Posts tagged with "cycle"

Saddle Skeedadle’s Cycling Myths Unlocked:

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.

European Cycle Routes for Newbies

Knowing where to go in Europe for a leisurely cycling vacation can be tricky. It helps to have good advice from the experts. Freewheel Holidays, the international specialist in self-guided bicycle vacations in Europe, suggests three routes for those new to multi-day bicycle touring who may prefer routes without steep climbs or descents.

UK-based Freewheel Holidays arranges bicycle vacations along mainly traffic- and challenge-free routes. Because guests cycle across mostly flat terrain, the fatigue and frustration factors of challenging inclines are kept out of the equation.

Following are Freewheel Holidays’ suggested itineraries for newbies in Spain’s Catalonia, along the Danube in Austria and in the Loire Valley of France. As with all of its self-guided vacation programs, rates (per person, double) include lodging with breakfast, detailed route notes, point-to-point luggage transfers, 24-hour emergency support, complimentary bike rentals and suggested attractions along each route. E-bike options are available on all of these itineraries. For additional vacation-by-bicycle suggestions see: http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/.

The 7-day Catalonia Greenways itinerary begins with an exploration of a preponderance of extinct volcanoes in Garrotxa Natural Park in the Girona Pyrenees. After wandering the streets of the 13th century market town, Olot, and sampling the local goat cheese, Garrotxa, it’s on to a disused rail line, the traffic-free Carrilet Olot cycle path, downhill through the wood countryside in the mountains, destination the medieval town of Girona. The beach on the Costa Brava awaits, with perhaps a dip in the sea on the northeastern tip of Spain. The per person double rate is from £789 with departures beginning in early January and continuing through end October 2019. See: https://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/cycling-holidays/all-cycling-holidays/family-cycling-holidays/catalonia-greenways

The 8-day Danube Cycle Path – Passau to Vienna itinerary explores an ancient military and trading route on paths along the Danube River once traversed by Romans, the legendary Nibelungs (think Wagner) and even Europe’s powerful kings and emperors. The adventure begins in the baroque town of Schärding or in Passau, the town of three rivers, before moving on through Upper and Lower Austria and finally to Vienna. The per person double rate is from £549 with departures beginning in early April and continuing through mid October 2019. See: https://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/cycling-holidays-austria/passau-vienna-danube

A 7-day Loire Valley Castles itinerary guides guests through the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage region, that is also known as “garden of France.” Here is a display of one-time wealth and imminence as reflected in the more than 200 castles. Among these is the Clos-Luce manor in Amboise where Leonardo lived for three years (and died) and where some of his remarkable inventions are on display. Cycling through this luxuriant countryside rife with fields of wheat and barley, poppies and centennial oaks is joy in and of itself, with opportunities aplenty to sample the wines of this renowned food and wine region. Concluding the tour is one of the most famous and majestic of all Loire castles, Château de Chambord, that lends its name to a liqueur and that after 288 years in construction, served as a royal hunting lodge. The per person double rate is from £609 with departures beginning late April and continuing into mid September 2019. See https://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/cycling-holidays-france/loire-valley-castles

To check trip availability, make reservations, or to find out more about Freewheel Holidays’ leisure cycling tours call +44 (0) 161 703 5823, email info@freewheelholidays.com or visit www.freewheelholidays.co.uk.

Bike Messengers x The Red Bulletin

(Article Courtesy of The Red Bulletin)

Every year, bike messengers from all over the continent gather at the North American Cycle Courier Championships to compete, carouse and commiserate. This is their story.

Hunger pangs give way to an enthusiastic greeting as Nico Cabrera is among the last to arrive at a watering hole in Milwaukee’s East Side neighborhood. He’s welcomed by a cadre of misfits whose belligerence varies — one says he’s been drinking all day — each with unkempt hair. Most of the men and women haven’t seen the likes of a straight-edged razor in years. A guy wearing a Sponge Bob shirt has a mullet that looks straight out of “Boogie Nights” and another’s beard is so biblically long, there’s reason to question if it got caught in the wheels of the bicycle he rode to Good City Brewing, parked among some 200 others outside.

All are dressed like they just raided a Goodwill store, except Cabrera, who dons the onesy of an Olympic cyclist. There’s a reason for that: He just rode the 90 miles up to Milwaukee from Chicago, where he lives.

“Biking is more than just a job,” Cabrera says. “We race our bikes on the weekend or we go on long bike rides. We go bike camping. We just generally get around our daily lives on our bicycle. It’s a big deal when it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m taking the train today.’ ”

His shoulder-length hair, trim body and regular use of words like “rad” make him a better fit for a group of surfers on the left coast, though he was raised in suburban Chicago.

Cabrera is the most recognizable among the group. He’s here for the North American Cycle Courier Championships (NACCC, pronounced “Nack”), a conclave of the best messengers from around the world, who participate in a grueling, hours-long race that calls for competitors to have marathon-like athleticism and navigating knowhow. Cabrera is the NACCC’s reigning champion and is fresh off a third-place finish at the World Championships in Montreal.

Read the full article at The Red Bulletin