Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Temptation Tuesday - Cycling Holidays!!

This Tuesday Modern Heat/Harlequin Presents author Heidi Rice tries to persuade us that two wheels, an open road, plus a delicious meal, a hot bath and a massage from a hunky guy (if you can get it) at the end of it, is the only way to spend your precious holiday time... 

Okay, now I'm guessing that 95 percent of you lot saw the words "Temptation Tuesday" and "Cycling Holidays" and then thought "You've gotta be kidding me. What's indulgent, hedonistic, or even remotely tempting about aching muscles, a sore butt, sunburn and quite possibly exhaustion while I'm on holiday."

To which I would have to say, sit back, relax, get yourself a good pair of padded cycling shorts and some sunblock and think of the possibilities.

Cycling holidays for me have meant enjoying a deserted beach on the Aran Islands without a car in sight; staying at a luxury Chateau hotel in the Tarn Valley which is totally off the beaten track; seeing a spectacular view in Yosemite National Park without any other tourists peering over my shoulder; travelling the Ox Drove in the heart of Thomas Hardy country in Wiltshire and catching the bluebells in bloom; spending a long lazy summer day keeping pace with a barge on one of Holland's canals; getting a guided tour of Central Park's movie sites from a couple of jobbing actors; and indulging in a three-course meal in a tiny cafe in the Loire and feeling like I've earned it (ie: 'After cycling up that flipping mountain to get here, no way is that goat's cheese tart going  straight to my butt'). 

And that's just for starters.

There are several other universal advantages to cycling holidays — and cycling generally. Your two-wheeled steed will allow you to get to places you could never go in a car. It lets you see and experience the sights around you without anywhere near as much effort as walking and it's not nearly as boring (very important if you're as impatient as I am when it comes to sightseeing). 
You can do it with a friend, as a couple, as a family or even in a larger group. And you can find a cycling holiday - or excursion - to fit just about any level of aptitude or experience on a bike. 

Don't panic, you do not have to be a Tour de France contender to enjoy a cycling holiday. There's even a company called Cycling for Softies (which I've used a couple of times) who will arrange a week long pootle round the French countryside and guarantee a cordon bleu meal at a lovely little rural hostelrie at the end of each day's cycling. And if you bring along your other half (or just some hunky French guy you picked up en route) and persuade him to give you a back rub at the end of the day all the better. 

Plus you really can be just about any age. My 72-year-old mum went on cycling last year in Provence and loved it, while my husband and I and our youngest son did a youth hosteling tour in Holland a few years back with my sister and her family. The two seven-year-olds cycled a whopping 50km one day (yeah, alright, we got totally lost!!) but still had the energy to go haring round the hostel that night with all the other kids while the adults sat back with a cold glass of lager and played Uno. 

And even when things don't quite go according to plan it can be a laugh. Like the time when we had to cycle for six hours in the pissing rain but eventually found a cozy little cafe in a disused railway station that sold homemade soup and wheaten bread and let us dry our socks by their fire (and looked at us like we were totally insane). I tell you, ham and veg with a bit of stock has never tasted so fantastic.

And all that before you even factor in the feel-good (and feel-smug) benefits of exercise and fresh air (all right, Central Park wasn't all that fresh but our guides certainly were).

So there you go, get on yer bike for your next holiday... Feel energized, inspired and wonderfully self-righteous at the end of each day and watch your writer's butt disappear (or at least not get any worse).

Heidi's latest Modern Heat, Hot Shot Tycoon, Indecent Proposal is due out this month in the UK, in August in Australia (she thinks) as a Sexy Sensation and in September in the US as a Harlequin Presents. 

It involves a gorgeous Irish property tycoon, a feisty Portobello Road market stall holder, a luxury trip to New York and a fake two-week engagement... And absolutely no cycling. Honest.

Heidi loves to hear from readers, or cyclists, through her website or her blog.

1 comment:

  1. Heidi - somehow, you've made cycling holidays sound like the ultimate adventure! If you ever got bored, you could write their promo material!

    There is a certain romance to pedaling through Provence, I must admit.