Posted By: Pierre Campana-Jourda | Jun. 3 2015
Those interested in cycling vacations will encounter a myriad of offerings in the marketplace and it’s sometimes difficult to discern amongst the types of cycling holidays offered. Personal preferences will ultimately dictate which cycling tour you choose, though understanding the available options upfront is a must.
Though rarely referred to as “Group Tours”, group cycling tours are the most common kind of cycling vacations offered by many operators and providers. Group bicycling tours typically have a limited number of set dates and lengths. Itineraries are pre-defined with some – but usually limited – flexibility. Lodging, meals, and side excursions are typically included (and pre-selected). While groups can vary in size, 15 to 20 is the “sweet spot”. Assistance and support is ample and includes guides on bikes as well as support vans. Pricepoints can vary based on accommodation choices, though these can be priced on the higher end due to the guides on bikes and in vans that are provided.
Self-guided tours differ significantly from Group Tours in that the level of support and number of elements included is more limited. Self-guided cycling tours often include accommodation bookings, rental bikes, and basic maps. Travelers are able to select their own dates, deviate from a preset itinerary, and travel only with who they want. Service and support can be very limited, with cyclists being on their own for the most part after the trip begins. Accommodations are often of the more basic variety.
Personalized Tours share characteristics in common with both Group Tours and Self-Guided tours. We at LifeCycle Adventures like to think that we offer the best of both worlds. Personalized tours allow you to customize your dates, who you travel with, the length of your trip, where you eat, and your overall itinerary. You have a high level of service available to you through on-call van support, but are free to ride with just your own group. Your luggage is transferred any day that you are changing accommodations, and services such as wine pickup are also available. Itinerary briefings with guides are provided, and support is always a phone call away. Beyond a simple map, you are provided with customized guidebooks that highlight your cycling route options as well as restaurant recommendations and other sights to see along your way. Airport transfers prior to and following your trip are included.