James Gjaltema writes on travel for The Armchair Mayor News.
COLUMN — Do you remember when you first learned to ride a bike with no training wheels? What a great feeling – the sense of accomplishment, the sense of freedom and the sense of adventure.
I was recently in Amsterdam and was inspired by all the bikes (there are over a million bicycles in the city). Cycling beside the canals and over cobblestone streets, cruising around on my two-wheeler brought back some childhood memories of exploring independently with my own pedal power.
Whether you are an avid cyclist, or haven’t been on a bike for years, there are all kinds of great biking itineraries that can cater to a variety of levels, offering longer routes for the more energetic travellers and easier routes for those who want a more relaxed pace.
A popular option is combining boating and biking. There are numerous tour operators who offer trips where participants sleep on a boat at night and cycle along the river or canals during the day. Other itineraries include island hopping, culture and cuisine.
I’ve included some ideas for inspiration. Prices of the trips vary depending on time of year and availability and do not include airfare.
Bike & Barge Amsterdam to Bruge $1,400
Cycle along canals, past windmills and tulips, sample some Gouda cheese and Belgian beer.
Cycle and Cruise Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast $1,495
Easy scenic cycling in the Mediterranean. Hop from island to island and cycle onboard a small boat, cycle through small traditional villages, sample local food and enjoy the coastal vistas.
Spain, Gibraltar and Morocco $1,510
Explore two continents in one trip. Pedal through Andalusia, the Rock of Gibraltar and cross the straights to Northern Africa. Sample local goats cheese and checkout all kinds of handicrafts at the colourful bazaars.
Tuscany Cycling Holiday $1,560
Ride from the renaissance capital of Florence through the Vineyards of Chianti to the ancient city of Siena and explore the rolling hilltop villages of La Toscana.
Ireland Bike Tour $3,498
Spin through a landscape filled with emerald hills, small farms, and quaint cottages. Hoist a pint of Guinness at a neighbourhood pub, meet locals and hear traditional songs and stories. See a prehistoric stone circle and sample some locally distilled Irish whiskey.
Myanmar – Into the heart of Burma $4,598
Cycle to secluded areas rarely seen by outsiders. See ancient pagodas, thousands of Buddha statues and shrines, pedal to Inle Lake to see floating gardens and hop aboard a traditional longtail boat to explore villages built on stilts. Visit traditional markets, silversmiths and silk weavers.
Dordogne and Bordeaux Bike Tour $5,098
Enjoy Michelin-starred cuisine and private wine tastings. Two-wheel your way through centuries of history. See Cro-Magnon cave paintings, medieval villages, and Gallo-Roman mosaic floors. Experience a sophisticated wine tasting at a 16th century chateau, bike past Bergerac vineyards and discover the World Heritage site of St-Émilion.
Travelling is as easy as riding a bike, and with these specialized bike trips, you get local guides, support vehicles, meals and accommodations included in the package price. If any of these trips have piqued your interest, or would like to share your travel ideas, please feel free to give me a call at 1-888-204-1585.
James Gjaltema is a founding member of the Kamloops Travel Club and a Flight Centre Associate. He can be reached at 250-879-0873 or through his web-site: http://www.flightcentreassociates.com/jamesgjaltema.