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Cycling: Activity Levels

Cycling Holiday with Exodus

Since 1994, we've developed the widest range of cycling trips available in the UK. So whether you're an occasional cyclist wishing to amble through the Loire valley, or a hardened singletrack mountain biker wanting to test your cycling skills in Morocco's Atlas Mountains' then the chances are Exodus will have a trip to suit.

Cycling Trip Style

Would you like to cycle independently or in a group? Do you prefer a smooth road or a technical challenging trail? To help you choose your ideal holiday, we have divided our trips into four simple categories.

Self Guided - The perfect choice for those who like to cycle independently, we have added support to minimise the hard work and planning. We arrange your accommodation and provide you with detailed maps and route notes, so you can cycle at your own pace from one hotel to the next. Your bags are transported for you, so all you carry is what you need for the day’s ride.

Road - Itineraries are based at least 70% on tarmac. Some routes also include occasional sections on unsurfaced tracks, but these will not require any specific technical riding skills. We design our routes to avoid overly busy roads, but you should be comfortable riding in occasional traffic. Depending on grading, the terrain can vary from flat to mountainous.

Drop bars - These trips are for experienced road riders who are looking for longer distances and challenging terrain on their racing bikes. Some itineraries offer the chance to enter a famous cyclosportive event alongside up to 35,000 other cyclists. This is a unique experience and after riding the same iconic roads as the professionals, watching on TV will never be quite the same again.

Off Road - These trips follow a mixture of dirt roads, paths and trails. These may be smooth and hard-packed, or loose, rutted, steep and rocky, and are often in hilly or mountainous terrain. On some trips, the tracks are mostly vehicle-width, but on others we aim for a higher proportion of singletrack riding. For Challenging trips and above, some off road experience is essential.

Conditions that may affect Activity levels/grading

Please remember that it is impossible to be absolutely precise about how hard a bike ride may be, as there are many contributory factors. The main benefit of grading is to provide you with an overall indicator to compare one cycling trip against another. We therefore look at the following:

  • Length of ride and length of cycling day
  • Level of vehicle support
  • Average altitude and height gain and loss
  • Temperature range and likely weather conditions
  • Road/trail conditions
  • Remoteness of services and general level of comfort

Clearly conditions for a particular cycling holiday may vary from one month to the next. It is not practical for us to give grades for each individual departure, but you may like to take this into account before choosing a specific departure date.

Vehicle support
On the majority of our cycling trips, a support vehicle accompanies the riders. These carry tools and spares, refreshments, your luggage and even (on occasion) yourself. If there is a high level of vehicle support you can confidently book a certain grade in the knowledge that there is back-up should you get tired. Equally this means that friends or couples of different fitness levels can still enjoy the same trip together.

Activity Level (formerly Grades)

If you want to push yourself, we can provide the challenge, but most of our cycling holidays are exactly that – holidays. In response to customer feedback, for 2014 we have introduced a new grading system to help you select the perfect trip.
The Activity Level dial offers an immediate illustration of just how challenging the trip will be. Ranging from Leisurely to Tough, the grading takes into account the daily cycling distances and terrain, as well as any technical riding skill required. We also consider the number of cycling days as there can be a cumulative affect from tiredness on a longer trip and the type of accommodation used, as this can also influence your day to day recovery. The activity levels are equivalent to our previous grading, so if you’re used to B grade cycling you’ll be perfectly at home on a level 3 (Moderate) trip.

If you are in any doubt, please give us a call on 0845 863 9626, or email us.

Activity level 1: Leisurely
If you can ride a bike and enjoy gentle exercise, these are an ideal introduction to a cycling holiday. No routes are entirely flat, so expect some short climbs and descents. Maximum daily height gain is approximately 250 metres and daily distances rarely exceed 50kms (32 miles), any longer days are often optional.

Activity level 3: Moderate
Most people who enjoy a weekend riding at home will enjoy a Moderate trip. You need to be in good health and reasonably fit. Ideal for occasional cyclists, or as a more relaxed trip for fitter riders. Moderate off-road trips require no previous experience. Distances rarely exceed 70kms (43 miles) per day.

Activity level 5: Challenging
For any ride at this level, fitness is important. Challenging trips require confidence in your ability and physical condition. They are equivalent to an extended period of cycling at home. Previous mountain biking experience is essential for Challenging off road trips as they will involve some technical riding.

Activity level 7: Tough
Previous experience of the cycling style or surface is a must as these routes have long cycling days and tougher terrain on both road and off road trips. You need complete confidence in your fitness and technical ability to cope with difficult or steep terrain, rough surfaces and longer distances. Ideal for those seeking a challenge!

Split grades
In order to provide more accuracy, where a trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or ‘split’ grade, for example 2: Leisurely/Moderate.

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