Awesome Adventure Holiday Locations in the UK



Everyone assumes that when it comes to finding a great adventure holiday you have to look abroad and far away from the British Isles. This really isn’t the case as the UK provides a lot of great experiences that are right on our doorstep. Adrenaline junkies in particular need look no further than Britain for affordable and awesome getaways.

Fistrel Beach Surfer

Surfing in Cornwall

Cornwall is internationally recognised as one of the best locations in the UK for surfing, thanks to its large coastline, stunning beaches and great waves. Newquay is the capital for British surfing and its famous Fistral Beach hosts international surfing tournaments – but there plenty of other great places to ride the waves in. Watergate Bay on the north coast is also a very popular location with surfers and tourists, but if you’re really looking for challenging surf and consider yourself a seasoned pro, then beaches like Porthleven and Constantine might be right up your street.
Driving along the north coast of Cornwall reveals loads of surfing locations for both pros and amateurs. The culture of Cornwall also lives and breathes surfing and extreme sports, and the people are very laid back in nature, making it a great getaway destination.

Biking in Wales

Wales is one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the UK that has an incredible rural landscape. With its rolling hills and untouched countryside, Wales is also the perfect spot for the avid cycler. From the national park of Snowdonia, where the biggest mountain in the British Isles, Mount Snowdon resides, to Coed Y Brenin which has beautiful forest scenery to admire, there are breathtaking cycling routes everywhere you go. The routes can be testing with a high inclining landscape and if you speak to the friendly locals they’ll divulge the secret locations of some really great routes. If you want a great cycling holiday, look no further than Wales.

Kayaking On the Scottish Coastline

Although the entirety of the UK provides great places to go kayaking or sailing, Scotland by far has the most stunning and mysterious landscape for water sports enthusiasts. Scotland’s coastline boasts picturesque views and has a rough and untamed quality to it that makes it a kayaker’s dream. With wildlife, secluded beaches, hidden caves and clean rivers, anyone who appreciates nature at its most beautiful will feel like they’ve died and gone to heaven. The Orkney Isles, Isle of Skye and Outer Hebrides are just a sampling of all the great places around Scotland’s coast as its rich in locations for seafaring holidaymakers.

Scafell Pike

Hiking Scafell Pike In The Lake District

England’s largest mountain, situated in the Lake District in Cumbria, is one of the biggest hiking challenges in the UK. Ascending its steep climb is a test for keen walkers but it’s all worthwhile once you reach the top and absorb the incredible views of the North of England and beyond. The location of Scafell Pike also presents plenty of other memorable walks nearby in The Lake District. A trip to Cumbria provides plenty of opportunity for exploration and admiration of beautiful scenery as well as various activities and camping spots.
With these great locations all within short travelling distance, you needn’t be so eager to jump on a plane to more exotic climes. The UK is beautiful and has plenty of its own incredible landscapes and heart pumping activities to engage in. So what are you waiting for, pack your favourite Converse walking boots and book a memorable trip to one of these fantastic destinations!


Citations: Images by Tim Simpson ChrisPerriman

Common Bicycle Touring Problems



One of popular activities that travellers can enjoy is going on a bicycle tour. They can range from a leisurely ride for the family covering short distances per day to long distance speed touring.

I personally prefer the leisurely type as it allows people on the tour to experience the country and culture that they’re visiting. If you ride for very long distances every day, you probably won’t have time to actually enjoy the many beauty and cultural spots.

Bicycling Tour

Here are some common problems and mistakes that can occur when going on a cycle tour.

Feeling Weighed Down

If you’re anything like me, you like to plan everything in advance, including making a huge list of all the ‘vital’ items that you just have to bring on the tour.
It all looks fantastic on paper and you know you’ll be prepared for any situation!

But if you do this you’ll probably find the cycling quite hard going with all the gear on your bike.

So my advice is to go through your list of items and decide if each item is really essential or not. Try to reduce the load you’ll be riding with, you’ll thank yourself later once you’re on the tour.

