One of the best ways to explore a holiday destination is by bicycle. You get to enjoy it at your own pace, get all those hidden gems you might miss on the typical tourist circuit, and you get to experience all the culture firsthand.
When it comes to picking the right bike tour for you, it can be challenging as there's a lot to think about. In this article, we hope to list all the choices you should consider when picking a bike tour - so you can get the best experience possible.
The first thing you need to think about is the destination. Not all bike touring holidays are the same. What is it you want out of your holiday? Getting the destination right will go a long way to keeping you entertained on and off the bike. Here are some ideas of what people typically look for in a bike touring destination:
A great way to embrace a culture and enjoy a country is to go and visit local cultural and heritage sites. It's great because cycling to them typically avoids traffic and also makes it exciting going from site to site, unsure of what to expect in between. A great example is our Portuguese Historical Villages and Estrela National Park Tour.
Cycling in wine country is a great way to go if you're looking for a guilt-free holiday and want to taste a region. Typically, these destinations are very low traffic, the locals love guests, the food is incredible, and after you are done cycling, you get to taste local wines which feel earnt after a day out on the bike. An example is our bike tour of Andalucia Villages and Jerez Wine Country in Spain.
What better way to get to a beach than by bike? In many countries such as Spain and Portugal, some places are very difficult to get to by walking or by car. Using a bike and picking the right beach bike tour is an amazing way to access secluded beaches that most people can't get to. Our tour of Portugal's Silver Coast is a great way to find some hidden tanning spots.
For some of us, nothing beats a good climb. Heading to the mountains for a bike tour gives you the work of the incline, incredible views at the top, and a very exciting descent. What's not to like? An amazing destination for a climbing bike tour is Mallorca which has incredible climbs such as the Sa Calobra. Check out our Mallorca Bike Tour.
When looking for the right bike tour, it's also important to consider if you want to be on or off-road. They are very different and will give a totally different experience from one another.
Road biking is very popular, and many people go away to experience the smooth glass roads of places like Spain or Portugal. The work is much easier, and you will be chewing through the miles much quicker. You will typically share the road with cars and other vehicles, but much less skill is involved than mountain biking. The Portugal North to South tour is one of the best tours we offer, which is all on the road. It's great if you love road biking, and you get to see how Portugal varies across many of its different regions.
If you like riding off-road and are fond of a gravel bikes or a mountain bike, then an off-road tour could be perfect for you. The miles do come harder, and the work is more technical compared to road biking, but you can enjoy traffic-free riding and really get into nature. The Camino de Santiago French Tour is an excellent off-road tour we offer. It offers a lot of mixed terrains, and no mile is like one another.
When picking a bike tour, it's also important to make sure that you pick a tour that suits your ability. If you pick a bike tour that isn't right for you, then you will find yourself having a really tough time, and that's not what you want out of a holiday. When looking at a bike tour, the first thing you will want to look at is the profile of the tour. You are going to want to think about distance, elevation, and terrain.
When looking at distance, it's important to look at the number of miles you need to cover on each of the days. We recommend that if you haven't ridden the distances required before, train ready for the tour or pick something shorter. We offer lots of different rides and even some long-distance bike tour options.
Elevation or climbing is how hilly the ride is going to be. You might have a bike tour where you have a lot of rolling hills, or maybe you might have a tour with one or two big climbs. You are going to want to take a note of this figure as some rides can be short but very hilly, actually making them much harder work.
While looking at distance and elevation, it's important also to consider terrain. Road miles are much easier than off-road miles, and this can add to the level of ability that you might need for certain bike tours. We also recommend getting a little bit of experience riding off-road before going on an off-road tour.
It is worth noting that many people will go for tours that are out of their fitness level but use an electric touring bike instead. This makes the work much easier, and it means you can ride with stronger groups without the worry of holding anyone up. All of Live Love Ride's bike tours are e-bike ready.
Touring bikes come in all shapes and sizes. You get road bikes, hybrid bikes, and even mountain bikes. Depending on which tour you choose, you will get equipped with the right bike for the job. Road Bikes for the road, hybrids for mixed terrain or city riding, and mountain bikes for off-road. They will be equipped for the route intended.
It's worth considering what kind of bike you like riding before picking a tour. If you are not a fan of a racing bike with skinny tires, you might want to go for a tour where you can ride mountain or hybrid bikes instead, as they have a more upright riding position. You also have the option of upgrading to an electric bike if you want to as well. Most touring bikes are not electric so having the option with us is excellent.
Many touring bikes are just general do it all bikes, but ours are tailored to the routes. We believe it's not just about any bike, and bicycle touring should be done on the bike you need for the ride you're undertaking. Our bikes feature high-end components and parts such as hydraulic disc brakes for mountain bikes not your typical mechanical disc brakes or rim brakes and modern high-level Shimano group sets on road bikes. We use bikes which a typically bike shop would sell.
It's important to think about the level of the tour you want and if you would like a guide with you. Having a guide means they will be with you every step of the way from helping guide you on the correct route, telling you about the region you're in, and taking you to the best places for food and water. You also get a support vehicle and all the necessary water and snacks to keep you well fuelled - with the van, the guide can also shorten or increase the daily mileage, adapting it to your preference, and drive you to their favorite spots, restaurants and experiences mid tour. On our "premium guided" tours, you'll have access to an additional guide riding along with the group too, improving the service level throughout.
Opting for a self-guided tour means you will be given a Garmin GPS and access to the Live Love Ride app to navigate by yourself. Also, you'll require some basic mechanical knowledge, so you can change flat tires, for instance. However, even in our self-guided tours, all passenger transfers and daily luggage transfer from hotel to hotel are included, so you won't have to carry your luggage throughout the tour.
It comes down to what kind of traveler you are and what you want from your bike tour. We do recommend a guide although it costs a little more - it makes the experience very special. However, you can choose to join all our multi-day tours as either self-guided or guided tours - your tour, your choice.
When considering a bike tour, it's vital to pick the correct one for you so you can get the best experience possible. We highly recommend going for a tour that suits you in destination, the riding you want to do, and also your ability. We also highly recommend using a guide as it will make the experience unforgettable and the local knowledge you learn is incredible.
Want to join one of our bike tours? Contact us on of the form below: