Planning a Bike Trip?

How to choose the cycling vacation that’s right for you.

A bicycle trip lets you explore new places, relax and see things close-up and slowed down. How to choose the right one? It depends on you and what you want.

Guided Tour
This kind of tour offers a planned itinerary, including meals and lodging, along with a guide who will ride with you. Often these trips include a support van to carry luggage and other belongings, including you and your bike if you need a break en route. Guided tour groups generally range from two people to 20[1].
Pros: A knowledgeable guide who speaks the language if you’re cycling in a foreign country, the opportunity to meet new people
Cons: Rigid schedule, less solitude and independence

Self-guided Tour
A self-guided tour provides you with an itinerary, including routes, places to stay and meals, but you won’t have a guide riding with you (though a guide may be at the lodgings if your trip includes a support van). Depending on the tour, you may have to pack your belongings with you on your bike.
Pros: You choose your travel companions, and you have lots of control over the day-to-day biking
Cons: Less support

Self-supported or “Fully Loaded” Tour
This is a tour that you organize on your own, including route, stops, lodging, meals and carrying your belongings.
Pros: Total control over itinerary, lodging, food and pace; you can organize this type of trip to suit you exactly.
Cons: It’s a lot of work to organize

Keep the level of difficulty in mind.
You know yourself best. But if you’re planning to include family or friends, you also need to consider their abilities and limitations[2].
• Hills: Are there a lot of climbs? Are they steep?
• Distance: How many miles will you need to cover per day?
• Altitude: If the location is high-altitude, this will make biking harder, even for experienced cyclists.
• Type of terrain: Is the route designed for tour bikes (smoother, paved roads) or mountain bikes (off-road, dirt and gravel roads)?
• Length: How many days are you considering being on the road?

A bike trip can take you far away from the office and help you reconnect to the outdoors, your companions and yourself. Take some time to think about which type might be best for you, and enjoy the ride!

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