You can also use a bicycle touring company to help with this as they usually travel with you with a van or couch nearby, carrying most of your items.

The Bicycle Breaking Down

This may sound obvious to some but you need to know at least the basics of repairing the most common mechanical and electrical problems.
At least learn how to fix a puncture and align the brakes.

Tip: One of the most depressing things to happen on a tour is breaking down in the dark, especially when the weather turns nasty. So bring a small but powerful torch, ideally a headband torch which would allow you to use both hands in the dark.

Choose the Wrong Bicycle

You need to think about the quality of the roads that you’ll be riding on then choose the correct cycle for those roads.
You have many choices such as a traditional road cycle, hybrid, mountain bike or even a fixed gear bicycle, so you need to decide which is best for your tour.

Falling Behind Schedule

It’s only natural for travellers to want to see as much of the country as possible in the time they have but planning your tour with very long distances per day can often ruin it for you.

So when you’re planning the tour, try to limit the distance that you’re trying to ride per day, especially if you’re new to doing bicycle tours. For a leisurely tour, a good distance to aim for is from 30 to 50 km (around 19 to 31 miles) per day.

Another reason for falling behind schedule is misjudging your fitness levels. You might be able to ride for 80 km as a one of day ride but what about keeping that up day after day for two weeks straight?

So try picking a conservative daily distance goal then try riding this distance every day for a week before going on the tour. If it’s far too easy then you know you can increase the daily distance. And if you find you’re struggling after a week of doing this then you know you need to cut down on the distance or get fitter fast!


Jack is a writer, traveller and cyclist. He is writing for Pedaltours that runs bicycle tours in many countries including New Zealand and Vietnam. They have been doing fully guided tours since 1985 with experienced guides.


Citations: Image by betsyweber

Adventure Options: Travel to The Alps This Summer



Most people associate the Alps with winter holidays and ski breaks. Certainly, the region boasts hundreds of ski resorts, some of which are among the world’s best, but aside from that it is also a fantastic summer holiday destination. If a summer holiday in the Alps does not make you jump with enthusiasm, read on. Perhaps you will change your mind!

Six activities you can do in the Alps this summer:

Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking - Alps

Miles of trails await the cyclist in the Alps. Cycling holidays are a good option for both beginners looking to do leisurely rides, and for expert riders wanting a challenge. Many ski stations open their lift system to cyclists, so apart from getting into shape you get to see some spectacular views over some of Europe’s highest peaks.

Pony Trekking

Pony Trekking

How about a horse-riding holiday in Austria? Some companies now offer week-long holidays which include riding lessons, routes across the stunning alpine scenery and stays in luxury accommodation venues, such as a medieval castle.

Paragliding

Paragliding

Flying over some of Europe’s most ancient geological features on a warm summer day surely makes for an unforgettable experience. Paragliding is available at many locations throughout the alpine region, but we must highlight the locations of M and Chamonix in France, and Innsbruck, in Austria, where vast green fields guarantee a soft and uneventful landing. Additionally, the towns mentioned above are charming enough on their own, so there will be no shortage of things to do after your daily flight.

Rafting & White Water Kayaking

Kayaking

These are exhilarating activities not for the faint of heart. If you are a good swimmer and are not afraid of being spun around by powerful currents, this could be a great choice for a summer holiday. The fresh waters of the alpine rivers will relieve you from the summer heat, and after a day of paddling you can take a rest at the accommodation of your choice, which can range from self-catering apartments to luxury chalets.

Walking

Austrian Sign

Whether you are a fit walker or just a beginner, the Alps are the perfect location for a walking holiday. European transalpine routes cross France, Switzerland, and Italy, so there are plenty of trails to suit your level of fitness and your interests. Typical holidays last seven days, during which you are taken across some of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes by expert tour guides. For those who are avid gardeners and nature lovers, the Dolomite region offers wildflower walking holidays. There are even “watercolour strolls” for those with an artistic penchant.

