If you love the freedom of two wheels while travelling you’ll definitely want to consider taking a cycling tour. It can be easy to hop on a bike for your next adventure, but before you do that, there are a few things you should consider first:
- Go near
If you’re strapped for time, then you’ll want to start your cycling tour as quickly as possible. You could start from your own doorstep, but otherwise you’ll want to take some transport to another country and start from there. If you haven’t got much time, then cycling in neighbouring countries is definitely something you should consider.
Bringing your bike aboard the Eurostar makes it easy to be in France or Belgium within hours, and doing it this way is a lot easier than putting your bike into the cargo hold of a plane. A holiday spent cycling in France is definitely appealing, with thousands of miles of well-paved roads and cycle routes. There is plenty of scenery and accommodation options in France, making a cycle tour there pleasurable.
- Be prepared
Once you have decided on your destination, make sure all your equipment is in order. The first thing to arrange is your bike itself. Is your bike suitable for a longer trip? Most cycle tourists opt for a specialised frame than can carry the extra weight of luggage that is need for a biking holiday. You’ll need to keep your weight down to a minimum, so invest in some cycling apparel from a specialist sports shop. You also need to consider extras such as wet weather gear, a decent helmet, gloves, and fixed lights for any night riding.
- Plan Well
After you know where you’re going, and how long you’ve got, you’ll need to plan your route so that it is practical. Consider how far you can actually travel in a day with the weight of your equipment. Will the terrain affect your speed? You may wish to plan alternative routes to avoid mountainous areas, unless you want the challenge. Think about lunch stops, but more importantly, where you’ll be stopping overnight. Many cyclists prefer camping because it is in line with the freedoms that bike touring gives them, but otherwise there are plenty of hotels, B&Bs, and guesthouses along popular cycling routes all over Europe. You can download route maps from websites or buy and off-the-shelf guidebook to see where they are.
Otherwise, you could contact a specialist tour operator that can provide route itineraries for you. These companies offer a useful service to cycle tourists, as you can tell them which kind of experience you are after, such as a scenic route or something more physically demanding, and they’ll take care of the rest. They will provide details of a self-guided tour for you to follow, or you can join one of their regularly scheduled group tours. The latter option is particularly popular with solo travellers who are looking to cycle with others.
Step up to success
These three top tips are just the very beginning of your cycling holiday, and as you’ll see some of the most important steps come before you’ve even started. Think about where is best to go first, and if you’re strapped for time, setting off to France or Belgium via the Eurostar isn’t a bad option. Make sure you are prepared to go before you leave. Have all your cycling equipment in order. Lastly, make sure you understand your route, and plan some details such as distance covered, and overnight routes. Alternatively, contact a specialist cycling tour agency who can assist you with preparing a self-guided itinerary.