I’ve always been a keen walker and having undertaken the South Downs Way and Mount Snowdon, I’d consider putting one foot in front of another as the best known form of transport readily available to man.
Recently, lots of my friends and work colleagues have been getting into cycling and from bike to work schemes and the Olympic furore surround Wiggins et al; I’m starting to think that they may have a point.
Things are starting to come to a head and the other night my friends and I were in the local pub chatting about our walking holidays gone by and where we should take the next one. Then, low and behold, a cyclist pipes up and suggests that we go on a two-wheeled break this year and, instead of being met with disgruntled derision, the general consensus appeared to be nods and murmurs of approval.
I went away from the pub with mixed feelings and decided to write down the pros and cons of going on a walking holiday as opposed to a cycling alternative.
Both walking and cycling holidays provide plenty of fresh air however, cyclists tend to be tied a little more to the road and so petrol fumes may provide a slightly less healthy environment. That said, we’d be mainly traversing rural landscapes and so car fumes aside I think both activities can be considered relatively fitness-friendly depending on how far or how many pubs we discover en-route.
Result: A draw
Personally, I find walking much more relaxing as there’s far less to think about other than putting your best foot forward, having a chat and admiring the countryside. Cycling, on the other hand, provides plenty of stress as you propel yourself down steep descents and negotiate rugged tracks and dodgy pot-holes. I’d say that walking holidays are definitely more relaxing than cycling holidays, if only because clothes are baggier and sitting is a rest as opposed to something that you have to do.
Result: A win for Walking
Undoubtedly, a bike is going to get you to the top of a mountain quicker than walking and as soon as you dismount and take in the breathtaking views then those aching calf muscles will begin to drift away. I’d like to say walking because you can stop more often but, experience tells me that with head down staring at the plodding boots in front of you, the views that you’ll find while walking, quickly become taken for granted.
Result: A win for Cycling
From packing a lunch to stopping off at a pub for a Ploughman’s, walking and cycling holidays both enable you to make the most of the local fare, no matter which country you’re travelling through. I kind of think that walking has the edge because I’d trust myself more after a couple of pints of strong cider however, if you’re tee-total then you can enjoy a good lunch no matter what your mode of transport.
Result: A draw
Depending how organised you are and where you’re actually going on holiday, accommodation can be booked in advance and used as a guide mark or somewhere to aim for no matter if you’re on foot or in the saddle. There’s nowhere that’s not going to accept you if you’re riding a bike and, these days, tents and sleeping equipment can fold-up small enough to fit either in rucksack or panniers. From campsite to youth hostel to hotel, accommodation can often make or break a trip so choose wisely or enjoy the surprise!
Result: A draw
So, there you have it. The result of my walking or cycling holiday pros and cons was a draw. I guess wherever we go we’ll have fun together and enjoy the fitness, food and views no matter whether we’re walking or cycling. All that’s left to say is: bring it on!
Biog: Chris still prefers walking holidays to cycling because there are less punctures and, ironically, it’s easier to sit down after a walking holiday as opposed to cycling.