Relaxation at its best

Alps View

For many, that’s exactly what a holiday should be about. The good news is that you do not need a beach in order to relax, and in fact the alpine region is home to some of Europe’s best hotels. Some of them even specialise in wellness and rejuvenation, offering the latest spa treatments, which can be personalised to include your partner or friends. Head to the Austrian Tyrol for the best 5-star luxury hotels.

This summer your holidays can be different. Options to suit all tastes and budgets are just a couple of hours away from the UK by plane. Visit the Alps this summer, and you will be soon recommending them too.


This article was brought to you by VIP SKI – visit their website to view their porftfolio of luxury chalets in French Alps


Citations: Images by Hans Fransen; Aphexlee; Tim*A; s.schmitz; Jeroen Fossaert; Artur Staszewski

Is a Fixed Gear Bike the Right Bike for Me?



You’ve seen them at stop lights, weaving in and out of traffic, and likely cruising through the park… they look like any other ten speed or mountain style bike, at least at a glance, but you’ve probably noticed many of them don’t have gears or a derailleur and they appear to have no hand brakes either. They’re called fixed gear bikes – fixies, singles speeds, track bikes are all known aliases as well – and they’re all the rage. They were once almost the exclusive domain of bicycle messengers, but in the last decade or so they have come to be a staple of urban culture and lifestyles. Thinking about getting yourself one? Be aware, these aren’t quite like any other bike you’ve ridden and it takes some adjustment to get used to the challenges of these unique two wheelers.

Big Shot - lodo2

At a Glance

A fixed gear bike looks like a ten speed, but look closer and notice that the rear hub only has one sprocket, and not the multiple sizes set-up most ten speeds and mountain bikes have. This means that the bike will always move in the direction the pedals are going – no coasting. Stopping on a fixed gear bike is a bit tricky too – initially, you have to learn to slow the bike momentum by applying force to the pedals. And since you only have one chainwheel and one sprocket, the chain tension is absolutely vital to the correct operation of the crank.

The Ease of Maintenance

Now, not having a derailleur with multiple sprockets on the rear hub means changes in how you ride, and how riding feels, but it also means a cleaner look for the bike and a mechanical advantage of sorts too – without the shifters and multiple chain rings there is a lot less to maintain and fix, making a fixed gear a great economical choice for those looking to avoid having to spend time working on their bike, or spend additional money to replace extra parts. Generally, fixies are brakeless too – this is another area where a track bike can save you some time spent on maintenance as well as save you some money (although you may find your back tire needs replacing a bit more than usual). Less time spent on maintenance, save money by using fewer parts and get a great workout for your legs in the process!

Starting Out

It would generally be recommended that riders who are new to fixed gear bikes should begin with a low gear ratio as this will make learning to ride up and down hills a bit easier during the transition to your new bike. Also, it is highly recommended that newbies have a front brake while learning; much the same way you required training wheels when you first learned to ride a two wheeled bike as a child, a brake can be removed once you’ve mastered the bike and feel comfortable. Having a brake lever to pull will also ease you into brakeless riding a little more smoothly – you may find yourself instinctively grabbing for it if you immediately jump to riding brakeless (note – some bylaws require a brake for all bikes, so check your local bylaws regarding bike safety standards and regulations first).

Big Shot Fixed Gear Bike

Because of the way a fixed gear bike must be ridden – with much more attention paid to the actual riding experience – you may find after a while that it feels far more natural to you, and more natural than a freewheel driven bike. Having to remain more focused and aware during the ride and adapting to the brakeless and gear-less experience will feel like you’re learning to ride a bike all over again, but once you’ve adapted to it, you may never ride a standard freewheel bike again.

Build your own single speed bike at BigShotBikes.com! Create unique fixed gear bikes for an affordable price. With Big Shot Bikes you can design and customize your own fixie just the way you want it!


Citations: Images by Big Shot Bikes