Cycling for Softies in the Cotswolds: Kevin Pilley gets on his bike

E bikes introduce you to a new life and the heights of outdoor activity. Previously, I had struggled to get up onto barstools. Rapid acceleration was only away from exercise. GPS apps were only used to drive to pubs or restaurants.

When my doctor suggested I take up cycling to lose weight I raised concerns about the clothing. I don’t mind activity wear but it’s activewear that concerns me. My upper body isn’t made for tight Thermoflex and my lower body doesn’t go with seriously snug reflective Lycra tights. My wife was worried about the helmet and her hair.

We decided to give it a test trial with Cycling for Softies who offer e-bike getaways such as their 76 miles, two-night Cotswolds break based at the renowned Barnsley House.

Four miles from Cirencester, the 1776 Georgian house is now an inviting 18-room Pride of Britain hotel with a spa and skincare centre offering an outdoor hydrotherapy pool and lots of reviving , re-energizing , mind-calming, mindful bottom de-stressing Elemis treatments. Bliss after a long day’s power-assisted pedaling. It is famous for its garden and potager designed in the 1950s by Rosemary Verey, who advised HRH Prince Charles and Sir Elton John on their back gardens.

We had not ridden a bicycle for twenty years but there were few rows, no cramp attacks, no Wolds rage, not much grunting and a lot of laughing. We didn’t have to be rescued from the River Coln and we didn’t have a puncture. Apart from startling a Japanese tourist coming around a corner in Bibury, there was only one accident when I rear-ended a female pheasant jaywalking just outside Lower Slaughter. She flew off before we could exchange insurance details.

E cycling is a sedate way to enjoy the Cotswolds countryside, its lanes and the mellow stonework of its buildings, which one of my literary heroes, J.B.Priestley , once described as “keeping the lost sunlight of centuries glimmering about them”. Cycling for Softies isn’t about racking up the miles and sweat, it’s about the in-between. Spoilt with 10-speed Scott sub-tour e bikes with a Bosch Performance Line motor and 625wh battery, you cycle as much or as little as you like, stop at pubs and teashops, end up in the hotel spa and then in front of a juicy 10oz steak. Perfect.

Next up Sussex, Tuscany or Umbria. E biking provides the perfect re-charge and bespoke holiday. Cycling For Softies is for us. The Spandex will take further breaking in.

Fast Facts

To book an e biking holiday in the UK or Europe, call our Silver Travel Advisors on 0800 412 5672 or visit Cycling For Softies. We’re sure the Spandex is optional!

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