Coaching: Should you bring your bike on the family holiday?

Posted on: July 6th, 2017

bring your bike on the family holiday


Should you bring your bike on the family holiday?


By Mark Kiernan

It’s that time of the year again; people are heading off to the sun on their holidays.

You’ve enjoyed the cycling season so far and you’re looking forward to a summer holiday. Or, maybe the family holiday is booked whether you like it or not?

To cycle or not to cycle

So do you take a well-earned break from the bike, or bring it with you? Well, it all depends.

Have you been racing and training non-stop since the start of the season? Have you been struggling to stay motivated this last while?

In that case, a rest could do you some good physically and mentally. Some time away from the bike could freshen you up for the rest of the road race campaign.

Also, spending time with the family will earn you brownie points. It will make up for being away racing nearly every weekend since March

Big goal

Or maybe you’re the opposite; haven’t gone to the limits in the first part of the season and have a big goal for after your holidays.

In that case, including some cycling during the holiday will maintain your fitness.

Bring your own bike or rent locally?

Personally I find bringing a bike on family holidays is a hassle.

If you have a partner and kids and you all have luggage you’ll be car parking at the airport and then taking taxi or a bus on the other side.

It can be pain carting around a bike. Your extra luggage won’t add to the gaiety of travel.

Cost of bringing bike

These days, low cost airlines like to make money out of you whenever they can

“A bike? Why, yes sir! That’ll be €100 please.”

“You want to bring it back as well? Oh that’s another €100.”

Bike Hire

I’d recommend you just hire a bike if indeed you want to do some cycling while abroad.

Search online for bike shops around where you are staying and rent a bike. Most bike shops in Spain or France these days will have decent enough bikes to do the job.

It doesn’t have to be top of the range carbon fibre to get you through your holidays. Bring your own pedals and shoes with you.

Just take the saddle and handlebar measurements from you own bike and bring them so you can set up your hire bike.

My top tips when cycling on family holidays

Haggle on price for the rental bike. The more days you hire it, the lower the cost should be.

I hired a bike for 10 days last month. The daily rate was €25.  I got it down to €17 a day just by asking for a discount with a cheeky Irish smile and a bit of banter.

Remember you’re usually cycling on the opposite side of the road at home. Be careful at junctions and roundabouts. Look both ways always.

Get out on the road early. And I mean real early; none of your usual 10 o’clock stuff.

It will be hot as hell by midday and into the afternoon. So get up and out by 7am. That way it’s pleasant out on the bike and you’re back before your partner and kids have hit the pool

If you can’t get out early, then leave it until late in the day. It doesn’t get dark until late during the summer. Take advantage of that as it should be cooler in the evenings.

You don’t need to train 5 hours every day just because you have time on your hands. A few hours every second day or so will do the job fine. It will keep you ticking over.

Your heart rate will read a bit higher than at home because of the heat, dehydration and humidity. So you might need to moderate your effort.

Remember, you’re on holidays so enjoy the new sights around you.

  • Mark Kiernan is a level 1 cycling coach and currently doing level 3 coaching degree with British cycling. He has ridden 10 Rásanna and is a four-time national track champ and Irish record holder outdoors. He’s represented Ireland at both junior and senior level and raced all over Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. He rode Paris-Roubaix’s amateur version and all the French classics. He’s also 30 years in the cycle trade