Tag Archives: saddle skedaddle

8 things that people say before their first cycling trip

More and more people are choosing a holiday on two wheels! After all, if you ask us, it is the best way to explore a destination. But if you’ve never done a guided cycling holiday before, you might have a lot of questions right now. How will I keep up? What about a group? What if there’s a climb? Today, we are here to tell you that there’s nothing to worry about! We asked Hannah Reynolds, a cycling journalist and our guide, for answers…

– Will I be too slow?
Worrying about whether you will be fast enough is a standard fear amongst all bike riders of all levels. There are two things to remember in every instance; firstly, it doesn’t really matter if you are the slowest and secondly everyone has good days and bad days. I bet even Mark Cavendish isn’t always the fastest rider on the team training camp.

On a Skedaddle holiday the guides work really hard to make sure that everyone gets the experience they want and when you book your trip we’ll help you choose one that is the right level for you. Once on a trip we have loads of little tricks up our sleeves to make sure everyone is comfortable with the pace so if you are the slowest, or the fastest, you can still ride the way you want to. Remember you won’t be the only one worrying about this, a classic day one scenario is everyone trying to claim they are too slow!

– How often will we stop?
There is often a concern that once you get on your bike in the morning you won’t be allowed out of the saddle again till the day’s distance is covered! Some people imagine the guides are evil task masters forcing you to keep pedaling, or old school PE teachers with a whistle to keep you on your toes. However, a simple answer to how often will we stop is ‘as often as we need to’!

It very much depends on the mood of the group and the length of the day’s ride, sometimes we need to keep it rocking to cover the distance where as other days we may take our time and relax with a second espresso. On most group Skedaddle holidays we will stop for a morning coffee break, the infamous Skedaddle picnic lunch and may be an afternoon break if we need it. And who doesn’t need a gelato or cold Coke on a hot, sunny afternoon?

– How will I know where to go?
Fear of getting lost is closely related to worrying about being too slow. If you aren’t sure of the route you feel more pressure to keep up with other riders. This isn’t a very enjoyable way to ride and wouldn’t make for a very good holiday experience! Whilst guides do a lot more on a trip than simply point the way keeping people on track is obviously a very big part of our job! How we do it depends on the group and the terrain but you can rest assured we will make sure you know exactly where you are going and where to stop and re-group.

– Will my bum hurt?
We’d love to say no one’s bum has ever hurt on a cycling holiday but sadly that isn’t true. Sitting on a saddle for several hours a day can lead to a bit of rubbing, chafing and tenderness. Even if you don’t normally get a problem hotter temperatures, rain or long days can leave you sore, but the good news is it is mainly preventable. If you have your own saddle make sure you bring that with you and make a note of your saddle height. Use lashings of cream on your bum and your shorts to prevent anything rubbing. To spare any blushes this is also a good time to remind everyone not to wear pants with their cycling shorts!

– I don’t normally holiday in a group.
Cycling holidays often attract people who ‘don’t really do group holidays’ so you are unlikely to be the only one in this position. The majority of people find out they really enjoy it because, well cyclists are normally fun people! We ride together during the day and have some of our evening meals together but there is also free time with no rigid itinerary or compulsory museum visits. On a bike, you can choose to chat, or not, as you prefer and often you will find yourself riding with different people at different points of the day.

With so many shared experiences from our day cycling there is always plenty to chat about over a post-ride drink. Some groups end up getting on so well they even book their next holiday together and meet up for rides once they are home.

– I can’t climb!
As with “I’m too slow” this is something that a lot of people think when they go on a cycling trip. It’s a completely false statement, everyone can climb, you may be slower than others but if you pace yourself and have positive attitude you will get to the top. The more you climb the better you get and the less intimidating hills become. The great thing about riding in a group is that you will get the support of other riders, many of whom will also say they can’t climb and help from the guides. You will be surprised at just how well you can climb with a few helpful tips and the right mindset. After a week in the saddle an impossible hill becomes just another ‘cheeky’ climb.

