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How to improve your holiday:

10 reasons you should hire a bike

It is nearly a month since I came back from a ‘typical’ holiday with some friends in the south of France. Along with two other couples (all in our 50s), we hired a house, drank and ate fantastically well and soaked up the sun. A classic week in the south of France - but nothing out of the ordinary.

I am, however, still basking in the afterglow long after it normally wears off following that kind of holiday. Why? Because I hired a bike and rode 25+ miles every morning between(!) breakfasts.

A great view

Here are 10 reflections on the experience – and perhaps provide a clue as to why hiring a bike made a difference:

  1. If, like me, you love your food and tend to overdo it on holiday then a decent amount of exercise sets you up for the next round of indulgence.  You don’t need a bike to get the exercise but it does allow you to indulge your need on your own, without disturbing others (see the next point).

  2. I wake up with the sun – the others in our party had a later start.  So an hour and a half of cycling just about sync’d our days.

  3. Related to both the above – Two breakfasts!  A quick bowl of cereal before heading out, and then croissants etc on return. Perfect!

  4. It is much easier than you think, and didn't trouble anyone else on the holiday. Hiring the bike via from the wonderful Anna at Café Velo in Agen could not have been simpler.  I just had to take my clips, shoes and kit and that was it.  
    Cafe Velo

  5. I saw bits of the country few others on our trip would – allowing me to climb hills, descend valleys and explore unseen roads in the vicinity of our villa... Oh, and pass the naturist camp which we never knew was there.

  6. A different perspective that really allowed me to unwind – a much gentler pace than our tin box car, and connectivity with the countryside came from life on two wheels.

  7. It's really easy to find new routes - especially using Strava. I don’t use it much at home – as I tend to stick to the same circuits.  Curiosity made me use it and I have now mastered some of its finer points. I did not know what I was missing

  8. Oh, and I discovered that I need to take my normal spectacles to see it – and the route I had planned.  Old age is creeping up and I know that my arms are not long enough to hold my phone far enough away.

  9. A holiday with exercise.   Having a bike, like skiing or sailing, helps take you away from it – beats mindfulness.

  10. Smugness. Fitness, countryside, simplicity…that glow just stays with you. And allows you to eat that next pain au chocolat / carafe of wine, sans guilt...

The author and his bike

Richard: 2nd Oct 2017 12:00:00