Total cyclist adventures

CYCLE-19 is epico's promise of keeping you and your money safe. Enjoy flexibility of travel and small group cycling tours. Learn more.

Follow epico

What is a guided tour and what is a self-guided tour?

A guided tour is when someone from the team is physically in the field there with you, showing you the routes. Each guide or tour also provide you with different kinds and levels of support. Need any tips while you’re away? Ask your cycling guide!

Guided Cycling Tours

First, let’s clarify exactly what guiding means and what kinds of guiding there.

One of the most evident and prevalent types is to actually have a guy on the bike who is pedalling with you all the way. It does not mean that you shall see him all the time while you are on the road, but it is the job of the guide to know where you are and that you are on the right track. A guide often manages the group of riders and he expects that riders self-organize a little to follow each other and to follow the instructions.

Another way to guide a rider, or a group of riders, is when the guide is driving a car. The way this style of guiding works will be slightly different as the guide is not there pedalling with you. But the job of the guide remains the same – to ensure you are on the right route, give instructions where needed, and make sure that you are safely back to the hotel. The guide in the car might be able to carry something for you like clothing, food and water.

Self Guided Cycling Tours

Next, let’s talk about out what self-guided tours are and how they work.

A self-guided tour means that there is no guide that is physically present with you on the road. Therefore, it’s your own responsibility to find your way and to support yourself. That does not mean however that you are there alone and clueless! When a tour operator does a self-guided tour, they ensure that every little detail of your journey is planned for and every logistical detail is thought through.

First, you will always have a very clear plan of what happens when and what your route is for each day. Second, you will have detailed instructions about your route supported by a paper map, GPS device, or even both. If a GPS device is given to you, or you need to bring one, it shall be stated in the tour description at the point of booking. Epico ensures that you always have an emergency phone number and a communication line in case you have any questions or need any kind of help while on the route.

Bottom Line

Which to choose? What are the considerations?

Most of the tours we offer are guided tours. Because it’s more fun and it’s easier for you. Guides are riders just like you but they are very good at what they do. They not only show you the way but also will share with you their local knowledge, tell you stories and support you with a word when you struggle on a long climb. Many guides are either ex-professional cyclists or amateur cyclists of a high level. So you might benefit from their coaching expertise as well.

Self-guided tours on the other hand are good for people who like to go fully at their own pace and to take their time and effort to follow the given route. You’ll have to know where you are going, even if GPS devices made this so much easier. We advise that you have certain cycling experience before you go on the self-guided tour. That said, this does not mean that going self-guided is complicated, but you are expected to be a little more self-sufficient and for example, in most cases, you shall be able to fix a flat! Another reason for going self-guided is that most of the time such tours cost less and can save you some money.

Still undecided? Ask epico!