Category Archives: Twaddle Stories

Customer Stories from Skedaddle Holidays and UK Weekends

Customer Story: Bruges to Amsterdam

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‘Bruges has always been on my list of places to see, so starting a Bike and Barge trip to Amsterdam from here seemed to be ideal…

… it was lovely, from a luxury barge to great leisurely cycling! But meeting the group in Brugge was only the beginning of what was to become a superb week of cycling: through quaint villages and towns, in Antwerp along picturesque canals, and in Kinderdijk through pastoral countryside.

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Each day was rounded out with a historic overview provided by our guide Tom, excellent food cooked by the chef onboard The Manifique II, the smiles and attention of the rest crew and a fun group of guests from around the world.

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Everyone cycled at a pace comfortable to them and there were days when some stayed aboard to relax and take in the views from the hot tub on the top deck. It was evident that the cycling routes were carefully selected to suite different interests.

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Our Skipper welcomed us and provided great information on the boat and the running of a barge through European canals. Even the heavily industrial harbours were beautiful in the early morning sunrise. 

The barge bike trip was my first but will definitely not be my last. Thank you Saddle Skedaddle!’

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Feeling inspired? Now it’s your turn to explore some of the Europe’s most beautiful cities including Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Utrecht and Amsterdam on our Bike and Barge holiday. Always a very popular choice, so book in advance!

A breakfast for cycling champions

Here’s our fifth instalment of a series of handy two-wheeled tips written by cycling journalist Hannah ReynoldsThis week she talks about what makes a good cycling breakfast and how it is different around the world…

Eating a good breakfast will fuel your day of cycling and help you to feel fitter and stronger.

One of the great joys of a cycling holiday is the food, particularly if you are pedalling in a different country to your home. You can relax and relish new dishes you may not have tried before and with a full day of cycling you can eat and drink without guilt!

Our mothers were right, breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, particularly when you are on a cycling trip. At home we get used to same monotonous meals every morning; porridge, cereal, toast but on a trip you will be offered a whole host of different foods for your breakfast. Different cultures also put different emphasis on breakfast, many skipping it in favour of a mid-morning snack. This can feel strange if you are used to starting the day with a large meal, but we can guarantee a light breakfast has never slowed down Italian or Spanish cyclists! Here are typical cycling breakfasts from some of the many destinations Skedaddle visits.

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What makes a good cycling breakfast?
Fluids – If you are cycling in a hot country make sure you start drinking with your breakfast as you will have become dehydrated through the night.

Carbohydrate – Slower releasing carbohydrates ensure that your energy levels stay topped up for longer. Whilst porridge is a main-stay for UK cyclists you can also try rice, beans and some fruits or vegetables.

Protein – A little bit of protein helps you to feel fuller for longer and when you are cycling day after day is important for maintaining your muscles.

Caffeine – Not essential but nearly every culture in the world has some form of caffeinated drink to help wake them up in the morning!

When in UK…
Most places you stay will offer you the ‘full English’ or ‘full Scottish’ once you are north of the border. Fry-ups have a poor reputation but a cooked breakfast doesn’t have to be a bad start to the day. Select a few items instead of ‘the works’, eggs poached or scrambled instead of fried are a great protein source, tomatoes and baked beans increase your fruit and veg intake and granary toast is a good way to get slow release carbohydrates.

Scottish accommodations might offer your smoked salmon and scrambled egg on toast, a winner as far as healthy breakfasts are concerned thanks to the healthy fats in the salmon.

When in France – Petit déjeuner…
Breakfast in France is generally very simple compared with the rest of the day’s food options with many people skipping breakfast and opting for a mid-morning pastry and coffee instead. A coffee and pain au chocolat on its own will leaving you buzzing with caffeine and sugar but could see you running out of gas mid-way up the first climb.

In many French homes breakfast will be little more than bread, jam and coffee. Hotels however will offer breads, cheeses, cold meats, jams and preserves and of course croissants. You may get a boiled egg or yoghurts and almost always there will be fresh fruit. If you go easy on the pastries but make sure you eat some of the more savoury items and fruit as well then your protein and carb needs will be taken care of until picnic time!

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When in Spain – Desayuno…
Spanish aren’t hugely keen on breakfast first thing but will eat a bit more around mid-morning. A typical food to start the day off is pan con tomate – bread rubbed with the pulp of fresh tomatoes a bit of garlic and olive oil. It is simple but the fantastic olive oil and ripe tomatoes means it is bursting with flavour, vibrant and colourful. A little bit of meat or cheese might be added to this if you need some extra substance. Tortilla, omelette with potato and onion might also be served cold.

