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Organized bike tour vacations

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Organized bike tour vacations

Old 10-01-21, 02:49 PM
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Reading over these posts, I am amazed at how expensive bike tours are. Iíve been on one Backroads through Death Valley and it was great but thatís probably their cheapest trip. We got our catalogue from MtSobek in the mail today and itís only hiking. My different family members have been on a couple of their trips and enjoyed them. My point is that Backroads is reported at about $1000 per day but Sobek is around half that. Are bikes really that much more expensive? Kind of sad.
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Old 10-02-21, 06:49 AM
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For one thing, lodging rates have gone up a lot in many areas of the US recently. If youíre willing to do a supported trip with camping you can do it for less.
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Old 10-02-21, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by johnnyace
Ride with Andy Hampsten in Italy! They do a number of different tours of varying difficulty, some a mix of cooking and cycling.

https://www.cinghiale.com/

This is a memorable tour, then Cooking and Cycling one specifically. Wife and I did this. She is a casual rider and was focused on the cooking classes. Andy and Elaine are superb hosts and the riding is great. Worth a look.
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Old 10-02-21, 05:27 PM
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Group tours are twice as expensive for a single individual and 3-4 times the cost for a couple. The advantage is that they do the route finding and provide a sag wagon with a "mechanics" with bike tools and food and extra water. They also take your luggage from one hotel to the next.

The downside besides the cost is that if one person in the group arrives sick then they pass their bug to everyone else. My last three trips with groups had an individual who came despite being sick and they infected me and I would spend a day in bed and miss part of the trip and feel miserable as well. Another aspect is that if there are 8 or more riders and a couple of people with the sag wagon then the trip organizer needs to find restaurants and hotels that can accommodate that many people which eliminates more than 80% of the places where we prefer to stay, as with small B&B's.

I know a couple that make use of two folding bikes and they fly with them to their destination country and can take them by taxi or bus to the town where they will stay. If going to another town they use the bus, or in Europe the trains, and the folding bikes make it easy to carry on board.

It also depends on how you like to travel. I am happy with a hot shower and a firm bed and can afford to eat at restaurants on a trip and so my "luggage" fits easily into a pair of panniers. I can leave the sleeping bag and ground cloth and cook stove and other items had home.
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Old 10-03-21, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
Group tours are twice as expensive for a single individual and 3-4 times the cost for a couple. The advantage is that they do the route finding and provide a sag wagon with a "mechanics" with bike tools and food and extra water. They also take your luggage from one hotel to the next.

The downside besides the cost is that if one person in the group arrives sick then they pass their bug to everyone else. My last three trips with groups had an individual who came despite being sick and they infected me and I would spend a day in bed and miss part of the trip and feel miserable as well.
One example of this is Cycle Oregon several years ago. Maybe 10 by now. Someone brought a noro virus to the ride of some 2,000 people. I was not there that year, but I read about it on the rideís forum. With everyone touching the same things, it spread fast. Hundreds of people got sick. Some were unable to make it to porta potties and puked on the ground outside their tents. Sounded like hell.
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Old 10-03-21, 09:14 PM
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My wife and I have used Backroads and VBT. Both were okay. The main benefit they provide, in my view, is just taking you and your luggage from point A to point B.
The couple of times we did solo trips, transportation was a little tricky, but the entire trip was way more enjoyable and way less expensive.
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Old 10-04-21, 05:13 AM
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Funny!

Originally Posted by johnnyace
Ride with Andy Hampsten in Italy! They do a number of different tours of varying difficulty, some a mix of cooking and cycling.
We are currently in Italy, and we were in the Bolgheri area where one of the cooking and biking Tours are. As we were driving around we actually saw a bike tour group. I wonder if it was one of Andyís groups. The dates implied that it couldíve been. Thanks for the information Iíll look into some of his other destinations
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Old 10-04-21, 05:25 AM
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Agreed...

