As the demand to explore the world in a unique and sustainable way increases, there is terrific news for cycling enthusiasts who seek adventure. Saddle Skedaddle, a world-class cycling operator with nearly 25 years of experience curating diverse itineraries and cycling tours, has launched its new 2020 tours, exploring far-flung corners of the world by bike. Ranging from such off the beaten path destinations like Jordan, Ethiopia, and Borneo, Saddle Skedaddle is bound to stir up those who seek to see the world a little differently.
Biking trips offer a unique way to explore pockets of a destination that can often be off the common tourist route, and also provide a way to travel and do good by being environmentally-friendly and supporting local communities. Better yet, by traveling in a small-group on two wheels you truly have the freedom to experience and get to know a destination, its people and culture intimately. While I have not yet had the opportunity to do a cycling trip myself, it is something I would love to experience someday especially given my love of hiking trips.
In my quest to feature different sustainable adventure travel outfitters, I reached out to Paul Snedker, Director and Co-Founder, of Saddle Skedaddle to learn more about their mission and of course their amazing trips. Here is what Paul had to say.
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When were you founded, by who and why?
My friend, Andrew Straw, and I founded Saddle Skedaddle nearly 25 years ago after our own cycling adventure in Chile. One night, while trapped on a mountain pass during a snowstorm, we got to talking about how much we had been able to see and experience while traveling the country on a bike. We hatched an idea about bringing this kind of travel to other people—pedaling through, not passing by, as they say—and with that, Saddle Skedaddle was born!
Today, Saddle Skedaddle is the UK’s leading independent cycling vacation specialist that is all about doing something wonderful on two wheels. Our team of experts has searched far and wide for nearly 25 years to bring you some of the world’s most incredible locations and enchanting cultures to enjoy at the speed of the bike. It’s time to really meet a place, and its people, you’ll never want to forget.
We are so excited to be celebrating our 25th anniversary in 2020. Learn more about our original trip to Chile here, complete with vintage 1994 video footage!
What is your mission?
We want to inspire as many people as we can to travel by bike and share their experiences. We aim to move people—in more ways than one—and we believe you can do something wonderful on two wheels, whether it’s weaving around cobbled city streets or pumping the knees with the hilltop picnic point in sight. Cycling holidays with Saddle Skedaddle are carefree, active, and adventurous, and our local guides bring expert knowledge on the best food, wine, and sights to give you an unrivaled opportunity to discover more about the people and culture of a place.
What makes you unique in the sustainable adventure travel field?
We are unique in the sustainable adventure travel field because of our bike expertise and passion for cycling — we focus solely on bike trips, so we are truly experts in the field. And we don’t limit that expertise to one location, or one type of trip — we offer more than 250 trips in 36 (and counting!) countries, ranging from mountain biking (and e-mountain biking!) to cycling adventures, road cycling to family holidays. As we say, everyone’s different, but everyone pedals: and we’re able to find a trip that works for everyone.
Give me highlights of your top five trips/tours.
Cycling Adventures: Chile and Argentina Lakes District
Discover the pristine beauty of northern Patagonia on this 13-day guided tour of Chile and Argentina’s lake regions. Highlights include biking the Seven Lakes Route to San Martin de los Andes, hiking the majestic Volcan Villarica, and sampling the chocolates of Bariloche (with some Malbec, of course!) after the day’s activities.
Priced from $3,375. Next departures Jan. 19, Feb 16 and March 15, 2020
Road Cycling: Colombia – Emerald Mountains
Explore the unspoiled Andean highlands on this 13-day guided road cycling tour of Colombia. Take on cycling challenges offered by Colombia’s changing elevation as you make your way from mountainous capital of Bogota to the dazzling Caribbean port of Cartagena.
Priced from $3,375. Next departures Jan. 11, Feb. 1 and Feb. 18, 2020
Family Cycling: Morocco – Desert, Mountains and Coast
Grab the whole family to discover Morocco by saddle on this 8-day guided family cycling holiday. Mountain bike from North Africa’s highest ski resort, camp in the desert in the shadow of the High Atlas Mountains, and go on a treasure hunt through the ancient alleyways of the souk.
Priced from $1,920. Next departures April 6 and Oct. 18, 2020
Leisure Cycling: UK- Roman’s Reivers and Ancient Castles
Pedal past castles and coastlines on your own pace with this 10-day self-guided leisure cycling tour. Follow in the footsteps of the Roman Empire along Hadrian’s Wall, past miles of pristine dunes, sandy beaches and stunning vistas until you get your first glimpse of Edinburgh as you cycle over the Moorfoot hills.
Priced from $1,480. Departures available upon request.
Mountain Biking: Peru – Sacred Singletrack
Ride the spectacular trails of the Inca Avalanche racecourse on this 14-day guided mountain bike holiday. Descend the Inca staircases of Chinchero, explore ancient llama-trails through Lares and Lamay and accomplish winding descents and remote mountain singletracks, arriving at the incredible Machu Picchu.
Priced from $2,295. Departures available upon request.
How are you helping sustainable/responsible travel?
Around the world, we aim to help combat overtourism by designing tours that bring people away from city centers and main tourist hubs, and onto quieter back roads that are less traveled. In our backyard, we have a partnership with Sustrans, a UK organization that runs a National Cycle Network—a series of safe, traffic-free paths and quiet on-road cycling and walking routes that connect to every major town and city—to help people make travel choices that are good for them, their neighborhood and the environment. For every mile cycled along the National Cycle Network during one of our tours, we donate to Sustrans, and we give our customers the chance to support Sustrans directly when they book a tour in the UK.
Tell me more about the new tours you launched for 2020?
To mark our 25th anniversary, we have launched a collection of new 2020 tours, exploring far-flung corners of the world by bike. This 2020, jump on your saddle to explore the rock-carved churches of Ethiopia, the quiet coves and mountain summits of Croatia and the ancient elephant paths found in the savannah of the largest privately-owned game reserve in Africa. Here is a taste of two new tours from our 25th-anniversary collection:
Journey through the horn of Africa on this 15-day adventure through Ethiopia. Depart north from Addis Ababa to visit Lake Tana and the Blue Nile Waterfall before gaining more than 14,785 feet in altitude on a journey into the Simien Mountains. Spend two nights camping cliffside, surrounded by endemic wildlife including gelada baboons, bearded vultures and Walia ibex. Later, hike through the Kaba Valley to the Geech Abyss for a spectacular view of Jinbar Falls, then visit the ancient obelisks in Axum and the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the journey, sample a local delicacy, injera (sourdough flatbread), and learn the art of traditional Ethiopian coffee brewing. Departs Sept. 12 and Oct. 17, 2020. Priced from $3,765
Be one of the first to ever pedal along the verdant jungle grounds of Ajloun Forest Reserve on the 8-day Cycling Adventure in Jordan. Located in the highlands, more than eight miles of biking trail remain untouched, where guests will cycle past wild pistachio and strawberry trees. In the Jordanian capital of Amman, marvel at the architectural feat that is the ancient Citadel and Roman Amphitheatre, then descend to the earth’s lowest point, The Dead Sea, to kick back and simply float. After cycling the famed King’s Highway—an ancient route linking Petra to Siq Al Barid—post up for the night in a desert resembling Mars to enjoy a Bedouin feast. Make your way to the Red Rose City of Petra, one of the Modern Seven Wonders of the World, to set sight upon the elaborately carved sandstone rock face of Al-Khazneh.
Departs Mar. 7 and Apr. 4, 2020. Priced from $2,075
We also have new trips to South Africa and Botswana, Croatia, and Borneo. Visit our website www.skedaddle.com or more details.
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