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6 essential dos and don’ts of a cycling holiday

Has the Tour de France inspired you to pop on your helmet and get pedalling on your next break? Let’s hope so – a cycling holiday is a great way to experience any country’s landscape. From the slower vantage of the saddle, you’ll see things you wouldn’t in a bus or car. And you stay fit whilst doing it! Win, win. 

Here are six tips to consider before squeezing into the Lycra.

1. Do your research

Where are you going for your biking adventure? What’s the terrain like? How will your level of personal fitness cope with the hills? If the weather turns, are there alternative things to do? Your holiday shouldn’t be a military exercise, but a little local knowledge will take you far.

2. Don’t leave your bike to chance

Simply pumping up the tyres and squirting some WD-40 onto the gears before you leave isn’t enough prep for a week’s worth of two-wheeled workout. Give your bike a pre-holiday service. Alternatively, you might be better off hiring your equipment when you’re there. There are plenty of options available and numerous companies dedicated entirely to this type of experience.

3. Do book your accommodation

If you’re taking the ultimate in a cycling vacation and saddling up with your backpack as you go, it’s essential to have pre-booked your bed each night. It might seem romantic to simply saddle up and stop up wherever your legs take you, but it's likely to end in disappointment. Hotels and lodges are often fully booked and you could end up without a roof over your head. Make sure that your daily trips are within your ability and achievable during daylight hours.

4. Don’t overestimate your fitness

Know your body and its limits. It can be tempting to see your holiday as the summit of your personal get-fit journey. Unfortunately overconfidence is the cause of many a rider succumbing to exhaustion on the road. Be reasonable about your daily expectations. Even be prepared to take the odd day off to simply unwind or explore the local attractions. It’s not all about the bike, despite what Lance Armstrong said.

5. Don’t leave without travel insurance

Getting covered for your holiday is crucial, especially for a trip with sustained physical activity. From personal injury to item damage, cancelled bookings and the potential of medical bills, a solid travel insurance package can deliver peace of mind. Remember to mention any pre-existing medical conditions when booking as well as the fact that you plan to cycle, otherwise you could invalidate your policy.

6. Do stick to a safety checklist

Every day you’re on the cycle path you’ll need to take some essential items with you. They’re as vital as the inner tube on your tyre and the very handlebars you’ll be gripping. Keep handy a list of the must-carry items you don’t want to be caught without on your cycling trip.

Each cyclist is different, but pretty much everyone has the following:

Fully charged phone for emergencies (and snaps of the breath-taking scenery).

Vaseline. It can get a little sore down there.

Phrase book. If you’re abroad and need help, it’s handy to know the lingo.

Map and compass. Even in the digital age, there are some places GPS can’t reach.

Snacks. Keep your energy levels up on breaks.

Water. Take a little more than you’ll need.

Layers. The weather’s changeable wherever you are. Grab some waterproofs and a compact jersey.

Sun cream. Protect your skin from UV exposure.

Ready to saddle up?

Don’t forget to take us with you! All World First policies automatically include free cover for more than 150 sports and activities - including cycling. Get an instant quote at and please remember to send us a postcard.

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