Our experts share some pearls of the wisdom on some of the questions most frequently asked in the run-up to a Cycling for Softies holiday.
1- Who can enjoy a Cycling for Softies self-guided holiday?
Anyone who enjoys the outdoors, is relatively healthy and happy to explore under their own steam. We really believe that across our range of tours, there is something suitable for almost anybody.
2- How do we get there?
Getting to your holiday destination couldn’t be simpler. We offer scheduled flights with all the major airlines from multiple UK departure airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, London City, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Aberdeen, Belfast, Cardiff, Bristol, Exeter or Jersey.
Using scheduled flights, we tailor your itinerary to your needs – allowing you to extend your trip before or after your cycling tour.
Onward transfer to your first accommodation is made as easy as possible. A representative (or private taxi transfer) will meet you at your arrival airport or station and you will be driven to your base hotel. For those wishing to drive, please ask us about parking options for your tour.
For travellers arriving independently, we provide information on how to find your base hotel.
Holidaymakers arriving by air from a country other than the UK will need to make their own flight reservations, however they may also be able to book our normal airport-to-hotel transfer.
3- What is the role of the Destination Manager?
Your Destination Manager is your point of contact in the destination. They are responsible for making sure that your holiday runs smoothly, to solve any issues that arise, and to share their local knowledge with you. They are your bike mechanic, luggage transfer driver and tourist information office all rolled into one, and are on hand for the duration of your trip.
4- What happens when I arrive?
Before you arrive our Destination Managers will get in touch by SMS or email to introduce themselves and to arrange your welcome meeting. If you’ve booked travel through us, your private transfer will meet you at your arrival point and take you to your first hotel. Once here, your Destination Manager will get you set up on your bicycles and talk you through your holiday, paying particular attention to your routes and navigation. If you are travelling independently, please advise us of your estimated time of arrival and our representative will meet you at a convenient time at your first hotel.
5- What kind on bikes do you ride on a self-guided cycling holiday?
The bike provided will depend on the tour you book. In most cases, the bike will be a hybrid touring bicycle, with flat handlebars, a saddle designed for comfort rather than speed, mudguards and a pannier rack. These offer the perfect blend of comfort, reliability, performance and practicality for our leisure cycling tours. All bikes will be provided with locks and repair kits.
On our road cycling tours, we typically provide a good quality aluminium framed bike as standard with an option to upgrade to a carbon fibre frame at a small supplement. These bikes will normally come with a small saddle bag containing a puncture repair kit.
We also offer electric bicycles on many of our tours which are available at a small supplement. Should you choose one, you will ride up hills with ease and keep going longer and further with far less effort.
6- What happens to our luggage?
While you are cycling the route each day, a representative will take all your belongings to the next hotel – ensuring they are in your room by mid-afternoon.
Unless otherwise stated, bicycles come equipped with a rack and pannier bag, so anything you may need during the day can be easily carried.
7- Is a self-guided tour suitable for families and children?
As all our tours vary in difficulty, this is a question best answered on a tour by tour basis. Our Cycling Experts will be more than happy to help steer you towards the best tour for you and your children.
One stand-out suggestion for groups with children are our single centre holidays. These holidays remove the need to cycle between different accommodations and allow the group to do as much or as little activity as they wish.
8- What accessories do the bikes come with?
Your bike will come with a range of useful accessories, which may include a puncture repair kit, lock and up to 20-litre waterproof pannier bag. Helmets are available, but please let us know if you would like to be provided with one before you travel.
9- What bikes are available for children?
We have a range of childrens bikes, seats, tag-alongs and trailers to suit all ages:
Child bike – small-sized bicycles with child-specific design.
Child seats – a safe seat that attaches to an adult bicycle, great for younger kids.
Tag-a-long bikes – a small bicycle that mounts to the rear of an adult bicycle, giving the adult control of speed and steering, but allowing the child to pedal and help you up the hills!
Please contact us before travelling to discuss the most suitable option for your child.
10- What’s the difference between a normal bike and an e-bike?
Electric bikes are an increasingly popular choice for those who would like to take the sting out of the hills and have a bit more zip on the flat. Our e-bikes offer varying levels of support, adding extra power when you pedal which makes a tremendous difference.
The motor only assists your pedalling – it won’t turn the wheels without your legs helping too! When using an e-bike it is important to be aware of its battery life and range. On flat roads with the minimum level of assistance, it is possible to achieve a range of 145km / 90 miles. On the other end of the scale, if you use the maximum boost constantly it may last 45km / 28 miles.
The batteries are easy to remove and charge using the mains plug provided. We recommend that you do this at every hotel to ensure you have maximum range for the following day. On longer days, you may even like to add some extra charge at lunch stops too – most cafes and restaurants will be happy to accommodate this.
11- How will I navigate whilst cycling?
We encourage our guests to use our GPS navigation, which is similar to the sat nav in a modern car. We work with RideWithGPS for many of our tours, who have a smartphone app that you can choose to download your routes onto for use offline. The app offers a map with your highlighted route, as well as the option to have spoken instructions. If you would prefer to use paper maps, then these can also be provided as an alternative.
12- Do I have to follow the recommended routes?
You do not have to follow the recommended routes, but we suggest that you do. We plan our routes to take you on our favourite roads in this region and to take you to your destination via the best towns, villages and attractions. That said, you are certainly welcome to go your own way, and your Destination Manager will be happy to help you plan a ride to suit your needs.
13- What should I take whilst cycling?
Some essential items to take with you when cycling include water, a wallet/purse, sun cream, snacks, a raincoat, a mobile phone, maps and a toolkit/bike lock.
14- What should I wear when cycling?
A good place to start is a pair of padded cycling shorts. These really will make a world of difference and they’re a great investment that help you get as much enjoyment as possible out of your cycling holiday. Otherwise, avoid clothing that restricts movement and clothing with poorly placed seams that might cause uncomfortable chafing.
Shorts and a lightweight, airy top are a winning combination when the weather is good, but it’s always wise to bring a waterproof jacket too in case the weather turns. Any pair of comfortable, flat soled shoes will do the job and a pair of sunglasses and a hat are useful to protect you from the sun’s rays.
15- Do I have to wear a helmet whilst cycling?
We strongly encourage all of our guests to wear a cycle helmet. A good quality helmet will reduce the risk of head injury in the event of an accident. For comfort, we suggest that guests bring their own helmet if possible, but we do have some available which can be requested in advance. Laws regarding helmets can vary from country to country, so it is also advisable to check this in advance.