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, whether they come 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; and especially for those that want the freedom to set their own schedule every day and get off the track on detours, but who don’t want to worry about designing a tour with the best cycling routes and perfect scenery, or deal with countless emails and planning to find great hotels, B&Bs or country houses, or luggage transfers in between each ride.
Self-Guided bike tours have also been a great alternative since the pandemic began. Travelers can 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 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.
Here’s how our CASUAL Self-Guided tours differ from our CLASSIC formula:
|CASUAL self-guided formula||CLASSIC self-guided formula|
· Lodging: 3-star or equivalent hotels, B&Bs or farmhouse stays, often family-operated, without frills but still clean, charming and with local character.
· 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 digital roadbook (emailed before tour start) includes detailed instructions for your arrival and daily itinerary; you may see our staff at your tour starting point, but not always, and we may not always be there to fit your bike (again, we email instructions on bicycle use, safe cycling tips, and similar).
· Very little personalization and customization is available.
· All bicycle types are available for rent.
· Lodging: 3- and 4-star hotels and farmhouse stays, possibly with better views or in a more central location, often with more services and room-upgrade options available.
· 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).
· 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 tour 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!
- 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).
- Luggage transfers on days you cycle from one hotel to the next.
Do you have more 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? Check out our bike tour lineup here (click on the link), and contact us (each tour webpage has a “request a space form”, and you’ll find our contact information at the bottom of this page).
See you on the road!