When we mean easy, we generally mean easy but we are not able to guarantee that there are no hills and in any case these are great fun to go down and you can always walk uphill. In the descriptions there will be reference if there is an uphill section.
Most routes follow canals, old railway lines or quiet roads, as basically it is not much fun cycling with traffic, as you are on holiday after all.
Where we need to use main roads, these are indicated, as unfortunately in some cases they are unavoidable, but they can be negotiated with care and we are not adverse to using pavements. Our view on this, as long as you proceed with caution, that you dismount where there are pedestrians , then we can see little harm done. In fact when we cycled into Weston-Super-Mare from the club site, along the excellent cycle paths, we came across a policeman cycling on the pavements, when the cycle paths ran out.
I was, however, told off by a policewoman for cycling in the pedestrian zone in Canterbury. I was going very very slowly, honest guv.
For circular routes an indication is given regarding the distance but not always for linear routes, as you can always turn around.
As far as bikes are concerned, ours are ATB's (all terrain bikes) though in most cases a hybrid type bike would be sufficient and in many cases a 'town' bike would be ok but our routes are generally not geared to road cyclists, that is the ones with the skinny tyres, they are a different breed.
What you do not want to buy is the full suspension mountain bikes, these are ok if you are going to tackle off road uphill rough tracks. If you just use them in town, you will spend all your energy just bouncing along the road. I put them on par with all the town folk who buy 4 wheel drives to do the school run.
A bike with a suspension saddle and front forks is the most that you will need and one made of alloy reduces the weight but do
not spend a fortune it will only get nicked. Expensive bikes on the back of motorhomes are too tempting.
What is essential is a good gel saddle and also make sure you know how to mend a puncture or have a spare inner tube and a
basic tool kit.
When we did the Kennet & Avon from the club site at Devizes Julia managed to end up with 5 punctures, luckily we were able just to get back to the site. Always be aware when they cut down those thorny hedges and leave it all on the towpath.
Reflective clothing and properly fitting helmets are generally a good idea.
With regard to gears, most are now of the derailleur type with a front 3 chain rings and a 7 back cassette giving you 21 gears but some only have 2 front and 5 rear giving 10 and other combinations do exist. Do not worry unless you are going to do serious offroad stuff, you will never use the lower gears. When you do, you expend so much energy, you sometimes wonder why you bothered.
Finally get a good lock and if you are in a high risk area make sure that the front wheel is included. It is too easy to remove the front wheel and for the same reason do not lock your bike by the front wheel only. In these areas I will use a cable and a D lock.
In one word quality, in some cases the facilities are a bit older but do not confuse old with unclean. The Camping & Caravanning Club pride themselves with the cleanliness of their sanitary facilities.
You can book online, which is a plus but you are not able now to check at a glance regarding availability and we find that it is not the quickest system in the world.
They do not have clubhouses or swimming pools which we find a plus and we have always found the staff very friendly.
They generally offer good value, particularly if you are over age 55 and use the sites offpeak.