In general, people like to plan when and where they are going for their well deserved breaks.
The 12 months and 365 days of the year can be like a master plan pinned on the walls of some family homes.
To clarify, there are Easter holidays then Summer destinations and all (theorically) sunny bank holidays and finally the end of year festive seasons.
Each break is associated to a place and sometimes outdoors activities which vary from trekking/hiking in the wild of Dartmoor to cycling along dedicated paths (thanks to Sustrans) which make bicycle users discover the beauty of the British countryside.
Holidays can be basic and fun. What all of us are after and this comes back in most surveys: having sunny holidays.
This is applicable throughout the year.
Summertime can be spend in holiday parks where there are several occupations including heated swimming pool, fishing lakes and cycle hire facilities.
When colder months are on the horizon, holiday makers still want the same freedom and joy of going outside. This is when cycle training camps can play an important role and turn everything around.
It is about having that opportunity to jump on your bicycle whether using a mountain bike, cyclo-cross or road bike – as long as the sun is out it will be a successful “this made my day”. Others will know all about it because, social media will share all the relevant hashtags and eventual selfies.
Nowadays, everything people do goes online. A strange habit of the twenty first century. As if others – who are or aren’t away – would be interested in your daily movements, purchase, activities which were back in the day written on paper and padlocked in a journal. Those days seem to have long gone. Meanwhile, most things which are shared are related to positive news about our busy lives, friends, fashion items.
It is very rare that someone will “instagram” a picture of an old broken analogue watch. It is more about showing the wooooorld a new tattoo, hair style or an evening out in a swanky restaurant. A bit like giving the envy to others to go to the same places and/or is it trying to become an influencer? Setting up a trend is what people are after.
Some thinkers have then decided to take people and their bicycles on holidays for a few days. Everything is organized carefully. There is a schedule, itinerary, daily agenda but all happens very smoothly in order to direct participants to a certain objective and destination without being too bossy – those individuals are after all clients, who may have paid a substantial amount.
Everyone is welcome of course and prices are not as high as you would think. Cyclists who decide to go to such camps just want to enjoy their time on the road – ideally under the sun – and meet other people with the same passion whatever type of bicycle they own.
It is a true community a bit like photographers. There is a kind of geekery related to what they use and which brand is perceived as being better or more versatile. Jargon is inevitable.
Whether you ride a carbon, steel or aluminium machine it doesn’t matter too much as there is no power trip involved. What matters is to cycle together from one point to another and potentially going home with great memories, new friends/contacts and better knowledge of yourself when taking the road. It is also about being able to negotiate difficult rides by using efficiently the right gear ratio and settings.
In fact, a ride can feel uneasy simply because your saddle and bike geometry is not at its best.
There are some experts such as CycleFit able to advice for such adjustments too. It is not about being fussy but comfortable when going for a day out for a few hours and some miles.
Everyone, even the best cyclists are always after improving their performances. Strava App is the tool which brings the cycling network together. A clever way to connect and compare time, distance and best private records on a specific road.
It is understandable that such holiday format is not for everyone, but it is without a doubt something to consider for cycle fans who are after the best of both worlds: going out on their bikes during winter months with the presence of a bit of sunshine over the peloton.
I met with Tom a keen cyclist. He is a real one. Great Trek bikes with all the trimmings.
I always like to question the choice of ride, clothing and destination. This is what he had to say:
Cycling is great. Commuting by bike I can get into the office each morning feeling fresh and wide-awake – before I’ve even had a coffee! I love starting the day by getting some fresh air in and enjoying the sights and sounds around me; it’s really refreshing. Then at the weekends I cycle down to the shops or visit a café, I love how I can catch up with my mates at the same time as getting some exercise in.
The greatest thing about cycling nowadays is that cycling fashion has moved away from all that shiny, tight-fitting lycra. I can wear stylish clothing which doesn’t scream ‘lycra-lout’ but still fits well and performs on the bike. I can go to a meeting or to the pub on my bike and not look ridiculous when I’m not on the bike, which opens up a whole new wardrobe of functional clothing that looks good.
My current favourites are from a British brand called Vulpine (meaning ‘foxy’ or fox-like). They have exceedingly high standards and a tailoring background so you know their products are going to look and feel great. Their Merino Henley top and summer shorts are my go-to wardrobe items whenever I want to throw a leg over my bike.
The Henley short-sleeved top looks like any normal top (although more stylish!) but has the added benefit of being designed with cycling in mind. It’s cut slightly longer at the back to make sure your love handles don’t poke out when you lean forward on the bike! And it’s made from natural merino wool which doesn’t smell even if you get a bit of a sweat on during the commute – I often go straight into the boardroom after getting off the bike – no need for a costume change.
The shorts are also designed for cyclists as they come up quite high on your back, again to make up for when you stretch forward in a riding position. The fabric is slightly stretchy which makes cycling comfortable and means I can move my legs easily. They’re also lightweight so they’re a great clothing choice for a hot day in the office or a sunny weekend ride.
Both of these clothing items are stylish and refined whilst also having all the right technical properties to make them perform just as well on the bike as off.
Now that I’ve been doing more and more cycling, I’m planning on a Spanish cycling holiday to the Costa del Sol. I’ll be flying out in a couple of weeks and I’m looking forward to enjoying the sun and also riding my bike along the epic scenery from that part of Spain. Costa Cycling Experience (the company I’m going with) take you on rides right into the heart of the mountains so I’m looking forward to testing my legs on some climbs as well as enjoying the beaches and pools. The girlfriend is looking forward to the spa and I’ve also got my eye on the golf courses but I’m keen to ride up some serious mountains and earn my paella!