Northumberland in the spotlight this summer

All eyes on Northumberland! And while we always knew that this region is well worth being on your radar, here’s why this northern county should be on every cyclists mind THIS summer…

What’s the buzz?
This year an exciting event comes to Northumberland! Along with the Cyclone Festival of Cycling, the county will also host the 2018 British National Road Race Championships as a closing event of the four-day festival! The program is pretty exciting and there’s definitely something for everyone including family and leisure rides, a four-route sportive and National Championships in both Road Racing and Time Trials. To find out more about the event and its program take a look at the official programme. Our Skedaddle team will also be attending the festival, come say ‘Hello’ if you’re around!

Why Northumberland?
Northumberland is England’s most northern county and is blessed with coastal flatlands, rolling hills and historical interest. With all of this in mind, Northumberland offers some of the best cycling no matter whether you are looking for a challenging or a scenic ride in the UK!

Our road cycling experts say…
‘Extremely lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the UK. With rolling hillside throughout Northumberland, and never being too far from a fresh coastal route… Not to mention a few cheeky North East climbs and some great cafes! Little piece of cycling heaven.’ Jacky, Road Cycling Travel Consultant

‘I love cycling in Northumberland because it has so much to offer – quiet country lanes, challenging climbs, rugged coast lines, winding moor top roads, sleepy villages, incredible scenery and more castles than you can shake an inner tube at! There’s also a large selection of destinations for a stop – cafes, farm shops, ice cream parlours – there’s even an eat in shed in someone’s garden selling cakes and where you can make your own cup of tea mid ride!’ Kerry, Road Cycling Travel Consultant

Discover Northumberland with us…
You don’t have to participate in a race or be a part of a festival to experience this beautiful region! We know Northumberland like no one else, after all, it’s right on our doorsteps! So why not make an exciting weekend out of it this July with us, your trusted experts? To explore the area on a bike with a small group of like-minded cyclists for a refreshing break, check out our guided road cycling weekend here.

A cycling classic! Two wheels in Tuscany

With its quaint medieval towns, intoxicatingly tasty local fare and some of the most idyllic scenery you’ll encounter in Italy, it’s little wonder Tuscany is a must-visit destination. Now, imagine pedalling through these perfectly manicured landscapes, soaking up all the stunning sights and sounds on offer! Need more convincing? Time to read on…

You say:
“This was the first time we had done a cycling holiday and having visited Tuscany before we thought this would be a great way to explore. I can honestly say we were not disappointed! The routes took us through some fantastic countryside and we stayed in a variety of towns that gave us a great experience of what Tuscany has to offer.” Alison on Pisa to Florence

The Telegraph say:
“Beneath a cloudless sky, Tuscany is a picture: the fields not yet cut and dried, but spring green and ablaze with poppies. Cypresses line the road and prick the skyline in a landscape lifted from a Renaissance painting.” Adam Ruck, ‘How to tackle the most beautiful cycling route in Italy’ (Feb, 2018)

Our guides say:
“Welcome to Tuscany – lots of rural winding roads and cheeky climbs! You’ll ride through many beautiful old towns which were all built on picturesque hilltops. But this is leisure cycling, so our day always starts with a relaxed and delicious Tuscan buffet.” Cristina on the Via Francigena (Tuscany to Rome)

All roads lead to…
If you’re feeling inspired by this email and can’t wait to get pedalling in Tuscany, click here to check out our great holiday selection.

Customer Story: Discovering Sri Lanka

Located in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a diverse destination with an amazing range of experiences for such a small island. Whilst we could chat for hours about the beauty of this part of the world, we thought on this occasion we will let our customers do the talking! Here’s a story from Sam Crooks, who recently headed here with us, to give you a flavour of the trip…

‘It was the turn of the New Year in 2017 and as many of us do, I was googling holidays as a way of escaping the January blues. Looking for something a bit different I’d been searching ‘active adventures’ and was surprised to see that The Guardian recommended a company, Skedaddle, that was right under my nose on Newcastle Quayside – how had I not come across this before? It was a sign!

I was soon lost in the trip notes of the cycling adventures, longing after the scenery they describe with my mouth watering at the thought of Asian cuisine but I couldn’t shake some niggling worries – I’m not a cyclist (at least not your typical Sunday ride kind), will I fit in, will I keep up? How many consecutive days in the saddle? I’d also never travelled on my own in this way before.

Running along the quayside one day a friend kindly reminded me of a saying, “it’ll be a good experience or a great story”… The next day I found myself sat with the dashing Mr Andrew Straw in Skedaddle HQ talking sunsets and Sri Lankan cuisine over a free coffee! Andrew set my worries at ease. Despite what people may believe it’s not all about the bike! The bike has a key role but it’s as much about travel – experiencing a country, meeting new people and making great memories (at least that’s what I took away from our chat). Within a few days I was signed up.

Sri Lanka is a country of beauty! The tagline, ‘beaches and backroads’ was exactly what we got – and everything in between. We cycled our way from Chillaw through rice fields, wound our way up some cheeky climbs to the tea plantations, and back downhill through National Parks, sugarcane fields and cinnamon plantations, finishing on the coast in Mirissa.

There are so many highlights from the trip but some of my favourite moments included taking in the views from Sigiriya Rock, having to abandon a day of cycling 10km earlier than planned due to a wild elephant being in the road, randomly meeting a local cycling champ and stopping off for a cup of tea and a savoury do-nut as the weather was building to a cyclone!

Off the bike we saw wild elephants, crocodiles, monkeys and an array of birds during safari, learned about Buddhist philosophy through visiting temples and enjoyed the contrast of city stays and beach huts. Don’t get me started on the plentiful, delicious food; I’ll be here all day!

So Sri Lanka gave a lot but the cherry on the cake was the group members and the guides. Our local guides were just brilliant. Whether on foot, on the bike, playing paparazzi or driving the bus they had our every need catered for. Full of fun, energy and keen to help us learn about and enjoy Sri Lanka we couldn’t have asked for more. The group itself were a font of travelling knowledge and experience, I enjoyed learning of people’s lives and their travelling tales and who knew how creative we would become at getting our cycling kit washed and dried for the next day!

So, if you’re reading this as a first time ‘Skedaddler’ and you have some of the niggles I had, just go for it! You could have an amazing experience too. And if you need any more recommendation or persuasion, I’m now signed up for Swaziland in September!’

Feeling inspired? Lush beaches, awesome scenery and amazing wildlife await you as we check out the ancient temples, tea plantations and lush forests during or cycling adventure in Sri Lanka.

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