Originally Posted by indyfabz
I have never done a self-guided trip, but I have done many miles of self-contained touring both in a small group (13 people), with one other person, and solo and have done some group supported tours. I think what you bring up is spot on. When in groups, most people tend to confine much of their interactions within the group. Also, a group is usually seen by others as more self-sufficient. I have had much more interaction with locals while touring solo or with my ex-GF. Sometimes it's been the "sympathy factor." People see you alone and they want to help you. At one campground in CT, after I had finished the small group x-country tour and was riding home solo, a woman gave me a half a pie she had baked. In 2017, while chatting with my campground host at Glacier National Park, his wife came out of their RV and gave me some cookies fresh from the oven. Things like that usually don't happen when you are on a group trip.

Another instance that comes to mind was when I was touring solo out west. I was outside a store in WY when members of a Backroads cycling trip started pulling up. They had ridden down a long pass that I was preparing to ride up. I politely tried to get some intel out of them about what I would encounter, but they were far more interested in confining their interactions to themselves. I finally gave up. It was really a change for me since people who tour solo or with one or two other people are usually quite eager to share with, and learn from, others they meet on the road.
we are currently in Italy on vacation. It is a frequent discussion. It is impossible to strike up a conversation with someone on a group tour, but there are few US solo travelers here now. We love the independent travel, but LOVE befriending other travelers and hitting it off. I have told my husband we need the equivalent of match dot com for independent travelers. Our discussion was that the Ireland tour looked perfect, but we would do that 7 days and then do 2 weeks on our own to make a better mix of group tour + independent travel.
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Old 10-04-21, 05:09 PM
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I always forget that the big logistical challenge of bike touring is the luggage. Of course you can carry it all on your bikes but that would certainly take the fun out of the riding.

On my last few European trips, with my wife, my whole family or on business, I've always enjoyed the cycling in whatever city or town we were in rather than try to make it a bike tour. I know that's not the same but it is still a lot of fun and avoids the issues of transport. I did a Scandinavia trip with the 3 grown kids and it was a blast. My wife, son and I started in Amsterdam because that's where we could fly to on benefits, spent 2 days there on bikes of course as the whole city rides, then flew up to Copenhagen and met my daughters there. Of course in Copenhagen we also biked everywhere, sometimes all together and sometimes the kids took off by themselves. I even loaded my backpack with laundry and with only the Danish word vaskeri went looking for one on my rented bike. I got lucky and actually found one. On the way back to the AirBnB I found myself riding faster than the normal Dane speed and getting looks, but that's how I ride at home. Our next stop was Oslo, where we were only staying one day and then on to Balestrand where I rented a bike while everyone else (my son had to go home for work) kayaked in the fjord. I biked around the fjords and had a blast and it was absolutely gorgeous. My favorite pic:
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Old 10-05-21, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by zacster
Of course you can carry it all on your bikes but that would certainly take the fun out of the riding.
Sez you, not me. Recently got back from two-weeks on the road. St. Albans City, VT to Philadelphia. 590 route miles. 650 total miles. (I did a lot of riding in and around Burlington, VT during a no-move day.) Had a lot of fun.

Big tree at my former high school in Deerfield, MA.


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Old 10-06-21, 09:35 AM
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I've considered doing a bikepacking ride in the US too, but I've always thought that in Europe I'd rather not be encumbered. In the end though I've never done either, only my day rides. We just rent bikes wherever we go, or use the bikeshare.

