Pyrenees Bike Tour

Nine Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Bike Tour

You’ve scoured the web sites. You’ve ordered every catalog and brochure. You’ve read them cover to cover. Now what? How do you find the bike tour of your dreams? Have a conversation with the company you’re considering. Here’s our list of the Top 9 Questions that you should ask to make sure you get the bike tour experience that you want.

1. How many days will I be actually be cycling? Also…
You’ve chosen a cycling vacation for a reason. Make sure you know exactly how much time you’ll spend cycling (and what you’ll be doing if you take a day off).
• Will we be cycling on the first and last days • Are some days optional loop rides and will there be interesting things to do if I want a day off the bike? • Are there different mileage options to keep my biking partner happy?

2. How much of my tour route is accomplished by van transfers or bus shuttles? Read between the lines…
The lure of the open road, the sun kissing your face, fresh air, the wheels turning beneath you. A cycling tour should be about…cycling, not spending time in a shuttle bus.
• Do you want to feel the sense of accomplishment that comes with touring a region under your own steam, or are you comfortable with van transfers from one ride to the next? Find out the company’s philosophy.

3. Tell me about the food! How do the meals work?
Food is the spice of travel, so check the company’s references or feedback for rave reviews!:
• Will I get a full breakfast to bike on? • Do we eat at the hotel or get out to local restaurants? • Can I order what I’d like or is it a set menu?

4. Who will be my tour guides?
Having a guide from the local area can add a lot to your travel experience. Getting an insider’s perspective allows you to experience the area’s cultural up-close and personal. Check out:
• Where are the guides from? What’s their background? • How long have they been leading the tour?

5. How do I get to and from my cycling vacation?
Make sure your provider has thought this through.
• Where and when do we meet? • Are any transfers provided to the tour start? • Can I get advice about sights and hotels if I extend my stay after the tour?

6. Who actually runs the tour?
Tour operations vary, and some tour companies will subcontract a third party land operator based in the region. Ask questions now to avoid surprises later.
• Can sure your provider speak firsthand about your guides, tour route, hotels and meals, bikes, van support, and fellow travelers? • How long have they been in business?

7. What will my tour group be like?
A cycling tour provides instant travel companions and is potentially an uplifting, bonding experience.
• What kind of people are typically on the tour? • Will I have others to bike with? What’s the “ride vibe?” • Feel free to ask your tour operator if your looking for a group with other singles, couples or families.

8. Can I speak with a former tour participant or even a tour guide?
A conversation with someone who has actually been on the tour can give you feedback that web sites and glossy brochures can’t convey. Feel free to ask your tour operator for references.

9. What’s included in the tour price?
With so many options, it’s not easy to compare tours. Start by looking at the number of days on the ground and calculate the price per day for each tour. Then look at what’s included in the price:
• Are bikes included? • Number of dinners included? With wine? • Is admission to special events, cultural sites or museums included? • Does the price include transfers to/from the tour location? • Will you be staying in typical hotels or at special places you might not readily find on your own?

Do you have any additional questions that have been helpful to you in choosing a bike tour or planning travel in the past?