Travel editor and cycling obsessive Matt Hampton picks the best cycle routes within pedalling distance of our holiday parks. Mention to friends you’re off on a cycling holiday and there will be much puffing out of cheeks and joking about Lycra.
But a two-wheeled break needn’t be exhausting. A bike can be the most relaxing way to see the countryside: fresh air, no traffic, the wind in your hair and the world at your feet. Cycling will take you further than walking and, yes, you’ll burn a few more calories doing it, so you can have that extra slice of cake without troubling the waistline.
Away Resorts’ five UK holiday parks are within pedalling distance of some of the country’s best rides: try anything from a gentle family spin to an adrenaline-pumping off-road adventure. The best news? They’re all 100% free.
Start with the Isle of Wight, where there are more than 200 miles of marked cycle routes. The Red Squirrel Trail is a favourite: the Isle of Wight is one of the few places you can still see our native squirrel breed.
Even if you don’t spot one, this delightful circular route from Cowes packs in some of the island’s best sights – not least some curious troll sculptures between Merstone and Newport, and of course the beautiful coast between Sandown and Shanklin. It is 24 miles long, mostly along flat disused railway lines and country lanes.
From Away Resorts’ base at Whitecliff Bay, there’s a good choice of day rides – try Island Route 11, starting at Sandown and heading east through the Yar Valley. Kids will love the Dinosaur Isle museum in Sandown, home to an impressive collection of fossils.
Taking things up a gear: Snowdonia, home to Away Resorts’ Barmouth Bay park, has dramatic scenery and some of the country’s toughest cycling terrain – but plenty for families too.
The Brailsford Way was launched this year in honour of the man who put Team Sky on the podium at the Tour de France AND saw the British Olympic team take record golds in London and Rio. There are 50 and 75-mile options, both starting in historic Caenarfon and looping through the magnificent Snowdonia National Park.
From one legend to another, and nearer to Away Resorts’ base at Barmouth Bay, there is Coed y Brenin.
It was in this forest, 20-odd years ago, where Britain’s off-road biking revolution began. Local riders began building trails that have grown into a network of marked routes, graded by difficulty from green to black.
“Adrenaline pumping off-road adventures. The best news? They’re all 100% free.”