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The Softies Story

The Softies Story

The Softies story began in 1982, when Susi Madron sought a different type of holiday to France.

Where it All Began

The Softies story all began in Manchester in 1982, when Susi Madron sought a different type of holiday to France.

At a time when cycling was an unusual way to travel for leisure, Susi quite rightly identified it as the perfect way to explore a region, enjoying the sights, smells and sounds along the way, instead of being sealed off from these senses in a car.

Susi also challenged the idea that active travel had to involve being a hardy camper, taking the tent along for the ride or opting for very basic accommodation. Instead, Susi preferred to be ‘a Softie’ by opting for a comfortable hotel stay. Naturally, choosing the best accommodation available created a relaxing holiday but it also went hand in hand with good food and wine, at the end of a rewarding day in the saddle.

After setting a leisurely pace through the beautiful Mayenne region of France, with her husband and daughter, and having a thoroughly enjoyable holiday, Susi realised this was a truly brilliant way to travel and so Cycling for Softies was born.

Where it all began

Softies Today

Now over forty years on and part of the Active Travel Group, we’re proud to be one of the UK’s premier cycling holiday operators and we still retain the original ingredients of a Cycling for Softies holiday, namely leisurely cycling through stunning regions and high-quality accommodation.

There have been many changes over the years. The introduction of e-bikes has revolutionised the Softies experience and, although France is still a client favourite, our growing range includes a chance to discover the best of Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK. We believe we’ve crafted the perfect leisurely cycling experience, where you can cycle easy, dine in style, sleep like royalty, and explore everything whilst enjoying full support from us.

Our high-quality holidays combine the simple pleasure of gliding through some of Europe’s most picturesque landscapes and top-notch hotels, where you can sample indulgent dining and sit back with a glass of wine, taking in the view.

Softies today

Team of Passionate Cyclists

We love cycling, from weekend bike rides to grand tours. Many of our experts embark on their own cycle adventures, exploring the world through pedalling. Murray, our Head of Client Services, recently cycled across America from Vancouver to San Francisco, stopping off at vibrant cities and enjoying the breathtaking scenery. Closer to home, George, one of our Cycle Experts, travelled to the Loire Valley with the whole family, tasting the exquisite food and visiting the many elegant châteaux on a cycle trip.

Our team also frequently goes on cycle away-days and familiarisation trips, where we can experience the cycling routes and accommodation that our clients enjoy, ensuring that each of our holidays are up to the Softies standard. Some of the team are also planning an ambitious charity bike ride to Val d’Isere, alongside our sister company Ski Solutions, cycling from London to the Alps. Our team of passionate cyclists are always looking for ways to get back in the saddle.

Team of passionate cyclists

Our Commitment to Sustainability

At Cycling for Softies, we want to leave the world in a better place for generations to come, protecting the regions that we love to visit. Cycling is an inherently sustainable activity, but we’re always trying to make our tours that much greener. As such, we’ve carbon scored our tours, and although we’re proud of their low carbon footprint, there’s always more to be done. By responsibly choosing hotels and restaurants, urging clients to source food and products locally and to respect the traditions and cultures of the region they’re visiting, we aim for our cycle tours to be environmentally, socially and ethically sustainable.

We’ve also partnered with the fantastic charity, World Bicycle Relief, who provide economic and social freedoms to countless communities across the world including in Africa, South America and Asia. By providing sturdy Buffalo Bikes to these often remote communities, farmers can take their produce to market, children can safely travel to school, and distance no longer becomes a hindrance for people’s futures. We’re proud to partner with such a terrific charity and, by donating £5 for every Softies booking, we raised a total of £9,400 in 2023.

Our commitment to sustainability

More Than Cycling – Our Active Travel Group Family

Today, Cycling for Softies is part of the Active Travel group, which brings together six premier travel companies in the UK, specialising in tailor-made and human-powered holidays. From hiking in the Scottish highlands to skiing in North America, there’s a holiday for every season.

To find out more about the wine regions in Europe, please call our cycle holiday experts.

Call Our cycling Experts 02074717760

We Can Tailor-make
a Holiday to Suit You…

We have a team of experts on hand to help you choose the perfect holiday. From a luxury cycling holiday weekend in Tuscany to a big adventure in through the Loire Valley, we’re whatever you want your holiday to be.