BIKING TOUR TIPS & TRICKS

Bicycle Store

Going on a Biking Tour is an amazing experience.  However, if you've never been on one, it goes without saying that you'll have questions about what to bring, what to wear and what it will really be like on the tour.  We've collected our best tips and tricks for you below.

What Will it Really Be Like on the Tour? 

  • Biking tours are delightful, easy going sightseeing.  You can pedal at your own pace.  If that pace is the same as everyone else in the group - great!  If you'd like to go faster or slower than the group, that's not a problem either.  It's about seeing your destination in a way that's perfect for you. 

  • Some days your cycling distance will be longer than others, so you'll want to know the distances you'll be pedaling each day ahead of time.  This will help you do some training for the tour at home before you go.  (See Training For a Bike Tour for more information.)

  • Most tours will have a morning meeting before you start out each day to discuss the route you will take.  In addition, you will most likely be given a paper map and access to GPS guidance to the day's final destination in case you want to travel at a different pace than the rest of the group.

  • Typical tour days break up the cycling throughout the day.  For example, you might cycle for a while in the morning and then stop to see something of interest or get a coffee in a small village you're cycling through.  A bit more cycling after that, and it's time to experience the local food scene at lunch. After lunch, there's more cycling and stopping along the way to your final destination for the day.  You typically reach your hotel for the evening in the late afternoon.

  • If you get tired along the way or the weather isn't cooperating, there is always the option of stopping early for the day and hopping in the support van for a relaxing ride to the evening's hotel.  This support van also carries spare tires, bikes, bike seats, etc to make sure you are taken care of should anything happen with your bike during your cycle.  In addition, most bike tours have guides that ride along with you to provide a lot of added security and ability to relax along the way.

  • Sometimes your selected bike tour has 'loop' tour days.  This means you'll be staying overnight for 2 nights in one location along the ride.  The 'loop' tour days allow you take a loop ride in the area and then arrive back where you started OR take the day off from riding if you'd like to simply enjoy the hotel and surrounding town.

  • Bike tours could also include wine tasting, cooking experiences, UNESCO/historic site visits, participating in local celebrations, concerts, and so much more along your biking route.

What to Bring

  • A Camera - One of the greatest things about a bike tour is all the opportunities for fantastic photos.  You can stop whenever you want to take pictures and enjoy your surroundings.​  If you want a photographer's control over your photos, our recommendation is to bring a small DSLR camera (click here for a great overview of tiny DSLR cameras for travel) or, if not, simply use your smart phone camera. This way you're not lugging a large, heavy camera around with you as you ride.  Trust us - we've tried this method, and it is a difficult. That said, there's no rule saying you can't bring your big camera if you like.

  • Water Bottle - Assuming the water is potable where you're riding, bring your own water bottle with you.  Typically, there are places to stop along your route to refill the bottle throughout the day.  This is especially important if you are biking in hot climates.  The tour will most likely provide bottled water as well, but it's always good to be prepared.

  • Bike Helmet - It is our recommendation that you bring your own bike helmet with you on the tour.  This will ensure that the helmet fits you and honestly, do you really want to put someone else's bike helmet on your head? Depending on where you are touring, the locals will be very diligent about wearing a helmet or no one will wear them at all.  We highly recommend you wear one anytime you are on a bike.

  • Butt Butter - The actual name is Chamois Butt'r, but Butt Butter rolls off the tongue a little easier doesn't it?  This is a great item for both men and women, but it is a definite lifesaver for our female clients.  You can find it in any bike shop or online here.  We recommend the single-packet type of travel packaging shown in the link as opposed to the tube.  It's just a lot simpler and cleaner to use the singles and then throw away the empty packet.  However, it's all the same anti-chafe cream regardless of it's packaging, so just get whatever is comfortable for you.

  • Light Raincoat/Wind Breaker - Just like any other travel, it's a great idea to bring a light rain jacket that doubles as a wind breaker in case of rain or if it gets cool and windy.  Don't worry about bringing your heavy raincoat (like foul weather gear).  If it's raining that hard, you're going to be soaked regardless of what you're wearing or you're going to hitch a ride in the support van.

  • Extra Socks - If you are riding in a warm/hot climate, you may want to bring a few extra pairs of socks.  You don't really want your feet to be wet all during your cycle if you can help it. It's not the end of the world if they are, it's just nice sometimes if you have some dry ones to put on after lunch.

What to Wear

  • Biking Shorts/Pants - Biking shorts (or pants if you're riding in a cold climate) are a definite must for biking tours.  They provide padding for your tush, and that makes the ride so much nicer, but they are also moisture wicking and give support to your upper legs while riding.  IMPORTANT: You definitely want to spend the little extra money on biking shorts that have an anti-microbial chamois (the cushy part of the shorts).  We'll let you figure out why you want that without further explanation, but trust us - you want that.

  • Breathable Shirt - You don't have to wear a biking jersey on a tour.  We've done some with just a regular t-shirt and been just fine.  However, biking jerseys are designed for biking in mind.  They are breathable, moisture wicking, and they have these great pockets on your low back where you can store your phone, camera, wallet, etc.  The pocket makes for easy access as you're biking along.

  • Comfortable Shoes - If you have biking shoes, you can certainly bring them, especially if you are riding a Level 3 or 4 bike tour.  If you do bring your biking shoes, you should also bring your clip pedals as most tours don't provide them.  If you are riding a Level 1 or 2 bike tour, bike shoes are fine, but certainly not required.  Tennis shoes are best or closed toed walking sandals also work well in warmer climates.  These types of shoes are great because when you get off the bike to look around, you are not having to walk in your bike shoes.  Much more comfortable.

Happy pedaling!

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