More and more people are taking to bicycles to explore the world. Touring a new country or area on two-wheels provides both a physically and emotionally rewarding experience, that goes beyond the cookie-cutter travel offerings. We take an in-depth look at what factors you should consider when seeking the bike tour of your dreams.
Whether you are planning your first bike trip or getting ready for another one, you will most likely be looking through tour websites or even talking to an experienced travel planner to craft out the perfect itinerary. While going through this process it pays to give some thought to the following questions to help navigate between options and find your ideal tour.
Where do you plan to travel?
The big question, and probably one of the trickiest. Even if you can only narrow it down to a few options, this is still a good spot to start, you can then look into the other considerations with these in mind. To help narrow the field consider the following: Would you prefer to visit a developed country or somewhere far off and untouched by the modern world?
Are you a mountain person or beach person? Are you happy to go off-road and challenge your legs with lots of climbs, or would you prefer flat terrain and paved bike paths to cruise along while fully enjoying the scenery? Maybe a mix of both?
Consider what you are comfortable with. If you are a flatlander and don't want to rule out hillier adventures with your friends, choose bike tours with an e-bike option.
When do you plan to travel?
Always take weather into consideration as it could make or break your trip. The weather in most of the Asian countries is fairly enjoyable all year round. There are exceptions however, like the October rainy season in central Vietnam, or Cambodia’s heat in April, both could potentially lessen the experience.
Also, there are tours operating during popular festivals or public holidays like the Sakura Festival (Cherry Blossom) in Japan, in this case booking months in advance is strongly recommended.
What is your fitness level?
Are you an intrepid cyclist, beginner, or casual rider? Check each tour's level of difficulty and go for one that fits well with your ability and goals, but also don't be too afraid to challenge yourself a little. And don't forget that most day tours offered in popular travel destinations can typically accommodate beginners.
Searching for something less physically demanding? You can always go for tours with an e-bike option so as not to exhaust yourself and still have the energy to enjoy the views and stops along the way. This is also a good choice when it comes to traveling as a group where there is a variety in ability levels and endurance among members.
What is your main focus of the trip?
Is cycling your main focus, with cultural & historical features coming secondary to enjoying scenery and racking-up the miles? Maybe you want to get in some training or clear out the stress with a rewarding challenge while on vacation? It is, of course, possible to get the best of both worlds: a bike trip with moderate to challenging rides mixed with off-bike activities, connecting you with local communities to learn about their lifestyle, culture and history.
Short tour, long tour, which one should you choose?
This is often a matter of available time, but could also be a personal choice, depending on how long you like to be on a bike. If you like riding and are keen to explore a new country on two-wheels over several days, then a long multi-day bike tour is ideal for you. These trips can vary from 7 to 14 days.
If you want to jump between destinations and have a bit more flexibility then a short tour would be your way to go. A 3 to 5-day cycle tour with a local guide would quickly introduce you to an area, where you'll see beyond the tourist sights. It can also allow you to mix and match trips and different activities to better fit your tastes. Mixing a few day tours in different destinations is also an option if you are short on time.
Do you prefer riding with a guide or on your own?
If you enjoy a social experience, meeting new people and having a knowledgeable local guide show you around, a guided group tour is probably the best fit for you. If you prefer to be independent and have your plans more flexible, while still enjoying the luxury of having your hotels booked and luggage transferred, a Self-guided trip planned with a local tour operator would be the way to go.
What's the make-up of your traveling group?
Traveling with a group? Is it made up of people with different fitness abilities, cycling experience and enthusiasm? If so look for tours offering off-the-bike activities, different ride options or even days with optional rides. Yet again, e-bikes come to save the day for members concerned about keeping up with the rest of the group.
If you are traveling with your family or with kids, search specifically for family tours that offer shorter distances, low traffic routes, kid-friendly activities & accommodation.
Now that you have an idea of what to consider when looking for a bike tour you may be able to hone-in better on your destination and start searching with a more accurate vision of what fits your style. If you need any input or advice with your planning, we are here to help. Chat with us on our website or drop an email to our Travel Planning Experts.
Still having trouble finding a trip that fits you perfectly? Design a bespoke itinerary to avoid compromising on your next adventure.