8 things that people say before their first cycling trip

More and more people are choosing a holiday on two wheels! After all, if you ask us, it is the best way to explore a destination. But if you’ve never done a guided cycling holiday before, you might have a lot of questions right now. How will I keep up? What about a group? What if there’s a climb? Today, we are here to tell you that there’s nothing to worry about! We asked Hannah Reynolds, a cycling journalist and our guide, for answers…

– Will I be too slow?
Worrying about whether you will be fast enough is a standard fear amongst all bike riders of all levels. There are two things to remember in every instance; firstly, it doesn’t really matter if you are the slowest and secondly everyone has good days and bad days. I bet even Mark Cavendish isn’t always the fastest rider on the team training camp.

On a Skedaddle holiday the guides work really hard to make sure that everyone gets the experience they want and when you book your trip we’ll help you choose one that is the right level for you. Once on a trip we have loads of little tricks up our sleeves to make sure everyone is comfortable with the pace so if you are the slowest, or the fastest, you can still ride the way you want to. Remember you won’t be the only one worrying about this, a classic day one scenario is everyone trying to claim they are too slow!

– How often will we stop?
There is often a concern that once you get on your bike in the morning you won’t be allowed out of the saddle again till the day’s distance is covered! Some people imagine the guides are evil task masters forcing you to keep pedaling, or old school PE teachers with a whistle to keep you on your toes. However, a simple answer to how often will we stop is ‘as often as we need to’!

It very much depends on the mood of the group and the length of the day’s ride, sometimes we need to keep it rocking to cover the distance where as other days we may take our time and relax with a second espresso. On most group Skedaddle holidays we will stop for a morning coffee break, the infamous Skedaddle picnic lunch and may be an afternoon break if we need it. And who doesn’t need a gelato or cold Coke on a hot, sunny afternoon?

– How will I know where to go?
Fear of getting lost is closely related to worrying about being too slow. If you aren’t sure of the route you feel more pressure to keep up with other riders. This isn’t a very enjoyable way to ride and wouldn’t make for a very good holiday experience! Whilst guides do a lot more on a trip than simply point the way keeping people on track is obviously a very big part of our job! How we do it depends on the group and the terrain but you can rest assured we will make sure you know exactly where you are going and where to stop and re-group.

– Will my bum hurt?
We’d love to say no one’s bum has ever hurt on a cycling holiday but sadly that isn’t true. Sitting on a saddle for several hours a day can lead to a bit of rubbing, chafing and tenderness. Even if you don’t normally get a problem hotter temperatures, rain or long days can leave you sore, but the good news is it is mainly preventable. If you have your own saddle make sure you bring that with you and make a note of your saddle height. Use lashings of cream on your bum and your shorts to prevent anything rubbing. To spare any blushes this is also a good time to remind everyone not to wear pants with their cycling shorts!

– I don’t normally holiday in a group.
Cycling holidays often attract people who ‘don’t really do group holidays’ so you are unlikely to be the only one in this position. The majority of people find out they really enjoy it because, well cyclists are normally fun people! We ride together during the day and have some of our evening meals together but there is also free time with no rigid itinerary or compulsory museum visits. On a bike, you can choose to chat, or not, as you prefer and often you will find yourself riding with different people at different points of the day.

With so many shared experiences from our day cycling there is always plenty to chat about over a post-ride drink. Some groups end up getting on so well they even book their next holiday together and meet up for rides once they are home.

– I can’t climb!
As with “I’m too slow” this is something that a lot of people think when they go on a cycling trip. It’s a completely false statement, everyone can climb, you may be slower than others but if you pace yourself and have positive attitude you will get to the top. The more you climb the better you get and the less intimidating hills become. The great thing about riding in a group is that you will get the support of other riders, many of whom will also say they can’t climb and help from the guides. You will be surprised at just how well you can climb with a few helpful tips and the right mindset. After a week in the saddle an impossible hill becomes just another ‘cheeky’ climb.

– I haven’t done as much training as I wanted to.
Very rarely does anyone do as much training as they want. Work, family life, illnesses or injury often conspire to keep us off our bikes and our carefully laid plans for getting out more quickly disappear. Cycling is generally more fun the fitter you are but you don’t need to approach a cycling holiday as if you are training for the Tour de France. Getting out regularly, even if your rides are short, will make sure you are ready and prepared. On a cycling holiday you have plenty of time to complete the day’s distance. Coffee stops and picnics will help you to refuel for the next part of the ride and with plenty of time to relax in the evenings you will most likely find you feel stronger and can ride further than you normally do at home.

– I thought I was going to lose weight on this holiday!
We hear this on nearly every trip but with the legendary Skedaddle picnics to enjoy it’s the one holiday goal you will be pleased not to achieve! Skedaddle guides are always rattling a box of Haribo, dishing out bananas or trying to tempt you with some local delicacy. Even if you are doing more exercise than normal, after a day in the saddle you don’t need to feel guilty about a calorie laden dish, you need the fuel to recover and prepare for the next day’s ride.

A big part of cycling holidays is the food; snacks, café stops, the picnic and sociable evening meals all contribute to a cultural experience of the country you are cycling in. One of the joys of cycling is that it builds up an appetite to help you really appreciate delicious local cuisine. Bon appetit!