What is a self-guided bike tour?
Self-guided cycling tours provide you with more flexibility and independence than a guided cycling tour may provide. Due to this, self-guided individual bike tours are becoming increasingly popular. They are less expensive than guided bicycle tours but they can provide the same level of support and convenience just with the freedom to explore on your own time without worrying about the logistics.
It may be a good idea to consider your level of comfort with navigating a different culture and foreign language, reading maps and signs, ordering food, and dealing with flat tyres or other minor emergencies on your own. Some travellers dislike doing these things for themselves, while others find them to be the best part of an adventure.
What level of support is provided?
The term “self-guided” does not imply that you are completely on your own all the time. While you’ll have more freedom to ride at your own pace and take breaks whenever you want, the tour operator will still handle the logistics.
Hotel reservations and luggage transfers between hotels are included and because you frequently follow the same routes as guided tours, the accommodations are usually the same.
The majority of tour operators offer a comprehensive information package that includes a marked route, a detailed route description, and tips on sights, cultural highlights, scenic stops, and recommended restaurants. While the materials are adequate and improved frequently, we recommend that you supplement them with your own destination research and guidebooks in advance. This will just give you the extra edge.
In the event of an emergency or a mechanical problem, a hotline is provided for you to contact and be supported by the operator. All operators are very clued up with the areas their tours operate in so they will always be able to support you with just about every issue you may come across.
What is riding on a self guided cycle tour like?
Because some self-guided tours require a minimum of two travellers — or even one — you should not expect to ride with a group. Group camaraderie is part of what makes travelling enjoyable for some people. If you are one of these people, a guided bike tour may be a better option for you or round up some friends to join you on the adventure.
What’s included on self-guided bike tour?
- Transfer of luggage from hotel to hotel
- Tour description, travel materials, and a map and GPX of the route.
- Route planning in great detail
- Emergency phone number
What to expect on a self-guided cycling tour?
There is no accompanying support van on self-guided bike tours, unlike on our guided bike tours (unless otherwise noted).
This means that it is your responsibility to get to the next hotel each day, even if the weather is bad or you don’t feel like riding. However, if you get into trouble our team is here to support you. Whether by sending a van or advising you on public transportation options such as trains, boats, or buses we will not leave you stranded anywhere at anytime.
In the unlikely event that your bicycle has a mechanical issue, you will also be expected to repair your own bike and replace necessary parts. If you are in a sticky situation, give us a call and we will support you however we can. You may be directed to take public transportation or a taxi to the next town, where there may be a bicycle repair shop that can fix the problem and get you rolling again.
Accommodation during your self-guided bike tour
Lodging is typically in 2 and 3-star hotels unless stated otherwise. Each accommodation is carefully chosen for their location, intimate atmospheres and reflections of the region’s history and culture (rather than larger chain hotels). All the chosen accommodations are equipped and prepared for cyclists so you, your bike and your equipment will be accommodated. With the exception of certain ships and barges, all rooms have private facilities.
Breakfast is included on almost all tours (except where otherwise noted), and dinner plans are frequently available at a surcharge at the hotel or you may dine out at one of the many nearby restaurants in the town. Each tour will clearly state what the meal situation is so you won’t be left hungry and in the unknown.
Bike and equipment rentals
It’s not always easy travelling with a bike but fear not, we have bikes available for rent on all our tours. Rental bikes are generally of a high quality and are geared to suit all riders and the terrain you may face. If you’re wanting to record your ride and watch your numbers, you may want to bring your bike computer with you. However, some tour companies now provide handlebar-mounted GPS units. Please see the tour information on our cycle tour pages for available bikes and equipment. Due to hygiene and safety/ fit concerns, most operators do not rent helmets. Please remember to bring your own with you.
The majority of tours begin in the afternoon or evening on arrival at your first hotel. The actual cycling starts the following morning but you are more than welcome to go on a short ride when you arrive. Start cities are usually easily accessible by air or rail.
You may want to arrive in the departure city a day earlier depending on when your international flight arrives. You’ll feel more at ease and you’ll have the opportunity to explore the city on your own. An extra nights accommodation is available by arrangement if this is something you would like.
At the end of the tour, a final night’s lodging is usually included before being transported to the station or airport the following day. You arrive at the final nights stay, by bike, the day before, have a relaxing evening and then depart after breakfast the next morning.
You can always extend your trip by staying an extra night in the end city to explore the area for a little longer than the tour dates allow.
Is a guided cycling tour right for you?
Realising what you DON’T want can sometimes help you figure out what you DO want. Check out these blog posts to see which type of touring is best for you. If you have any questions our team of expert cyclists are here to help.