Bicycle touring is self-contained cycling trips that one embarks upon for pleasure, adventure or autonomy rather than commuting or sports.
The duration of such trips can vary from a single day to multiple days and/or in some cases years. Such tours can be organisation planned, individually planned for either business, pleasure or charity raising purposes.
The Distances for cycling tours may vary considerably. Depending on fitness level, speed and the number of stops one decide to take, the rider usually covers between 50–150 kilometres in a day. A short tour over a few days covers almost around 200 kilometres and a long tour can be done across a country or even around the world.
Cycle touring can be done in various ways and Spoke Herd is here to guide you and help you decide what type of bike tour is best suited for you. The main categories of bike tours are as follows:
Being out on the road like a free bird, with your own gear, food, and overpowered by a sense of adventure is the feeling many aspire achieve. The freedom of being able to ride anywhere and anytime without depending on others is the best way to discover a new landscape or learn to further appreciate the roads at home. Some cyclists minimize their load, carrying only basic supplies, food, and a shelter or lightweight tent.
Self-supported touring makes you in charge of your entire experience, you are responsible for every aspect of your ride from travel, accommodations, food, water and air in your tires. You won’t have to be reliable on anyone’s assistance throughout your entire trip. Good planning skills are a must in such trips You have to guarantee the safe procurement of your accommodation, and your food well in advance. You also need to have a working understanding of bicycle mechanics.
Being self-supported in a foreign land is not for the faint of heart, but it will provide an experience not found anywhere else.
A guided tours are like vacationing at an all-inclusive resort a where almost all your needs are already taken care of. Guided tours are offered through tour operators who have pre-set routes and use full-time guides to lead you through the rides.
Guided tours are usually groups of 10-20 people, including individuals and smaller groups of riders. Guided tours often have full-time support vehicles that carry your belongings/luggage, food and first-aid. These companies sell places on guided tours, including booked lodging, luggage transfers, route planning and often meals and rental bikes.
These tours may include bike rentals in their packages. Some riders like to bring their own bicycles and equipment. These tours also supply a comprehensive info advising what to bring on the tour and how to prepare.
A support vehicle is an option for anyone needing a respite, whether it’s a mid-ride recoup, to a full day off to the next stop.
Guided tours also provide maps of the route that also note sightseeing activities, cultural highlights, and scenic stops along the route to help riders get the most out of their experience.
Guided tours are perfect for those who have never done a cycle tour before, those who like meeting new people, and those who just want to take the planning out of the trip.
Self-guided tours share similarities with guided tours in that the route, meals, and accommodations are usually taken care of for you, but the riding is done without a guide and not necessarily with a support vehicle.
These tours take place in smaller groups where the riders have the liberty to ride at their own pace and enjoy.
If you want a more authentic cycling experience, self-guided tours may be the way to go as you get more control over your entire trip, but without having to plan each and every single detail. If you’re looking for a more genuine, but less expensive experience, go for a self-guided tour.
Lightweight touring is also called credit card touring and given the name it is clear that the rider needs to carry minimum equipment for his ride along with his/her credit card or cash. Accommodation for such tours is usually in youth hostel, hostels or B&Bs. The Food supply is taken care at the moment in itself, bought at cafes, restaurants or markets. There’s also Ultralight touring, the only difference is that the is self-sufficient but carries only the bare essentials and no frills.
These tours vary highly in their size of the group, length, purpose, and methods of support. They may involve solo cyclists, group rides, or large organized rides with hundreds to thousands of riders. Their length can range from a few miles to 160 km or even longer. Their purpose can range from riding for pleasure or fitness, to raising money for a charitable organization. Methods of support can include self-supported day rides, rides supported by friends or small groups, and organized rides where cyclists pay for support and accommodation provided by event organizers.
Cyclists travel extensively, often through country roads or remote areas. The rider needs to be well prepared and needs to be loaded with food, spares, tools, and camping equipment so as to avoid any surprises in the way. The traveler is largely self-supported.
So, if cycle touring is something you’re interested in, take the time to research your ride and be clear on what kind of tour you’re after. There is no better way to explore a new landscape than from the seat of your bicycle.