Sports holidays, leisure trips, family holidays: It’s not just extreme cyclists who travel by bike anymore. Bike tours are becoming more and more popular. Some organizers have specialized in this.
Smooth asphalt and impressive sea view. The aroma of thyme fills your nostrils and sweat drips from your forehead. Road cycling in Mallorca is exhausting, but for most amateur athletes one thing above all else: a great cycling tour.
But it doesn’t just have to be the tough training camp on the Spanish island. Many organizers have long offered cycling tours for nature lovers who don’t want to train hard. “The trend is towards individual tours,” says Barbara Merz-Weigandt. Long distances can be covered by bicycle. “But travelers are slow enough to take in the surroundings with all their smells and people, a great feeling. That’s the beauty of a bike holiday,” says the editor-in-chief of “My Bike” magazine, for daily and touring. cyclists.
A bike tour offers not only exciting experiences in nature, but also a new area every day. “This is probably the most beautiful way to travel. And those who book such tours individually can set their own pace and, ideally, the length of the stages,” says travel journalist Stefan Schwenke. Luggage can find its place on the bike or be transported for the guest to the next hotel – also ideal for racing cyclists.
Alone or in company
“In the case of individual trips, the traveler can usually book a personalized tour through the travel agent,” says Kathleen Lumma. “In the case of group travel, on the other hand, it has to be adapted to the group,” says the managing director of the state association ADFC in Baden-Württemberg. Group travel is rarer than individual travel.
There are now bike tour offers and providers for racing bike, mountain bike, touring bike or e-bike riders. These include: Huerzeler, Quäldich, Wikinger-Reisen, DAV Summit Club, Margreiter, Eitzinger Sports, Biketeam Radreisen, Bike Adventure Tours, Inselhopping, Radweg-Reisen or the bike tour provider Beitune from southern Baden.
In addition to tour operators specializing in bicycle tours, tour operators often offer tours that maintain and market a bicycle path themselves. On its website radurlaub-online.de, the ADFC provides an overview of various tour operators as well as advice on bicycles, tours and transport.
Traveling to all continents
“The offer is great. Classics such as river routes or competitive bike training in Mallorca are popular, but you can do bike tours on almost every continent,” says Stefan Schwenke. “From Africa to Asia, the only limits are the treaty and perhaps the budget.”
Guided crossings in the Alps and guided tours in Europe are popular. It doesn’t have to be a hardcore trip to the Alps, there are all kinds. For example, some operators also offer trips with different levels of difficulty as a twin concept.
“If a partner wants to drive slower or less, they just choose the shortest or easiest route,” says Schwenke. “You see each other again in the evening at the tent destination. That way, they both get their money’s worth and can still enjoy the holiday together.”
Focus: sport, food or culture?
For Barbara Merz-Weigandt, a good cycling tour should be a mix of sport, culture and cuisine. “Anyone can travel by bike, especially in Germany and Europe. Many organizers offer a suitable tour for every skill level and almost every taste,” he says. There are great tours all over the world. “Basically, one can say that the more exotic the tour, the more important it is to have a tour guide who knows the area in question,” says Barbara Merz-Weigandt.
“But you have to find out for yourself what’s important to you,” says Schwenke. “Just get advice from a travel agency or browse the internet. It’s incredibly exciting what you can find and what areas you can discover by bike.”
Kathleen Lumma sees a big difference in cyclist preferences. For racing cyclists and mountain bikers, the focus is on the sport with fitness and technique development, often in groups. During these sports trips, cyclists often prepare for the next season. “Hiking tours are more about the conscious experience of a journey into nature. Such tours can often be combined with a cultural offering,” says Kathleen Lumma. The nice thing about this is that this type of travel is possible for a very broad target group. “The route and level of difficulty can be adjusted individually, even circular tours and tours for the whole family are possible,” says Lumma.
Before booking, those interested should consider how challenging the route might be, says Schwenke. Determinant for selection: a realistic evaluation of the route. After all, it’s supposed to be a vacation trip. Depending on their ability and route, cyclists can comfortably travel up to 50 km per day, with an e-bike up to 70 km. “But it depends on tour preferences. If you prefer to take an extended break, you ride less per day overall,” says Merz-Weigandt. Depending on the tour operator, travelers receive GPX files for the bike navigation system or a road book and their luggage is transferred to the next accommodation.
For beginners, Kathleen Lumma recommends cycling regularly before the tour and choosing a beginner’s tour for a few days for the first trip. Sitting on the bike for several days in a row is unusual for many vacationers. “There is a guide with you who can give a lot of advice. On a tour with a base camp, you can also take a day break without having to follow the whole group afterwards,” he says.
“Anyone who otherwise only bikes once a year should do a few laps at home beforehand and plan for shorter stages,” says Schwenke. “Then the tour is more fun and you don’t put yourself under pressure.”
Own or rent a bike?
Barbara Merz-Weigandt advises looking into whether and how the bike will start before planning. “An e-bike cannot be transported by plane. If a bike rental is required, travelers should inquire about the model in advance,” he says.
Help with the question “own bike or rental bike?” Stefan Schwenke gives. That depends on your own bike and how you get there: “Anyone who has a good bike at home usually doesn’t want to do without it during the holidays. And if the starting point is easy, most people take their bike with them,” he says. “For long-distance trips, a good rental bike is a good idea, it’s just more convenient.”
But with a brand new bike, travelers don’t have to go on a longer tour right away. “Each wheel moves, steers and brakes differently. Owners have to get used to it slowly,” says Kathleen Lumma. And this is especially true before the first big holiday tour.
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