Would We Enjoy a Bike Tour Vacation?

Mar 22 - 2013

We commonly get asked the question do you think we would enjoy a bike tour vacation?  First let me sate a bias: we own a bike tour company.  That said, I’ll try and offer some objective advice.

DO consider taking a bike tour vacation if:

  • You are moderately fit and enjoy exercise but don’t worry, if you’re a little out of shape; you can have a great bike tour riding as little as 20 miles per day.  That’s as little as 4 sessions of 30 minutes at a nice sedate 10 mph and I’m pretty sure you’ll be in better shape at the end of the trip than at the beginning.   Of course, you can also find biking vacations with back-to-back century rides!
  • You value quality above quantity.  On a bike tour you might not get to see every tourist site in a state or country but you will feel a connectedness with the geography & the people that is not possible in a car or a coach.  The journey is the vacation not something to be tolerated between sites.
  • You like the wind in your hair (though maybe not literally as we recommend you wear a helmet and I’m somewhat follicly challenged).  On a cycling vacation you feel the warmth of sun, you smell the flowers and may even get a little rain on your face.  In short, you’re in nature, not just watching it.
  • You like being able to eat well – guilt free!  If you’ve ridden to your destination, you can easily justify the four-course meal, the burger and fries and the celebration ice cream.
  • You like being asked the question, “Really, you rode here?”  Whether you’re cycling up to a winery, stopping  at a roadside fruit stand or pulling in to a B&B, you’ll get kudos and respect if you’ve done it on two wheels.
  • You would like to recapture some of the feelings of being a child.  I remember a carefree, visceral freedom when riding my bike as a kid.  It still makes me smile.  I get the closest to that feeling now when I’m on a cycling vacation.
  • You like the idea of non-polluting modes of transport.

DON’T consider a bicycle tour vacation if:

  • You want to visit 10 states in 10 days.  Though I have done bike tours covering three countries in a single day.  (If you are interested, the countries were Italy, Slovenia and Croatia and I didn’t need to ride that far to do it.)  But the norm is more like one or two counties in a day.
  • Your idea of a vigorous workout is 30 minutes of Angry Birds on your iPhone.  You don’t have to be in great shape, but we don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable.  It helps to be at least aspirationally fit to enjoy a cycling vacation.  I’d say that the fitter you are the more options are available.
  • You can’t tell your left from your right.  Actually, this is no barrier as long as you are joined on your bicycle vacation by someone who can tell their left from their right and that they have the directions!
  • You don’t like bikes.  Well that’s just sad!

The simple summary is: If you think you might enjoy a bicycle vacation, you probably will.  Just make sure you choose the right style.  Are you the DYI type or do you like to be pampered.  Do you want to travel in a group or are you more independent.  There are bike tours to fit almost all budgets and desires; from family bike tours to stages of the Tour de France.  In fact, the second most commonly asked question we’re asked is, “What style of vacation bike tour is right for us?”  But that’s a whole other blog post: see What style of bike tour vacation is right for me?.