. Head to Cuba for prime weather conditions and a culture soaked cycle tour. Take eight days to explore this colourful island nation off the coast of Florida. Offering up beaches, pastel infused city architecture, lush green valleys and tropical coffee plantations, as well as a rich heritage, Cuba is a diverse spot for the first-time cycle tourist. You may want to lay off the cigars though.
A more ambitious route to consider would be the USA’s Pacific Coast, beginning in Vancouver, Canada, and ending at Imperial Beach, California. Route 66 has got nothing on this 1800+ mile ride along the hill-strewn Pacific Coast that sees you through Canada, Oregon and the Californian Coast. Cross over the Columbia River, through redwood forests, sun-strewn orchards and of course, through the sandy beaches of Santa Monica. This ride isn’t for the faint of heart but it’s certainly one that will remind you of the greatest things in life.
For those wanting to ease into the whole ‘experiential’ holiday thing, a day tour may be the best option. Hop on a mountain bike in Bali and ride through stunning grasslands and small villages to get to Kintamani Volcano, or cycle the bustling back streets of Kyoto. Most European cities offer cycling tours, with Copenhagen, Budapest, and Amsterdam touted as three of the very best to explore on wheels.
Other top European cycling destinations include the French Provence (excellent weather), Italy’s Dolomites (for the thrill seekers) and the Greek Peloponnese (for anyone wanting to take advantage of that favourable exchange rate this year...)