They say the most tempting dish in a restaurant is the one being served to your neighbour.

I agree, but I also suffer from a similar urge to covet my neighbours' choices when checking in at the airport.

No - I'm not talking about swanky luggage, rather the unusual things they're taking and what that tells you about the holiday they're having. Like bikes.

On one occasion, waiting for a flight to Bilbao, a group of four had their sleek machines wrapped in protective cardboard and shrink-wrapped, ready for what I decided was a holiday I wanted to do someday.

Bike across a country.

They were going from Bilbao to Barcelona, but I'd be as happy wheeling off a ferry at Calais and aiming for the Mediterranean, or even pootling through Cornwall.

I agree, some might see this as bonkers. A holiday is a time to relax and restore after the rigours of work I hear you cry. I agree, but I follow Dylan Thomas' line on this: "He who seeks rest finds boredom. He who seeks work finds rest."

And of course it would be work, but what pleasurable work. There is no better way to see a place than from the saddle of a bike. You are perched at a perfect height to see over hedges and walls, and you a travel at a perfect speed to take sights in. What's more, you can smell them too - the fragrance of flowers in bloom, the scent of the approaching sea - all denied to you in a car or in a train.

I can think of no better way to see the changes in scene and feeling the lie of the land than from a bike gently cruising down a quiet rural road or a cycle path.

There's one which has caught my eye, which one day I hope to do. The Velo Scenic between Paris and Mont St Michel in Normandy was opened last year and follows an ancient pilgrims' trail. The 440km trail runs along cycle tracks, greenways and country lane across northern France. You take in Chartres Cathedral, and finish at the dramatic monastery on an island, Mont St Michel.

The thought of stopping at some agreeable restaurant and eating and drinking my fill as I check off miles covered and distance to go has me salivating even now.