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Road Cycling Grades

Welcome to the official grading page for our road cycling holidays, the best place to find out which trips match your cycling ability.

The below grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you’re still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we’ll be more than happy to help! For more information about our grading system click here.

Grade 1 ~ Easy

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0 1 2 3 4 5

For those new to cycling or who don’t have a high level of fitness. Easy combination of flatter or gently undulating routes. For riders seeking a very relaxed tour. Beginners welcome. 20-40 miles / 30-60 kms per day.

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Is this suitable for you?

You can ride a bike but you wouldn’t necessarily describe yourself as ‘a cyclist’. You might not own your own bike but when you do ride you quite enjoy the experience. It’s possible that you’ve never actually ridden a ‘racing-style’ road bike. Maybe you want to try road cycling on very quiet lanes away from the traffic and other road users. Perhaps you can see yourself taking up cycling as a new way to keep fit once you’ve gained more experience. You are probably looking for a Grade 1 holiday.

Grade 2 ~ Gentle

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0 1 2 3 4 5

On undulating or rolling terrain, occasional moderate / challenging climbs. No high altitude ascents & the odd short steep climbs. For semi-regular riders / relative novices wishing to gain experience & fitness. 40-50 miles / 60-80 kms per day.

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Is this suitable for you?

Maybe you’re quite new to road biking, you might not have your own road bike but if not, you’re definitely thinking seriously about getting one. You’ve probably ridden a road bike a few times and you’re keen to gain more experience. You’re up for the occasional challenge but big mountains are probably not your thing. You’re happy to spend a few hours on the bike and do so occasionally and casually on the odd weekend. You might see cycling more as a means of transport than a leisure activity and you’re interested in a holiday where there’s at least as much emphasis on sightseeing and relaxing as there is on the riding. A typical day might see you covering up to 60 km over mixed terrain with the occasional cheeky climb. Grade 2 could be for you.

Grade 3 ~ Moderate

Grade Help
0 1 2 3 4 5

For riders with experience, good fitness & a decent level of skill. Some features that may be experienced more frequently in a higher grade tour. Most days include a couple of significant climbs. Some long days & some steep to very steep sections. Not for beginners. 45-60 miles / 70-95 kms per day.

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Is this suitable for you?

You’re definitely not a novice rider, you’re fit, you ride regularly at weekends, sometimes staying on the bike for much of the day, you love your bike! You also enjoy a challenge and if you haven’t already done so you’re keen to attempt a semi-serious to serious mountain pass or two. You’re as comfortable with the prospect of descending from the top of a col as you are with the idea of climbing it and you’re confident that you have the skills to do so safely. You’re not necessarily a “racer” but you can crank up the pace a little when it’s necessary and you don’t mind forgoing a coffee stop if the schedule demands it occasionally. You probably own and use clipless pedals. You have good control of your bike and can take a drink from a water bottle without having to unclip and put your feet on the ground. Whilst you find a full day in the saddle fulfilling you’re not obsessed and as much as you are looking forward to the riding on your holiday, you’re also looking forward to a little local culture and cuisine. Grade 3 would be a good option for you.

Grade 4 ~ Challenging

Grade Help
0 1 2 3 4 5

For cyclists with stamina & a good level of fitness. Long & challenging days with multiple tough or high altitude ascents, with steep sections over extended distances. Long & often technically demanding descents. Road riding for experienced riders. 45-80 miles / 80-130 kms per day.

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Is this suitable for you?

You’re an enthusiast. It’s probably your main hobby and possibly the only sport you take seriously. You’re in pretty good shape and you ride as often as you possibly can. You might participate in the occasional cyclo-sportive and when you do, you probably opt for the longest distances. You love bikes and fantasise about the latest model or the joy of a new set of wheels. You love challenges and you’re looking for a tour with plenty of climbing, preferably with an opportunity to tick off some famous Tour de France cols or the like. You’re a competent descender, and you’re not afraid of speed, but you ride safely and within your limits at all times. You understand road etiquette and you’re comfortable riding in a bunch. You’re happy to do your stint at the front of the pack if the need arises. You know you can ride a century and probably have done a few. It sounds like you are a Grade 4.

Grade 5 ~ Demanding

Grade Help
0 1 2 3 4 5

Designed for cyclists with good stamina and a high level of fitness. Consecutively long, challenging days with multiple serious or high altitude ascents. Frequent steep or very steep stages occasionally over extended distances. Includes long and often technically demanding descents. Serious road riding for experienced riders. 60-100 miles / 95-160 kms per day

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Is this suitable for you?

You’re not unlike a Grade 4 rider, in fact you’re probably the same person, but you’re looking for the ultimate challenge. You’ve ridden in the high mountains on numerous occasions and you’re keen to push your boundaries a bit further. You’re well-equipped with all the gear necessary to keep yourself warm and safe in the mountains in all conditions, a self-sufficient rider who likes to get on and ride with minimum fuss and faffing. Your riding experience is the most important aspect of your trip. You live to ride, love to climb and the prospect of consecutive days of long distances and/or multiple extended or high altitude ascents fills you with joy. You’re a very competent descender, but you understand the risks of road riding and always ride with your own safety, and that of your companions, at the forefront of your mind. You’re already fit and you’re prepared to work hard to stay in shape in order to get the best possible experience out of your holiday. You will love a Grade 5.

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