It’s the time of year when cycling in the UK can become a slog. Cold, rain, ice and snow mean there are fewer fair-weather cyclists on the road but even the most committed rider can feel that donning the Lycra is more of a chore than a joy during winter.
So why not get away for a while and soak up some sun in another country?
These days it's relatively easy to book a trip on your own or with a group. Clubs and companies like Rapha regularly organise international cycling trips and locals in popular locations should be well prepared for British riders and their bikes.
If you're cycling abroad it's worth thinking about the kind of insurance you need because not all standard travel insurance policies cover expensive bikes or activities such as mountain biking or races.
We've teamed up with Yellow Jersey to offer a 10% discount on their travel insurance for cyclists. It includes worldwide racing cover, race fee cancellation, the cost of bicycle rental if yours is late and taxi fares if you have a mechanical.
Some dedicated cycling insurers cover riding abroad and include things like your bike box while in transit. Because these companies are often run by cyclists and they deal with these type of claims more often, it should make the process smoother if you need to claim.
'In transit' claims can often be tricky because traditional insurers may say that the responsibility lies with the airline and that you need to take the matter up with them. And expensive kit can easily exceed the luggage limits on normal travel insurance policies. Cycling insurance companies with transit cover aim to have your back.
If your pedals and seat are worth a lot of money, you might want to consider carrying them in your hand luggage for extra safety. And if your bike does go missing in transit you can attach them to a hire bike so that you'll still have a comfortable ride.
For triathletes, some cycle insurers do cover triathlons. One of these is Yellow Jersey, which is British Triathlon’s official insurance partner.
Triathlon insurance usually focuses on bicycles as they are the most expensive piece of equipment; however, it may also cover race fees, wetsuits and travel. For more information on this, check out our article on triathlon insurance.
For more information, check out our group for travel insurance for cyclists.
We’ve compiled a list of the best winter destinations for cyclists – and there are some spots included you might not expect.
Spain is a popular destination for cyclists during the cold winter months, especially the archipelagos that surround it. Some well-ridden islands include Mallorca, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Tenerife. The Canary Islands in particular, being so far south, enjoy a subtropical climate, which ensures that even their winters are warm.
Featuring smooth roads, plentiful mountainous routes and beautiful scenery, the Spanish islands are the perfect getaway for cyclists of all abilities and styles.
Lanzarote also features the famous Club La Santa, a sports club that offers accommodation and activities for all sporting types, but is particularly popular with cyclists. Club La Santa offers bicycle hire and guided tours, as well as advice for cyclists who want to find their own way. They also let you use your own pedals on their hire bikes.
Mallorca and Tenerife are often full of pro teams training in the winter, so there’s a chance you'll spot (and even get to ride alongside) some of your sporting heroes.
There are stunning stops along the Cape Peninsula, including Table Mountain and Cape Town. And you can enjoy temperate subtropical weather, even in winter.
Cycling SA, the national governing body of cycle racing in South Africa, puts on events for cyclists of all abilities and offers a wealth of information for cyclists on their website.
Bear in mind that the accident rate on the roads of South Africa is relatively high, so it pays to be careful.
Not the first choice for most cyclists, but its popularity as a cycling destination is growing.
It boasts delicious local cuisine and friendly locals. With attractions such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Halong Bay, as well as the highlands in the south for more challenging rides, Vietnam offers beautiful scenery for cyclists.
Cycling is an important aspect of Vietnamese lifestyle, so you’ll never feel out of place. Bear in mind that while it’s warm and humid most of the time, there’s a chance you’ll get caught in the heavy rain, which can fall at any time, although January, February and March are the driest months.
Vietnam is prone to flooding and it is a high-risk area for the Zika virus. We recommend getting travel insurance any time so you're covered against any illnesses or accidents you may have. Check out our list of the best travel insurance providers.
India is becoming more popular with cycle tourists. It's renowned for its rich culture and diverse wildlife – as well as its exceedingly dangerous roads.
For cyclists, however, cycling on smaller backroads should keep you safe. There are several common routes for cyclists to take, including Mumbai to Goa and the Manali to Leh. Kerala is also a popular location for mountain bikers.
There are lots of stories online of people cycling India, and the one complaint they generally have is that the food can make you ill. Recently, there have been protests across the country, and the Gov.uk website warns that there is a high risk of terrorism.
This may be one of the lesser known cycling location on this list, but it is an up-and-coming contender for one the best.
It goes without saying that there are plenty of important religious and historical sites in Israel, and what better way to experience them than on a bicycle?
There are cycling tours available that allow you to see such sights as the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights, and Jerusalem. Expect cool temperatures during winter, and if you fancy a drier ride, stick to the south of the country.
The Gov.uk website recommends staying away from Gaza and the borders with Syria and Lebanon. Be sure to read the advice offered on travelling on the foreign travel section of gov.uk.
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