Hands up, who needs to get fit? Whose idea of exercise is a quick dash for the bus to work or walking up two flights of stairs rather than using the lift once a day? OK, twice at a push. The annual holiday comes around and we head for the beach and bars, coming home a few pounds heavier and deciding to join a gym soon – ish.
It doesn’t have to be like that.
Combine a rejuvenating holiday with a spot of exercise and you’ll come home feeling better than you’ve felt in years.
Try getting on your bike this year – here are six reasons why you should (plus some safety tips).
Bikes Are Eco-Friendly
Getting on your bike is one of the most eco-friendly holidays you can take. There’s no fuel required and it’s much easier on your budget. Go green and glide serenely past all those traffic queues.
Bikes Are Great for Exploration
Aside from burning off more calories, a holiday on two wheels (or more if you opt for trikes and tandems) is the ideal way to explore somewhere new. Coasting through the countryside you’ll learn much more about the people, heritage, traditions and culture of your chosen destination than you would on a cramped tour bus. Cycling gives you an exhilarating sense of freedom and plenty of fresh air.
With a Bike You Can Plan Your Own Itinerary Easily
Free of traffic congestion and tour times, the adventurous traveller can plan their own itinerary from start to finish. If you’re wary or if this is the first time you’ve done anything more than lie on a beach then opt for the services of a guide. Most reputable tour operators will offer both options. You’ll still have a flexible itinerary but you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you won’t be getting lost in a foreign land.
Enjoy Nature More On Your Bike
From towering mountains to verdant rainforests and gleaming sands, a biking holiday gives you the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with the local wildlife and natural world. When did you last truly take in your surroundings, marvel at burgeoning plantlife or savour a sunset? You can stop at any time while you’re cycling and immerse yourself in your surroundings.
Safety Tips for Cycling
No matter how experienced you are or how deserted your chosen destination, take a few precautionary measures and observe essential safety tips. These include checking your bike thoroughly before setting off for the day – every day – and wearing a good quality bike helmet. OK, it’s not exactly high fashion but if you do take a tumble you’ll be grateful for it. Always check the weather forecast before you set off and be prepared for all eventualities. Depending on your location, don’t forget sunglasses, sun cream, waterproof clothing and insect repellent! Oh, and padded cycling shorts if you’re on a long trek. That’s one piece of kit you won’t regret taking.
Lovers of extreme sports can combine cycling with other activity holidays such as white water rafting, abseiling and water-skiing to name just a few. Before long, even the beginners out there may be eager to try out more challenging terrain – and there’s plenty of it about.
Something for Everyone
Cycling holidays offer something for everyone and are great fun for couples, families or solo travellers.
Whether you’re a novice or an ardent cycling fan there’s a holiday to suit your needs. If you’re seeking inspiration to get in shape, training for a race or simply in search of the freedom of outdoor life, adapt your holiday to suit.
The great thing about cycling is that
- it’s weight bearing (there’s no jarring impact as there is with jogging)
- it burns more calories than strolling along a beach.
- you’ll return home energised, toned, raring to go and quite probably planning your next trip.
A cycling holiday will take you to a whole new level, quite literally at times.
Kate Smedley looks at cycling holidays to improve fitness and see the world.