– I haven’t done as much training as I wanted to.
Very rarely does anyone do as much training as they want. Work, family life, illnesses or injury often conspire to keep us off our bikes and our carefully laid plans for getting out more quickly disappear. Cycling is generally more fun the fitter you are but you don’t need to approach a cycling holiday as if you are training for the Tour de France. Getting out regularly, even if your rides are short, will make sure you are ready and prepared. On a cycling holiday you have plenty of time to complete the day’s distance. Coffee stops and picnics will help you to refuel for the next part of the ride and with plenty of time to relax in the evenings you will most likely find you feel stronger and can ride further than you normally do at home.

– I thought I was going to lose weight on this holiday!
We hear this on nearly every trip but with the legendary Skedaddle picnics to enjoy it’s the one holiday goal you will be pleased not to achieve! Skedaddle guides are always rattling a box of Haribo, dishing out bananas or trying to tempt you with some local delicacy. Even if you are doing more exercise than normal, after a day in the saddle you don’t need to feel guilty about a calorie laden dish, you need the fuel to recover and prepare for the next day’s ride.

A big part of cycling holidays is the food; snacks, café stops, the picnic and sociable evening meals all contribute to a cultural experience of the country you are cycling in. One of the joys of cycling is that it builds up an appetite to help you really appreciate delicious local cuisine. Bon appetit!

Our Top 10 Cycling Cafés In The UK

With the nation’s love for cycling growing every day, today there’s plenty of brilliant cycling cafés around! But we wanted to highlight some of the stops we think go above and beyond and offer something extra for cyclists and cycling community. It can be a handy workshop, or a great location with loads of cycling routes around or regular events that bring the local cycling community together. In no particular order, here’s our top picks you should check out and why…

Dales Bike Centre

Best known for: Dales Bike Centre in Swaledale (Yorkshire Dales) with its ‘Café and Cakery’ has to be up there on your cycling café radar…  En route of the 2014 Tour de France Yorkshire Grand Depart, it certainly takes its coffee and cake seriously!  Nestled in the tiny village of Fremington, a ride in the stunning Yorkshire Dales isn’t complete without a coffee stop at Dales Bike Centre. Decked out in Tour de Yorkshire colours, the cafe is warm and relaxing and when the sun’s shining there’s plenty of outside seating in stunning landscape.

Dales Bike Centre, Fremington, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL11 6AW
01748 884 908


Best known for: Great service, charm and custom made vintage bikes! Here the moto is “not only cycle, recycle”. Auguste offer a personalised service to all customers, from general services, to a complete custom built, or bespoke bicycles, letting you choose the parts from the ground up. They have vintage frames, parts and tools, but it doesn’t mean you cannot have the latest technologies on your bike. Mixing the best of both worlds (old and new) is the way they go here. Local people also say they do the best coffee in the area!

Auguste Handmade, 187 Hoxton Street, London, N1 6RA
02034 895 490

The Hub Portreath

Best known for: Electric bike hire, great coffee, locally made cake and amazing trails in the area! The menu boasts ‘healthy eating’ that also includes gluten free and vegan options, all made from locally sourced fresh ingredients. It is located right at the beginning of the fabulous Coast to Coast Trail, which runs 12 miles one way to Devoran on the far side of the coast. And this is only one of the trails you can take, as the entire Mineral Tramway Network is designated for cyclists and walkers, and all trails can be accessed from The Hub’s location here in Portreath.

The Hub Portreath, The Seafront, Portreath, Cornwall, TR16 4NN
01209 844 666

Escape Route

Photo by Escape Route

Bets known for: Established 17 years ago, Escape Route’s workshop offers a professional and friendly bike repair services. And just like in any great bike shop, it is essential to not only have a professional workshop, but also good coffee! And this place excels in both. It is also located very close to the start of a range of trails that will take you along the rivers and amongst the hills and forests of Highland Perthshire.