In Spain you are also allowed to enjoy cake for breakfast with little magdalenas often served with coffee. Churros are long donuts, sprinkled in sugar while still hot and then dipped into thick, rich hot chocolate. Delicious at any time of day and a favourite street food for the night owls on their way home in the early hours of the morning.

When in Italy – Colazione…
Italy is another country famed for its cuisine who opts to take it easy at the breakfast table. With larger meals at lunch time than we are used to in the UK Italians are reputed to go to work on nothing more than a coffee and a cigarette and it may not be that far from the truth!

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Breakfast is the only time it is really acceptable to drink your coffee milky, accompany it with bread or pastries and you have a fairly typical breakfast, that would often be eaten at the counter of a bar or bakery on the way to work. If you are asking for coffee avoid saying ‘Americano’ even if you want a long black coffee, in most instances asking for this will get you a jug of filter coffee that has been left to stew. Freshly made Italian coffee is one of the perks of a trip to Italy.

When in Costa Rica – Desayuno…
Breakfasts in Costa Rica are proper meals with vegetables, rice, beans, meat and fish on the menu. Delicious fresh fruits such as bananas and pineapple are freely available and the perfect way to round of your meal. Gallo Pinto is the most common dish for breakfast, although you may get different variations the key ingredients are scrambled egg, rice mixed with beans and stir fried plantain. This is one of the healthiest and generous breakfasts you can get with a great combination of slow release carbohydrates, protein, fibre and vitamins from the fresh fruit. If you are more used to a coffee and croissant type of breakfast this larger meal may seem unusual but as the day heats up, you will feel less inclined to eat a big meal at lunchtime.

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Customer story: Playgrounds of Austria

Meet our May winners of the Customer Competition! Amy, Richard and little Beatrice traveled together to Austria to explore this beautiful part of the world just before welcoming a new addition to their family. After returning home, with memories still fresh of their two-wheeled adventure, Amy felt inspired to send us a great write-up of their experience and give you a window into what you can expect from a family cycling holiday…

‘With a 2 year old in tow, and another little one on the way in 4 months, we thought that a springtime Alpine cycling adventure would be the perfect way to have a last family holiday as a three and build our confidence for the next time we pack our panniers with two little ones to contend with! And we were not disappointed – the Zillertal is the absolute ideal base for a wonderful family cycling trip; idyllic off-road flat cycle routes along rivers and railways, swimming and ice cream stops aplenty, contented cows and meadowland, a real-life narrow gauge steam train, hearty hospitality, and all surrounded by stunning mountain scenery – and crucially, plenty of great playgrounds. The hotel was a real treat, so friendly and perfect for families – a wonderful garden, playground, playroom and swimming pool which kept us all happy, and fantastic 5 or 6 course meals every night.

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We hired both a bike seat and a child trailer, and our daughter was very happily entertained with scenery, songs, stories, snacks and snoozes in the back, while we did the hard (or not so hard) work…

A particular highlight was the Reintaler See on the Lakes tour, where we happened upon an Austrian tourist board photo shoot with some pro cyclists (cheerfully drinking coffee and pedalo-ing at the time…) ahead of the UCI Road World Championships to be hosted in the Tyrol next year.

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Rattenberg was another great stopping point on the ride to Kufstein – a picturesque historic small town in the literal shadow of ‘Rat Mountain’, meaning that it is in darkness for the winter months – or would be, were it not for a set of 30 heliostats, or rotating mirrors, installed on the opposite side of the valley to reflect much needed sunlight onto the residents. The nearby Schloss Matzen has a lovely shaded playground in the castle grounds.

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We also loved the trip up the valley to Mayrhofen, so much so that we repeated it to revisit the open air pool – and of course, playground – at Zell-am-Ziller. It was great to have the option of hopping on a train along with the trailer at any point on all the rides. On our ‘rest day’ we hiked through the forest above us to a woodland play area and nature trail, where the local forest school children were having a fine time building a dam in a mountain stream. The swimming lake at Schlitters (only 5km ride along the river from Fuegen) is also host to a fabulous adventure playground with a giant wooden giraffe, which we visited on more than one occasion.

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Having thoroughly explored every playground the Tyrol can possibly have to offer, with the added bonus of beautiful calm rides through mountain and valley scenery and a wonderful hotel, we can safely say that we can’t wait to come back and introduce our ne addition to the joys of exploring the Tyrolean valleys on two wheels!’

Feeling inspired? Our centre based Tyrollean Valleys trip is a great fit for young families or for those new to cycling holidays. Feeling more confident? Check out our full range of family cycling holidays.