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I've taken up cycling. Is a bike holiday for me?

If you're relatively new to cycling, our easy-graded trips are a great introduction to travelling by bike. Our cycling holidays are not about speed or competition; they are more about enjoying the journey.


I've taken up cycling in lockdown. Is a cycling holiday right for me?

If you're relatively new to cycling, our easy-graded trips are a great introduction to travelling by bike. Be assured that our cycling holidays are not about speed or competition; they are more about enjoying the journey, riding at your own pace and appreciating the surroundings. Exploring a destination in the saddle is one of the most immersive and rewarding ways to travel, so we encourage you to soak it all up as you pedal. The group naturally splits into smaller groups of different riding speeds wherever possible, and we'll regroup regularly to visit a special site, enjoy a coffee or simply admire the views. On the other hand, if you are more confident and want to challenge yourself a bit more, we have grades for all abilities - easy, moderate and challenging - so check the trip notes to see which is best for you. 

What is a typical easy/moderate/challenging grade ride?

Our cycling trips are graded from Easy through to Challenging. Easy rides are typically flat and leisurely, Easy/Moderate are a little hillier, and Moderate rides are a bit longer with undulating terrain and a few energetic climbs. Moderate/Challenging tours include a few harder ascents, and Challenging trips require a good fitness level. Read more about our cycling grades to find out which grade suits you best. 

I can cycle for two hours. Could I do an easy or easy/moderate cycling holiday?

Our easy graded cycling trips don't require you to have done any physical training, but if you haven't ridden for a while, we recommend doing a bit of riding at home before your trip just to get used to being on a bike again. This will help you to enjoy the journey fully. We typically ride for 2-4 hours / 20-40km each day. If you're used to cycling regularly, the easy/moderate graded trips offer a great mix of flat and gently undulating terrain with occasional hill climbs. 

I love a challenge, but am I fit enough for a moderate/challenging trip?

We typically ride for 4-6 hours / 40-60km each day on our moderate/challenging graded cycling trips, and the terrain may include some long hills. If you're used to these kinds of distances and hours on the bike and are happy riding consecutive days, you'll likely be fit enough to join these tours. Enjoy traffic-free roads in the mountains of Albania, or pedal through tropical rainforests on our Central America cycle tour

I've never cycled a hybrid bike before. Why do you use hybrid bikes?

We always choose the type of bike most suited to the route and terrain. Approximately half of our cycling trips use hybrid bikes, which are ideal for riding along mostly tarmac or gravel routes without much rough terrain, and the other half will be on mountain bikes able to cope with rougher terrain. If you are used to riding a road bike, you may find the seating position of a hybrid or mountain bike more upright, but this makes for more comfortable touring and is ideal for sightseeing; enjoy the views of southern Spain's apricot orchards or the lush vegetable gardens of Vietnam as you pedal past. 

I've just bought my own bike, and I love it. Can I use that instead?

Yes, you're very welcome to bring your own bike. However, most riders use the bikes provided to avoid the hassle of flying with a bike and having to deal with any mechanical issues along the way. The bikes that we include on each trip are well maintained, and we'll spend time at the beginning of the trip to set the bike up for you. We'll also deal with any bike-related problems if they arise en route and carry suitable spare parts. 

I'm much fitter than my partner – is there a way for us to go on the same cycling holiday and both enjoy it?

Absolutely! Couples of different cycling abilities often join our cycling holidays together. Groups often include riders of varying fitness levels, so if you're happy to ride with other people, you can each find someone of a similar pace to ride with. Alternatively, if you wish to ride together, you could upgrade your partner to an e-bike so they can keep up with you. If you have concerns about which cycling grade might best suit you both, it may be a good idea to opt for half a grade or a full grade lower than you might usually choose, to ensure that you can both enjoy the trip to the full. 

Can I opt for an e-bike?

Yes! If you're worried you might not keep up with the group or simply want to enjoy a more relaxed holiday, most of our cycling holidays offer the choice to upgrade to an electric-assisted bike. E-bikes are also an excellent way for couples or friends of different abilities to ride together. If you would like to reserve an e-bike for your trip, please check the individual trip notes to see if e-bikes are available and enquire with us for more details and to reserve it.

Do I have to cycle with a group?

If you join one of our small group cycling tours, we will all set off together, but you do not necessarily have to always cycle as a group. We understand that most riders would like to cycle at their own pace wherever possible, and you are welcome to do so, but we will regroup regularly throughout the day wherever needed - for directions to keep the group together or for a rest, food or site of interest stop.

I can only cycle short distances. Is a cycling holiday going to be too much?

Not necessarily. Our easy graded cycle rides are broken up into several mini rides each day with regular stops for sightseeing, to grab something to eat or drink, or to rest and enjoy a spectacular view. So you won't have to cover the entire distance in one go. If you haven't done much riding, we recommend spending some time in the saddle before you travel to make your holiday more enjoyable, but you shouldn't need to spend lots of time training. 

I am ok cycling on flat terrain but struggle on hills. How will I know what terrain or difficulty level to expect?

The cycling overview that features in the individual trip notes should give you a good idea of the kind of terrain you can expect during the trip, including any long ascents. Further detail or each ride is given in the day to day description of the holiday. There is absolutely no pressure to power up the hills at speed - take your time and ride at your own pace, or walk up them if you like. There is also the option to travel in the support vehicle if you prefer. 

I am nervous or inexperienced cycling with traffic. How much of the trip will involve road cycling?

We always plan our cycling holidays to avoid traffic where possible and cycle on traffic-free or quiet routes. Destinations vary and some trips encounter more traffic at times than others, particularly when passing through urban areas, but the Tour Leader can always assist and advise and usually keeps the group closer together if relevant. Our detailed trip notes describe the cycling summary and day to day details - mentioning vehicles if relevant. Some people prefer to seek out entire routes on cycle paths to avoid traffic altogether. In countries where cycling is a popular sport and hobby, such as France, Spain or Italy, we find that the local drivers and pedestrians are very considerate and respectful towards cyclists.

I prefer cycling alone, is this an option?

Due to having a mix of different rider abilities in the group, we rarely ride the entire route as a peloton. Everyone will naturally spread out, with mini-groups forming according to pace, so you can choose to cycle alone or with others.

I don't want to miss the highlights. Will they still be accessible by bike?

Cycling is one of the best ways to see all of the sights and immerse yourself in the local culture. If anything, you'd miss more travelling in a car or minibus! Your local Explore leader will show you all of the main highlights as well as some unexpected hidden gems. And the carefully planned itineraries will usually take you away from the main roads via little villages where you'll get to see the true heartland of a destination and mingle with the locals. Each cycling holiday will visit the cultural and other highlights of a region, it is just a more active way to enjoy a destination. 

Do I need a special 'bike kit' or can I just wear normal clothes?

A pair of padded cycling shorts and padded cycling gloves will make riding more comfortable, but you don't need super technical or expensive cycling clothes to join one of our cycling holidays. We recommend wearing moisture-wicking fabrics, and you will also need to bring your own cycling helmet. If you don't want to invest in lots of cycle-specific kit and want to travel light, many people hand wash their cycling shorts and jersey in the evening and hang out to dry ready for the next day. Please take a look at our How to pack for your cycling tour guide to find out more. 

What are the top trips to give cycling holidays a go for the first time?

Italy Cycling Trip code CIP
E-bike option
8 Days From US$2120 without flights
Vietnam Cycling Trip code CVN
E-bike option
14 Days From US$2350 without flights
Spain Cycling Trip code CMU
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7 Days From US$1280 without flights

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