The December issue of Practical Caravan is on sale now and this month we’re celebrating the pedal power of bicycles great and small.

Stacie Pardoe and partner Brian head west to explore the Cotswolds – and teach their five-year-old daughter Isabella to ride her first bike. It’s a proud moment when a child first finds their balance on two wheels, with or without stabilisers – and who knows where it might lead? 

Not everyone can grow up into a cycle racing champion, but in any case bike racing is fun to watch. Paul Regan and friends are thrilled by the versatility that their caravan provides, as they follow the action in the world’s most thrilling cycle race – the Tour de France. 

Next, Matt Lamy picks 10 great sites that are perfectly placed to allow you to tackle the UK’s top cycling routes. Pack your bike clips and take to the saddle for a pedal around Britain’s diverse landscape.

Bryony Symes pedals her bike along Route 23 of the National Cycle Network, visiting her beloved Winchester.

Go west for great sites and sights

We love caravan holidays in the West Country, and this month we select 10 great sites and places to visit in Somerset, Avon and Wiltshire. Look no further if you need somewhere to stay for your short break in Bath for the Christmas market, your tour of the mysterious ancient stone circle at Avebury, or your Glastonbury Tor hill climb. If you’re a fan of British engineering, take a stroll (or bike ride) along the canal tow path to see the flight of 16 Caen Hill Locks near Devizes. Oh yes, and don’t forget to sample the local cider!

Competitions and caravan nostalgia

This month’s competitions offer you a chance to win a Perfect Bodywork Kit, from Autoglym – nine products to keep your caravan in tip top condition. We also have two signed copies of a new book – Squashed Possums: Off the beaten track in New Zealand  to give away. Enter online for a chance to own a copy of this quirky story of a lone caravan and its young owner’s misadventures.

The UK’s most popular foreign marque, Adria, celebrates its half-century in 2015. Alastair Clements takes a trip to Slovenia to trace Adria’s origins. He finds out how the name came about and views the caravans made in each decade, right back to the time when the country was a popular holiday destination called Yugoslavia. 

Sprite, Compass, Sterling and Bailey reviews

Read our latest new and used caravan reviews to find out how our experts rate famous caravan brands on offer in the UK. If you’re worried that the Sprite range is going too upmarket, we think you’ll be reassured by our review of the more affordable 2016 Sprite Freedom 6 TD

We test the Compass Rallye 636, which features a popular twin-axle caravan layout, to see how well it caters for large families.

After a spell away from showrooms, the Sterling Elite is back as an exciting alternative to the Swift Conqueror. Mike Le Caplain  reviews the Sterling Elite 530, a four-berth with a terrific end-washroom.

The Bailey Unicorn Cadiz gets our full live-in test treatment in this issue. At £21,055 this four-berth luxury tourer ought to be impressive – so don’t miss our six-page review, verdict and full specification list.

If you’re looking for bargain used caravans for sale, check out our used van buyer’s guide to getting a great deal on a 2005 Bailey Ranger. We also compare used caravans to find the best early-Noughties four-berth end-washroom vans for less than £6000. 

Our new buyer’s guide is in this issue, too, and it lists all the prices and data for 2016’s brand new caravans for sale.

Awnings and accessories

However good a caravan you have, you’ll need an awning to make the most of all the space on your pitch on holiday. If you find awnings difficult to put up, you’ll love the fact that one of the leading awning makers, Outwell, has produced three inflatable awnings for caravans. In our new December issue we bring you our mid-range Outwell Pacific Coast awning review.

On the test bench we compare eight hybrid bicycles to find out which are the best both on and off the road.

Tow cars with a dash of X-factor

Our new tow car test this month is the Nissan X-Trail dCi 130 4×4 Tekna, priced from £31,345. Practical Caravan‘s Tow Car Editor David Motton hitches it up to a Swift and puts it through its paces on our test track. He gives all the facts and figures and assesses its towing ability, space and practicality and everyday usefulness when you’re driving it solo.

David also tests the new Suzuki Vitara 1.6 5Z5, which starts at £18,499. Find out how he got on in our December issue.

Used tow car buyers can enjoy our 2003-2012 Isuzu Rodeo review by expert Russ Smith. So if you’re keen to try a double-cab pick-up as your tow car and daily transport, Russ delivers facts, figures and his expert verdict on this affordable used buy. 

Boost your caravan know-how

In DIY mechanic we explain that if your caravan tap isn’t working you may have a faulty microswitch. Our expert explains how to switch the switch and revive the tap.

You’ll find all this and more in the new December issue of Practical Caravan, in the shops from 5 November 2015. Pick up a copy today!