Casual Self-Guided Tours – an introduction
Self-guided bicycle tours continue to grow in popularity – many travelers choose this formula as their preferred way to discover and experience Europe from the saddle of their bike, and many are trying this formula for the first time. It works for all traveler types
solo, in a couple, as a group of friends and even families;
From very experienced cyclists and travelers to first-timers
For easy to moderate cycling as well as challenging, more difficult itineraries
Especially for those who want the freedom to set their own schedule every day and get off the track on detours,
All of this can be had, without needing to worry about planning a tour, spending countless hours online trying to find the best cycling routes and perfect scenery, or deal with countless emails and planning to find great local hotels, B&Bs or country houses, or luggage transfers in between each ride. We’ve been doing all of this for decades, and will help you get on the right self-guided bike tour, so that you only have to worry about enjoying!
Self-Guided bike tours have also been a great alternative since the pandemic began. Travelers choose not only when to travel and on what schedule, but also who to travel with, for example your significant other, or immediate family, thus creating a “travel bubble”. Although you are without a tour leader, we provide the information and suggestions to help you experience enriching local activities (cooking classes, visiting a parmesan cheese factory, an introduction to the renowned balsamic vinegar in a local cellar), the local food and drink, or visits with an expert local guide – but always with your own travel companions, as opposed to an open group of travelers.
In 2021, we launched our new Casual self-guided tour formula, which has allowed us to provide the same great cycling routes and travel experiences, at a lower price point. So far, the results have been very encouraging! We’ve been able to attract more traveler types, for example those who are happy to sleep in a cozy family-run B&B without any frills (of course, with the same cleanliness and a smiling owner or receptionist ready to offer local tips). In addition, this type of traveler is comfortable using their smartphone to view the tour package information we provide via an app – our “digital roadbook” – which includes the detailed itinerary and tour package info, sightseeing tips and cultural information, as well your daily navigation routes, in a practical and easy to use format (that is also cheaper for us to deliver).
CASUAL vs. CLASSIC – a comparison
Casual self-guided tours
· Lodging: mostly 3-star (some 2-star) hotels, B&Bs or farmhouse stays, often family-operated, without frills but still clean, charming and with local character.
· Navigation: we include our “digital roadbook” provided via the app Ride With GPS Experiences (emailed to you before your start) with tour information, cultural and travel details, and navigation tracks, to be viewed on your smartphone (we provide cell phone holders and a handy handlebar pouch for your battery bank). Our customers love this app!
· In-person meeting: not always included (check the specific itinerary); if you need a detailed, full-fledged briefing and personalized bike fitting at tour start, our Classic tours are for you!
· Customization: very little personalization and customization is available. If you need to add or shorten days, remove or include activities, or customized routes and itineraries, our Classic tours are for you!
· Bicycles: all bicycle types are available for rent.
Classic self-guided tours
· Lodging: 3- and 4-star hotels and farmhouse stays, possibly with better views or in a central location, often with more services and room-upgrade options available.
· Navigation: a printed roadbook with tour information, cultural and travel details, and maps, as well as a GPS device with pre-loaded tracks (one per couple) and our Ride With GPS Experience package (used on your smartphone).
· Welcome meeting: Our English-speaking staff meets customers at tour start with a personalized bike fitting and detailed tour briefing, explaining the use of the roadbook and navigation tools, as well as answering your questions in person.
· We can personalize or even customize our itineraries and packages (sometimes with a service fee).
· All bicycle types are available for rent
What doesn’t change with our Casual formula?
· We include the same great cycling routes, many of which we’ve known and refined since as far back as 1972, when our founders started running their first bike tours!
· We also include the same great tour information package. Not just precise, well-maintained navigation routes; a well-organized tour itinerary, sightseeing tips and cultural information that we’ve been curating for decades. On Casual Tours, we email a link to our “digital roadbook”, which you can print at home if you like paper! On Classic Tours, in addition to the digital roadbook, we also provide a packet with a printed roadbook and various types of maps.
· We offer the same great service – contact us via email or call us on the phone, and we will be here to answer your questions and help you choose the right type of tour for you.
· The same quality bikes, in various types and styles – we take great pride in having one of the best-kept touring bike fleets in Europe.
· Local activities and experiences that you can reserve prior to your tour start (cooking classes, visiting local producers, tastings at local wineries, and much more). On our Classic tours, some of these activities may even be included
· Luggage transfers on days you cycle from one hotel to the next.
Need more information?
If you have general questions about our bicycle tours (including our Guided Tours), check out our Bicycle Tour FAQ.
If it’s your first time doing a self-guided bike tour (or, for more details on how we organize this tour formula), here’s a comparison of Self-Guided vs Guided Bicycle Tours.
For more information on self-guided navigation, here’s our blog on What’s it like to navigate on our self-guided tours.
Ready to start exploring and turn your dream into reality? Click the orange button below to start browsing our tours by country or tour type, or get in touch with us – our team of specialists will help answer your questions and help you find the right tour.
If you want the insights and experience of a past bike tour customer, please ask us and we will be happy to put you in touch with a past customer reference. They can share what they liked, and what they didn’t, about tour they chose.