Seeking suggestions for bike trips (in particular supported tours)
Thanks for all that responded to my previous thread "Can a road biker transition into touring?"
I decided that I do not have enough time to become a full-on "tourer". My plan is to travel overseas, so I do not have time to try out all the gear, plus I would love to maximize my time and not be weighed down by gear. Perhaps when I return to the real world next year, I might explore touring options in the US.
I guess I have two options:
1) Fully supported bike tour
2) Travel around by normal means, but take day trips on rented bicycles in various locales. I can potentially focus on road biking this way. Climbing Haleakala is on my bucket list.
I would commence my trip anywhere from October to January, so the northern hemisphere is almost out of the question. Any suggestions were to go? New scenery is important. Any suggestions of the two options? Should I just suck it up and just tour the normal way? Any recommendations for fully supported tours? So far, all signs point to New Zealand, but I am very open.
I would really love to do the Tour d'afrique: Tour Africa by bicycle - the original expedition from Tour d'Afrique | Tour D'Afrique Ltd. The locale, length and intensity are just perfect. My biggest concern is that they do not provide anything, not even tents! I would have to purchase all new equipment and schlep it around the world. I don't mind getting a bike and shipping it, but I was hoping that perhaps there is some competing tour that is more full service . Going through a tough time right now, I would love for others to handle logistics like tents and let me focus on kicking ass on a bike.
I guess asking about supported tours is a no-no in this forum.
Mad bike riding scientist
I don't think they are a "no-no" but most people here aren't really all that interested in them. We tend to like the DIY type of tour. And we tend to be cheap Supported touring cost a lot of money.
Originally Posted by Tycho Brahe
That said, I did a bike and barge trip with Vermont Bicycles in Belgium this summer. It wasn't exactly my cup of tea but the rides were well planned and the accommodations were excellent. It was expensive, however.
I did like one of the things that VBT did, however. They turned us loose in the Belgium country side to ride at our own pace. There were some other tour groups that we called the "duck" tours. There was a mama duck at the head of the line, a mama duck in the middle and another mama duck bringing up the rear. They rode in packs of 20 to 30 at the pace of the slowest rider. As my wife and I flew past one group, I said to her "that would kill me." She thought it wouldn't do her any good either. Be sure you check on their policy before you book anything. You don't want to be stuck riding at walking speed all day long.
Part of the problem that I have with package tours (this was my second group tour) is that I have to travel at someone else's pace and follow their agenda. If I go on my own, I can pick the route, I can decide if I want to spend an extra day somewhere or if I want to use other forms of transportation. There's more freedom and spontaneity.
I know of supported bike tours in both islands of New Zealand. I will leave it to you to search the web for these.
The company I met in the Sth Island allowed the riders to ride at their own pace and the distance was reasonable for a fit cyclist.
There are also hire companies which will hire bike and panniers so you don't have to buy the gear. The huge advantage of carrying your own gear is you can go where you want and explore lesser traveled roads.
click on the "english" thingee and read away.
Good organization, Ive done the week long supported tour called "Le Grand Tour", but it is an august event only.
Voyages à vélo - Vacances à vélo et cyclotourisme - Vélo Québec Voyages
Their overseas tours happen all over, you'll see.
Dear Tycho Brahe, have you considered Thailand?
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Contact Khun Bob Usher email@example.com for trips that may coincide with your travel plan. Very friendly and cheap supported trips. They will carry your big duffle bag(S?). Highly recommended. First class SAG also available, but extremely expensive. Shoot me a pm if you need further information.
BTW you can buy suitable bike in Bangkok, but I'd recommend that you bring suitable panniers and tent+sleeping bag etc with you. Most trips will have accommodation provided, but it's best to have sleeping equipment if needed. After completing your tour, you can get your bike to be professionally box packed for flying back home at most bike shop.
Last edited by wheelinthai; 09-06-14 at 07:20 PM.
Thanks everyone. It looks like I will not be able to combine my love for biking with my ambition to explore. I do not feeling like carry bike equipment around with me. Even if I were to backpack around, I would still have to carry essential like bike shorts. I am not a weight weenie when it comes to my bike, but I am when it comes to backpacking! Most of the supported rides I have found are extremely expensive and do not seem too challenging.
I am trying to find companies like the type Steve0000 mentioned. Show up in a country, rent/hire everything, enjoy the ride. But it looks like I will become just another middle-aged backpacker.
BTW wheelinthai, I am considering going to Thailand, but have not looked into biking options yet. My cousin (by marriage) is Thai and will be in Thailand over Christmas. I also have a good friend in Singapore, so travel to Asia is so far the most alluring option. But I would also love to go to South America. I have only gone to Argentina. Would love to hike Torres Del Paine and Macchu Pichu and also fly out to Rapa Nui/Easter Island. I am blessed with options and the ability to travel to them. I really should just stay unemployed for a year! One good friend is hiking Kilimanjaro in December, but it does not appeal to me, but I am still considering it.
EDIT: just found this: www.velothailand.com Perhaps I will have a chance to rent/tour after all. Just need to keep digging.
Last edited by Tycho Brahe; 09-07-14 at 12:20 PM.
A little confused on what you are looking for and why you are so concerned about things that should be small issues.
First, I've done TDA and once you get your gear to Cairo, you have support vehicle to carry your stuff all the way to Capetown. It isn't that hard to pack a bike and bring it with you (and when I go cycling for four intense months - I want my own bike to be extra sure everything fits and meets my standards - as well as matches what I've trained on). Also it not that tough to get a tent and bring it with you on the airplane and once you are in Cairo you are with a company that has support vehicles.
If you are looking for something sometimes less intense, look at companies like Spice Roads. I've also done their tours. A bicycle is included as well as what is required for lodging, etc. There are plenty of other companies like that - Spice Roads is one I've ridden with. While I cycled NZ on my own, a google search of "New Zealand bicycle tour" turns up quite a few possibilities.
Seems to me, either you aren't looking hard enough or you being too picky on details that shouldn't matter as much or haven't fully described your requirements... but what you've described so far is out there with an internet search.
I think credit card touring in New Zealand would fit the bill pretty well. towns are close together, there are lots of different kinds of accommodations from hotels to hostels to holiday parks with cabins that don't require cooking, tents and camping, they speak English, it's the right time of year, the scenery is great. Compared to all the other costs and logistics, a rack and panniers to stick on your road bike isn't that big a deal, and you don't even really need to figure out a route in N.Z., just go to the south island and start wandering around.
Get a Tubus fly and Lone Peak panniers from thetouringstore.com - there that's all you need to know.
If you're investing time and money for a memorable vacation, don't put up with just a mediocre bike, but invest in a bike that will let you enjoy the entire trip. Since you're interested in touring with a road bike, at least get a cyclo-cross with 28c road tyre.
Originally Posted by mev
From Nov.30th-Dec.5th, we have a commemorative 800km. road race ride from Bangkok to ChiangMai. It's SAG with shared twin air-onditioned bedroom, and breakfast and supper. Many participants are ex-national racers. The cost should be around US$ 250, very cheap for 5 days of exhilaration, wirh return trip by bus included (boxed bike transported). Of course, you need your own road bike. BTW, we have professional bike fitters in Bangkok. If you go with foreign operated bike tours, they will take your arms and legs.