Deciding where your next cycling holiday is just the beginning of your adventure. Once you have booked your holiday for 2022 then your excitement will build from there and give you something to look forward to. What better way to travel after the last 18 months of uncertainty, outside in the fresh air, just you and the open bike path stretching in front of you!
So, where do you start? My suggestion would be to first create a list of your wants and needs. Don’t look for holidays first, think about what you want first, then you can find out which cycling holiday fits your needs:
- Which countries would you like to visit?
- What food do you like to eat?
- What time of year do you want to go?
- What kind of scenery would you like to see? (Mountains, cities, rivers, lakes, flat, hilly, easier terrain, mix of boats and bikes)
- What type of cyclist are you? (long distance, shorter distance and sightseeing, beginner, intermediate etc.)
- How much experience do you have? (beginner, intermediate, fitness level etc.)
Speak to friends who have been on a cycling holiday or join a Facebook group and get other people’s opinions. Find out where people have been, what they enjoyed and why. I would highly recommend you visit the Freewheel Holiday website and do some research as there is so much information on there to help you decide. Read the blogs and information on the countries and tours they offer. Then look at your checklist of what you are looking for from your cycling holiday. It can also be a little overwhelming if you haven’t been on a cycling holiday before and especially in a foreign country, but I can guarantee it will be the adventure of a lifetime that you want to repeat, time and time again. The team at Freewheel are filled with experience and knowledge so contact them if you need more information.
You have the option to organise a cycling holiday yourself, however a tour operator takes away all the pain and hassle of organising it yourself. I would strongly suggest booking with a cycling holiday specialist, I worked in the tourism industry for over 30 years and my first cycling tour was with a holiday company. Reason being is that someone else is responsible for all the organisational details which leaves you to concentrate on turning the pedals and having the time of your life. Focus on the important things like enjoying all that the tour has to offer, be that scenery, local culture, food and drink specialities, and so on. You don’t want to be worried about the travel details, hiring your bike, even moving your luggage. You just want to get on your bike, get your map and start exploring.
Distance / Length of tour
For a first tour you probably wouldn’t want to cover large mileage, keep your daily distances between 30-60 kilometres depending on your cycling experience. I would suggest choosing a tour that is flattish terrain, as more energy is needed as soon as you have to cycle up hills. Consider how often you currently cycle, how fit you are, have you sat on a bike for more than 2 days in a row? You might want to consider a shorter tour for your first one however you will also find that you can ride yourself fitter and feel much stronger at the end of your tour.
Consider a route which is well known as they tend to be very well signposted and the track surfaces are better, a route that is ideal for newer cyclists is the Danube cycle route. You can travel in the direction of the flow of the river which means it is descending very slightly all the time (so no long steep climbs). Also because of its popularity it is well signposted, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost or continually checking if you are on the right track.
Type of bike
When you are deciding where to go on a cycling tour, remember to consider the type of bike. If you are used to riding a city bike or a mountain bike, then go for what you are used to. You can go on a more challenging tour with an e-bike, this will take away any concerns about being able to achieve your daily mileage. There are loads of articles on riding e-bikes and their benefits, just pop over to my website at www.ebike-europe.com for more information. More challenging tours to consider would be St Moritz to Innsbruck if you enjoy being in the high mountains or Innsbruck to Bolzano if cities are your thing.
Wherever you decide to go, you will have a fabulous time. You will feel tired and exhilarated at the end of the day with a huge feeling of achievement.