A bike holiday always takes a little bit of planning, no matter how good you are at just winging it and finding things as you go so you’ll need to do the basics before you depart. The chances are if you landed at the airport with no accommodation and no plan of where to hire bikes you could end up in an overpriced hotel room without bikes due to the sheer demand in peak riding season and have to spend the week relaxing on the beach, now who wants to do something mad like that?!
Some of our best trips and adventures take place on a saddle, Jenny has a love of horse riding saddles and I (Simon – the one with the beard) have an even bigger love for bike saddles. The pain they can give you can be unberable at times but the sights you see on them can in the balance be truly un-believable and well worth all the agony and pain you endure going up those never ending hills. In this travel tips guide we're going to get you through the basic planning stages of a road bike holiday so once you land you can get out exploring as quickly as possible.
You know you want to do some road bike riding but where in the world do you go for this? First you’ll need to do a little bit more digging and research before booking flights. Some destinations could seem uber cool and have amazing views but if there aren’t the basic facilities out there for road bikes or the roads aren’t made for it you could be pot holing your way around with a few flat tyres. Check out this list of the top road bike destinations which have bike hire, good roads and refreshment points for your rides.
Now the flights are sorted you want to base the rest around where you want to ride during your stay, the best way to do this is to research popular routes and roads in the area to ride. This will involve a little googling or looking at routes others have taken that you feel you’re physically able to do, don’t be attempting to cycle up Sa Calobra if your usual cycle route is two laps around the park.
We use strava to plan our routes using their route builder, setup your start point and some places you want to go and it'll show you some of your best route options for cycling.
Finding the right area to stay in can make your bike holiday a hell of a lot easier if you’re near to suitable routes. Look for areas that are closeby to popular routes so you can get straight on your bike in the morning and not have to transport your bikes and selves to somewhere else to start. If you have to go along a major trunk road to start your rides then that’s a big no as not all countries let cyclists on major roads and is extremely dangerous, needless to say not a very fun experience. Do some research on the area to see if it’s bike friendly with bike racks and restaurants and cafes and cycle lanes to make getting around eaiser. If it is then it’s safe to say you’ve got a good area to base your rides from.
Book with our link below and you'll get £15 off your accommodation!
Once you arrive at the airport you'll want to get your bikes and get to your accommodation as quickly as possible to start enjoying the adventure! Book your car hire in advance to give you a massive saving plus look out for the larger car van hybrid options like a Citroen Berlingo, Fiat Doblo, Ford Tourneo Connect or a VW Caddy. These larger cars have a big open boot space so you can stash a couple bikes in them plus some equipment. At popular bike resort destinations car hire companies should have plenty of these available but in less well known cycle destinations you might have to pre arrange these. Getting a hire car is a must in most circumstances so you can try different routes that start from somewhere else. In some areas bike transport may be available from your resort town to popular routes in the form of a minibus with a bike trailer but these need booking in advance so do your research first to check availability.
Have a read of our car hire guide and make some big savings on your bike vehicle hire.
The bike hire companies at your bike holiday destinations usually have a great stock and range of road bikes and equipment available for hire. You should book them in advance though to guarantee the particular bike in the size you want is available. In more popular resorts there is a mass choice of suppliers so you might be able to haggle a better deal. You really can hire a great high end bike for very reasonable prices so treat yourself to something a little bit more high end which will also make your cycling easier to cover more miles. Don’t forget your essentials like frame or handle bar bags to store some goodies on during long rides and your bottles!
Get a base idea of how much you should be paying using Bim Bim Bikes then shop around.
As well as having your main routes it’s always good to plan some backup ones in case the weather isn’t in your favour. If you’re cycling by the coast or up high mountain roads take into account high winds across these roads could become very dangerous. Plan some back up bike routes incase the weather doesn’t go in your favour so you can still get out there and enjoy some rides.
Check the weather before you head out to see which days will suit your routes the best.
While you’re away at your destination go off and see a few other things not just cycling related. This way you can break up your cycling and give your body a chance to recharge and recover from all the crazy cycling you’ll be doing. Don’t forget you’re on holiday, see the sights and take some time to relax, adventures are great but it’s also very healthy to let the brain and body unwind.
Do a bit of research of other local sites that way you can tick off even more boxes and make your friends jealous of even more sites you’ve seen.
Everyone tries to pack light but when it comes to cycling this always seems to be a challenge even though everything is made of lycra! How is this? The most lightweight clothes but yet you still need a large suitcase.
We recommend just keeping it down to the raw of what you need to pack light, which we think are:
You can always wash and clean your cycling clothes at the accommodation, which lets face facts are going to stink anyway so you may aswell pack as light as possible to save on having to purchase hold luggage. Your helmet can always attach to the exterior of your hand luggage and all other essentials like energy gels and and snacks can be bought at your destination from either cycling stores or supermarkets with good old jelly babies available in most countries.