Charging Into The Sunset

Skedaddle designer Helen Wallis gives us a brief overview of her recent experience riding the Via Francigena from Tuscany to Rome on an electric bike (ebike). Find out how she got on…

‘I think it’s fair to say that like many folk, I’m a fair weather cyclist but really love getting out on my bike. However, as the years have gone by I’ve found that it’s becoming harder to keep up with cycling friends that ride in all weathers and never seem to be off their bikes! So when I spotted the option of an electric bike for my upcoming Skedaddle trip, I jumped at the chance! 

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To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect. Would it be difficult to ride? Would it be powerful enough to ride all day and get me to my destination and enable me to keep up with my friends? Well, I needn’t have worried, in fact after my week on an ebike, or more to the point a pedal assisted bike, I’m a true convert. 

In fact I’ve become a bit of an ebike evangelist and here are a few reasons why:

It’s as simple as riding a bike! Gears, brakes and handling are just as you’d expect, however at the flick of a switch your super powers kick in, it’s amazing!

 Confidence giving. An ebike allows you to stop to admire the view, take a selfie, delete the selfie and take a nice picture, safe in the knowledge you will not get left behind.

 Make mountains into molehills.  Whatever your ability you can simply just dial up the power for the odd (or every) hill.

 You still get fit. My Skedaddle ebike was pedal assisted so I could simply ride along in ‘eco mode’, the lowest setting or any one of the other 3 levels of assistance depending on the terrain and how I felt.

 It goes for miles. My ebike easily covered over 30 miles a day on the trip and often still had half of its charge left. And when the cycling was over I simply plugged the battery in to charge in my room before going out for supper.

 It’s fun to ride! It gave me the chance to sit back and relax and take in the scenery. And when my fellow cyclists occasionally ran out of puff, I still had the energy to keep on talking – great for me – less so for them!

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Interestingly, after a few days of gentle teasing (and a cracking new nickname ‘Duracell Bunny’), everyone on the trip was keen to have a go on my ebike. There were plenty of big grins and even the odd cry of amazement at the level of assistance it provided on all types of trail and surface and especially on the hills.

So, the bottom line is whatever your cycling ability or age, you don’t need to feel you are missing out. Riding an ebike made me feel like a big kid again, I felt unlimited in where I could go and what I could see. It provided me with the time and comfort to take in the glorious Italian countryside and the confidence to ride all day with my friends, safe in the knowledge that whatever the route threw at us, I was able to ride by their side. 

Now, where’s the nearest socket…’

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Sounds good? We have a great range of Electric Bike Holidays for you to choose from!

Photography: Alessandro Gallo

Your chance to win £1000 off your next trip

Ladies, gentleman and cycling lovers worldwide…we need YOU! Our monthly customer competition is your chance to share your Skedaddle cycling experiences with us and save over £1000 off your next two-wheeled trip too – yes, you read right! But what sort of stuff are we looking for? Take a peek at our some of winning entries so far:

Overcoming cycling fears in Kerala…
“So…do you do a lot of cycling?” I asked one of the women, feigning nonchalance. “Casual or obsessive?” Click here to read Sheila’s full story and find out how she got on exploring India’s lush and tropical landscapes.

Sketching in Italy…
Like what you see above? This sketch was created by our April winner Sam Gomersall, who joined us in picturesque Puglia. Check out more of his amazing sketches here.

Lyrical mastery in Colombia…
“There was a group of 16 with Skeddadle/ On the saddles of their bikes they did pedal/ From the heights of Bogota/ To the seas of Cartagena/ They splashed, puffed, bumped and showed their mettle.” Read the full poem by Cathy here.

To see our full list of 2017 winners so far and to find out how you could be in with a chance of winning click here.

Discover Spain’s unique UNESCO treasures

Cultural treasures are always a great pedalling pit stop and Spain certainly has its fair share of historic gems to explore! For your chance to soak up impressive culture en route during your cycling holiday, check out our top 3 UNESCO sights to spot from the saddle…

1. Palace Alhambra and Generalife 
Fun fact: The palace is strategically placed atop a hill to give a panoramic vista of the city and its surrounding countryside – well worth the effort of ascending! Arabian in style, this fortress-like palace also borders the beautiful Generalife, also known as the ‘gardens of paradise’, both of which offer a unique insight into Andalucía’s diverse past.

2. Santiago de Compostela 
Fun fact: This spiritual city is a hubbub of activity owing to it being the final destination of a certain world famous pilgrimage! Whilst exploring old town Santiago for yourself, you really could be forgiven for thinking you had stepped back in time, here you will find an array of Neo Classical, Romanesque Baroque and Gothic buildings, which only add to the magical feel of your final destination.

3. San Millan de la Cogolla
Fun fact: Site of the Suso and Yuso monasteries, this is known for being the birthplace of the first written words in the Spanish language – an impressive claim to fame! Our holiday utilises this monastery as accommodation, so you’ll get a totally unique insight into this striking, ancient building.

The official blog of Saddle Skedaddle cycling holidays. Featuring everything from destination highlights to top picks from the team….