brochures of the week

AT THIS time of year cycling can be a depressing task - you arrive at your destination cold and wet and wishing you had a petrol-guzzling company car. Come the summer, however, and pedal power has the ability to heal your mind, make your lungs work again, and generally leave you feeling on top of the world. Don't believe me? Check out the very attractive miniature brochure from Irish Cycling Safaris and you'll be convinced.

This firm organises cycling holidays in Ireland, France, Italy and Spain and claims to have planned all its routes so that you get a sense of achievement, not exhaustion. Ten years old, Irish Cycling Safaris also sees its holidays as a way of bringing people together and creating its own cycling United Nations - except better organised.

The Irish trips last a week and the brochure describes the places you will visit and also how fit you need to be to contemplate signing on. But what's really charming are the snapshots of people looking ridiculously de-stressed and happy and of the car-free countryside.

All the tours are priced at Irpounds 305 and this includes seven nights' accommodation with breakfast, bicycle rental, the tour guide, luggage transfers, helmets, etc. You get a discount of Irpounds 25 if you've been on a previous Irish Cycling Safari.

Also sumptuously designed is the new Resorts brochure from Powder Byrne. Its upmarket breaks in Florida, Italy, Portugal and France are aimed at wealthy families with children. So the emphasis is on creches and so-called "Scallywags" clubs - there's free accommodation for children under 12 if they stay in their parents' rooms (a miserable prospect for any child who is 10 or older). You can also tell that these resorts are after a certain sort of middle-class go-getter because, Monday to Friday, you can leave your kids and "go out for the whole day, or fit in a full round of golf without having to rush back to pick up your children". Prices for a week in Florida start at pounds 1,141 per person, flights included.

Irish Cycling Safaris: tel, 353 1 2600749; website, http//www.kerna.ie/ics/; Powder Byrne Resorts, tel: 0181 871 3300; website, http://www.powderbyrne.co.uk

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