10 things to look for when you want to go on a cycling tour

Nice girl takes a short stop in Sicily

1. What is your intent with your cycling tour? Do you just want to ride, eat and sleep and nothing else, or is it also important to see and experience some culture? It is an important first step to find out exactly what you want from your cycling trip.

2. Where would you like to stay? Some prefer a quiet hotel in the countryside and other like to stay in or close to a city where they can go out at night and experience and meet people. Some prefer luxury other a simple hotel that will make the travel cheaper. Consider if you want to have all your meals at the hotel as a package deal or you like to go out to restaurants on your own.

3. When you book the flight to your destination be sure that it arrives in time for the camp. If you are a complete group (private or company) that books then of course you have more freedom to chose your dates. If you are traveling with your own bike and if it is not a direct flight, make sure that the handling people have enough time to bring your bike to the next plane. 2 hours is a good rule of thumb inside Europe. If you are looking for a fixed date camp and your flight does not fit completely then a good cycling tour company will help you with extra days of recommendation - ask them if they do that!

4. When you bring your own bike pack it carefully in a safe bike bag. (For a recommendation on bike bags see this - link to a blog post about bike backs). It is the worse scenario to arrive with a broken bike to a bike camp. With the right bike back you will be able to travel with ease knowing that your bike will arrive in one piece. Also during the stay, it is important that your bike is safe. Make sure that the company is offering a safe bike storage at the accommodation where you are staying.

5. In case of delay of arrival of your bike can the bike travel company offer you a rented bike until you own arrive? Contact them and ask about this. Sometimes it, unfortunately, happens that a bike arrives 1-2 days later than you.

What to look for in a cycling holiday

6. Guiding. It is always a good idea to chose guides who have a thorough local knowledge of the place you will be riding. Both in terms of the best roads but also a deeper understanding of the culture, the interesting small cafes and places that they can show you on your daily ride. Make sure that the guides you will be riding with are in good shape. Otherwise, they will not be able to ride forth and back of the group to support everybody.

7. Your ability level is also important to asses. You need to be honest about your level so that you don’t end in a cycling camp where you are struggling with the distance and difficulties every day. A good camp offer to split up into groups that ride different tempo so that you can always be in the group that matches your level.

8. Distance is another important aspect. If you are used to training 50 km. 2-3 times a week then training everyday 120 km. in difficult terrain can be too much. A good Cycling tour company offers different distance if necessary.

9. Do you want to ride every day and if not what else can you do? A good cycling tour company can help you with different options of “restday” activities.

10. You are worried that you can’t keep up with your group. First of all, you are probably better than you think second you should look for a company that has understanding guides that always will support you on the road if you should slow down and makes sure you return safely to the hotel. A good idea is to contact the cycling tour company before you book and ask them how they handle this situation then you can get an idea if they really will support you on the road.

Full speed ahead in Sicily.