Cycling holidays: How far should I ride each day?
If you are planning a cycling holiday one of the most important considerations is the daily cycling mileage. This will depend on a host of different things, which should all be taken into account to ensure the best possible trip.
Here is a guide to choosing your cycling tour distance......
Challenge versus a holiday: If you want to achieve a personal challenge, such as riding 100 miles each day for a week or cycling a Coast to Coast route in a set time, then this is very different from a more leisurely cycling tour. On a more relaxed tour you might only ride 20 to 50 miles each day as compared to a more challenging 50 to 100 miles each day. A holiday will be more than just cycling, so we advise that you choose to ride around two-thirds of your normal weekly long ride at home. In this way you can enjoy the cycling while on holiday but also have time to stop for food and see new sights.
Bike choice: A lightweight road bike will take you further and faster, so long as the roads are smooth. Meanwhile, a mountain bike will be perfect for rough trails, but your daily mileage will depend on the quality of these trails, too. A hybrid bike could be a good compromise if you are riding roads and trails but this type of bike will not be as fast as a road bike. Ask for the advice about the route and the type of bike before choosing your daily mileage.
Hills or flat: It is fairly obvious that if you are riding in a hilly place this will take longer than flat terrain. Take a look at the maps on-line and ask the Macs Adventure experts for advice about the landscape that you will be cycling through on your holiday.
Solo: Riding solo is usually quicker than being part of a couple of group. You can push on at your own speed and you will only stop for your own needs rather than all the needs of those you are cycling with. This means you will most likely cover more miles riding on your own. However, if you need someone else to push you on to ride further and faster then you should take this into account, too. Be honest with yourself about the type of cycling you want to do.
Couples: You can only ride as fast and as far as the slowest in your pairing. You should be honest about this so that the slower rider doesn't feel under pressure to keep up with the stronger rider. You could even things out by giving all the luggage or daybag to the stronger cyclist so the slower rider finds the daily mileage easier. If you are riding as a couple it should be about compromise so that you both enjoy the tour.
Family cycle trip: Cycling is a great way for all the family to go on an adventure holiday but you should consider the enjoyment of your children. Few children will want to ride dozens of miles each day. To make the trip enjoyable you could think about tandem bikes for parent and child, tag-alongs and child bike carriers. However, even if children are being helped, or towed along, by the adults they will still want lots of stops because they will become bored if you aim to cycle to far each day. Up to 20 miles is usually enough for families with young children. Also remember to factor in days off the bikes so you can enjoy family time at a beach, swimming pool or a family style attraction.
Navigation: If you are travelling in a new country and need to read a map or follow signposts you should allow extra time for navigation. There is a good chance that you will take some wrong turns and so it's worth factoring in at least an hour each day of map reading allowances. There is nothing wrong in getting lost, (that's when you have adventures!), but it will eat into your daylight hours. Time of year: Find out when the sun sets in the country where you are cycling so that you can decide your mileage based on riding in daylight.
Stop offs: A holiday should include time for visits to villages, towns, cities and attractions along the way. You might want to enjoy along lunch or stop to swim in the sea. A cycling holiday is more about using the bike to travel between places rather than setting speed records for cycling from A to B.
Luggage: Many companies, including Macs Adventure can organise the transportation of your luggage between your accommodation. This means that your bike, and you, will be lighter and so you will travel further and faster more easily. If you are cycling with your luggage attached to your bike you will find that this slows you down by about 25%. It does depend on how much you are carrying but even if you have "micro" packed you will still find that the weight of the bike makes your more tired over long distances. We recommend that you adjust your expected daily mileage by about one third to compensate for carrying all your own kit on a cycling holiday.
Heat: Hot weather will also slow you down and might force you off the bike for the hottest mid-day hours. This should be taken into account when choosing the daily mileage of your cycling tour. The daily calculation: It is difficult to be specific about the mileage calculations because each rider is different. Take as many of the above points into account as you can. As a general rule, take the mileage that you can comfortably ride on a normal Saturday or Sunday at home and then reduce this by a quarter to a third for your daily holiday cycling distance. If in doubt, ask the Macs Adventure experts for advice.