One of the best ways to discover a destination is by bike. Bike tours allow tourists to get up close to a destination. Riders can feel the destination around them without being separated by a piece of glass and can hear the sounds of the destination without a radio playing in the background. While riding a bike, you will notice things that you would likely never see while whizzing by in a vehicle. A bike tour is a perfect antidote for our fast-paced world. It allows travelers to literally choose the path less traveled.
Bike tours are not just for athletes. Many bike tours are geared towards leisure bicyclists. Even families with older children can do many of these trips.
There are many types of bike tours from day tours to guided bike tours. Whether you are looking for more of a nature tour or a cultural tour, there are many options to discover. Here you will find a guide explaining a little bit about each one and where to go for more information.
Guided Bike Tours
This is the ultimate bike tour. Not only has a tour company planned out the route, the accommodation, and the activities along the way, but the tour company also handles the bikes throughout the journey. These tours do not expect you to ride the entire trip, and you will travel in vehicles customized to hold the bikes along the long stretches and will have your bike ready when it is time to ride.
What is really nice about these tours is that there are different routes for different fitness and experience levels, so there is no pressure to keep up with a group. The other benefit of this, and other types of tours, is the comradery that develops. In this day and age of social media, these are friendships that can likely last over distances.
There really is nothing to worry about on a guided bike tour because it is all-inclusive. You just show up and ride. There are many tour companies that only deal with these types of active tours, so it is best to stick with an expert. Some of these active companies even combine activities with unique twists like Bike & Yoga tours. There really are so many options out there.
Self Guided Bike Tours
There are many resources available to those looking to take a self-guided bike tour, but these bike tours take much more planning and effort. Not only do you have to plan your route and your accommodations ahead of time, but you have to pack all the gear you will need each day and carry with you. You will also be making a lot of round trips back to your vehicle and messing with getting your bike hooked up each leg of your journey. Unless, of course, you only plan to bike along your route, in which case, you will need to bring your belongings each day. Either way, this option is much more complicated.
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Day Trip Bike Tours
If spending your entire trip on a bike seems like a bit much, do not worry! You can still have the experience without the full commitment. In many tourist destinations, there are tours that can be set up for the day to give you a bike tour of a worthy area.
For example, you or your travel advisor can arrange for a tour company to pick you up at your hotel in Santiago, take you out to the Maipo valley, set you up on your bike, then take you from winery to winery. You are able to cover more ground than a walking tour, yet you still get the true feeling of being among the wines.
City Bike Tours
Another popular option is to see a city by bike. While you do have to deal with traffic, you are getting more of an up-close look at a city. What is really nice about this option is that the guide gives you a more personal look at their city. You’ll learn so much more than you could learn on your own.
Electric bikes are a popular option for bike tours these days since they require less exertion than normal bikes, especially in hilly destinations. Many cities also offer electric bikes at charging stations for use by tourists for self-guided tours.
Visit Bike Friendly Destinations
There are some destinations where riding bikes is expected. The infrastructure exists for you to park your car when you arrive and not get back in your car until you leave. Hilton Head is one such place. The entire island is covered in bike paths which allows tourists to get up close and personal with the natural beauty of this coastal destination.
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Another example of a bike-friendly destination is Amsterdam where it is estimated that there are more bikes than people! This is the perfect city to discover by bike since the whole city is designed for bicycles.
Bike Tours on River Cruises
River cruises have a reputation of being for old people, but that perception is rapidly changing. River cruises take tourists to the heart of a new city each day while not having to unpack and change hotels. Many river cruises are floating hotels with impeccable service. Most river cruises are all-inclusive, even offering bikes for passengers to take at each destination and discover a town at his or her own pace.
Beyond the bikes available on each river cruise ship, there are many active tour companies who have chartered river cruises for a hybrid of active travel and river cruising which really is a perfect combination. Instead of a vehicle loading many bikes each day and driving from point to point along with all of the group’s baggage, the groups return to the ship each evening to all of their belongings to freshen up and be pampered by the ship’s staff.
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No matter what type of traveler you are and what type of fitness level you are at, you can find a bike tour that will work for you. These bikes tours have so much to offer, most importantly an up-close look a the authentic parts of a destination. When planning your next vacation, consider a bike tour to enhance your trip!
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