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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? Below we provide a general comparison between Self-Guided and Guided bike tours , as well as the practical FAQs list. For a more detailed description of the differences between Self-Guided and Guided tours, our blog post compares these two styles of tour side by side.

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!)

Private Tours

Whether you are looking for a self-guided or guided bike tour for your own group, but want customizations, we can personalize our existing itineraries, or start from scratch.

The Cycle Europe team has been running bicycle tours in Europe longer than most companies have existed (since 1972!), and we can leverage our vast resources and knowledge throughout Europe to help you design and operate the ideal tour for your budget, interests and cycling abilities.

Questions? Below you will find answers and information on inquiries we often get from customers. Can’t find an answer? Please email us – inquiries(at)cycleeurope.com  or use our contact form at the bottom of this webpage.

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

SELF-GUIDED: On days when you cycle from one hotel to the next, our delivery service picks up luggage in the morning and delivers it to the folloowing hotel by mid-afternoon. Most of the time, these vehicles 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 is available to help via telephone, and we or the hotel staff 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 my tour?

SELF-GUIDED: Bicycle rental is available with our self-guided  and guided bike tours. We offer premium titanium hybrid bikes (with upright handlebar), titanium road bikes (with downturned handlebars), aluminum frame hybrid and road bikes, tandem bike, pedal-assist E-bikes and tag-along bikes and trailers for children.  Please see the specific tour webpage for bike types available on each tour.

How difficult is this tour?

Most tours don’t cover more than 65 kms (40 miles) per day, and range among low-intermediate-advanced difficulty levels. Be sure to read the distance and difficulty description for the specific itinerary of your interest, as well as our difficulty ratings description page with detailed parameters, 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!

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

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?

All breakfasts are included on our typical bike tour. Breakfast is normally 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 some of our tour packages, dinners or additional meals may be included – please check the specific itinerary for details. We often include meal suggestions for lunch, dinner or stops along the way.

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

Many 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 (listed in your road book on self-guided tours, or suggested by the tour leader on guided tours). For dinner we’ll suggest local restaurants, typically within walking distance (dinners may be included – check the itinerary). 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.

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. We also look for charm and personality, as well as hotel staff and hosts that go out of their way to make your stay a delight!

The type of accommodations vary slightly by tour and destination – please check your specific itinerary (or email us), for more details on the lodging.

SELF-GUIDED: We use 3- and 4-star hotels, small inns or farmhouse / country B&Bs. On some of our itineraries, we offer upgrade options for rooms – please check the tour information for more details.

GUIDED: Generally, we use comfortable 2- or 3-star hotels and local-style inns or farmhouse / country B&Bs.

Is it possible to make changes to an 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; a customization fee may apply).

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

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, as well as other locations in Italy or Europe. We are happy to deliver and do a bike fitting for the group, and we can even prepare your routes and included extra activities like a wine or olive oil tasting, or a parmesan cheese factory visit. 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.

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. There are a few tours where the meeting is in the morning time and cycling starts on day 1. Tours normally end after breakfast on the last day, with few exceptions. 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.

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: Our tour webpages include general information on starting and ending points, as well as how to arrive to and depart from there. Once you’ve booked, we’ll send you detailed travel instructions on how to arrive to the hotel where your trip begins, at the agreed upon meeting time – 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 at an additional cost – 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.

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

Please let us know, and we’ll make an effort to find you a roommate if you are alone. If we can’t find you a roommate you’ll have to pay the single supplement.

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.

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

We’ll provide all the necessary contact numbers for you to communicate changes or last-minute requests.

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. Some itineraries may include meals or extra activities.

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 or support vehicle with you as you to cycle from one hotel to the next.  Ideally, you should either know how to fix a flat tire or have someone with you who can. If you have trouble on the road, we provide a support number to call. Most support issues are solved over the phone, with our indications (our bikes are kept in excellent working condition, and it is very rare that they malfunction on the road).

if  If it rains we suggest “Plan B,” – put on your rain gear and follow Plan A (or sit at a cozy café while waiting for the storm to pass).

What is included in the cost of the trip?

Each individual “Tour Details” page specifies what the tour includes. Most self-guided tours include bicycles, luggage transfers, a roadbook (in printed or digital format), hotels and all breakfasts; on our guided tours, a guide cycling with a group, support van providing luggage transfer, hotels with breakfast, and some group meals. Inclusions may vary by tour package – please check the specific tour webpage for what is and what is not included.

What type of bike should I pick?

We suggest choosing the type of bike you are most familiar with at home – if you are up for it, you may want to try a new type of bike! On some tours, you will have the option of renting a road bike with drop-down handlebars, or a  hybrid bike 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 or ask us.

Do you have bicycles and/or accessories for kids?

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 as not all group tours may be suitable for children. We also offer private group departures, and we love preparing tours for families – please ask us!

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; this information is also provided in Bike Safety handouts, in our tour roadbooks (on our Casual Self-Guided Tours, provided through our digital roadbook app).

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”, looking out for your enjoyment as well as your safety.

Do you provide helmets?

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 any luggage restrictions?

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 (for example, when going from airport to the train or bus station, or you may have 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!

Do I need a Travel Insurance?

We highly recommend purchasing travel, trip interruption and medical insurance. Please let us know if we can help with suggestions. In addition, please check our Terms & Conditions page for important details when you book your tour.

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

You are responsible for bike damage or theft, and you’ll agree to this when you sign our contract at delivery. so please be careful! That said, we offer plenty of advice and tips on how to properly store and secure your bikes every night or when you stop along the way every day. On Guided Tours, our tour leader will store the bikes for you every night.