Let our experts turn your dream ride into a reality

Whether you’re a group of friends looking for a unique bonding experience or are searching for a suitably challenging fundraising trip, our Tailor Made cycle holidays could be for you! We asked regular Skedaddler Russ Cummings why he keeps coming back for more bespoke cycling tours with us…

You keep coming back for more Tailor Made experiences, Russ. There must be a reason?
‘The routes, the people and the picnics… Skedaddle have years of experience and their encyclopaedic knowledge of the best roads for cycling means they take us to wonderful places, quiet scenic and appropriately undulating. The staff are fantastic, whether it is the team at HQ organising and taking bookings, or the team on the road. They treat us like friends, yet work tirelessly behind the scenes to make the event a success. And the food… those picnics by the side of the road are legendary, fresh local produce in wonderful locations (or is it just that we are so hungry when we stop, we’d love anything they gave us!!)’

Tell us about your experience organising these tours?
‘The planning is almost as much fun as the riding. Discussing routes and logistics adds to the anticipation. Before we finish one trip we start planning the next (David has this knack of sowing the seeds of his favourite roads in Corsica, or unfinished business in the French Alps!). So the anticipation keeps us going throughout the winter. The admin staff are brilliant, helping coordinate everyone flying in from different places.  And if I haven’t mentioned it before, those guys work so hard during the week itself! Rising before dawn to sort bikes, prep the route, provision the van, then last to bed (certainly keeping us company in the bar!). Nothing is too much trouble for the staff and they really know the formula to keep us all happy and together – not and easy task at times when tired and hungry!’

What for you is the best thing about each of your holidays with Skedaddle?
‘The routes, the people and the picnics – plus we’ve been taken to some wonderful, memorable places off the beaten track.  Places with character, often with lovely views where cyclists are welcomed and well fed… if only they weren’t all on top of a hill!’ Russ

Still not convinced? We have also asked another regular of Tailor Made trips Scott Brown about what he thinks makes a Skedaddle experience so unique and personal…

‘The Skedaddle team have a knack of judging the routes so they stretch and challenge us without turning a trip into an ordeal or tribulation and, as a result, we surprise ourselves by achieving something that truly feels like a real accomplishment and this brings immense satisfaction. If you told me a few years ago that I would be climbing (and just as importantly descending!) Tourmalet, Ventoux, or Stelvio, I would have laughed. The Skedaddle team have shown us what we can do when we put our minds to it and are suitably motivated… and related to this there is a sense of camaraderie that forms during, and that lasts beyond, these memorable trips.’ Scott

Want to discover for yourself? Read more about our tailor made cycling holidays. It’s your chance to turn your dream cycling tour into reality!

Photos by Lighttrapper Photography

12 hours in… Santiago de Chile!

Welcome to Santiago! Located in between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, this city is surrounded by some of the world’s most impressive natural wonders, yet often gets overlooked, until now! From museums to markets, and spectacular views of the mountains all around, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

In a nutshell…
Santiago de Chile is the capital of Chile, and encompasses a whopping 40% of all Chileans within its boundaries. This makes it the 5th most populous city on the continent! It is widely recognised as the cultural hub of Chile, filled with many theatres, cinemas, museums and restaurants, for both locals and tourists to enjoy. All of this is accompanied by a breath-taking backdrop of snow-capped mountains, so you’re constantly reminded of the country’s famed natural beauty.

Sights not to miss…
Plaza de Armas is the central hub to all things in Santiago, as the main square in the middle of the city, it’s a a great place for some people-watching too, buzzing with activity no matter what time of the day or year. You can sit on the benches under the cover of the palm trees and observe, or grab a refreshment at one of the many nearby bars or cafes.

Cerro Santa Lucia is a hill right in the centre of the city! Believe it or not, but it actually used to be a volcano! It’s been extinct for at least 15 million years now, so no worries on that front. The hill itself is actually not very big, but it is packed with wonderful facades, fountains and stairways, and even two small castles (or forts) built by one of the most distinguished military engineers in the history of Chile, Manuel Olaguer Feliú. At 69 meters high, it also provides one of the best views of the Santiago’s skyline and the Andean mountains. The park on the hill is essentially vertical, so make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes!

Rebuilt five times due to fires and earthquakes, the Metropolitan Cathedral is a must-see due to its astonishing architecture. Make sure you take time to appreciate the ornate frescos on the ceiling and the building’s gilded columns. Also, the Palacio de La Moneda (Chilean President’s Palace) is only 10 minutes’ walk away from here.

National Museum of Natural History is the ideal place to learn more about the country. It contains a wealth of information and anyone interested in history will enjoy the visit. But to learn more about the countries recent history, head to the Museum of Memory and Human Rights! It’s a museum founded to reflect on and remember the regime led by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The visit to this museum won’t leave you indifferent.

