What’s the latest fad in the adventure travel market? Is it still zip wires or white water rafting? Try cycling holidays. According to the experts*, adventure cycling holidays are the biggest growth area in an already booming market sector.
Of course, we’re not talking about sedate cycling around the Norfolk Broads here, but full on trips on routes such as Bolivia’s Camino a los Yungas, otherwise known as ‘Death Road’.
Established tour operators are now arranging increasingly scary trips for adrenaline-junkies (fancy a ride down the slopes of Pichu Pichu, in the Peruvian Andes, anyone?) whilst the more mainstream tour operators are tacking cycling holidays onto their itineraries too.
The growth in interest in cycling in the UK has been nothing short of amazing, spurred on – no doubt – by the repeated successes of our Olympic cycling teams and the high profiles that our various – now knighted – cycling sports celebrities have achieved.
Throw in various government initiatives, such as Transport for London’s Cycle superhighway scheme and you can see why cycling is so popular. And why cyclists now find the idea of taking their trusty steed on holiday so appealing.
Naturally, as a travel insurance specialist, we’d be keen to point out the risks attached to cycling down mountains, but this doesn’t seem to put people off and as a result both traditional holiday destinations, as well as those more usually associated with adventure travel, are now looking at how they can offer cycling alongside all their other holiday amenities.
According to ‘Cyclist’ magazine, one of the most popular titles that now caters for the 3.5 million of us that cycle at least once a month (source: Cycling UK statistics), Tenerife is in the top eight best cycling holidays for 2017.
Cyclists attempting their suggested route can expect to ride 600km and gain over 15,000m in elevation in just six days. You’ll also get to tackle the ‘road up the notorious El Teide volcano – the longest and arguably most iconic climb in Europe where the road ascends to 2,100m over a 35km-long stretch’.
Still, it’ll be worth it, you’ll be following (pedalling?) in the footsteps of Sir Bradley Wiggins, who used Tenerife to train for his historic 2012 Tour de France victory.
Other mainstream destinations to appear in this top eight include the Garden Route to Cape Town (we thought that was for wine lovers) and a ‘CycleFriendly’ Tour of Iceland’. We’re not sure we’d describe Iceland’s majestic landscape as cycle friendly but then we haven’t been there yet.
*We attended the Adventure Travel Conference, where the leading players in the adventure travel industry gather to exchange views. Rather disappointingly, given the audience, its held at London’s Olympia Conference Centre!