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Bike tour recommendations.

Old 01-10-12, 03:02 PM
  #1  
radshark
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Bike tour recommendations.

I'm contemplating a one/two week supported US road trip this spring. There doesn't seem to be a shortage of bike tour companies to choose from - but I'm generally surprised at the cost. At least the ones I've looked at so far. Some that are several hundred dollars per day.

What is a reasonable amount to pay (per day) for a fully supported (overnights in an inn - meals) bike tour? Is there a particular tour company that you can recommend.

-cheers
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Old 01-10-12, 04:27 PM
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I'd start with a figure of $150 per person per day, as I think you can do a reasonable bike tour on your own for that much. I'm figuring $100/night at a motel, and $50/day for a nice breakfast and dinner. YMMV depending on location and calendar, of course.

Yea verily, it looks like a lot of bike touring companies are making some good money! $3,000 per week!?!

Take a look at Pactour -- some of their Arizona spring trips aren't unreasonably high. Adventure Cycling has some in the same price range, except you bring your camping gear instead of staying in motels.
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Old 01-10-12, 04:49 PM
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I had a friend who really enjoyed GOBA (Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure) several years ago. It is a camping trip, so basically your are paying for SAG support and a place to camp. Food is on you, and so is a hotel if you want to go that route. At around $200, it's not too expensive, but that only covers a place to pitch your tent for the night.

In NC there's another camping ride. The fall one goes accross the state, but the spring ride is just a long weekend with routes that bring you back to the campground at the end of the day. https://cnc.ncsports.org/
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Old 01-10-12, 04:55 PM
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I hear this is a good organized tour, but you'd be camping. They carry all your gear for you and drop it off at the camp. You'd still have to carry some essentials with you. The price is very reasonable.

https://www.cyclewyoming.org/tour.htm
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Old 01-10-12, 06:34 PM
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Iíve taken numerous trips with Timberline Adventures and would highly recommend them. They seem to be less expensive than many tour operators, but youíre still looking at around $300 per day. In my opinion, their trips are worth the money, but I fully understand that there are many other options, some of whichI have participated in as well. The reason I like supported touring is that itís a true, relaxing, worrisome free vacation. The only stressful part is flying to the airport where they pick you up. Once there, all you have to think about is eating, sleeping and riding. Theyíll store your bike box, lodging and restaurants have been determined, thereís a van in case you encounter snow, forest fires or mud slides (Iíve been shuttled pastsnow and mud slides) and at the end of the trip theyíll drop you off at a hotel near the airport. Having a cold drink at the pool or enjoying a hot tub isnít too bad either. They are expensive, but I donít think many people realize the logistics in running an operation like that. The routes have all been driven and scouted. Youíre paying for two guides and a 14 passenger van which probably gets 10 mpg at best, and the van needs to be driven to the starting point. Due to the van limitation and the fact that most restaurants have trouble serving more than 15 people at a time, group sizes are usually no larger than that, which drives up the cost. There is office help that takes registration forms, answers inquiries, handles the money and makes the actual lodging reservations. After seeing firsthand what goes into these trips, Iím grateful they donít cost more than they do.

Last edited by danacf; 01-10-12 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 01-10-12, 07:33 PM
  #6  
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We did a tour with a little company in Canada a few years ago and had a great time at a very reasonable price. The company is Canusa bicycle tours.
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Old 01-10-12, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E
I had a friend who really enjoyed GOBA (Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure) several years ago. It is a camping trip, so basically your are paying for SAG support and a place to camp. Food is on you, and so is a hotel if you want to go that route. At around $200, it's not too expensive, but that only covers a place to pitch your tent for the night.

In NC there's another camping ride. The fall one goes accross the state, but the spring ride is just a long weekend with routes that bring you back to the campground at the end of the day. https://cnc.ncsports.org/
My experience with GOBA is that they transport your gear from town to town, mark your route, have some police support, besides a place to pitch your tent there in some towns there is free transportation into town, they provide shower trucks at the campgrounds that don't run out of hot water but there are lines. The town that you camp at normally have events at the campgrounds or in town for the large group of riders. It is a very organized family oriented tour. There is a cap of 3000 riders on this tour so it isn't difficult to get in.
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Old 01-10-12, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnbud
I hear this is a good organized tour, but you'd be camping. They carry all your gear for you and drop it off at the camp. You'd still have to carry some essentials with you. The price is very reasonable.

https://www.cyclewyoming.org/tour.htm
A friend that goes on this tour says it normally fills in the first day of registration.

But to answer the OP's question about if a $300 per day tour is worth it, it depends, I have heard of some tours that carry all of your gear and even have cooks that fix breakfast and dinners. Not sure of the cost since I was too cheap in those days. For the beginners it may be nice to have the security of road assistance if you don't do much wrenching or a sag into camp if it gets too late.

I like the cross state tours most are pretty cheap, organized, and its nice to have the security of others with you.

And you don't need a special touring bike. You can use your ultralight racing bike for these supported tours and a small bag for essentials.

Last edited by cyclist2000; 01-10-12 at 09:01 PM. Reason: last thought
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Old 01-11-12, 09:37 AM
  #9  
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Be prepared to pay a lot if you are not willing to "camp."

While I have never done a tour with Timberline mentioned above, I know several people who have done their tours and highly recommend them. And they do seem to be less expensive that others.

