Category Archives: Lifestyle

Skedaddle Twaddle about Lifestyle

China: 5 Fast Facts

Chopsticks at the ready! With Chinese New Year celebrations about to kick off for another year, we thought we’d take a closer look at this enthralling country and its fascinating customs.

Most of you at some point will have gorged on a lip-smacking Chinese takeaway and been left baffled by the trademark fortune cookie saying at the end of your meal. Some of our favourite ‘wise words’ over the years include, ‘a very attractive person has a message for you’ (oo-aa) as well as ‘a good way to keep healthy, is to eat more Chinese food’ (oh fortune cookie, why can’t you be true?!) Little did we all know that this novel end to our Asian feast was but a cheap rip-off, conjured up on shores far from China (America to be precise) and never to be actually seen or served in a traditional Chinese restaurant. Well, we knew it was wishful thinking to believe that good-looking individual existed anyway!

Casting aside your newfound doubts as to the foundations of one of your favourite take-out options, it’s safe to say China has so much more to offer us than their endless buffet dishes. Oh yes, alongside Babylon, India and Egypt, China is considered one of the four ancient civilisations of the world, according to the scholar Liang Qichao. Whilst we can’t back up this claim outright, this is certainly a land where ancient history still radiates in everyday life. So, for those interested in learning more about the home of chopstick dining, here’s our fast facts to get you up-to-speed with all things Chinese…

New Year Celebrations last for 15 days…
If you thought one night of celebrations was enough, the Chinese put us to shame by spending over two weeks rejoicing this special time of year. For westerners the classic Chinese New Year see’s the streets bursting with noise and colour, and legend has it that this way of celebration was to keep the monster Nian, who would return at this time of year, at bay. With close ties to ancient tradition, many still like to honour their ancestors during this time too.

Red is the national colour of China
Their flag may give this away a little, but red is also considered the countries luckiest colour! From lovely lanterns hanging in the streets to the top colour of choice for Chinese brides (there’s no white frocks here!), you’ll be greeted with a splash of red wherever you go in China. Believed to represent happiness, beauty, success and good fortune, we can see why the streets are literally bursting with this shade.

China has 52 national heritage landscapes…
The UNESCO World Heritage Site has awarded the country many worldwide treasures and comes second only to Italy. Sites of note include the impressive Great Wall of China, Protected Panda sanctuaries and the ethereal peaks and caves of the Bajiaozhai National Park (also explored during our cycling adventure to Guilin and Guangxi). With so many stunning gems to explore, this really is a photographers dream destination.


For the love of tea…
China is one of the biggest tea producers in the world and is considered one of the first countries to start drinking this now classic beverage. Chinese legend has it that Emperor Shennong (said to have lived 5,000 years ago) discovered this pick-me-up when leaves from a tea bush fell into the water his servants had been brewing for him. At first considered a purifying tonic, used for medicinal purposes only, it has since grown into one of the world’s most favoured thirst quenchers.

The Great Firewall of China…
Don’t panic, the iconic Great Wall of China hasn’t gone up in flames! This fantastic pun plays on China’s internet ban on the wests popular digital feeds. Blocked by the government since 2009, travellers here will have to manage without their daily newsfeed updates. Oh well, sounds like a fab reason to really disconnect from your everyday lives and get connected with the people and places that matter on your adventure.

Want to find out more fascinating Chinese facts? What better way to put your new found knowledge to the test than by heading to China for yourself. Our cycling adventure here takes place in Guilin and Guangxi and explores some of the countries most beautiful natural landscapes, including the stunning Li river and the rural communities that call this part of the world their home.

A Guide To Winter Biking

This time of year can be tough for all of us based in the UK. With the tendency for wet weather and muddy trails it’s not difficult to get downhearted about riding during these winter months. There is some consolation though in that we can ride our bikes year round, our trails are not buried under snow for 3 months of the year, nor are our summers so blistering hot to keep us indoors or in the shade.

With some good riding habits it is possible to ride through the winter and arrive in the spring feeling fit and with riding skills honed for a summer of adventures. Here are some tips that our Mountain Biking Product Manager Matt Cain have picked up over the years riding year-round:

1. Make it Fun
Make sure that every time you get out on your bike that you enjoy yourself. Unless you are a pro or have serious fitness goals then this is not the time for all-day suffer-fests. Instead design a fun route, head out with some good riding buddies and plan for a mid-ride butty or post-ride ale.

Photo by Lighttrapper Photography

2. Choose the right trails
Seek out some local all-weather trails or well-surfaced bridleways to avoid the slop-fest that moorland trails can be in the winter. Trail centres are also great for reliable riding whatever the weather.

3. Commute for bonus miles
If practical, commuting by bike is a great way to get in regular rides and some bonus training miles. One you are in the habit of getting on the bike every morning its far easier to face the dark each day. Have your kit laid out the night before, your bike sorted and spare socks and undies at work to make sure you are never caught out!

4. Get your kit sorted
Splashing out on some good quality wet weather kit will make a huge difference and it needn’t be expensive. Baselayers and tights are cheap, and waterproof socks, good gloves and a proper waterproof jacket are excellent value for money for keeping you safe and happy.

5. Think outside the box
You don’t necessarily need to be riding your bike to be getting better at riding your bike! An occasional turbo trainer session will keep your fitness topped up and strength and conditioning work including regular stretching or Yoga/Pilates will help overcome any niggling injuries.

Photo by Lighttrapper Photography

6. Make a commitment
Agree to meet your buddies for a ride – it will be more fun and harder to back out if there is a little drizzle forecast. A significant event or holiday in the Spring or early Summer will give you a little extra motivation to get out and enjoy a ride.

If all else fails, remember that it doesn’t always have to be ‘fun’ to be fun! Sometimes you’ll get wet, dirty and get home in the dark, but rest assured you’ll reap the rewards once the days get longer and trails drier.

Looking forward to riding in the sun? Check out our Mountain biking range for your chance to soak up the sun on two wheels and enjoy some excellent trails later this year.

Pedal Peru! 5 ancient WOW FACTOR wonders


If a journey exploring the ancient world is something that you long to experience, you can’t go far wrong in Peru. With our 2018 dates and prices NOW ONLINE, and Inca trail permits already on sale, here’s a few more reasons to convince you to join us for the cycling adventure of a lifetime next year…

  1. Mountain-top towns: From the lofty peaks of the UNESCO treasure Machu Picchu, to the wonderfully named village of Ollantaytambo, our adventures allow you to discover some of the best Inca ruins in Peru – prepare to be totally amazed.
  2. The great salt pans: Whilst the Asians have their rice terraces, the Peruvian’s prefer their salt pans! Known locally as the ‘Salineras Maras’ these 3,000 salt ponds are an impressive sight to behold and reveal more incredible Incan ingenuity.
  3. Captivating Cusco: A city like no other! This enchanting capital is the former centre of the Incan empire and combines ancient features with colonial Spanish architecture, for another UNESCO treasure that promises to impress.
  4. A jungle journey: Nature lovers rejoice! One of the greatest natural wonders in the world, the Amazon rainforest, covers 60% of the country and is explored by bike on our Andes to Amazon adventure.
  5.  Pisco sour: Okay, so not so ancient, but a nonetheless, classic Peruvian wonder. A firm favourite of our team and the perfect post-ride tipple – don’t let the egg white throw you off!


Want to join us for a cycling holiday in Peru? Click here to find out how!