Customer Story: Lofoten Islands

Norway’s beautiful Lofoten Islands are often referred to as one of the most stunning spots on the planet and you are about to find out why. There’s so much culture, history and a whole range of otherworldly landscapes here that will simply leave you speechless, and the best way to truly take it all in is by bike, of course! Check out our latest customer story from Randall Brophy and Pippa Bradbrook, who visited Norway with us, and prepare for immediate wanderlust…

‘Thinking back on our many years of cycling trips, I remember plenty of over-loved destinations. Not so with Norway. We waited until my wife was about to turn a major milestone birthday before going there. Fears of arctic isolation, $20 drinks, icy-cold weather and frequent rain turned out to be based in truth but greatly overdone. Surely we needed more clothing, and there was rain, but we were prepared for that. Plus, there is the Norway of Oslo and Bergen, then there are the Lofotens, a completely different world.

I’d read the Lofotens have the warmest weather for their latitude in the world, but what we got was far better than that superlative. Five consecutive days of full blue-sky sunshine with tee-and-shorts temperatures began our trip. Our energetic, knowledgeable and boundlessly likeable Norwegian guide, Sandro, met us at the ferry arrival around 9:30 PM and took us to our accommodation where he gave us a briefing and our bikes, despite still having to drive two hours back to his home afterward. The sun had risen in early June and wouldn’t set until late July.

This wouldn’t be a typical bike tour with turn-by-turn instructions and looking at the maps as much as looking at the road. There’d be no crowded tourist sites to try to book ahead, and no disappointments from waiting in any queues to see anything. Most of the time, we felt like the only people out there seeing these beautiful fjords for the first time, along with a scattering of staunch locals who enjoyed the midnight sun but also endured the arctic winters too. Every day we were treated to towering snow-patched mountains, deep blue clear waterways, clean air, and the most pleasant accommodations we’d ever experienced on a bike trip. The overnights featured an ideal mix of self-catering and restaurant options. Any hill climbs were quite tame. Many of the routes had cycleways, including some very scenic bypasses around tunnels. Where we were on the main road, we found drivers to be respectful and careful of cyclists.

One of the highlights was a round of golf in the middle of the night at Lofoten Links. That was also our last clear day, with a light rain moving in the following morning. Still plenty of atmospheric low-cloud formations on mountains to see, and while the weather wasn’t the best, the sky would clear at odd times (like 11 PM), making for stunning late-night excursions up hills, above fjords, and through fishing villages with postcard views of the golden sunshine on the mountains and shoreline. It was a time to liberate oneself from the daily schedule and go with a different flow for a while.

Unlike some other cycling trips, the Lofoten Islands tour in June featured a very different environment to stay each day. From Svolvaer’s variety, practicality and beautiful inland lakes, Henningsvaer’s quaint but tidy strips of shops and homes along canals with a cool edge to it, Gymsoy’s remote and stark beauty, Balstad’s utilitarian aspect, to Sakrisoy’s beautiful and rustic simplicity, we experienced a Norway as yet unspoiled by a mass influx of tourists, yet enough visitors to share the awe. And there was plenty of that. Every day.’

Feeling inspired? Check out our cycling holiday in Norway based on the breathtaking Lofoten Islands, whose dramatic, rugged beauty offers one of the most impressive natural landscapes in our leisure and family range!

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.

Customer Story: Cycling Colombia

What is great about cycling holidays, is that they are always accompanied by a sweet sense of achievement when you complete the journey. And this is especially true on our fantastic (but challenging) road cycling holiday in Colombia. Our Customer Competition winner, Aileen Jamieson, just had a chance to experience it all first hand! Read her full story to get a real sense of what it’s like to cycle in Colombia…

‘I had never heard of Saddle Skeddadle before, but suddenly an advert appeared on my Facebook after I had been searching for “warm winter cycling destinations”. Desperate to get away from the snow and icy conditions in Scotland, the Colombia Emerald Mountains trip in February seemed like the perfect getaway. I booked the trip 3 months in advance, giving myself plenty of time to get fit (or so I thought). Winter came early in Scotland, and so I reluctantly joined a gym and became best friends with a Wattbike. I convinced myself that there was no way that I would be the slowest cyclist on the trip…

Prior to flying to Colombia, I chatted a few times via email with tour leader David Hall which really helped me with my planning. I arrived in Bogota a few days early to acclimatise and hiked up the Montserrate mountain, smugly looking down on the others who had taken the cable car. I felt fit! The next day all the other Skeddadlers arrived, unpacking their bike boxes and talking about all the epic trips they had done and races they had won. I started to worry. These people looked serious!

The first day in the saddle soon arrived and we were all excited to get on our way. The sun shone, the arm warmers soon came off and the adventure began. Each day started and ended with a climb, and I have never experienced anything like it. I soon learned that everything is achievable if you ride at the right pace and take your time. There was no benefit in racing to the lunch stops as service in Colombia is very laid back, so the food never arrived until after the last person had appeared anyway! The back-to-back challenging rides soon took their toll on me and by day 5 I was worn out. I made the decision then that the support bus was there for a good reason and there was no shame in taking a boost for a few miles. That opportunity came on the morning of day 6, when there was a particularly steep climb (with 16% grade). Another rider and I hopped into the bus and took the opportunity to enjoy the view and take photos of our team as we drove past them. It was the brief respite I needed, and at the next coffee stop I got back on the bike and re-joined the group. It’s amazing how a small boost like that can improve your day considerably, and the drivers Tito and Oscar were so fantastic it would have been a shame not to have spent some time with them!

After a rest day in Medellin, we were all keen to get riding again, and once more the ride started with a long climb out of the city. I noticed the locals use a cable car and wondered if perhaps I was missing a trick somehow! The next day had a particularly steep descent, with rough surfaces and tight bends. I am not a confident descender in these conditions, so I decided it was time to take the magic bus again. Somehow it felt less of a cop-out taking a bus downhill than uphill, and again it gave me far more opportunity to view the beautiful countryside scenery than I would have managed had I been focussing on the road. It also gave me the chance to meet some of the local police who were happy to have their photo taken with me, a memorable moment for sure!

Once we had left the mountains the temperature started to soar to over 35degC. This is why I came to Colombia – to work on my tan lines! The roads were also much flatter and considerably easier. I finally felt like I was on holiday. When we arrived in Cartagena at the old city walls there was a mixed feeling of pride in completing the journey and sadness that it had come to an end. An epic adventure that I will never forget, with a group of amazing people who I intend to stay in touch with and meet again on the next Skedaddle adventure!’

Feeling inspired? Find out more about our Colombian road cycling holiday, our most ambitious and exciting road trip to date!

The official blog of Saddle Skedaddle cycling holidays. Featuring everything from destination highlights to top picks from the team….