It’s all up to you
Whether you take your own bike, or arrange to hire one on arrival, it’s quite easy to organise a completely independent holiday.
We usually pick an area that looks interesting, check up on accommodation possibilities (using the Internet and tourist information centres), book the first night or two so we don’t have to look for somewhere to stay immediately we arrive, order up road maps, and take off.
Where to go?
For ideas on where to go, try magazines to whet your appetite, including Lonely Planet.
You can find a range of travel guides and maps from book, outdoor and cycle shops through our online cycle shop.
Cycling to or from unfamiliar and busy transport hubs, especially airports, can pose problems with less-than-cycle-friendly approach roads. You can search the Internet for advice from fellow cyclists on the cycling forums, or consider booking a taxi for awkward stage. It is possible to book in advance airport transfers by bus or taxi (and check that you can take bikes, either whole or dismantled) – try these for a quote: A2B Transfers or Resorthoppa.
Cycle touring – ad hoc camping
We love cycle touring because we find this the ultimate chill-out. Choosing to camp, we have all we need with us on the bikes, and can be flexible about cycling distances. We can decide on the spur of the moment where and when to stop for the night, and start off each day with various campsite options for that night. So if we are distracted along the way by an interesting place to potter around, or a pleasant place to linger, we can aim for one of the nearer sites. And if we find a place we like, we can extend our stay and make one campsite our base.
We backpack summer and winter in addition to cycle camping, so have robust and lightweight gear that will stand up to high winds and low temperatures. It can be a challenging and and expensive to buy camping equipment that is light and compact enough for packing on a bike, but there are lots of special deals and offers from outdoor shops, and for summer camping in sheltered spots, you can get away with a cheap tent that will last you a season or two. Don’t stint on sleeping bags though, as it gets chilly at night even after a hot day.
We’ve put some checklists on our camping equipment page.
Booking accommodation ahead
We’ve met lots of cycle tourers who are horrified at our approach to accommodation, and prefer to be more organised and booked up in advance. The disadvantage of this for us is the lack of flexibility if the hills are too tiring or we find something interesting to linger over, or want to stay on another night where we are. One alternative is to book a base to cycle off from each day in a different direction.
Cycle touring with booked accommodation
Some cycle tourers are horrified at the thought of cycling around with their home on the rear rack. For those who don’t want to buy camping gear, or want to travel light, then there are plenty of accommodation options from bookable campsite chalets (or permanent tents) – try Suncamp, plus budget hostels (where you can meet like-minded travellers – try Hostelbookers and Hostelling International) to hotels, from low prices (e.g. Low Cost Holidays) to high, including five-star places for luxurious relaxation once off the bike. For a search for hotel rooms, try Express Rooms (formerly Quick Rooms).
You may get some combined ferry/hotel deals or train/hotel deals too. Take a look at our page about travelling to your destination for ferry and train links, and our online shop special offers page for any discount codes or deals, plus links to last-minute bargains for a variety of accommodation and/or travel.