Escape Route, 3 Atholl Road, Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH16 5BX
Phone: 0179 647 3859

Ronde Bicycle Outfitters

Photo by Ronde Bicycle Outfitters

Best known for:  Ronde is not just a workshop, shop and a cafe. Ronde is also a community of enthusiastic riders who share their love for the sport! The unique Ronde philosophy was inspired by the desire to combine the camaraderie of a cycling club with a first class workshop and outfitters – and this is really what the place is all about.

Ronde Bicycle Outfitters, 66-68 Hamilton Place, Stockbridge, Edinburgh, EH3 5AZ
Phone: 0131 260 9888


Photo by Machine

Best known for: Machine is an independent family business established in 2011 and the first of its kind in SE1 area in London. They describe themselves as ‘a place for cyclists to catch up, talk about their small and big achievements in sportives, worldwide trips, weekend plans while drinking their favourite Monmouth coffee and nibbling that lovely piece of cake’. All bread and coffee is locally sources and even is delivered to the kitchen by bike. Also, if you need advice on which bike to get or in need of a fully equipped workshop, this  is your one stop shop in London!

Machine, 97 Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 4TW
Phone: 020 7407 4287

Photo by Machine

Prologue Cycling

Photo by Prologue Cycling

Best known for: High-performance road bike shop, workshop, café, treatment room and bike-fit centre! There’s literally nothing these guys can’t help you with to meet all your road cycling needs. In-store, Prologue regularly hosts workshops, talks and social evenings for cyclists.  They also organise rides that bring together riders for weekly tours of the stunning cycling routes around North Yorkshire. And they don’t stop there. There’s also a treatment room for cycle-specific therapies, as well as bespoke coaching and scientific fitness testing from professionals currently working with Olympic gold medallists!

Prologue Cycling, 3/4 Wellington House, Cold Bath Road, Harrogate, HG2 0NA
 01423 503 000

Photo by Prologue Cycling

Velo Domestique

Photo by Velo Domestique

Best known for: Great coffee, regular cycling events and Breakfast Burritos! Think of Velo Domestique as a huge family, made up of everyone who has ever come and joined them for a coffee, had them take care of their bike or enjoyed one of their Breakfast Burritos. Their mission here is to ‘engage more members of their local community into cycling so they too can see the many benefits of a bike filled lifestyle‘.

Velo Domestique, 176-180 Seabourne Road, Southbourne, Bournemouth, BH5 2JB
01202 432 265

Photo by Velo Domestique

The Handle Bar

Best known for: Exceptional coffee and delicious all-day menu! Located right above a bike shop, this hidden gem is a lovely place for a meal  at any time of the day with friendly staff and great atmosphere. Here you can have a range of dishes and a smaller plates to choose from, which are varied from menu to menu and specials, all plated as only wonderful cooks at The Handle Bar can do – it is as good to eat as it looks!

The Handle Bar, 28-32 St Michael Street, Oxford, OX1 2EB
Phone: 01865 251 315

The Cycle Hub

Best known for: With arguably the best view in Toon and located slap bang on the Sustrans Coast to Coast (C2C) and Hadrian’s Cycleway route, this is the perfect pit stop for those in need of re-fuelling before the last few miles. The Cycle Hub is a bike friendly café offering bike hire with a fully equipped workshop for bike services and repairs. It also is the home of Saddle Skedaddle, so pop in for a lovingly crafted cuppa and some delicious homemade food when you are around and don’t forget to say hi!

