Fed up of cycling in the rain, getting up early on dark mornings to pedal through the drizzle, driven by the thought that these months of work will pay off in the spring? (They will!)
It’s not just the pros that head off on winter training camps and trips – an increasing number of cyclists from all disciplines are jetting off to get their warm winter riding fix. It’s a great boost to your motivation, and will pay dividends when the days eventually start to lengthen again.
Grab yourself some sunshine, boost your vitamin D levels and your cycling at the same time, and head off on a winter sun cycling holiday.
Imagine riding on dry trails or smooth warm tarmac, even for just a week, in the depths of the winter gloom. It sounds like bliss!
Côte D’Azur, France
Blue seas, blue skies and the Maritime Alps reaching down to the sea – no wonder many cyclists of all disciplines head to the Côte D’Azur to ride. Otherwise known as the French Riviera, this area of coastal France lies along the Mediterranean, and is known for warm temperatures and stunning scenery.
For the mountain bikers out there, the epic annual Trans Provence stage race ends along the coastline, this year finishing in Menton. A quick look at some of the videos from the event will give you an idea of the wealth of riding to be had in these beautiful surroundings. There are lots of spots to ride, and plenty of resources online to help you choose where.
For the road cyclists out there, Cycle Côte D’Azur run friendly, fun and accessible cycling holidays, so you don’t need to worry about anything other than getting you and your bike out there, and riding. Pitched at different levels, they’re sure to have something to suit.
Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Apparently, the famed naturalist Charles Darwin was also a fan of these volcanic islands off the coast of Africa. Tenerife, like the other islands in the archipelago, boasts warm, dry terrain, beautiful wildlife, and plenty of elevation to suit both road riders and mountain bikers.
Tenerife has been used as a winter base for many a pro road cyclist, including Sir Wiggo himself, and handily it’s easy to get to from the UK with many flights transporting holiday makers over and back all winter long.
At 3718m, Mount Teide, the volcano that dominates the island, is the third biggest in the world (that's measured from its base on the sea floor - you won't have to cycle up all of that!). This means lots of long, smooth road climbs, and the opportunity for some altitude training if you fancy it.
If you want to avoid the logistics of holiday organising, Polkadot Cycling can take that stress away so you can focus on riding.
Mountain bikers have lots of options here too, with Tenerife being relatively undiscovered in the world of MTB destinations. Lava Trax organise weeklong trips but also do daylong excursions. This is genius if you want to combine a little mountain biking with a more traditional family holiday.
This is one of the major selling points of Tenerife – as a major holiday destination, there are so many options for transport and accommodation that you can always book a holiday and incorporate as little or as much cycling as you want, and there’s plenty of other activities to do.
Andalucía in southern Spain is known for it’s cycling, and with coastal roads along the Med, dry plains and the Sierra Nevada mountain range, it has plenty to occupy roadies and MTBers alike.
This is another area of outstanding natural beauty; with the mountain range area designated a National Park. If you’re after altitude, the highest point on continental Spain is here – Mulhacen, at 3478m above sea level. That’s enough to get your legs working.
Mountain bikers will have lots to play with here, with a range of companies tailoring trips for all manner of durations and desires. Expect miles of natural trails, and everything from smooth and rooty to steep and rocky.
If you want something a bit luxe, Pure Mountains provide access to miles of natural trails, and accommodation in a comfy and eco friendly farmhouse. Or if you fancy pushing your technical skills, then Switchbacks will take you on a downhill or enduro adventure to blow away those winter cobwebs.
Road cyclists have plenty to enjoy here too – category 1 climb, anyone? Andalucian Cycling Experience run winter training, and even triathlon specific training weeks. There’s a range of dates, and a range of rides each day so you can pick one to suit your level.
Also worth a read: