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Cycle Europe - serving bicycle travellers since 1972

Bicycle Tour FAQ

With over 40 years of experience in designing bicycle trips, joining a Cycle Europe bike tour allows you to leave behind the stress of planning and designing an itinerary. Let us take care of the details, so that you can focus on enjoying your European cycling holiday. 

Don’t know how to start picking a trip? Start by comparing our Self-Guided tours and Guided bike tours below. 

Like what you see, but need a shorter or longer trip? Ask us what customization options are available. 

If you are looking to organize a tour for your group of friends, family or club, please ask – We are experts at designing private and tailor-made cycling holidays. 

Self Guided Tours

Take a self-guided bike tour if you want to:

  • Choose your own dates (see specific tours for details).
  • Add on extra itinerary options and customize your experience (see specific tours for optional add ins).
  • Leave when you wish each morning and enjoy detours and side trips along the way.
  • Are excited about the idea of cycling on your own and without a support vehicle every day.

Guided Tours

Take a guided bike tour if you prefer to:

  • Join a local guide who will share insights into each destination.
  • Pedal with a small group each day as you explore new towns and taste local specialties.
  • Want a support vehicle (just in case!)

Questions? Below you will find questions we typically get from our customers. Can’t find an answer? Feel free to email us: 

Will there be luggage transfer or van support on this tour?

SELF-GUIDED: On days when you change hotels, our shuttle service picks up luggage mid-morning and delivers it to the next hotel by mid-afternoon. Most of the time, these vans are not available to shuttle people – so you will need to plan to complete the ride yourself. In cases of emergency, our staff is available, and hotels will help locate taxis or alternative means of transport. 
GUIDEDOur support vehicle will transport luggage from one hotel to the next every day. Vehicle support for tired cyclists is available most days, as is our accompanying cycling guide – please check the specific itinerary for details. 

What choice do I have for bicycles on this tour and what is the cost?

SELF-GUIDED: The bicycle rental price is included in the price of our self-guided tours, we offer both titanium hybrid bike with upright handlebar, titanium road bikes with downturned handlebars, and pedal-assist E-bikes.

GUIDED: The bicycle rental price for an aluminum bike is included in the base price of our guided tours. You have the option to upgrade to a premium Titanium hybrid (in men’s step-over frame or women’s step-through frame) with flat handlebars, as well as pedal-assist E-bikes. 

How difficult is this tour?

GUIDED and SELF-GUIDED: Most tours don’t cover more than 65 kms (40 miles) per day. Be sure to read the distance and difficulty description for the specific itinerary of your interest, and send us an email if you have questions. To best enjoy your tour, however, you should be riding your bike at least twice a week and be comfortable spending time on the saddle. For more information please see the Rating Descriptions Page of the specific tour of your interest.

I am very fit, will this tour be challenging enough for me?

GUIDED and SELF-GUIDED: Our standard routes on each tour are designed for the average recreational cyclist. That said, almost every tour allows for added mileage for those with extra energy. We’ll suggest optional longer rides on most days. 

What should I pack?

We recommend you start you packing list with the following items:

  • A few pairs of bicycling shorts and jerseys
  • A few non-bicycling outfits to wear for your time off the bike
  • Helmet (we recommend attaching it to the outside of your carry on if it does not fit in your luggage)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Toiletries
  • Spare glasses, contact lenses
  • Dress pants/ skirts and shirts (layering is always encouraged)
  • Two pairs of shoes (a pair for cycling and a pair to wear around town after cycling)
  • Any prescription medication you might need and prescriptions in case you need to refill.

What meals are included on tour and what are they like?

GUIDED and SELF-GUIDED: All breakfasts are included. A typical breakfast is served continental style and includes assorted beverages, rolls or pastries, fruit, cereal and yogurt. Some hotels provide cold cuts and/or eggs in addition to the continental breakfast. If you have any dietary needs or food allergies, please ask and we’ll be glad to help! On our Guided Tours, some dinners are included – please check the specific itinerary for details.

What about lunches and dinners? Do you have vegan/vegetarian or gluten free options?

GUIDED and SELF-GUIDED: Most of our customers purchase picnic supplies for lunch. If you prefer to stop at a café or restaurant, there will be plenty on your route and listed in your road book (on guided tours, your tour leader will offer suggestions). For dinner we’ll suggest local restaurants, typically within walking distance. If you are vegan, vegetarian or you need a gluten free meal, you’ll find these options most days on our itineraries – please ask and we’ll be happy to help. On both guided and self-guided tours, some itineraries may include dinners – please check the specific itinerary for details.

What are accommodations on tour like?

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential, so we choose comfortable, well-managed accommodations. All rooms have a private bathroom. The type of accommodations vary slightly by tour and destination – please check your specific itinerary (or email us), for more details on the lodging for your tour of interest.

SELF-GUIDED: We use 3- and 4-star hotels, local-style inns or farmhouse bed and breakfasts. On some of our itineraries, we offer upgrade options for rooms – please check the tour fact sheet for more details.

GUIDED: Generally, we use comfortable 2- or 3-star hotels and local-style inns or farmhouse bed and breakfasts.

How do I get to the starting point of the tour? How do I travel home from the tour ending point?

GUIDED and SELF-GUIDED: Once you’ve booked, we’ll send you detailed travel instructions on how to arrive to the hotel where your trip begins – on most tours, the starting point is easily accessible by train, bus and/or taxi. On some guided tours, transportation to the tour starting point and/or from the tour ending point is included – please check the specific itinerary for details. If you’d like to reserve private airport pick-up, please ask us – we’ll be happy to help.

