Bike Tour FAQs
Why Travel With a Tour Operator?
When you travel with a bike tour operator you're usually paying for so much more than simply a guide, a route, and a bed to sleep in each night. These companies have spent countless hours and have local expertise in finding the region's most bike-tour-worthy routes that would be extremely difficult to find on your own. Many tour companies have also hand-selected the most authentic restaurants (and what you should taste while you're there), wines, hotels and activities that most tourists don't even know are available. And, when you do visit a popular attraction, they know when and how to avoid the crowds. Most importantly, service is a tour operator's top priority and they have figured out how to make your trip as stress-free as possible. One of the tools at their disposal is the seasoned guides who can connect you to the local culture through their longtime friends, inside knowledge of the area and even simply helping you speak to locals as they interpret for you.
Shouldn't I Just Travel With The Tour Operator My Friends or Relatives Used or Told Me About?
Absolutely not. Every bike tour operator is unique so you'll want to make sure you're using the company that is right for you. Pick an operator that matches your skill level, region you'd like to travel, desired level of luxury, and level of support (guided vs. self-guided). Also keep in mind, some tour operators service an older age demographic while others cater heavily to a younger college crowd traveling on a budget. So, while Dad can't stop talking about his trip with one tour operator, it doesn't mean you should pick up the phone and immediately book with them too. Do your research, consider all your options, call them and ask a lot of questions, and only then you should make your decision. After all, this is your vacation so choose the operator based on you - not Dad.
I Wouldn't Consider Myself a 'Cyclist'. Will I Be Able To Keep Up?
Yes! There are many options available for people of every riding ability. There is no reason anyone should be saying, "I'm not fit enough for a bike tour". And, you would be surprised at how far you can ride when you're surrounded by such beautiful scenery. By following a simple training plan you will be more than ready for your bike tour. This is supposed to be a vacation, so don't hide or over-exaggerate your deficiencies from your tour operator. They will be able to pair you up with the perfect bike tour so you can have an unbelievable trip. And, if at any point you're too tired to make it up the hill or just need a break from the heat, most guided bike tours come with van support so you can hop in and just enjoy the scenery.
Where Do I Start When Evaluating Tour Operators?
Start by deciding what level of service and luxury you're looking for. Everything from budget tours to no-holds-barred money-is-no-object private bike adventures are available so this will help narrow down your options. Why not base this off your budget? Even if you're not worried about money, you may not need to spend upwards of $6,000 to get what you're looking for. Some people need 5-star hotels and Michelin rated restaurants to enjoy their trip while others are perfectly happy with a map, a bike and a table at the local pub to finish the day. Ready to start planning? Use our bike tour company reviews to begin your evaluation.
What Does It Mean To Have 'Van Support'?
The top tour operators, who specialize in guided bike tours, will have two guides on every bike tour - one on a bike and one in a support van. The support van is mainly for guests to ride in if they would like a break, as well as to carry luggage to and from hotels, carry extra water and snacks, transport tools and repair kits, and direct traffic around the bike tour group in areas with heavy traffic. And, you'll need a safe spot to put your souvenirs during the ride.
What is a Single Supplement?
A single supplement is an additional fee charged to guests who are traveling alone. As prices are typically based on double occupancy in hotel rooms, this fee covers the additional cost of reserving a room for one person. If you're traveling alone, ask the tour company what options are available for waving this fee. Some will remove this fee by pairing you with another single traveler and even provide an additional discount if you can get a friend to join you on tour. And, consider traveling with an operator like Backroads or G Adventures who designs trips specifically for single travelers and removes the single supplement from the pricing or has a long history of catering to travelers riding solo.
Do I Need To Bring My Bike?
This varies with each operator. Nearly all of them can accommodate your bike if you would like to bring it with you, but you may want to leave it at home if bikes are provided. The major tour operators feature top-of-the-line bikes from the best bike manufacturers that are often less than two years old. It can be a real treat to ride a brand new bike through paradise for a week.
Do I Need To Bring My Own Seat, Pedals, Cycling Shoes, Bags, and GPS?
This varies with each operator so please double-check before packing for your trip. When bikes are provided on your tour, they will often have the standard flat pedals, seat and bags available for you included in the cost of your tour. If you have cycling shoes and would like to use them, you'll want to pack your pedals and shoes. Some operators such as Trek Travel even include a GPS computer in the cost of your tour and will have it all set up with maps fully loaded when you arrive, while others such as Backroads, DuVine, Rapha and VBT can provide downloadable maps for some tours.
Are Children Allowed On A Bike Tour?
On certain tours children are more than welcome! Many tour operators, such as DuVine and Trek Travel have trips specifically designed for family travel. The activities, bikes, hotels and routes are all designed with younger travelers in mind. Some operators will have specific age limits for these tours. Other operators will have trailer bikes, bike seats and even top-of-the-line kids bikes available for use. However, the answer depends on the tour operator. Call and speak to a travel planner from the operators you're considering before making your final decision.
Can We Take Our Tandem Bike On Tour?
Probably because they're the most romantic way to travel, tandem bikes are more popular than ever and most tour operators are allowing tandem bikes on all tours. As always, double check with your tour operator prior to booking. Backroads, DuVine, and other operators are beginning to offer tandems as a bike upgrade, so make sure to ask about their options. You can save yourself a lot of cash and have fun riding the most recent tandem bikes on the market.
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