Saturday, 14 June 2008

What (not) to expect from a cycling holiday?

The Daily Telegraph travel section last week included an report by Johnny Morris of his family cycling holiday along the Danube in Austria. It was full of criticism and disappointment because it turned out to be a nightmare holiday for them. He booked a holiday with a fixed daily itinerary, pre-booked hotels and a luggage courier service. That just left him to get himself and his family a distance of about 25 miles from A to B every day. But what did he expect? Something easier it seems. A more leisurely start in the morning, a few days off, more support when things went wrong, and probably not a cycling holiday.

The writer naively arranged the wrong sort tour. For some gentle cycling, he should have arranged to stay in one place and have some hire bikes to explore the locality on easy cycle routes. Having done no preparation, he had no idea whether his family could cycle 20-25 miles, which on one day they struggled to do and ended up off the route on a busy highway because they missed the ferry. The holiday company could hardly be to blame for his tardiness but he criticised them them anyway and even had the gall to complain he had to pack his luggage to be ready for dispatch by 8:30am.

It sounded to me that the holiday he booked with Hooked on Cycling did everything advertised but he didn't adequately translate that into the needs of a non-cycling family with a young child. To be fair, he concluded with some thoughts on how to improve it next time if there is one and, hopefully, he will try again and stick at it. Like any adventure, there are bound to be highs and lows. With some anticipation and forethought he should hope for mainly highs and few lows.

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