7 Ways to Cycle on Holiday Without Upsetting the Family


03.08.16 at 11:42 am

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We’ve all come across those young, unattached twenty-somethings through our triathlon and cycling clubs. The ones who tear our legs off and seemingly do so without breaking a sweat.

For them, there doesn’t need to be any down time. Every weekend can be bumper training session, and every holiday geared exclusively to cycling. They stay in hostels built specifically for cyclists, and spend every hour of every day getting as many miles in their legs as they possibly can.

For the rest of us, with a partner (of the non-cycling variety) or children added to the mix, it’s not so easy. Our families are unlikely to opt for a holiday in the Pyrenees so we need to compromise on the destination, and our responsibilities to them significantly reduce the time we can spend out on our bikes. Your partner might not be overly keen on you bringing your bike along at all, let alone spending all the time riding it.mallorca-cycling-holiday

It’s the school holidays and many of us are preparing to head off with on a summer holiday with the family. But there is no reason why your bike needs to be neglected just because you are on a beach holiday. To help you out, I’ve collated my top 7 tips for cycling on holiday without upsetting the family.

1. Sell Your Destination

Mallorca is one of the training capitals of Europe. Many of the top pro teams train there over winter, with Wiggins describing the roads as a “Scalextric set for cyclists”. If you are pitching the island as a family holiday however, these arguments aren’t likely to win you any points.

Did you know that Mallorca has one of the largest subterranean lakes in the world, deep in the Cuevas Del Drach caves, and tours will take you across it in a row boat?

cycling holiday lakes

A quick Google of your preferred cycling destination can throw up all sorts of things that sound great to a non cyclist. Everyone is going to have plenty of interesting things to do together and on their own. That the roads happen to be a cycling Mecca is neither here nor there, but it would be a shame not to give them a go since you’ll be in the area anyway.

2. Bring your own bike

When cycling isn’t the primary reason for your trip, the temptation is to leave your bike at home and hire one once you get there. This would be a mistake. If you need to hire a bike after arriving, it becomes a task that’s easily put off, or something you can be discouraged from doing.

Many cyclists have travelled to beautiful, sunny locations, only to never unpack  their shoes and pedals.  It’s easy to borrow a box if you don’t have your own and pack up your bike to take with you. The cost of stowage usually works out equivalent to a weeks rental anyway.

Mallorca Training Pretty Fountain

3. Don’t push your luck

The trick is to under promise and over deliver. If you know your ride is going to take you two and a half hours, tell them it’s going to take you three. That way when you are back half an hour early, it looks as though you have rushed back to see them.

4. Let them do their thing

If you are travelling with younger children, building in time for your partner to escape can make all the difference. If they have spent an afternoon fishing, hiking or whatever their weird hobby is, you are perfectly justified to spend the next day working on your razor sharp tan lines.

5. Early bird

Triathletes and cyclists are often early risers and, if you want to make the most of your holiday, then there’s no time for a lie in. If your partner is likely to stay in bed until 9 or 10 while on holiday, you can easily get a couple hours in without them even noticing.

6. Electric bikes

If you want to make the most of the mountains but also spend some quality time with the family, the obvious solution is to combine the two. The trouble is, you’ve spent every evening over winter smashing KOMs on Zwift whereas they think lycra is for perverts and wierdos.

Electric bikes have come a long way in the last few years. Hire shops are common in most cycling destinations, and they have got to the point that they are genuinely fun to ride. The upshot is you can get some training up those monster hills, while the family enjoy a leisurely (electrically assisted) ride through the country.

7. Family friendly hotel

Finally make sure you book a family friendly all-inclusive hotel with a kids club. Not having to cook, clean and look after the kids all day will make it easier to negotiate time on the bike.


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