To Travel Alone or With a Friend

 Gary Corbett

It is a sad fact of life that there are many people who have abandoned plans to enjoy a cycle touring holiday just because they do not have a travelling partner. But this is totally unnecessary.

Sure it is great to share the experience of seeing the world from the seat of a bicycle with a good friend or your partner in life, but it is a complete fallacy to believe that you have to travel with someone else to be able to enjoy a fantastic cycling holiday.

In fact, there are many benefits to be had by travelling solo – particularly on an organised cycling tour – with many, many people swearing by the fact that far from being a negative, travelling solo actually enhanced their holiday experience.

First and foremost, by travelling alone on a guided cycle tour you have the opportunity to meet other like-minded people while doing an activity that is clearly exhilarating.
Organised guided tours have been known to be the catalyst for many romances and even more long-time friendships, with people from opposite sides of the world often going on to meet up year after year on different cycle tours.

By travelling alone you are also more inclined to get out of your comfort zone, mix with other people, enjoy different experiences and generally enjoy an enhanced holiday experience.

Once you set out on your cycling holiday you will soon realise that all of your pre-tour fears about travelling alone were unfounded and far from being a loner, you are surrounded by new and engaging friends.
But as in all things in life, there are a few traps for first time solo cycle tourists to be aware of when they book their tour.

Almost without exception all cycle and bike and barge tour operators charge a single room supplement. In other words, if you are travelling by yourself you will be charged extra for the privilege of having your own room.

In addition some operators also charge guests with a solo traveller supplement on top of the single room supplement. This can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the cost of a trip depending on its length and up-front cost, so it pays to factor this into your overall budget if you are travelling alone and to ask all relevant questions before booking your tour.

As a money saving alternative some tour operators offer to match up single guests of the same sex in the same room. But be aware, this can be fraught with problems, especially in Europe as I discovered during a tour in France.

Wanting my money to stretch as far as possible, I agreed to be roomed with another single male cyclist. But unbeknown to me, the majority of single beds in the two and three star hotels we stayed at were bolted together.

It was therefore awkward in the extreme when my room-mate and I climbed into what was essentially the same bed at the end of the first day’s cycling.

Suffice to say I told my new found ‘friend’ that there would be BIG trouble if he strayed onto my side of the bed during the night!