When you’re on tour, what should you expect? Will there be places to stop and eat lunch? How fast should you be going? What about your luggage?
Here is what to expect, generally-speaking, on your tour. And, keep in mind that each tour is different, so this is a merely a guideline of what’s possible or likely on your tour.
As the name says, these tours are self-guided. No guide will be there to show you the way. However, the tour operator will have detailed maps and route instructions for you. And, sometimes, there are GPS devices to rent.
You can go as slow or as fast as you like. Stop as much or as little as you like. Meals are typically not included in a self-guided tour so stop and eat where you like, when you want.
The tour operator will pick up your bags each morning and deliver them to the next hotel. So, all you have to do is ride from one destination to the next.
And, if you ever have any problems or get lost, you can call the local tour operator’s hotline for help.
Group tours and etiquette
On a guided group tour, you’ll have the added bonus of a knowledgeable guide who will point out sights and landmarks along the route. The guide will also act as a mechanic in case of any bicycle maintenance issues.
If you’re riding with a large group with 2 or more guides, you can expect to have one guide in the front and one in the back, riding different speeds to give riders the option to go faster or slower.
When riding with a group, we recommend the following etiquette:
Be flexible. You’ll most likely be eating most meals together, so be flexible.
Be social. You’re with a group, so make the most of your new friendships.
Ride safely. If you’re riding in the middle of a group, don’t make sudden stops without letting anyone know.
Don’t race. Remember that while it’s possible your bike tour is in France, it’s not the Tour de France. Don’t be that guy that has to show everyone how strong he is.
Your health while on tour
If you have any health issues, please consult with your physician before taking a bike tour and carry information relative to your condition so that proper care can be provided in case of accident, injury, or illness. If you are on a guided program, make sure to notify your tour leader of any potential issues before you start riding.
Check with your health insurance carrier to see if they extend coverage to your destination. If not, make sure to get appropriate travel insurance.
The local tour operators will always choose the safest possible route and equipment for your during your bike tour. However, it’s always a good idea to brush up on some safety tips and guidelines.
Here are a few tips:
- Wear a helmet. They might not be required by law in all areas, but it’s a smart idea to protect your head in case of a fall or accident. We recommend that, for safety and hygiene purposes, you take your own personal bike helmet with you on tour, or else plan to purchase one new upon arrival to your destination.
- Ride single file. Avoid blocking sections of the road or path. It’s courteous to other cyclists, and safer if you’re riding with any vehicle traffic.
- Avoid wearing headphones. Sure, we all love a little music to give us our soundtrack of this perfect bicycle tour, but be safe, and save the music for when you’re off the bike path.