The pace of bicycle travel appeals to people. You can cover considerable distance in a day and still have time to view and admire the details that will continually present themselves to you. Like some Hollywood director commented, “It’s like being in a movie instead of watching it”.
Flexibility is the greatest characteristic of bike touring. It can be whatever you want it to be. You can go on a day trip, go for a week, go for a year or anything in between. You can stay in B&Bs, a campground, with a local or at a fancy hotel. You can set out with a group of strangers, your family, your cycling buddies or head out alone.
Let’s have a look at the major types of bike tours available for today’s adventurers.
THE GUIDED TOUR
This is by far the easiest way to head off on a cycling vacation. All you have to do is show up. You and your fellow travellers are escorted by an experienced touring guide or company. Your belongings are transported by a vehicle that will meet you at predetermined points during the day and at your hotel that evening.
Your day is structured. Your guide will go over the itinerary before you head out each day. You’ll know what you’ll be seeing, where you’ll be stopping for meals and the interesting activities planned for that day.
If, for any reason, you need to get off your bike you always have the option of riding in the tour vehicle. The guides can help with any bike repairs.
You’ll likely meet people from all over the world. New and lasting friendships are often formed.
THE SEMI-GUIDED TOUR
The main difference between the semi-guided tour and the guided tour is that there isn’t an experienced touring guide riding along with you. Your route, lodging and meals are all pre- planned. You may also have to carry your belongings with you, although some semi-guided tours will deliver your luggage to your hotels along the way. This is a good point to clarify as you do your planning.
THE SOLO TOUR
This is often referred to as the ‘fully loaded’ tour for good reason. You need to carry your clothing, tools and gear. You want to do your planning carefully as you want to stay as lightweight as possible.
This is definitely the least expensive option and it allows you the most freedom. It does, however, require the most planning, preparation and skill. You need to be able to communicate with the locals, ride in traffic and have bike repair know-how.
For all cycling holidays it’s a good idea to build up your stamina before your trip. Start building your fitness level well in advance. You don’t want to hit the road and injure yourself.
Next time, we’ll look at some of the world’s best cycling routes. Got a trip in mind? Come on into Russ Hay’s and talk to us. We love sharing our cycling experiences and stories.