The definitive guide to caravanning and... cycling

Make cycling part of your caravan trip
Make cycling part of your caravan trip

Saturday, 11, Sep 2010 10:17

By Emma Dodd

There are certain hobbies that are particularly well suited to enjoying on a caravan holiday and cycling is one of them. It's important to plan properly and understand some of the issues you'll need to overcome for your caravan and cycling trip to go smoothly, so we've put together this handy guide.

Transporting your bike

Getting your bike and those of your companions to your caravan site is the first challenge. There are so many things to consider, including the number of bikes and the weight your caravan can cope with. The options include a rear wall mounted bike rack, tow car mounting and A-frame mounting, each of which have their own benefits.

To work out which type of rack will best suit your needs, you need to know how heavy your bikes are and the nose-weight limit of your van. These factors will determine where best to position the bikes without putting too much pressure on your car's tow-ball.

Keeping your bike secure on site

You need to consider how you will secure your bike on the caravan site before you even set off. Be sure to take a good cycle lock or padlock and chain with you, as hundreds of childrens and adult bikes are stolen from caravan parks every year. Threading a chain through the caravan's chassis and padlocking your bike to it each evening is a good way to guard against theft.

Setting off on your bike ride

To get the most out of your bike ride, be sure your tyres are pumped up to the right pressure before you set off and your saddle is at the correct height. This is especially important with children, who may have grown since they last rode their bikes. Make sure everyone is equipped with clothes that will keep them warm and dry or protected from the sun, as well as visible from any traffic.

Even if you're not planning on staying out after dark, your bikes should be equipped with lights, just in case. Pack plenty of water and snacks, as well as a puncture repair kit to be prepared for all eventualities. Plan your route and look at the gradient and terrain, as well as the distance, to prevent any unexpected challenges along the way.

Keeping your van clean after a muddy ride

Your caravan will be your home for multiple nights and with the whole family traipsing in after a muddy ride, it can quickly get dirty. An awning is a good piece of kit to help prevent this, as you can use it as a porch, where muddy boots and clothes can be stripped off and kept outside of the van.

Bring some stackable plastic boxes with you where everyone can put their muddy kit before it gets washed. Door mats are great for catching dirt on the way into your van and can be removed to be cleaned. Wooden duckboards are also useful to stand on under the awning when removing boots.

Best caravan sites for cyclists

There are many tempting cycle rides close to caravan parks up and down the country, but if biking is your priority for your holiday, you may want to base yourself at one of these:

  • York Rowntree Park - located on the ten-mile York to Naburn route, which is mainly free from traffic and perfect for families.
  • West Runton Caravan Park - East Anglia is notoriously flat and from this site the Norfolk Coast Causeway, the Broads Cycle Route and the Marriott's Way Cycle Route are all within easy reach.
  • Beadnell Bay Caravan Site - follow one of the routes marked out by Cycle Northumberland or the Coast and Castles and National Cycle Route, which both pass close to the site.
  • Erwlon Caravan Park - situated in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons and with services including bike hire, storage and cleaning on offer.
  • Minnows Touring Park - close to the Grand Western Canal in Devon, which makes up part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network.

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