Thinking about going on your first cycling holiday? If the idea of free-wheeling exploration and the open road are calling your name, then this is the trip for you.
But where to begin when planning your first foray: where should you go? What should you pack? Do you need to train? And how much bike maintenance knowledge is really necessary before you embark upon your first adventure?
Here’s our full cycling guide to help you start putting together your debut adventure, covering the recommended essentials (extra socks, optionally cute), how to choose your destination and accommodation, how to map your route, and all the essentials to ensure a smooth experience – even for the greenest of newbies.
Top tip: Go with at least one other person. They can help spur you on to cycle that bit further and provide support if anything goes awry. Player One, choose your cycle buddy…
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Where? That’s the big question. There are lots of UK options, from the Lakes to the Chiltern Cycleway to the Thames Path Canal. Dream big here. Routes can be linear, from Point A to Point B, or circular, starting and ending in the same place. If you opt for linear, start at the furthest point away; there’s something comforting about cycling in the direction of home.
Don’t go too remote on your first trip, as you’ll be testing your (and your bike’s) ability. That way, if you need a respite or something goes wrong with your trusty steed, then a town or city shouldn’t be too far away to get what you need. Smaller places might not have a Halfords, for example, or might have a bike shop with unusual opening hours.
Book a bike space on the train to reach your starting point. Note where the bike storage sections are on the platform though, as you can’t wheel your bike through the train. Alternatively, if your bike isn’t suited to hills or anything more than the daily commute, consider hiring a bike to suit the terrain you’re going to be exploring once at your destination.
Planning your mileage
How many days and what distance do you want to cycle? A tough question for a beginner. It’s worth looking at the terrain, as two miles uphill is very different to five miles along a flat canal path. Weather and diversions are also part of the equation; allow…