The Cycle Hub, Quayside, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE6 1BU
01912 767 250

Top 5 foods for cyclists (and why)

Food glorious food! On a cycling holiday you will be spending a good amount of time pedalling, so it is important to think about your fuelling strategy. Our guide and cycling journalist Hannah Reynolds gives hers top five food options to get you going and explains why you should reach for them before, during and after your ride…

1. Beetroot
Often found on the Skedaddle picnic table beetroots are great for more than just turning your wee pink. Regular beetroot juice has been shown to have a remarkable effect on cyclists, it enhances blood flow, increases muscle efficiency and extends your endurance. Drinking beetroot juice can make you faster in a 10km time trial, it may only be by 12 seconds but that is enough to win a medal instead of being a runner-up. Pretty impressive for a root vegetable.

To get the effect you need half a litre of beetroot juice a day, more than most of us would normally choose to consume, so for performance benefits professional athletes have concentrated shots. If you aren’t gunning for an Olympic medal just having beetroot in your salad still has many health benefits including reducing blood pressure and strengthening your gut health.

2. Bananas
Nature’s own energy bars. High in carbohydrate, easy to eat and digest, plus they come in their own handy packaging that doesn’t create waste or damage the environment. Bananas are the number one cycling food. They are perfectly balanced to replace the electrolytes lost through sweat, particularly potassium as well as providing 25g-30g of carbohydrate to supply energy to our cycling muscles.

Bananas are interesting in many ways, their GI (how quickly the sugar in the food absorbs into our blood stream) changes as they ripen. A green banana is more fibrous and has a lower GI, a brown banana has a much higher GI so releases its energy faster. Bananas are good for long rides and eating before a ride as other than the very brown ones they reduce energy steadily over time.

Don’t just eat bananas on your bike, the fibre in bananas called pectin helps to moderate your blood sugar levels and can reduce your appetite, making them a good snack between meals. They also make a great recovery food for after a ride, add them to a smoothie or eat one with a glass of milk.

3. Coffee
Not strictly a food but we can’t ignore the huge benefits, and pleasures, of a pre ride espresso. We all know a coffee helps us get going in the morning and keeps us awake when we are nodding off but when it comes to riding bikes it does even more. It increases alertness, as we know, but it also reduces perception of fatigue and discomfort. We feel less tired and cycling feels easier when we have had a coffee!

Over time our bodies can get used to the amount of caffeine we are using so to get a more effective coffee hit while cycling keeps your espresso habit for pre-ride treats and the café stop.

4. Dates
Dates are the natural fruit equivalent of scoffing Haribo or eating gels. They are incredibly sweet as they are 80% sugar so they fill your mouth with the sweet sticky sensation we sometimes crave and provide the carbohydrates you need for cycling. But unlike eating sugary sweets they also pack a high number of nutrients for good health. As with bananas they are high in potassium, also magnesium and copper which help to maintain a healthy nervous system and blood pressure.

The sugar in dates is usually glucose, fructose and traces of sucrose and maltose providing you get a quick burst of energy and also a slow release over an extended period of time. They are great for satisfying a sweet tooth when not cycling as the fibre in Medjool dates slows the rate at which the carbs can be digested, so you avoid spikes in blood sugar levels and energy remains more constant. You only need one or two dates at a time as they are so intensely sweet and energy dense.

5. Ice-cream (yes really)
After cycling, particularly if you are on a long trip and need to cycle again the next day, you need the right foods to help your body recover. The two priorities are carbohydrate and protein. There has been a lot of noise about why chocolate milk is the ultimate recovery drink, it contains a three-to-one ratio of carbohydrate grams to protein grams which appears to quickly replenish your body’s energy stores, as well as potassium, calcium and vitamin D. Chocolate milk is easy to digest ( for those who normally eat dairy) and it contains exactly the right balance of fast-absorbing proteins from the milk, such as whey protein for muscle growth and repair, and slow-absorbing proteins such as casein which gives your body protein building blocks to keep repairing over time.

However, these facts also apply to that holiday favourite – ice-cream – and what better way to round off a day in the saddle than licking a lovely big cone of your favourite flavour. Ice-cream slips down easily, even if you are feeling hot and tired at the end of the day, and helps give your body the fuel it needs without making you feel uncomfortably full.