Green touring

Green touring? As in, touring through a green landscape? Well, no. Green touring is about reducing your environmental footprint while touring.

This is the point where people start claiming they care about the planet, always recycle, and what’s more, once wrote a sternly-worded Tweet about a certain supermarket’s excessive use of plastic, and even tagged the supermarket in it. All of which are irrelevant to the point, especially when taking just a single holiday flight per year.

There are other, less destructive options, starting with trains, and very obviously bicycles. You can travel to most destinations in Europe, from the UK, by train, and many such train journeys are very scenic. Taking your bike on a train in the UK is usually a relatively straight-forward affair, provided it’s a folding, or standard size, non-folding bike. Cargo bikes, trikes and tandems will sadly pose a problem.

In the UK, there seems to be an attitude of being entitled to an annual foreign holiday, and that holiday is typically spend rushing to the destination, and after a week or so, rushing back home. This is what you get from living in the age of the package holiday, where you shop for a holiday just like you would for a new fridge.

Touring is different – it exposes you to far more experiences, and you get to see more. The secret is simple, and something package holiday vendors don’t want you to wake up to: it’s all about the journey.

Remember rushing to the airport, then waiting for ages for your flight. Once aboard, you had hours to kill, and then, once at the foreign airport, there’s queuing up for passport checks, then trying to find the correct coach to catch to your booked resort, followed by potentially hours dropping others at every other resort, before finally arriving at yours.

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Why would you choose to put yourself through such an exhausting, stressful experience?

Cycle touring is an inherently less-polluting way of travelling, and travelling at a human pace, at that. Not only do you get to see more, experience more, and interact with more local people, you would vastly reduce your CO2 footprint. A single flight can emit more CO2 than many people emit in a year – go have a look at the calculator in this Guardian article. How can you possibly justify taking that flight, when you know the environmental damage it will do?

The UK is an exquisitely beautiful place, with incredible views, and a huge variety of different landscapes. Why don’t you – given COVID restrictions still limit foreign holidays at the moment – consider a UK-based cycling holiday instead?

Cycle touring means different things to different people – it is entirely up to you whether you cycle from five star hotel to five star hotel, whether you stay in B&Bs, or whether you’ll be camping along the way. There’s no right way or wrong way to go on a cycle tour – find what suits you best.

Book a train journey, so you can escape the city quickly and (relatively) easily, then go explore part of the UK you’ve always wanted to see more, by bicycle.
Once COVID allows, catch a train to Europe, and go on a cycle tour there.

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