It sounds like a great trip from Vermont down to just north of NYC, but riding in New Jersey? No thanks. I'll be up in the Berkshires this weekend, maybe I'll take my bike.
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Old 10-06-21, 11:22 AM
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There is also the aspect of how the locals view people touring on bicycles. In England there is a long tradition of cyclists and walkers going from one hostel or inn to the next and so no issues. In the USA cyclists are often viewed as abnormal people who cannot afford a car or RV and often treated poorly by motorists and hotel personnel. A lot depends on the local "culture" which changes from place to place and time to time. At least with a group it seems more official and less as aberrant behavior by motorists.
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Old 10-06-21, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
There is also the aspect of how the locals view people touring on bicycles. In England there is a long tradition of cyclists and walkers going from one hostel or inn to the next and so no issues. In the USA cyclists are often viewed as abnormal people who cannot afford a car or RV and often treated poorly by motorists and hotel personnel. A lot depends on the local "culture" which changes from place to place and time to time. At least with a group it seems more official and less as aberrant behavior by motorists.
Nobody ever questions my Amex or Chase card. Money talks.
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Old 10-06-21, 09:34 PM
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FWIW a couple of friends were planning a cross US bike camp tour starting in LA, up the coast then across the
northern tier. This was to be in March '21. They did a proof of concept with the bikes and gear from Birmingham to
the panhandle and back. Disaster: none of the campgrounds wanted cycle campers, or charged exorbitant
rates. Reason turned out to be fear of long term homeless stays, figuring cyclists more likely to be such.

FWIW #2 EVERY state to my knowledge has 1 or more in state bicycle tour, typically sponsored by some level
of government and generally very reasonably priced. A google on 'cross state bicycle tour in [state]' should
pop them up. These can be camping only, catered camping, or motelling each night. Almost always sagged
and typically under 60miles (max)/day with lesser options not unusual.

FWIW#3 Many foreign tours offer bike rentals and E-bikes are now extremely common in Europe. For generally
less than or considerably less than the cost of flying your own bike over and back and not worrying about lugging
the box around and storing for the tour this would be a great option (if you are up for $10-15K for the tour and
flights which are not included in tour price). Another option many do are combined river boat/bike tour where you
stay and eat on the boat and get off each am and meet the boat somewhere up or down river later in the day.
There are a lot of these and you always have the option of staying on the boat for the day instead of bike riding.

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Old 10-07-21, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by zacster
I've considered doing a bikepacking ride in the US too, but I've always thought that in Europe I'd rather not be encumbered. In the end though I've never done either, only my day rides. We just rent bikes wherever we go, or use the bikeshare.

It sounds like a great trip from Vermont down to just north of NYC, but riding in New Jersey? No thanks. I'll be up in the Berkshires this weekend, maybe I'll take my bike.
The mileage in NJ is some of the nicest. My route included the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Worthington State Forest. Saw a bear cub when I rode through there in 2018. Almost no traffic along that stretch. Most of the other NJ mileage is traffic lite. Even US 46 from Columbia to Belvedere was not that busy, and there is a wide shoulder. Belvedere south was virtually devoid of traffic until just outside of Philipsburg. Frenchtown to Stockton on NJ 29 is a very popular cycling route. (Or you can take the D&R trail, which I did from Stockton to Lambertville.) A lot of places in NJ are nothing like the northeast part of the state.

While the trail mileage in NY was terrific, the road mileage was probably the worst. Too many unnecessary close passes.








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Old 10-07-21, 05:58 AM
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Perhaps something like BubbaFest? Bubba supports a lot of rides, but I think the BubbaFest is specifically one that has low mileage.
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Old 10-07-21, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by TaraMom22

So, any suggestions?
https://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/

Some are inn to inn and ebike friendly, but you will have to bring your own bikes. Nowhere close to $1,000/day.
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Old 10-07-21, 08:14 AM
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That looks like a nice part of New Jersey. I see you've also done the Jersey City to Newark ride. Now THAT's a tough ride, more like the Jersey I know.
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Old 10-07-21, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by zacster
That looks like a nice part of New Jersey. I see you've also done the Jersey City to Newark ride. Now THAT's a tough ride, more like the Jersey I know.
Iíve never ridden into Newark proper. Iíve done New Hope, PA to Brooklyn. Went through the port and into Jersey City then up to Hoboken to catch the ferry to Manhattan. Part of the port is technically in Newark, but the ride has always been the Sunday before Labor Day, when the port is basically shut down. Itís actually a cool ride. During a regular weekday it would be suicide by truck. Iíve been there for work. Donít even like to drive through it.
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Old 06-10-22, 11:26 PM
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Huge THANK YOU to tigat

