Do you remember when two weeks on a beach was the standard annual break from the office grind? Down to the travel agent, opt for Greece or Spain or whatever, and off you go. Now you’re no-one unless your holiday means ‘doing something active’. Well, if you like to be ahead of the crowd, why not take a different approach with cycling holidays?
Austria on a Tandem
Rather than the usual single-seater option, why not try a tandem for your next trip? In that old classic song ‘Daisy, Daisy’ we hear about a ‘bicycle made for two’ – and here it is; a tandem. For the chronically lazy blessed with a really fit friend, this is a must-have. Seriously, what more could you wish for than a trip to the lakes of Austria on a tandem bike. You relax in the saddle taking in the beautiful views, and let the person in the front seat take the strain.
Try one of the most popular cycle paths from Passau to Vienna, passing 60 ancient castles and visit the 11th Century baroque abbey at Melk. Cycle leisurely along the banks of the Danube river and become one of the local tourist attractions on your bicycle made for … well take your pick. There is actually such a thing as a quint (a bicycle made for 5!) and bizarrely tandem bikes for 10 do exist.
Italy on a Tricycle
Only joking, we don’t really mean on one of these popular children’s bikes. If you prefer a more stable ride and don’t like to ‘share’ try a tricycle. Solid and reliable and not easy to tumble from, try it for a tour around Chianti. With the glut of wine tasting opportunities on offer, you really don’t want the worry of a wobbling bike (or cyclist). Stay in an actual Benedictine Abbey while you’re there and book a couple of day trips to Florence and Siena. A note of caution, if you opt for a jaunt to Pisa remember the tower does actually lean, it’s not totally the after-effects of the wine tasting. I’m not sure it wobbles though – and there is only one tower, if you see what I’m saying. If you do get saddle sore and tired from all the effort take time out in the Tuscan hills and try pizza as it’s meant to be cooked. No, I’m not talking about that over-salted and flat packed junk food delivered to your front door by a guy in uniform. If you want flat packs, go to Ikea for heaven’s sake.
France on a Penny Farthing
The French have always considered us slightly strange so here’s a chance to prove them right. For those of you who don’t have a clue what I’m on about, here it is, the Penny Farthing. Originating from the late 19th century, Penny Farthings are still in use, primarily for their novelty value would you believe. Demonstrate your cycling prowess as you travel at snail’s pace along the Emerald Coast of Brittany, or through the Dordogne on yet another wine tasting quest. Better still, mesmerise the Parisians in the style of an accomplished mime artist by cycling along the Champs Elysees. I am joking. It’s probably not one of the safest ways to get along but apparently you can reach much higher speeds than on a normal bike. Don’t forget your helmet and padding though, it’s a long way to fall.
If you prefer to quite literally stand on your own two feet, I’m with you. If I must do something remotely resembling exercise I’ll stick to walking holidays, preferably interspersed with welcoming taverns. I’ll wave to those cyclists as they pass by.
Sharon is an avid traveller with a passion for cycling all over the globe.