Category Archives: Customer Stories

Stories from our trips written by customers

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!

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.

Customer Story: Exploring the lakes of Bavaria!

This April, Stewart and Jenny took on a cycling holiday in Germany exploring the lakes of beautiful Bavaria. They found themselves riding along lake shores, through valleys and discovering the unspoilt natural beauty of the region! To give you a feel of what you can expect from this trip, read what Stewart had to say about his time in this incredible part of Germany…

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‘On our first day, the first hour out of Munich took us through the suburbs and interesting villages en route to the town of Starnberg at the tip of one of the largest lakes in Bavaria – The Starnberger See. For the next two hours we were privileged to ride alongside the lake, through beautiful forestation with wonderful views of many sailing boats, deep sea divers, kite surfers and many walkers and cyclists. We stopped for a lakeside lunch of soup, before continuing our journey past many stunning lakeside houses through Ammerland, Ambach and on to Seeshaupt with beautiful views of snow-capped mountains.

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The itinerary said that the route was reasonably flat and we were delighted to find that it was! Our third day was in fact a most pleasurable ride as the route took us through the largest middle European Moor, called the “Murnauer Moos” Nature Reserve. After the heavy rains the many streams were virtually overflowing and the reserve was full of colourful flora. The gravel pathways were well maintained, and fortunately the effects of yesterday’s tough day did not detract from a brisk and comfortable ride. We stopped for coffee at “Eschenlohe” then continued on past “Oberau” with some remarkable scenery all around. On our left we had the beautiful mountain ranges, all covered in snow, and on our right the fast flowing river “Loisach”, taking us through areas of unspoilt nature.

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The dirt cycle paths alongside the Isar River gave us some splendid views of the countryside, and were very well maintained, allowing us to cycle at a fairly brisk pace. The Germans, in their usual efficient way, had done an incredible job in developing their cycle paths, with lots of tunnels and bridges to avoid roads and traffic. We now had about 8kms of really flat and fast dirt pathways through beautiful forestation with many bird calls, and quite a few hikers.

The trip was well organised and the bikes were great. These stunning lakes and snow covered mountains in Bavaria are so beautiful that it’s difficult to describe how much they contributed to our marvellous trip in spite of a certain amount of rain and cold. All in all a wonderful trip of cycling, sightseeing and sharing times with friends.’

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Feeling inspired? Read more about our Bavarian Lakes holiday in Germany or check out our full range of holidays in UK, Europe and worldwide!