Top 10 questions to ask before choosing a bike tour

So you think a bicycle tour could be a unique way to experience a foreign country, but you aren’t sure where to start. You can start browsing immediately with our Tour Search, or you can research the options by asking yourself these top 10 key questions. You can also download our exclusive guide: How to choose the bike tour of your dreams.

1. Why tour by bike?

Touring by bike is perhaps the best way to truly experience the landscape and culture of a region—the unique features of the terrain, the smell of flowers or ripening grapes, the sounds of wildlife, or the people and hidden treasures of small towns. As one travel writer has also described it: traveling by car, train, or bus is like watching an amazingly beautiful movie go by. Traveling by bike is like being in the movie.
More on the beauty of bike touring >

2. Why should I go with a local tour operator?

We believe that the best way to experience a new land and culture is with the guidance of locals. That’s why we partner with local tour operators around the world to offer you an amazing selection of some of the best quality tours available. This means cheaper tour price tags, a helpful advisor while you plan, and local on-the-ground support.  
More on our partners, your hosts >

3. What's my budget?

Until recently, you had a choice of two extremes: "on the cheap" self-contained tours, where you're entirely on your own, or expensive "all-inclusive" luxury tours. Now there are alternative mid-range programs offered primarily by local overseas bike tour companies. That's where we come in – BikeToursDirect represents those local operators and delivers you with a variety of tours and destinations at a great value.

4. Where do I want to go?

Researching destinations is a good place to start narrowing your search. To determine your preferences for destinations, ask yourself some key questions:

  • Interests - Castles, family-friendly activities, wine, regional cuisine?
  • Terrain and scenery - Mountains, forests, plains, rivers, the sea?
  • Cultural differences - Do you want a "familiar" setting or a more exotic (and even challenging) one?
  • Language - Prefer countries where in English is widely spoken? Or excited by the challenge of translation dictionaries and hand gestures?
  • Climate - Hot weather or more temperate?

More on our destinations >

5. Do I prefer riding with a guide and a group or more on my own?

Guided and self-guided tours offer somewhat different experiences, and each has unique advantages. Decide which suits you and your party best.
Compare them here >

6. What's my ability level?

We've assigned five levels of difficulty to our tours to help you find one that best fits your ability level.

7. How many days do I want my bike tour to last?

While we’d love to live on the road, we understand most people have limited time, even for a dream trip. Consider travel and recuperation time, both pre- and post-tour, or how long you might want to extend your trip. 

8. Do I want to ride every day?

Most bicycle tourists enjoy traveling each day – cycling from Point A to Point B and sleeping in a new location each night. The scenery changes and the experiences are gratifying. Still, there's something to be said for staying overnight in one town and doing day trips – you don't have to pack each morning, you can settle in, and you can really get to know a location. Decide if you want rest days built into the itinerary. If so, tours based in one hotel (or "hub-and-spoke tours") are a great choice.

9. How far do I want to ride each day?

Remember you are on vacation and there will be a lot to see along the way — and you’ll be riding for several days, usually back to back. So don't use your weekly Sunday ride as a guide. We almost never hear feedback that daily distances were too short! Average daily distances are shown in each tour listing, and are a searchable feature in our Tour Search.

10. What kind of route and riding surface do I prefer?

You should think about how comfortable you'd be occasionally riding in light to moderate road traffic, or if you'd prefer a bike tour that primarily follows a bike path. Terrain and riding surfaces (packed dirt, gravel, asphalt) should also be considered. There's usually information on the tour pages on our site - if not, just ask!