I just wanted to report back that my husband and I are booked with Cycle Holiday Ireland to do their 7 day trip in western Ireland from August 20-27. The trip and all the logistics sound perfect! We are both so excited for this trip, and we would nave never found Cycle Holiday Ireland without tigat's suggestion. We will report back when we get home in mid September after spending 3.5 weeks exploring the rest of Ireland by car. Be prepared for me to ask how to find another trip as perfect in another country
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Old 06-11-22, 12:02 PM
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Good idea to check that your current medical insurance can be used in a foreign country.

The Allianze Executive Plan is a good one for people who plan multiple trips during a calendar year. One caveat is that travel insurance policies do not apply to an epidemic and related costs. We lost $10,000 in pre-paid amounts for a trip to Ecuador when the country shut down with Covid.
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Old 06-11-22, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by TaraMom22
I just wanted to report back that my husband and I are booked with Cycle Holiday Ireland to do their 7 day trip in western Ireland from August 20-27. The trip and all the logistics sound perfect! We are both so excited for this trip, and we would nave never found Cycle Holiday Ireland without tigat's suggestion. We will report back when we get home in mid September after spending 3.5 weeks exploring the rest of Ireland by car. Be prepared for me to ask how to find another trip as perfect in another country
That looks like a fun itinerary. For your additional time it is worth a visit to the Gaeltacht on the Dingle Peninsula. While Dingle itself is a fun and very Irish town, the smaller Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) communities to the north and west are treasures. I lived for more than a year in this area and all my travels were by bike. At the time it was Uist transportation, but in retrospect cycling there is as good as anywhere I have been. And, the culture of this particular area is truly Irish and the traditional music in the pubs and elsewhere is unmatched. PM me if you want details .......
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Old 10-15-22, 12:49 PM
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It was AMAZING!!!

I just had to come back and share what an amazing time we had on our bike tour with cycleholidaysire.land
It couldn't have been better. John, the owner, is the nicest guy and the best guide. Almost everyone on the tour was there because of word of mouth. In fact, 2 groups had repeat guests, and they brought friends and family along who had heard them rave about how fantastic the tour was.
We did 6 days of riding, each day better than the last. My husband is a serious rider, and John would make sure to encourage him to add a loop, or turn off to add distance to his ride. On the other hand, I am not a serious rider. I was one of the people that used an e-bike. About half the group (there were 20 of us) used an e-bike. Some have e-bikes at home, but many were trying an e-bike for the first time. Even those who didn't rent an e-bike ended up trying an e-bike for a day or two and were converts. I had never ridden more than 30 miles, but with the fun routes, breaks at pubs for lunch, and brakes for sightseeing, and the ebikes, I ended up riding about 40 miles many days.
I will come back and post a few pictures, but feel free to ask me questions.

We loved it so much, we plan to do another ride in 2024. And we will stay in touch with the other people on our tour since they were such a great source of knowledge of other rides we should try.
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Old 10-15-22, 01:17 PM
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My wife and I have used Mac's Adventures to book self-guided hikes and bike tours outside the U.S. It's a good company. They arrange lodging, provide bicycles, and provide you with maps and other details. You guide yourself. They support you along the way if you need support. A few years ago we were cycling through Austria on our way to Budapest. The weather was lousy with strong headwinds. When we arrived in Vienna we called Mac's to see about changing to ebikes. No problem. The next day two ebikes were delivered to our hotel. We wound up shortening the trip by three days because of continued bad weather. They contacted us to make sure we were OK when we did not show up at our booked hotel. They booked good accomodations for us for the entire trip. Very reasonable costs. Check them out online.
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Old 10-15-22, 01:20 PM
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Check out Trek Travel at https://trektravel.com/ and Backroads Active Travel at backroads.com.
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