If you’re a cyclist based in the UK, you will probably fall into the “fairweather” or “hard as nails” camp. And no other season splits these groups further than winter. While the “fairweather” riders steadfastly avoid the outdoors and turbo train or attend spin fit classes for hour after boring hour, the “hard as nails” cyclists grit their teeth and view every outdoor cycle, whether in wind, rain, sleet or snow, as character building. Both groups will benefit from improved fitness when spring finally arrives.
But there is another cycling “class”. The “smart-thinkers” who head overseas for a spot of warm weather winter riding. And once these riders have discovered the spirit-lifting sensation of spending days riding on smooth roads beneath a hot sun (while back in the UK their friends and relatives complain of yet another day of cold and rain) there is nothing that will stop them returning year after year and for increasing numbers of weeks.
Would you like to join the “smart-thinkers” as the head off for some sunny cycling? Here we bring you some of the best places to go cycling during the UK’s winter.
Wonderfully smooth roads and almost year-round sunshine make the Canary island of Lanzarote one of the most popular destinations for UK cyclists seeking the chance to ride in Lycra shorts and short-sleeved cycle tops. The volcanic island offers plenty of undulating routes and a multitude of challenging hills climbs. The scenery is starkly beautiful and characterised by black lava soil and sand, amazing rock formations and a gorgeous coast. Many cyclists base themselves at one of the holiday resorts and choose their own routes each day, or else they head to the popular sports complex of Club La Santa and join some of the guided rides.
Known as Majorca or Mallorca, this Mediterranean island offers a balmy average temperature of 14 to 18 from November through to April. The scenery on the island is a great deal lusher and this island attracts walkers as well as cyclists. For those who are looking for a cycling trip that includes culture, great food and drink and hand-picked hotels check out Hidden Mallorca Cycling. This two centre cycling holiday also takes you to some of the best viewpoints on the Mediterrean island and a host of charming towns and villages.
Another fantastic Canary island destination, Fuerteventura also boasts wonderfully smooth roads and mile after mile of undulating cycling. While the scenery doesn’t offer much in the way of greenery, except where the resorts have created carefully tended golf courses, the skyline provides an ever-changing vista of strangely shaped hill tops created by long-past volcanic eruptions. There are a number of resorts options for cyclists to base themselves at, including the increasingly popular Playitas complex to the south of the island.
South of mainland Spain
For a cheap cycling break and a reasonably high chance of good weather, a great option is to book a bargain price flight from the UK to Malaga in the south of Spain, choose one of dozens of holiday resorts and cycle each day from there. The prices in the south of Spain drop off sharply in the winter, compared to the summer. Andalucía, with its pretty white hilltop villages, is becoming increasingly popular as a dream winter cycling destination. Another great option is Cataluña.
One of the Mediterranean’s best kept cycling secrets, the Italian island of Sardinia is now more likely to be on the radar of UK riders looking for somewhere a bit different for winter sunshine. Head to the south-west corner for quieter cycling amid scenery of vineyards and olive groves, beautiful wooded valleys and dramatically beautiful coasts.
Macs Adventure offer a collection of cycling holidays in sunnier destinations, which might not be as toasty as they are in the summer months, but the cooler temperatures are perfect biking conditions. Visit http://macsadventure.com/cycling-holidays/theme/winter-sun-cycling/