Bike Tours ? Europe etc.

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Gerry L
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 11:31 am

Bike Tours ? Europe etc.

Post by Gerry L » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:26 am

My wife has been bitten by the bike bug after completing the 30 k Tour d Victoria last year and is now training for the 60 k this year (one more bike in the garage!). We were thinking of a bike tour in (?) Europe in the fall. Any suggestions or pitfalls? Some expensive operators move your bags ahead to the next stop and look after logistics or is it feasible to arrange the details yourself?

Gerry

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Ann
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Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:14 pm

Re: Bike Tours ? Europe etc.

Post by Ann » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:02 pm

Hi Gerry,

Shelagh and her husband did a guided cycling trip in Portugal last year and really enjoyed it. She did a good write up of it in an article in The Rivet, probably from last fall.

Ann

mfarnham
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Re: Bike Tours ? Europe etc.

Post by mfarnham » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:28 pm

I did 9 days in Austria, self-guided last summer. I packed fairly light by staying in airbnbs and hotels and eating out. There's definitely an advantage to local knowledge. I ended up on freeways at times, lost most days, scrambling to find a room booking at 8pm, etc. But it was fun and doable if you're prepared to have the trip be imperfect in those ways. And you're not forced to stick with the tour. If you spend enough time on the bike touring blogs (which I didn't do) you can pick up a lot of insider info in advance. https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/ Sometimes imperfectly planned travel is more fun thanks to suspense and spontaneity.

Western Europe has a ton of bike-friendly infrastructure and drivers are mostly very respectful. I get the sense that Eastern Europe is a different story. So the value of a tour might be greater there. There are some Victoria-based tour companies that lead tours in Europe and beyond. For example Ron and Heidi (TS members) guide for Magic Places https://magicplaces.ca/

My advice for doing it with a relative newbie would be to keep the days in the saddle short (I was doing around 110km a day and those were often very long days, given all the getting lost, climbing, looking for water/food etc.). Also, schedule in enough time to take in the sights or make spontaneous itinerary changes, if you're going on your own.

Martin

Mikael
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Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:46 pm

Re: Bike Tours ? Europe etc.

Post by Mikael » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:10 am

Gerry,
I am not familiar with guided trips although they sound very exciting. Cecilia and I have ridden some in Europe and have always managed ok without guides. We usually do linear tours and I think most guided tours do circular routes. Also we don't have to decide how far we want to ride each day until .. each day. We stay in hotels, camp sites, hostels and with Warm Showers hosts. Rarely do we have reservations. We find the uncertainty ok and trust our credit cards. Fall is low season and I doubt that you will have any difficulty finding lodging. If you can't find something easily one evening, well then you will have a story of a different adventure.

Having said this, if you are just starting out touring there are some wonderful tours right here. The Big Loop over three or four days in the summer is wonderful. If you want to try a different country then Cuba is a lot closer and is the easiest place for self guided tours although the food sucks.

Happy to chat with you both if you think that would be helpful.

Cheers,
Mikael

Thomasmeg
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Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:47 pm

Re: Bike Tours ? Europe etc.

Post by Thomasmeg » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:37 pm

My husband and I did a cycling trip in the south of France last summer (near Beziers). We booked a few days of guided riding with a company called Veloroo: https://veloroo.com. Then we kept the rental bikes and rode on our own for a week. They were really flexible with fitting in what would work for our trip and took care of all the details. We found it was great to get a sense of the roads and traffic before we set off on our own. We stayed in one village and did various routes from there, which dramatically cut down on the cost compared with any of the tours we looked into where they move your luggage along for you each day to somewhere new.

bensie
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Joined: Tue May 07, 2019 3:30 am

Re: Bike Tours ? Europe etc.

Post by bensie » Tue May 07, 2019 3:37 am

Hey there,
has anyone from here been to Ukraine? I'm planning a summer vacation to the eastern Europe (we'll cycle in Slovakia and Poland), and am thinking of including western Ukraine into our trip. I'm interested in visiting Lviv and various castles and fortresses in the vicinity. I've already looked up the place for our stay, by the way it's pretty cheap over there, and Premier Dnister hotel in Lviv looks like a nice place, and it's in the downtown. If anyone booked a room there, please let me know how was your stay. And along the route there're lots of inns and B&Bs.
Or is it better to skip the city and just go to the Carpathian mountains?
In Slovakia and Poland we'll be spending our time mostly in the mountains since we've already visited these countries but haven't been to Ukraine yet
Also, if you know some cool places worth a visit, please message me.
Thanks

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