Scottish firm offers cycling holidays with a technological twist

GPS cycling tours make Scotland’s unclassified routes more accessible

by Rebecca McIlhone   March 9, 2009  

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Cycling tourism has stepped into the digital age thanks to a company offering GPS systems to visitors wanting to explore some of Scotland’s most beautiful yet remote routes.

Velodays, based in Aberdeen, was established last year by keen cyclist Neil Innes, who wants to build on the popularity of cycling created by the Olympics to convert more of Scotland’s tourists to pedal power.

Neil was a club cyclist in his youth and still enjoys long-distance rides today, which is how he came up with the idea for Velodays.

He told road.cc: “Travelling by bike is a wonderful experience and a great way to meet local people but my experiences have also included having my bike damaged in transit by airlines, five-mile climbs up the wrong road, having been given the wrong directions, and up to 20 miles of additional cycling in search of hotel rooms at the end of long cycling days.”

Velodays holidays provide you with a good quality hybrid bike (Dawes and Giant are typical makes) complete with Garmin GPS navigation systems to lead the way. The only pain you’ll have to deal with is aching joints as the company takes care of your food, luggage transfer and accommodation arrangements. This includes somewhere luxurious to lay your head at the end of a demanding day on the road - with stays in some of rural Scotland’s best known four star hotels.

Neil says: “The area around Aberdeen is a maze of unclassified minor roads with virtually no signs. You have to carry an OS map to find your way around and my motivation for using GPS was to have all the turn instructions on your handlebars so you don’t have to keep stopping to check the way.

“From a tourism point of view, if you’re cycling within a mile of an attraction it can beep up a message on the screen and give you the option of making a detour to go and see it.”

Neil claims to have been the first company in Britain to offer the GPS service although he expects it will catch on fast. His company offers 15 holiday itinerarires in Scotland, with the emphasis on short breaks with from two to seven days’ cycling. Tour itineraries follow pre-programmed routes on quiet roads, featuring no shortage of lochs, glens, castles and distilleries.

New additions to his product line include a GPS-guided Land's End to John O’Groats ride, where Neil will arrange your accommodation on a daily basis depending on your progress, and longer routes for cyclists training for events.

To find out more visit the website: www.velodays.com