I’m currently 22 yrs old and my tally for countries that I’ve ridden my bike in sits at 19. I have actually been to 23 different countries, but those extra 4 were minus my bike. One of the 19 countries is Switzerland. I’ve only ridden in circles around an indoor velodrome here, so I’m not sure this technically counts, but either way I’m pretty happy with these stats and I feel like a fairly well traveled cyclist! Friends, journalists and social media must think so to, because a common question I get asked a lot is, “Where is your favourite place to ride a bike?” and “Is there anywhere you would recommend as a good place for a cycling holiday?”, so I decided to pop my favourites in a blog post for everyone to have a read. Hope you enjoy!
#3 Peak District, England
In my time as a cyclist I have lived in 4 different areas of the UK, but my all time favourite for riding has to be the Peak District. The roads are hard and grippy but the views are well worth it. If you can get past the fact you’ll probably only manage around 100km in 4hrs then you should definitely give it a ride! Some good climbs (around Manchester side) are “The Cat and Fiddle”, “Snakes Pass” and “Long hill”*. These are all long and hard climbs but good if you have efforts to do or you just want some good views! I’m very lucky to have such good roads on my doorstep but also happy I have some easier roads in the Cheshire area to mix things up year round. *disclaimer: not entirely sure if these are made up names given by cyclists or real road/area names. However, ask a local cyclist and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction!
#2 Brittany, France
My school holidays have consisted of a ferry journey from Plymouth to Roscoff and a drive over to the coast of Brittany for as long as I can remember. We used to go as a family for the whole 6 weeks summer break, as well as Easter half term and then sometimes Whit week too if we didn’t have other commitments. Brittany became a 2nd home for my whole family and in the end my parents bought a place out there so we always had somewhere to go too. When I first started riding, me and my brother would go out on rides with my Dad and race up all the climbs seeing who could get to the top first and ultimately how long it took to drop Dad. My poor father put up with us for years but eventually he stopped coming and instead would follow us in the car, creating routes and carrying snacks and spare bottles. Every morning he’d sit in the lounge area with a map sprawled out on the floor, telling me where we were going and place names to remember. Pretty sure it all went over my head but we always did good routes thanks to my dad. I did eventually hit the age where I persuaded him that I was a big girl and could ride alone (my brother had stopped and moved onto football by now), but thanks to him I knew all the roads and if I ever got lost (before the time I had phone internet abroad or maps on my bike computer) I would call him up and he’d direct me home again. These childhood memories and the familiarity of the roads make Brittany my 2nd favourite place to ride.
#1 Majorca, Balearic Islands
My first love was Majorca and more specifically, staying in Port Pollença on the North part of the island. It was the first warm weather destination I went to back in 2014 and somewhere I don’t think I’ll ever fall out of love with! Port Pollença itself has some really good restaurants and cafes, as well as a long expanse of lovely beaches. My favourite hotel there is right on the beach, so perfect for rest days or recovery afternoons! The roads there are perfect for cycling as they are well maintained and cars are well used to lots of bikes on the road! With a good mix of terrain you can pick your routes for your preferred riding style, which is ideal for longer stays out there. Personally, I love to hit the climbs as I get such a sense of self satisfaction when I get to the top and can see the beautiful breathtaking views! They aren’t easy though and I’ve only completed the well known Sa C0lobra once before! One of my favourite routes has to be from Port Pollença to Formentor lighthouse and then back again. It’s an out and back route, but out of season it’s lovely and quiet with a mix of climbing and descending. There is a cafe at the lighthouse (although I’ve never stopped there) and a family of super friendly mountain goats. The weather in Majorca is kind all year round, so great for a winter break. It’s been over a year since I’ve been to Majorca, but I can’t wait to get back out there.
These are my 3 favourite cycling destinations, but I’m sure most cyclists will agree that the 3 ideals for a happy bike ride are: a well maintained road, friendly drivers and good weather. However one of the other things I love about riding my bike is exploring new roads and never quite knowing where I’ll turn up! Comment below if you have any recommendations for me to try next!
Thanks for reading, Emily x