In our experience, mentioning you're thinking of packing your lycra and embarking on a cycling holiday often gets you disbelieving looks from those non-cyclists around you. "Are you mad?" "What?, why?!" "When I go on holiday I just want to relax, eat and drink a lot and laze around on the beach, everybody else MUST do that too!"
Maybe it's not quite that bad :)
Here in the frozen north, our cycling options become severely limited from about October onwards. Ok, yes, we now have fat bikes to keep us amused some of the time but we all dream about taking our bike somewhere warm now and again.
We've come up with 2 very different ideas for cycling holidays. One less challenging and one more. Here they come.
1. The Danube Cycling Path, Germany (Easy - Peasy)
This is one of the best known cycling routes in Europe and rightly so. It’s a route that ANYONE can ride. The Danube winds it’s watery way through over 2800km and 10 countries with the most developed stretch for cycling in Germany and Austria. With a mostly very slight gradient, the route is easily accomplished by all levels of cyclist especially if you cycle in the downstream direction because, well, it's downhill. It can get hot in the summer. A standard Sigr kit of a cycling jersey and cycling shorts will do just fine. Take a pack jacket just in case :)
An example of a great stretch to ride is Donaueschingen to Passau
Things to see
- Art.Plus contemporary art museum, Donaueschingen
- Maria de Victoria Church, Ingolstadt. A baroque jewel that houses the worlds latrgest fresco painted on a flat surface.
- St. Stephen's Cathedral, Passau.
- Stuttgart (90km NW of Ulm, Code: STR)
- Friedrichshafen (90km SE of Donaueschingen, Code: FDH)
- Memmingen (60km S of Ulm, Code: FMM)
Another awesome stretch is the 320 km stretch from Passau to Vienna.
Things to see
- The Schlögen bend - if ever there was a place for a selfie with your bike, this is it. An awe inspiring 180° in this majestic river.
- The stunning, almost 1000 year old Melk Abbey, Melk. Just missed the Vikings. Lucky.
- Wachau region, the stretch of the Danube valley between Melk and Krems now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just wow. So much to see that has been preserved throught the centuries. Castles, Monasteries. Picturesque unspoilt villages still farming in the traditional way. Not that you healthy cyclists will be partaking but there are vineyards!
- Munich (190km from Passau, Code: MUC)
- Salzburg (112km from Passau, Code: SZG)
- Vienna (16km outside Vienna, Code: VIE)
2. Gran Canaria (Medium - Challenging)
An island of fiery origins, marooned 150km of the north west coast of Africa in the deep blue Atlantic Ocean, Gran Canaria is an island almost made for cyclists. The island has an area of 1500 km2 and an altitude of 1956m at it’s highest point. With rides ranging from “flat”(ish) to “how in the name of all that is holy am I going to cycle up that” (ish), all types of riding are available, climbing, wind training, interval and long distance endurance training. As the icing on the cake, the road surface is mostly smooth as silk. Your back will be pleased. Kit wise, again, a simple cycling jersey and cycling shorts should be fine most of the time but it can get windy here so a wind/pack jacket would be a good standby.
Make new friends!
One of our Sigr buddies Izz (check him out on Strava) is a native of the island and happens to run superbly affordable cycling tours for all levels including bike hire at his shop Bike 10Mil. To get an idea of what you can do here, here are a few of the routes available:
Pico de las Nieves (1945m)
The classic high mountain climb in Gran Ganaria. The ride starts with a 500m climb to Degollada de las Yeguas, a descent towards Fataga before the final climb to the top of volcano that is Gran Canaria. With beautiful scenery and clean dry air to keep you going, once you reach the top, you are greeted with stunning views of Las Palmas and the Tenerife volcano.
Roads to die for
A very popular ride in Gran Canaria due to it's very mixed terrain. Enjoy some jawdropping scenery as you ride the canyon during 14km of flat road. After a climb of 5 km, you arrive at the village of Soria where you can refuel while taking in the views.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria airport (LPA)
Seriously check out Izz's site, there are loads more routes to ride than just these. There's nothing like getting help from a local and we can vouch for him as a great cyclist and all round good guy. Let him know we sent you and you might get a free coffee!