Busting the Roadblocks Keeping Travelers out of the Saddle
Leading cycling operator Saddle Skedaddle sets the record straight on cycling’s biggest misconceptions.
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Feb. 3, 2020: Cycling tours have become increasingly more popular in recent years thanks to North America’s focus on wellness travel, sustainable transport methods, and getting away from centers of overtourism. As such, cycling operators are adapting to the modern traveler.
Saddle Skedaddle, the world’s leading bike tour operator with itineraries in nearly 40 countries, recognized a 140% increase in bookings from North Americans between 2014-2018, according to Paul Snedker, director and co-founder. But even as cycling tours are on the rise, Snedker says there are still a lot of misconceptions about this kind of travel that limits new riders from hitting the road.
“There’s are these ideas that you have to be a really fit athlete to do a cycling trip, or that it would feel more like going to the gym than a true vacation,” says Snedker. “But actually, they’re quite accessible for all fitness levels and a great way to explore a destination in an even deeper way.”
Here are some common cycling misconceptions, unlocked:
Myth 1: You have to be an Olympian to do a cycling tour
According to Snedker, the biggest customer concerns are that they won’t be fit enough to do it, or they’ll be the slowest one of the group. While some bike trips are designed for hard core cyclists, there is quite a range in terms of level of difficulty, and many of the tours designed for family or leisure purposes are quite gentle.
“Many travelers think the whole group will be decked out in lycra and be world-class cyclists on a bit of a holiday,” says Snedker. “The reality is most of our guests are over 50 and are simply looking for a way to stay active on vacation. So long as you’re reasonably fit in your daily life, you’ll be able to keep pace on a lot of our trips.”
Snedker says one of the biggest game changers and gateways to cycling holidays for people who are nervous about their endurance level has been the introduction of electric bikes to Skedaddle’s roster.
“E-bikes are so fantastic at leveling the bike lane, so to speak,” Snedker says. “Not only do they provide that extra push when you need it the most, but they take away the fear factor in the build up to a trip, so travelers can really get excited without being nervous about the physical side of things.”
Responding to strong client demand, Saddle Skedaddle has been steadily introducing self-guided and guided electric bike trips over the last few years, including several to far-flung destinations including Vietnam, China, and Chile.
Myth 2: You won’t have time to explore off your bike
North Americans typically get very little vacation time, so when they do get away, they want to see more, do more, and experience more. According to Snedker, there’s a common misconception that cycling trips don’t give you time to explore the destination. In reality, Snedker says the opposite is true.
“At Skedaddle, we’ve always said we prefer pedaling through, not passing by,” he says. “What that means is your bike can take you so many places your car or a coach bus can’t, so you’re able to really bike deep into the culture and check out the little nooks and crannies of a village or a rural stretch of a dirt path you may never otherwise encounter.”
Some of Saddle Skedaddle’s most popular trips include activities like remote camping under the stars in the Simien mountains, hiking in the jungle of Jordan’s Ajloun Forest Reserve, spotting orangutans on a family-focused journey through Borneo, and hunting for the best tapas bar in a small Spanish village.
“Our customers have evolved; they want cycling to enhance their travel experience, not the other way around,” Snedker says.
Myth 3: International cycling travel is complicated
According to Snedker, many potential bike travelers get antsy about the logistics behind a bike trip, from how to transport their bike to how to read road signs in a different language. The reality is, though, it’s never been easier to cycle in other countries than this decade thanks to technology and updated airline policies.
Just last year, American Airlines dropped their overweight charges for traveling with bicycles, and thanks to apps like the one Saddle Skedaddle has developed, road signs and directions for self-guided trips are simple as keeping your phone mounted on your handlebars.
Of course, rentals and guided trips make all these logistics even easier. “While we have a full-service team on the ground that’s ready to greet guests – and their bikes – the moment they arrive, we also offer bike rentals throughout each trip to make things as seamless as possible,” says Snedker.
Myth 4: You can’t bring kids on a cycling trip
It’s no longer just empty-nesters – family cycling travel continues to grow in popularity as parents look for active ways to keep the whole gang engaged on vacations. However, a common misconception is that group cycling trips don’t really work for families, something Snedkern says couldn’t be more wrong.
“Cycling provides a memorable way to bond as a family on holiday – and I daresay is more exciting than driving around in the rented minivan!”
Saddle Skedaddle makes sure all its family trips include a variety of activities out of the saddle that interest teenagers as well as younger children. They welcome kids as young as two on its family adventures, ranging from exploring Viking history on the Lofoten Islands of Norway to zip-lining and camping through the Moroccan Desert , and rent bike trailers, tag a longs and kids’ bikes so the whole family can keep up at their own pace.
For more information and to pedal through your next adventure, please visit: www.skedaddle.com
About Saddle Skedaddle
Saddle Skedaddle is the UK’s leading independent cycling vacation specialist that is all about doing something wonderful on two wheels. Our team of experts have searched far and wide for nearly 25 years to bring you some of the world’s most incredible locations and enchanting cultures to enjoy at the speed of the bike. It’s time to really meet a place, and its people, you’ll never want to forget.