Camping on a supported tour may not be what you think. Often you pitch your tent somehwere like a high school football field and have ready access to showers either in the gym or in shower trucks. If you are willing to camp like this, there are a multitude of options that can be far less expensive.

At the low end there is something like CANDISC in North Dakota. It's small (maybe 300 people), dirt cheap and you buy food as you see fit. (Meals are usually prepared by local communities and sold at a fair price, or you can eat at local restaurants if there are any.) The advantage there is that you have not already paid for something you end up not liking/wanting.

At the high end there is something like Cycle Oregon, which takes place every year during the second week of September. It's large (around 2,000) and expensive (around $900). The meals are catertered and are included in the price. There is nightly entertainment on a professional-quality sound stage and a beer and wine garden. For extra money, you can purchase the tent and porter service. A tent is supplied and pitched and broken down for you each day, and your luggage is transported to and from the luggage trucks. Everything about the ride is high-end, which explains part of the cost. Some of the fee goes to a fund which gives back to local communities. I have done 3. They are a blast, and the routes are always amazing, which is why it's been selling out in about a week or less. This year is the 25th anniversay. Registration opens at 9 p.m. November 7:

https://www.cycleoregon.com/
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Old 01-11-12, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by radshark
I'm contemplating a one/two week supported US road trip this spring. There doesn't seem to be a shortage of bike tour companies to choose from - but I'm generally surprised at the cost. At least the ones I've looked at so far. Some that are several hundred dollars per day.
That's why I have never really entertained the idea if anything but self-supported riding. For that kind of money I could buy some fancy touring gear or just stay at a hotel myself.
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Old 01-15-12, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by EKW in DC
That's why I have never really entertained the idea if anything but self-supported riding. For that kind of money I could buy some fancy touring gear or just stay at a hotel myself.
Or, all the above + take an ocean cruise aboard a luxury liner.
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Old 01-15-12, 11:58 AM
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Just make sure the cruise liner does not hit the bottom, take on water, and sink.

Deep Water..
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Old 01-16-12, 08:20 AM
  #13  
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I'll throw in my two cents, too ...

Fully-supported (meals, lodging, the whole enchilada) will cost a lot. Fully-supported camping tours are pretty reasonaly priced - and the suggestions posted above are good ones. Here's another possibility, if you're willing to carry your own camping equipment. OR, for a price you can arrange for a company to provide and set-up camping equipment (including thick air mattresses, etc) for you, OR you can stay in local motels, hotels, or inns but you have to make those arrangements yourself: https://bontonroulet.com/ . If you look around long enough you should be able to find lots of these types of tours. I'm doing the Bon Ton this summer and find the 675 rider limit particularly appealing. This one's on my to-do list this summer.
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Old 01-16-12, 06:03 PM
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Yep, it's expensive to do fully supported hotel based tours. I would say minimum of $200/day for a trip that includes hotel, sag and food.

I found this daily rate comparison on a tour company's web site a while ago & bookmarked it, I thought it was interesting. I'm not vouching for the accuracy or up-to-date-ness of this info, just passing the link along:
https://www.udctours.com/about/biketourcompanies.html

Make sure the tour is aligned with what you want out of it, and you will receive value for your money. I think that's really important, because it's pretty easy to spend a lot of money and get something you don't want - too few or too many miles, group members with dis-similar riding styles or interests or phase of life, wrong level of luxury, etc.

I've done trips with PacTour and Cycling Escapes, both cater to stronger cyclists and provide excellent service and support. Cycling Escapes was particularly good at picking great roads. PacTour is particularly good at achieving high mileages. Both are expensive. I've also done Bike Tour of Colorado (the camping version) and it's much cheaper and much more basic, as well as being a huge group. I've also done several club-organized group tours, both camping and hotel, and solo- with-friends and with-strangers self-supported touring. I think the very most important thing you can do is ask yourself what you are looking for in terms of miles, terrain, support level, luxury level, number of participants, how important the other people are to you and what type of people you want to hang out with, etc. and then try to find a tour that aligns. Go ahead and CALL the tour operator and ask a bunch of questions.
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Old 01-16-12, 06:43 PM
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There is no shortage of bike tour companies and they are expensive but often competitive. Mine and my wifeís first bicycle tour was with a tour company. We had two tour guides and were with a group of seven people. The guides were with us 24/7. The tour included meals and better than average lodging. The routes were handed out after breakfast and Kodak moments were pointed out. We gathered again at lunch and typically had picnic lunches. It was also a good time to go over the routes again. A guide rode with cyclists going from cyclist to cyclist offering interesting information along the way and seeing that everything was okay. The other guide would transfer the luggage from one place to the next and typically set up the lunch. The other guide also offered van support when needed. Finally, we met again at dinner time. Afterwards, a guide would often offer a walking tour of the town. Nothing to plan, nothing to worry about and we were blessed because the other cyclists that turned out to be great friends. I couldnít have been more pleased and it sold my wife on bike tours as well.
Soon after we went on a self-guided bike tours. A shuttle brought us to the beginning of the trip and our luggage was moved from one place to the next. The tour included our lodging (typically B&Bís) and transport and help if we ever needed it. We enjoyed this trip as well and it was a good way to do it before doing it on our own. Again, nothing to plan and nothing to worry about. Now we are credit card touristsóIíll never be able to sell my wife on camping and thatís all right with me.
Bicycling is the best way to tour and that fact isn't changed by the manner you choose to do it.

Last edited by Madtown Bob; 01-16-12 at 06:50 PM.
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