Luxury bike breaks made e-asy
There’s no doubting that seeing the countryside from the saddle of a bike gives you a much richer experience than from the seat of a car, even if that car is a Bentley convertible.
For those of us whose approach to physical exercise is aspirational, rather than inspirational, the electronic bike (or e-bike) has opened the door to the hallowed world of luxury bike touring.
Here Wendy Carter, route director at luxury cycling holiday specialist The Carter Company for more than 25 years, recommends five e-bike breaks.
Scotland Coast to Coast
Scotland’s mountain ranges produce some of the UK’s most memorable landscapes, but they’re an effort to cycle. However, there is a Scotland Coast to Coast route that bypasses most of the climbs but still gives riders a close-up view of Ben Nevis and the awesome Glen Coe. The seven-day tour starts on the sandy shores of the Moray Firth, east of Inverness, and crosses to the dramatic and rocky west coast, south of Fort William, taking in stunning scenery, historic highland towns, tiny fishing hamlets, mountain ranges and deserted lochs along the way. An e-bike makes the journey even easier and nightly stops at some of Scotland’s finest hotels, including Inverlochy Castle and the Michelin-starred Boath House, complete the luxury experience. Prices start from £3,090 per person, based on two sharing. E-bikes can be added for £60 per bike.
Thames Royal Palaces
Ride along almost completely traffic-free routes to visit the royal palaces and gardens along the banks of the River Thames at Kew, Richmond, Hampton Court and Windsor. Doing it on an e-bike means you can save your legs for exploring the incredible royal homes and grounds you see en-route. This four-night tour explores all these royal gems and many other hidden treasures, along a route that is unbelievably rural and yet very close to the metropolis of London. Accommodation is a selection of high quality four and five star hotels along the route. Prices for the luxury itinerary start from £1,300 per person, based on two sharing. E-bikes can be added for £90 per bike.
Enid Blyton’s Dorset
Climb on board your e-bike for a modern tour of a thoroughly traditional landscape discovering the sites that inspired Enid Blyton. Many of the places in the author’s stories are to be found in the beautiful Studland area of Dorset where she often holidayed. The Carter Company’s itinerary is largely traffic free and gentle so young readers can follow in Blyton’s footsteps and see highlights including Corfe Castle and Brownsea ‘Whispering’ Island. Riding an e-bike ensures there is plenty of time for picnics and lashings of ginger beer. Prices from £975 per person based on a family of four sharing a two-bedroom suite at the hotel Blyton stayed at for her own holidays. E-bikes available at £50 per bike.
Austrian Lakes & Mountains
The beauty of riding an e-bike is that you can tackle routes that wouldn’t be possible, or pleasurable for novice riders on a standard bike. This seven-night circular route from Salzburg takes riders past a backdrop of majestic Alpine mountains, through nature reserves and along a series of stunning lakes. The scenery is always breath taking and thousands of years of cultural history adds to the mystical aura. Accommodation en-route is fitting with a magnificent castle and manor house hotels. Prices from £975 per person based on two sharing, excluding flight. E-bikes can be hired for £100 per bike.
Rather special Italy
Italy is always special, but the route along the Adriatic Coast taking in the boutique retreat of Milano Marittima and the fishing port of Cesenatico is especially memorable. The eight-night ride has its fair share of spectacular scenery, including medieval villages and World Heritage sites in Ravenna, combined with glamorous hotels with pools, spas and private beaches. An e-bike is a particularly elegant way to tackle this tour. Prices start from £1,390 per person based on two sharing and excluding flights. E-bikes available for hire at £190 per bike.
Details of all tours can be found at the-carter-company.com.