Barrio Bellavista is a colourful and charming neighbourhood in Santiago. It is a very popular area with many restaurants, bars, and clubs. This really is the perfect place to get a taste for authentic Chilean nightlife.

Flavours of Santiago…
Santiago is well known for its fantastically flavoursome dishes, but also has quite a good reputation for deserts. Ice cream shops such as Emporio la Rosa, who offer weird and wonderful flavour combinations such as raspberry & mint, orange & ginger and of course with the classic vanilla, you can’t go wrong.

Foodies will also enjoy the Mercado Central market, which although busy, is the best place to enjoy the variety of fresh seafood (voted ‘5th best market in the world’ by the National Geographic)!

Dishes to try…
Empanadas, like the Latin American version of a Greggs pasty, but a lot more cultured! The name is derived from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread and they are generally filled with combinations of meats and cheeses. The local artisans will create some unique flavours you will struggle to recreate elsewhere!

Caldillo de Congrio is one for the more gastronomically adventurous… this eel soup dish is a classic in this region, with the preparation involving the boiling of eel fish heads with onion, garlic, coriander, carrots and peppers.

Our team says…
‘I love Santiago! On a Sunday morning, the main street along the river is closed to traffic as bikes take over and you can join hundreds of locals for a morning cycle up to the cable car at San Cristobal.’ – Lizzie, Family Cycling Expert

‘Make sure to visit the ‘Museum of Memory and Human Rights’ and the Augusto Pinochet museum in Vitacura, to get the true understanding of the country’s history. The museums give you a great overview of different perspectives!’ – Steve, Chief Guide

‘My favourite day trip from Santiago is visiting Valparaíso. I like to wander around here, it’s a very vibrant city! Also, definitely check out the bar scene while in Santiago.’ – Andrew, Cycling Adventures Expert

Feeling inspired? Experience Santiago de Chile yourself…
Chile holds a special place in the heart of Skedaddle, this is where the idea of the company was born. With this in mind it’s only fitting we have a great range of guided cycling holidays here, so that you too can experience this amazing country and its lively capital! Most of our trips exploring Chile start or end close to Santiago, so we strongly recommend you come early or stay a bit longer after the tour has ended.

If a landscape of snow-capped volcanoes, deep valleys, lakes and monkey puzzle tree forests set against the awesome Andes sounds great to you, then join us in exploring magnificent Lake District on our cycling adventure in Chile and Argentina. Alternatively, come along on our gastronomic adventure discovering the world-famous Chile’s Wine Country that is home to some of the finest new-world wines currently produced.

Or, if you are eager to take a journey across some of the world’s last true wilderness regions, then our Wild Patagonia mountain biking holiday is the one for you!

If road cycling is more your cup of tea, then we got you covered too! Based on the success of our mountain bike holidays in this region, we have introduced a road cycling version of the Lake District Explorer. It’s a perfect and accessible choice for those cyclists looking for a spectacular destination.

Meet the team! Travel advice from our expert…

Say hello to one third of our lovely leisure cycling team, our expert Kay Cliffe! Having been helping travellers find their dream cycling holiday for many years now, we wanted to share some of her expert knowledge and top travel tips:

Tell us a little about yourself… 
I’ve been with Skedaddle for 6 and a half years. Starting as a complete novice, having only really ridden my bike as a kid, and in and around town, coming into the world of cycling mad Skedaddle was certainly an eye opener! It didn’t take long before I was heading off to Amsterdam for my first experience of place to place riding … hooked ever since would be an understatement. There’s really nothing better than waking up in a morning knowing a new destination awaits your wheels!

Are there any trips in the range you have your eye on? (we could possibly weave this into ones we need to push/ that have dates for 2018 ready?)
The Lofoten Islands are always in my sights, they’ve been top of my list since walking through the door! Whilst waiting for Norway to warm up next Spring however, I’d like to be spending warm September days, meandering my way through sleepy French villages on any of our self-guided routes.

What do you think is the lure of a cycling holiday with Skedaddle?  
Our passion for making people happy. We want our customers to be on the right trips, at the right time, in order to create memorable and unforgettable experiences. With this in mind, we take care to only offer trips of the highest quality, finding the most interesting routes and working with dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced local staff and guides.

Having been on a few trips now what advice do you have for active travellers?
I’ve been lucky enough over the years to have jetted off to the likes of Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Croatia and the Netherlands … and all have offered up completely different views, vistas, people, cycling and experiences. My advice is to make sure you savour every moment. Take your time … stop for that coffee, take that dip in the river, take that silly photo, this is your trip so enjoy it.

Cake, coffee or sweets? 
Delicious, icy coca colas are always my preferred pick-me-up on holidays. Nothing beats it!

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