We will also provide detailed information about the tour ending point, and how you can travel back home from there.

Who do I contact in the event of any changes made to my stay (early departure, hotel or itinerary change, etc.).

GUIDED and SELF-GUIDED: We’ll provide all the necessary contact numbers for you to communicate changes to appropriate parties.

Are there any road signs that are different in Europe than in my home country?

SELF-GUIDED: Every self-guided tour begins with an introductory bike fitting and briefing, in which our English-speaking staff will share tips and information on local road safety. We also provide a Bike Safety Sheet with information on safety and road signs.

GUIDED: On the first day there will be an introductory briefing, which includes a detailed safety talk given by our English-speaking tour leader. Throughout the tour our cycling guide will be your “North Star”.

Does self-guided mean on my own completely? What if I have a flat tire? What if it rains?

Self-guided tours are not normally “supported.”  That means there is no guide with you and it is your responsibility to cycle to the next hotel.  To that end, you should either know how to fix a flat tire or have someone with you who can. If it rains we suggest “Plan B,” – put on your rain gear and follow Plan A.

If I come alone, will I have anyone to cycle with?

SELF-GUIDED: There is a good possibility that others on the same departure will want to cycle along with you, but of course we cannot guarantee this on every departure. If this is important to you, please ask us and we will try to find out for your specific departure.

GUIDED: Yes! This is a group tour, so welcome on board! Depending on the itinerary, there will be days where the group can spread out, giving some participants the chance to cycle on their own or in smaller groups. But generally, the group will ride together, along with our tour leader.

When does my tour start and end?

GUIDED and SELF-GUIDED: On most tours, the group will meet the tour leaders late in the afternoon or early evening of the first tour day. The bike fitting usually occurs at that point, as well as the tour briefing. Tours normally end after breakfast on the last day. You may want to consult with us on the best time to plan to arrive on Day 1 and when to leave on the last day.

Is it possible to make changes on this itinerary?

If you are interested in any changes to your self-guided itinerary, please ask us. We can often add or subtract nights at different locations (depending on the itinerary).

We are also experts at designing custom-tailored holidays for groups of friends and families. If there’s a specific itinerary you like, please let us know how to adapt it to your needs. We have also often custom fixed-point cycling holidays (for example, based in an Italian villa).

Are there extra payments not included on this tour?

Please check the What’s Included section of each tour webpage for specific inclusions. On most of our guided tours lunches and dinners are on your own as well as any entrances to museums or visits you might want to choose to see while in larger cities.

What type of bike should I pick?

GUIDED and SELF-GUIDED: We suggest choosing the type of bike you are most familiar with. On some tours, you will have the option of renting a road bike with drop-down handlebars, and on others we offer hybrid bikes with flat handlebars. On most tours, we also offer pedal-assist e-bikes. If you have any questions about our bike options please check the specific itinerary page.

Do I need a Travel Insurance?

GUIDED and SELF-GUIDED: We highly recommend purchasing travel and trip interruption insurance. Please let us know if we can help with suggestions.

Do you have any luggage restrictions?

GUIDED and SELF-GUIDED: In our years running cycling tours in Europe, we’ve found that packing light will help you have a more enjoyable travel experience. Keep in mind that you will be toting your luggage at different times during your vacation; you may have to go from the airport to the train or bus station; you will also need to bring your bags down to the hotel lobby in the morning before leaving for the next destination.

Preferably limit your luggage to two medium-sized pieces. The best combination of luggage is a medium-sized (22 -24”) suitcase on wheels and a small or medium carry-on bag, such as a backpack, overnight bag, or a small duffel bag. However, to avoid exceeding our luggage weight limit we prefer you add a third small bag as opposed to overloading the first two. If you have any additional questions about baggage limitations, please ask!

Who is responsible for the bikes if they are damaged or stolen?

GUIDED and SELF-GUIDED: You are! You’ll agree to this when you sign our contract when the bikes are delivered to you, so please be careful! That said, we offer plenty of advice and tips on how to properly store and secure your bikes every night. On Guided Tours, our tour leader will store the bikes for you every night.

Do you provide helmets?

GUIDED and SELF-GUIDED: We require everyone to wear a helmet on tour. We recommend you bring your own for best fit and comfort (as well as hygiene reasons). If you prefer to not travel with your own helmet, we can provide a lightly used helmet upon request. Please be sure to provide your helmet size.

Do you have bicycles and/or accessories for kids?

SELF-GUIDED: Yes, we can normally fit children taller than 4’10’’ (1m47). For smaller kids we offer “Tag-Alongs” and “Kid’s Trailers”. On GUIDED TOURS, please consult for your specific departure.

What is included in the cost of the trip?

Each individual “Tour Details” page specifies what the tour includes. Most tours include bicycles, luggage shuttles, hotels, and all breakfasts. On our SELF-GUIDED tours, we also provide a detailed “road book” suggesting what to see, where to eat, and information about locating bike mechanics along the route.

We want to do some cycling around the countryside from a fixed location, not on a tour. What can you suggest?

We have often rented to groups of friends who have rented a villa in Emilia Romagna or Tuscany. We are happy to deliver and do a bike fitting for the group. It is important you make sure the approach to your villa is acceptable to ride on a bike. Although hilltop villas are nice, cycling up a 2 mile dirt road is not always pleasant.  Look for villas with easy access to great roads when planning your stay.

If I am a solo traveler can you find me a roomate?

We’ll make an effort but it isn’t easy.  Normally people on self-guided tours have their own traveling companions.  If we can’t find you a roommate you’ll have to pay the single supplement.