Be in the saddle with cycling tours
Discover yourself and beautiful scenery when you spend your holiday on a bicycle
As travellers seek new experiences and new ways to visit a destination, cycling holidays are rising in popularity.
Specialist travel company Travel Wander offers outdoorsy vacations, such as cycling holidays in Australia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand.
On Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection's European cruises, guests receive complimentary bicycles and helmets so they can "Go Active" and blaze their own trails.
Instead of a guided walking tour or a visit to a local village, travellers can embark on a pedalling adventure set against Europe's longest dedicated bicycle path, which is located along the Danube river from Germany to Bratislava, Slovakia.
Imagine riding past stunning scenery featuring medieval strongholds, towering castle ruins and gorgeous vineyards.
Ms Sheryl Lim, founder of Travel Wander, said: "A cycling holiday is a journey of discovery - you will learn how far you can push yourself physically.
"The opportunity to access some unique locations on your bicycle will reward you with tranquil moments, and you have the flexibility of stopping whenever you want to take photographs of the beautiful scenery you are travelling through.
"The sense of achievement when you complete your journey helps contribute to the positive feeling of rejuvenation, and that is a memory you will look back on fondly."
To help you plan your cycling holiday, here are some top tips:
PREPARE YOURSELF PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY
Before you embark on a cycling trip abroad, you should be comfortable with cycling in Singapore at about 20kmh.
You need to be able to handle your bicycle confidently, and you should be able to cycle across a mixture of terrains, including grass, uneven surfaces and simple trails.
Track your fitness level by creating a log of your day-to-day cycling distance, and find out about the trip's cycling route and likely terrain.
PICK THE CORRECT GROUP TO TRAVEL WITH
There is safety in numbers, so anything from six to 16 cyclists is just about the right size for an overseas cycling trip.
There should be one team leader for every eight to 10 cyclists to ensure that the group members have sufficient guidance and attention.
Cycling tours are typically dependent on the experience of all the cyclists, difficulty of the route and the experience of the tour operator's team leaders.
Choose a tour operator that is able to work with you to determine your level of fitness, so that you will be properly matched with your group members.
Be open to joining a pre-trip excursion organised by your trip organiser to ensure that you are in shape for the cycling holiday.
For first-time cyclists, try going on a leisure cycling trip that is likely to be less intense than one for experienced cyclists.
Some trips combine cycling with other special interests - such as visiting iconic landmarks or hidden treasures located off the beaten track - or food tours.
Travel Wander has an upcoming cycling trip to Tangkak in Johor, where cyclists can enjoy a durian feast and visit Mount Ophir.
You can enjoy the best of both worlds with a "balanced" leisure holiday - burn and earn calories at the same time, and return home guilt-free after savouring tasty local delights, knowing you had put in the work pedalling through the destinations.
For the convenience of the guests, trip organisers typically organise bicycle rentals on behalf of the travellers. The rental company can easily replace your bicycle if it is faulty.
A cycling helmet is mandatory for safety, and it is recommended you bring your own for a trip. Another must-have is a water bottle. For safety reasons, wear covered shoes for long-distance rides.
If you are embarking on your first cycling tour, it may be a good idea to go on a test trip in Singapore with your cycle pack.
This way, you can decide what essentials you need to carry with you. The other items can go into your luggage.
Keep your camera in a waterproof bag in case of rainy weather while you are cycling, pack comfortable clothing, and bring along a large secure pocket or pouch that can store essential items such as your passport, money, credit cards and insurance documents.
BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE
Whenever you are planning to do outdoor sports while on a holiday, purchase comprehensive travel insurance plans.
When in doubt, ask your cycling tour operator to recommend the correct plans that cover leisure cycling, so that you will have peace of mind during the trip.
RECONNECT WITH NATURE AND BE REJUVENATED
Remind yourself that the trip is not a race, and take your time to enjoy the surroundings.
As cycling is a cardio workout, you are likely to fall into a deep sleep at the end of each day.
On your return home, you will find that you are refreshed and energised and ready to plan your next adventure.