Category Archives: Random Twaddle

Random ramblings on Skedaddle Twaddle

Your data matters: A responsible approach

Here at Skedaddle, we’re all about living life to the full on two wheels! As the cycling holiday experts, we’re dedicated to making sure everyone who joins us has the best experience possible, both out on the bikes as well as at every other stage of the holiday journey.

So, with data laws changing, we wanted to take a few minutes to share our unwavering commitments to our extended Skedaddle family and the data you share with us…

We only gather essential information
All the details we ask for are important for enabling us to help you have the very best holiday possible! Some are necessary to keep you safe and secure whilst on the bikes and others are needed to make sure each stage of your Skedaddle experience is the very best it could be.

We won’t share information with anyone we don’t have to
Rest assured, we won’t be sending your details off to any external 3rd party companies to hassle you further down the line. Any data we share is with official service providers we work with closely and who would process the data to help us deliver you a great holiday and excellent customer service.

We only send you relevant information
It is our personal aim to make sure our marketing materials are as fun and informative as possible and these come jam-packed with fascinating trip features, expert advice and the latest Skedaddle offers. For those signed up to our newsletters, you also have the chance to tell us exactly what topics you’re interested in so you’ll only get the stuff that’s most relevant to you.

We’ll always give you the option to unsubscribe
Because we know minds are made to be changed! You have the right to update your preferences at any time and we have made sure unsubscribing is as easy as possible. Simply head to your account to do so or give our friendly team a call and we can guide you through the process.

We only keep your data for as long as is necessary
Saying goodbye is never easy but we know it is an inevitable fact of life! For those of you that don’t want to keep coming back for more Skedaddle fun, the day will come when we no longer need your personal data and after a certain period of time we securely delete from our system.

Good vibes and good values have always been at the heart of what we do at Skedaddle and we want our data policy to reflect that! As Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s information commissioner, the lady in charge of data protection enforcement, wisely explained, the new GDPR law is “an evolution, not a revolution” a statement we very much agree with. For more details check out our Privacy Notice.

Simple pleasures of a cycling holiday…

Simple pleasures, that is what life is about, breathing in fresh clean air, feeling the sun on your face and the wind in your hair, our cycling holidays are packed with these moments.

Here are our top ten simple pleasures of a cycling holiday…

1. Working up a hunger so food tastes really good…
When you have been cycling all day and build up an appetite, the tastes and flavours of food are heightened. When travelling to a new country trying the local cuisine and savouring new flavours is one of the best ways to discover new cultures and cycling makes room for more of these food experiences. Your hours on the bike mean you have space in your belly for not one, but maybe two desserts, and it can all be eaten guilt-free.

The smell of freshly baked bread wafting from the bakery as you pedal past, the rich dark scent of coffee at just the right moment to perk you up and the first sip of an ice-cold drink at the end of a hot day, are simple pleasures, richly enjoyed.

2. Feeling really relaxed at the end of the day, your legs lightly buzzing with tiredness…
The physical exertion of cycling makes it much easier to relax. The endorphins from exercise calm the buzzing in your brain and a gentle feeling of tiredness slips through your whole body, leaving you heavy legged and relaxed. When you reach your destination for the day it is time to sit back and recover from your efforts. There is no need to rush around. Laze by the pool, read a book, take a gentle walk or kick back with a beer. Cycling will have used up your nervous, chattering energy leaving your body feeling peaceful and indulgently sleepy at the end of the day.

3. Ever changing scenery…
Travelling by bike is fast enough to see changes in scenery and culture, even over the course of a day, but slow enough to absorb it and take it all in. You can easily see the big panoramas of mountain tops, castles, dramatic waterfalls and deep gorges but cycling is also slow enough and intimate enough to notice the small things. Flowers growing by the road side, the herd of cows that turn to watch you as you pass, the witty piece of road side graffiti you’d have missed in a fast car. Taking the time to really observe and feel the place you are in is a mindful exercise we don’t always have time for.

4. Exploring without the coach trip herds…
In a small group of cyclists, you have the freedom to soak up the ambiance and discover new places in peace. Instead of battling your way through a busy car park, or elbowing people out the way for a better view, you have the luxury of choosing when and where to stop and look. Whilst the hoards flood one picturesque village, snapping away and waving their selfie-sticks you can pedal your way to the next one, the one off the beaten track. There you can take time to listen and observe without a bus horn honking to get you back on board to tear off down the road to the next compulsory stop.

5. Smiles, waves and interactions with other cyclists and the locals you meet…
When you are on a bike you become part of the global community of cyclists; wherever you are in the world cyclists acknowledge each other. It might not be more than a casual lifting of a forefinger from the handle bars, it could be a beaming smile and a wave, but having a moment of connection with a stranger in a foreign place feels good.

6. The way a bike eases conversation in any language…
Bikes are great conversation starters. Arrive anywhere by bike and someone will want to know where you are going or where you have come from. Arms will be flexed to show how strong they think you are, the bike will be lifted and stroked with appreciative murmurs, thighs will be slapped in praise of your strong legs. People arriving by bike are interesting, they have a story, and you will soon be welcomed into a circle of faces to tell yours.

7. Cold drinks being cold…
Nothing is more refreshing than a cold drink when you are really hot. With sweat dribbling down your spine and dripping off your nose, your jersey damp and streaked with salt and the sun warming the back of your neck, the first sip of that drink is nectar. Watching the condensation bead on the side of the glass and the ice pop and crackle, you hold the glass to your face and really, really appreciate it.

8. Sleeping well, because your body has worked hard, and waking up refreshed…
When you open your eyes in the morning but barely remember your head touching the pillow the night before you know you have had a good night’s sleep. A day of fresh air and exercise is a great antidote to sleepless nights. Climbing into bed at the end of the day your body feels truly tired and relaxed, your bed a welcome haven, and before you know it your eyes will be closing as you drift off to dreamland.

9. Picnic stops in stunning locations…
Lying back in the grass, biting into a freshly made sandwich, is a wonderful feeling. There is something about eating out of doors that makes everything taste better. The flavours are stronger and richer, the textures more distinctive, you can dispense with uptight table manners and bite into a sun-warmed peach letting the juices drip down your chin and really taste the moment. Eating your lunch with your bare feet wiggling, or if you are lucky dipped in a stream, a gentle breeze blowing and a blue sky above can turn the simplest of picnics into a banquet that you won’t forget.

10. Embracing the trip bubble…
Ride, eat, sleep, repeat. Life on the road is simple. When you are in the trip bubble the worries of your day reduce to the important things; what is for breakfast? Where is the café stop? How far to picnic? Chocolate or strawberry ice-cream? Your daily chores are no more than wiping down your bike and rinsing out your cycling shorts. With so little to worry about your mind has space to dream, to think, to ponder the small and trivial things you see as you pedal. As the trip bubble reduces your stress your horizons can expand to take in all the new sights and sensations that reveal themselves as you pedal.

Feeling inspired? Check out our full range of cycling holidays in UK, Europe and worldwide to experience all of these firsthand!

A Guide’s Perspective: Why We Love Climbing Mountains!

Riding a bike up a mountain, resisting gravity at every turn of the pedal, is not easy. But it is possible, for everyone, no matter how fit a cyclist you are. You might just be cutting your teeth on a gentle diet of one col a day on our Alpine Introduction. Or feasting on a five course banquet of climbing in Colombia as you pit yourself against Alto de Letras, the world’s longest climb, but whatever your level there is a mountain for every rider.

“Why do cyclists want to ride up mountains?” this is a question I am frequently asked, writes Hannah Reynolds, and there are as many answers as there are bike riders. The easiest answer is in the words of George Mallory when asked why he wanted to climb Everest “because it’s there.” When we see a sinuous thin strip of tarmac snaking its way up to a cloud shrouded peak the urge is to follow.

Everyone can climb a mountain but, regardless of fitness levels or experience, it is seldom easy. The stronger we are the harder we ride; the desire to accelerate out of every bend, to push over the top of gradient changes, to reach the next corner faster is in every rider. We are chasing sensations as we pedal toward the summit, feeling our way to the red line where hard becomes impossible, careful always to stay the right side of it. The day we become arrogant enough to believe that climbing a mountain is easy is the day we forget to drink or eat enough. A lack of care for the challenge leads to blowing-up; reaching the summit at a crawl, a spent and humbled rider.

What makes a climb special? The view, the companionship, the scenery or the challenge? I may have gently climbed a beautiful hill in spring, breathing easily, on a dry day with a light temperate wind, looking around at the view, but I don’t remember it. The days I remember are the ones where the sun was searing hot on my back, where I had to talk to each leg to keep them turning round and where every corner was a choice between stopping and carrying on. Or the days when your body sings; when you can’t hurt your legs, however hard you try, and the sweat pours down and stings your eyes and your breathing comes in deep rasping gasps but every corner you go faster and faster. Like a surfer waiting for the perfect wave, those are the climbs you dream of.

But why do it? We gain something every time we reach the summit of a col; a sense of achievement, that we have taken on a challenge and succeeded. That we heard the impulse to stop and resisted. It could be the view, to stand at the top of a pass and look down at the valley and savour the panorama of the mountain-scape around you. It could be fitness; this climb is just another training notch on our way toward a bigger goal. Whatever it is we gain from the experience, we have earned it the only way possible, through physical exertion and the mental will power to keep pedaling inexorably upwards.

This may seem hyperbolic to some, but as a guide and a rider I have seen people pass through many different emotions on a mountains trip. I have seen bikes and tantrums thrown by grown men and women. The mountain doesn’t care who you are or what you do, it doesn’t care if you get to the top or not, but we do. I listened to a rider swear at me, swear at his bike, swear at the mountain in rotation for two hours solid as we slogged our way up the Col de Madelaine. I have seen the pride in being able to purchase a simple fridge magnet with a col sign on it. We have had tears on trips, many tears. Tears of frustration at how hard it is, tears of relief when it is over and finally tears of joy when the achievement sinks in. Mountains are not every day things and our responses to them are not everyday emotions.

Mallory also had a longer answer to why he wanted to climb Everest, but the essence of it is there in every cyclist tackling their own, all be it more minor, mountain. When we climb a mountain, when we sweat and toil, and dig deep in our legs and mind the sensation at the top is euphoric, “If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to live.”  And that is why cyclists climb mountains, to live.

Got your sights set high? Check out our range of Mountain Challenges and achieve your cycling dreams of conquering iconic mountains from the world of professional cycling.