Tag Archives: Guides

Fondly referred to as the superheroes of our team, our guides know how to juggle a large workload incredibly efficiently. To discover more about these charismatic souls we suggest you read on…

Guide Profile: Gualtiero (Wally) Rossano

Our Italian team is like no other! Gualtiero, or Wally, joined us in 2016 and has since led a number of our Italian trips, including the epic road cycling journey, the Grand Traverse, and our new place-to-place MTB tour, the Via Francigena. Striving under pressure and always looking for a challenge, Wally has a soft spot for both road cycling and mountain biking. In our quest to share our incredible guides with the world, check out our Q&A with this inspiring Italian guide…

Full name: Gualtiero Rossano (Wally)

What do you like most about Saddle Skedaddle?
The thing I like most about Saddle Skedaddle is the feeling of being among friends; the Guides Week for me was a great experience to get know other guides outside of work. Sharing the passion is wonderful!

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1. Give your best pie
ce pre-trip of advice for customers…
Everyone is very welcome here! The Saddle Skedaddle team is at your disposal; our goal is to make your holiday unforgettable! Enjoy the ride and make it safe. At the end of the trip we will all have a new experience and we will have many more friends.

2. Which trip are you most excited about in our holiday range?
All the  Saddle Skedaddle catalogue of course, haha. But if I must chose one or two trips, I think that China and Scotland Coast to Coast would be a dream to ride!

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3. What would your chosen superpower be?
I would be Spiderman or Wolverine, it’s a hard choice 😉

4. What item wouldn’t you be without on a trip?
I have a lucky amulet that follows me on all my cycling adventures (I’m also an ultra distance biker), it’s an earring, handmade by a friend that in the past was an goldsmith craftsman. All other essentials are embedded in the Skedaddle mechanic kit, but the luck is not included 😀

5. What’s your favourite power snack and why?
My favourite power snack is peanut butter! So if I can’t be Spiderman or Wolverine, I can always be Super Goof 😀

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Huge congrats on winning our March Guides Competition, Wally! Be sure to check out Wally’s Instagram page for ultimate cycling inspiration.

Tackle that cheeky climb!

Climbing hills is an inevitable part of cycling, no matter what type of riding you do. If you are out there on a bike, sooner or later, you’re going to encounter a hill. For some of us, this is an exciting time. For others, well, not so much. They may only last a few minutes or can go on for hours (if you are in the Alps, for example), but they definitely won’t leave you indifferent.

Our wonderful team of guides, a powerhouse of our guided holidays, are always there to support you during that climb to the top. So there was no one better to ask for advice on conquering those cheeky climbs than our team. Here’s what they had to say…

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In anticipation…
‘Have porridge for breakfast and lots of coffee. Be prepared – know the length and elevation before you set out.’ – Dan, Operations

‘Prepare your gears before hitting the hill. Relax your shoulders, breath from your stomach.’ – Jayne, Guide

‘Have a pre-climb sweetie for a kick, yum!’ – Sam, Guide

Some techniques…
‘Try to pace yourself, slow and steady and control your breathing, bum forward on a saddle, elbows low, go at a pace that you could have a chat to someone.’ – Tony, Guide

‘SPIN, DON’T PUSH. Climb at your speed – don’t chase others. And don’t forget water!’ – Paul, Guide

‘Ride out of saddle in comfortable gear. Split into mini sections and goals. Think of a tune and sing it in your mind, it sets a rhythm and takes mind off climbs.’ – Naomi, Skedaddle Italia

It’s all in your head…
‘Talk to people, tell stories; distract yourself if struggling.’ – Helen, Guide 

‘It’s never as bad as it looks, go at your own pace.’ – Anne, Guide

‘Be conscious and positive, every challenge is achievable.’ – Diego, Guide

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Think about rewards…
‘After every good climb there is a good descent. Try playing the alphabet or suitcase game. Enjoy the view!’ – Peter, Guide

‘This climb is your friend with benefits: a wonderful view, a fitter body, and a mental health boost – so why not like it back!’ – Dave, Guide

Or… for alternative advice and motivation…
‘Fake a mechanical so you get a lift in the van. And don’t be afraid to stop and look at the view.’ – Tim, Guide

‘Pace yourself, it’s not the race…. But last one up pays the beers!’ – Lieven, Skedaddle Italia

Ready for a ride? Check out our full range of cycling holidays in UK, Europe and worldwide (hills vary, ask our team for ascent information).

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Bike maintenance tips from our expert

We’re always eager to help you make the most of your holidays, so, if your trusty steed hasn’t seen the light of day for a few months now, fear not! We have caught up with our chief guide, Steve Woods, to find out his top tips for getting your bike pedal-ready:

Clean your bike
Advice: Cleaning your bike is a very important start to the season and helps you get to know your bike again. It will help spot any problems that have built up over winter.
Top tip: Cut off the top of a plastic water bottle. Fill it with a water-based degreaser, like Green oil bike cleaner, and place it in your seat-tube bottle cage (for easy access). Use a paintbrush to apply the degreaser to the chain. Finish by holding a soapy sponge around the chain and turning the cranks. Hose off the excess and let it dry.

Checking the tyres
Advice: Tyres bear the brunt of the action when cycling so it’s essential to keep them well maintained.
Top tip: First deflate the tyre and nip the side walls together with your fingers; this will help to see perishing, which is a typical first sign of wear on a tyre’s sidewall. Ultraviolet rays in sunlight and the chemicals in cleaning products are just two factors that can cause the sidewall to degrade. Don’t forget to reinflate to the correct tyre pressure, which can be found on the side walls.

Check for debris 
Advice: Most punctures are caused by debris – thorn, glass, flint – and if you don’t find and remove this object, it will pierce a tube.
Top tip: Complete a visual check of your tyres after the winter season and before every ride, looking for small slashes that may allow a small stone or a piece of glass to work through the carcass of the tyre to the inner tube. The offending items can be removed by any pointed object, but take care to ensure you do not cause further damage to the tyre.

Take care of the chain
Advice:  The chain is one of the most important parts of a bicycle, but it’s often overlooked.
Top tip: Too much lube will attract dirt and grime, which wears out your drivetrain. A good test is to wipe your finger on your chain. It should come away with just a small amount of oil.

Take care of that frame
Advice: 
Keeping your frame in tip-top shape doesn’t require a ton of work, but likely a little more than you think.
Top tip: Every third or fourth wash, give your frame and fork a layer of car wax. I like Meguiar’s Cleaner Wax. It restores the paint’s luster and keeps road tar, bugs, and muck from sticking.

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Some final wise words from our chieftain…
Ride new roads once in a while, bust out a map and go explore! The variety will help you stay engaged and may lead to some exciting new discoveries. And take your mind off those “cheeky climbs”.

Remember, the pro-cyclists you saw swooping around France in July didn’t always have those wiry calves and ninja-like reflexes. At some point, they all had to learn how to train smart and even how to shift gears. While only a select few of you will ever take in the view from a top podium, we can all rejoice in the fact that no cycling skill is impossible to master. So just start steady and enjoy your cycling.

Keen to join us on two wheels this year? Click here for our full range of exciting cycling holidays.