2018

This year seems to have passed in a flash and the fantastic summer weather has given way to a beautiful autumn.

Highlight trips with Saddle Skedaddle this year included a week on one of my favourite islands, Corsica.

Two weeks across France on the classic St Malo to Nice trip.

A north eastern adventure from Newcastle to Edinburgh on the Coast and Castles route.

Towards the end of the season, a trip to new destinations for me: Slovenia and Croatia. It was an awesome contrast of terrain, culture and riding from the Julian alps to the Dalmatian coast. This is a part of the world I’d love to visit again.

Palaces and Lakes of Rajasthan with Saddle Skedaddle

One of the many great things about my line of work is the travel opportunities it brings. Back in October, only a few days after arriving back from Corsica, I found myself on the long flight to India.

The trip starts in Jaipur, where there is the chance to see the Amer Fort before the tour begins.

Each town that you call in at has a different character. We were there around Diwali and at night the streets light up as the markets bustled.

The majority of the riding was fairly flat, although in the distance the Aravalli hills are often seen.

We stopped over in Jaipur for two nights, one of which was Diwali, a non stop firework display across the Blue City.

A moments peace could be found with a trip out to the desert, swapping our bikes for camels.

Eventually the Aravalli hills were traversed, significantly more climbing than earlier in the trip but also the most beautiful scenery.

The trip finishes in Udaipur, a city on a lake with the backdrop of the Aravalli.

France summer 2017 with Saddle Skedaddle

Earlier this summer I spent several weeks in France guiding two trips for Saddle Skedaddle. The first of these was the iconic St Malo to Nice, taken over three weeks.

This is a great way to do the trip if you have the time available as it gives you longer to enjoy the journey and the places you visit.

At the start of July I headed to the French alps to guide a group over some of the Tour de France regulars in Skedaddle’s Classic Alps Passes trip.

This was great as it linked some new areas for me with more familiar ground.

It’s always good to get back to the big mountains! I’m looking forward to another St Malo to Nice trip in September when the cool autumn mornings start to arrive.

Poppies

Del Norte al Sur: San Sebastián to Tarifa with Saddle Skedaddle

The first trip of the season with Saddle Skedaddle and it was a big one! Having previously done St Malo to Nice and Land’s End to John o’ Groats, it was great to take on another iconic end to end journey.

From the first day, the climbing begins.

Climbing over the Cordillera Cantábrica
Climbing over the Cordillera Cantábrica

There’s some huge open landscape views along the way.

Wide open spaces
Wide open spaces

There was so little traffic on the route, you sometimes wonder where everyone is!

Rolling towards Valverde de los Arroyos
Rolling towards Valverde de los Arroyos
Cyclist friendly roads
Cyclist friendly roads

Over a couple of weeks we had a few drops of rain but the clouds often made a dramatic backdrop to the scenery.

Dramatic skies
Dramatic skies

On the highest point of the route, we even rode in to the clouds.

Climb to the Collado de Serranillos
Climb to the Collado de Serranillos

Roads clung to the side of the hills overlooking the ever changing landscape.

More incredible scenery
More incredible scenery

One of the great things about the trip is the diverse range of incredible accommodation it visits.

Monastery converted to hotel at Guadalupe
Monastery converted to hotel at Guadalupe

As the trip gets further towards the south, the hills don’t let up. There’s a steep climb to the picturesque town of Zuheros.

Rolling out of Zuheros
Rolling out of Zuheros

Towards El Chorro the mountains get really impressive, the roads taking a sinuous route through them.

The road to El Chorro
The road to El Chorro
Sunshine and traffic free
Sunshine and traffic free

During May there are thousands of poppies lining the route, with occasional fields cloaked in bright red.

Poppies
Poppies

Ronda was the penultimate town we visited. Sat atop vertical cliffs and strung together with incredible bridges, this is somewhere I would like to return to.

Ronda view
Ronda view

With one last climb to go, the route is beautiful to the end. Watch out for the strong Levante wind descending to Tarifa. There’s a reason windsurfing is so popular here!

On the road to Tarifa
On the road to Tarifa