When you're on a multi-day bike tour you probably don't want to cover the same ground each day - after all the main point of a tour is to see and experience new things. But having a home away from home means your focus can be totally on the cycling and the local area – after all you were probably attracted by the sights, scenery, history, culture or something other than the accommodation. However, if the latter was the draw card, how great is it to have it for the duration of your holiday. You also only need to unpack and settle in once so on subsequent days you can save time and get straight to relaxing after a day in the saddle.
There are a few categories of bike tour that will achieve this for you, each in a different way.
These are tours in amazing locations that have many different and interesting routes in the same area. You stay in one place and go from there. Popular locations include France (Alps, Loire, Lot & Dordogne, Pyrenees), Italy (Lakes, Alps, Dolomites), Spain (Balearic and Canary Islands, Costa Brava). What these locations have in common is that they are relatively compact in size and rich with cycling routes and attractions. Europe dominates but you can easily DIY in other locations with multiple day tours (see below).
Tours can be either guided or self-guided. Accommodation is often in unique or exclusive venues like villas, chateaux, farmhouses or chalets and centre based is a very popular format for training camps for sports cyclists.
Principally in and around cities, these locations usually offer many different routes or specialities (e.g. History or cultural tours). They don’t include accommodation or meals so you’re on your own. However, there is generally lots of choice around for you to create your own multi-day tour – and you can even use more than one tour operator. Tour companies may have more bargaining power to get the best rates but local competition will probably take care of that. The downside being you will do to do more research before your tour – the antithesis of what Cycle Tours Global stands for!
Bike and boat (or barge) tours cover more ground than the tours above and are more what you would expect from a conventional tour – except that your accommodation travels with you. In most cases, you will cycle by day and return to the boat in the evening – the boat having moved on to a new location during the day. However usually there is inbuilt flexibility in that you can stay aboard and cruise rather than cycle on any given day should you so choose. The rides may be either guided or self-guided with maps and route plans or recommendations.
These cruises are along rivers, around islands or along coastlines. Almost by definition they will be in areas of outstanding natural beauty, and are mostly rural and flat with good cycling routes close by or even on the banks (e.g. Tow paths). There are no loop rides or any risk of covering the same ground twice, but of course you are restricted to the course of the river, sea or lake. Bike and boat tours are becoming increasingly popular particularly on the major navigable rivers in Europe (the Danube and Rhine), the canals of Belgium and the Netherlands, and the islands off Greece and Croatia. However South-East Asia, New England (USA), the Caribbean and even Alaska also have good options.