For most people, time is the ultimate commodity and using free time to experience new environments and cultures is a new way of life.
The popularity of cycling holidays is growing. Spending generated from cyclists has been dubbed the 'Lycra Pound'. No longer are families sending their kids off to summer camp, in 2018 families want to holiday together to make use of the precious time away from work and the fast-paced urban lifestyle.
On the other side of the spectrum, solo travellers are also on the rise. The 2015 Visa Global Travel Intentions Study found 24% of people travelled alone on their most recent overseas leisure vacation, up from 15% in 2013. Additionally, for first-time international travellers, solo travel is even more popular, jumping to 37%, from 16% in 2013.
A report in Cycling Weekly has claimed that cycling holidays are set to take over golf holidays as stated in the World Travel Market report. The Mamils (Middle aged men in lycra) are moving away from the gold course and onto the bicycle. Now, it's mountains and rolling hills setting the backdrop for business deals rather than golf courses. Premium cycling lifestyle brands such as Rapha, Hackney GT and Huez are creating ultra desirable kit to go along with this lifestyle.
There are a whole host of cycle-specific holiday tour companies cashing in on this lycra pound, Cycling for Softies is based in London’s Battersea, they offer “award winning gourmet adventures on two wheels”. They offer cycling holidays for families and food lovers with an emphasis on the experience of exploration and getting lost. You can book a 5,7, or 9 night adventure and the age group starts at just 2 years old! Saddle Skedaddle also offer a huge range of cycling holidays from road and leisure trips to family and tailor made.
After cycling to Australia from the UK in 412 days to watch a cricket match, The Slow Cyclist was founded in 2014 by travel writer Oli Broom. The Slow Cyclist’s adventures take customers to far flung locations, off the beaten track, currently touring to Transylvania and Rwanda. Travel itself is becoming more adventurous and coupled with an increased awareness of heath and well-being, this market is set to continue to grow exponentially.
Tour firms report a 10-40% increase in cycling holiday bookings. Saddle Skeddle said it has been a slow burn trend and fast becoming a family holiday chose.
Airlines are also reacting to increasing demand for cycling holidays. Jet2.com has introduced cycling package holidays and on their website they have a dedicated page explaining the process and how best to pack your bicycle for its flight, for just £30 each way. Many other airlines have also increased weight allowances for bikes; making the booking process easier and more affordable.
Cycling holidays In Summary
Active, adventure-based holidays are on the rise and cycling holidays are at the forefront of this shift in tourism. From extremely active mountain climbs to gourmet tours through quaint villages, there are businesses sprouting up to cash in on the Lyrcra pound. To take full advantage of this market, tour operators should also note the increasing trend of mobile booking and how to cater to the increasing solo traveller. Families are also opting to spend quality, memorable time together and this includes chosing cycling holidays over the many other options available.
Saddle Skedaddle : largest independent cycling tour specialists
bspoke tours : london based cycling and walking holidays
Cycling for softies: Gourmet cycling holidays, emphasis on food and culture
Macs Bike: Self guided cycling holidays
The Slow Cyclist : Cycling tours to Transylvania and Rwanda and Georgia