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!