Road bike tour to Europe

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Dieharder
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Road bike tour to Europe

Post by Dieharder » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:11 pm

I wish to generate some ideas from folks here who may have done road bike tours to Europe. I am not seeking the Raybo variety of tour, but a road cyclist who does 25 milers on nomal days and about three century rides a year. I like fast short rides and enjoy up to a century, but not someone who is into carrying things on the bike and touring all day. Planning for next year. What are some of the good destinations. Who are some good organizers to go with. I have some local resources to rely on from my bike club and LBS around here, but looking for some extra opinions.

livesoft
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Re: Road bike tour to Europe

Post by livesoft » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:15 pm

Are you up for paid guided tours? There are many bike touring companies that do European trips complete with sag wagons, luggage transfers, and nice hotels. TripAdvisor.com would help out in this regard.
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Dieharder
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Re: Road bike tour to Europe

Post by Dieharder » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:23 pm

livesoft wrote:Are you up for paid guided tours? There are many bike touring companies that do European trips complete with sag wagons, luggage transfers, and nice hotels. TripAdvisor.com would help out in this regard.
Yeah, thinking along those lines. Most of them cost a lot, but I guess they do a lot also.

livesoft
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Re: Road bike tour to Europe

Post by livesoft » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:33 pm

Some outfits just supply a route, maps, a bike, and hotel reservations.

My wife did such a tour through Holland and also many of the full-blown tours in France, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. But that was 30 years ago, so probably nothing transfers to nowadays.
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oxothuk
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Re: Road bike tour to Europe

Post by oxothuk » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:49 pm

There are lots of companies who will arrange self-guided bike tours in Europe.

Take a look at InnTravel and Macs Adventures.

gd
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Re: Road bike tour to Europe

Post by gd » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:04 am

I eventually preferred solo self-contained trips, but I had 2 good experiences (Ireland and Greece) with Classic Bicycle Tours & Treks 25+ years ago, now Classic Adventures. The owner, a college prof who did greek tours as a side line, was just expanding and bringing in his sons as summer jobs in college. On a whim I checked last year to see if they were still in business, and discovered the founder had just retired and his middle-age kids were now running the much larger business. So my recommendation is a little stale, but if you like continuity go for it. I can accurately quote the original name because, bizarrely, I happen to be wearing a t-shirt from my last trip with them that I've worn regularly since 1990. A now very, very thin t-shirt that has mostly been line-dried.

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CyclingDuo
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Re: Road bike tour to Europe

Post by CyclingDuo » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:18 am

Dieharder wrote:I wish to generate some ideas from folks here who may have done road bike tours to Europe. I am not seeking the Raybo variety of tour, but a road cyclist who does 25 milers on nomal days and about three century rides a year. I like fast short rides and enjoy up to a century, but not someone who is into carrying things on the bike and touring all day. Planning for next year. What are some of the good destinations. Who are some good organizers to go with. I have some local resources to rely on from my bike club and LBS around here, but looking for some extra opinions.
We detest riding with "tour groups" as we prefer to ride on our own and explore everything at our own pace.

That being said, it's nice to have your luggage hauled from hotel to hotel/town to town as you ride on your own with no involvement with a group. There are companies that will do this luggage hauling for you, as well as book your stay overs, provide your cue cards/maps, rent you the bikes, etc... - all while you being independent and on your own without riding with a group.

We used this organizer (husband and wife based out of Oregon) to hit up a wonderful week in Italy (Tuscanny/Chianti region in specific):

http://www.lifecycleadventures.com/

They design your trip for your needs, wants, and desires. We spent some time via email back and forth and a couple of phone calls getting it tweaked to meet our wants/needs. They were great to work with! We averaged about 30 - 80 miles per day, and the maps we were supplied provided three options for distance and level of cyclist. What was nice was we really got to focus on one area of the world to absorb their culture, food, wine, with outstanding rides and scenery. Check out the Life Cycle Adventures website as they have trips all over the globe.

This is the one we decided to do (flew in and out of Florence)...

http://www.lifecycleadventures.com/tusc ... urs-italy/

We went a week early and rented a farmhouse (and a car) just outside of Florence. Then after the week of riding, we hopped the train and went down to Sorrento for a week. Then we came back and rented bikes on our own and did one more 60 mile day using maps we had. All in all - a great vacation.

We met so many wonderful people, and had such gracious hosts at our B&B's. We hooked up with a local Italian chef who we now order olive oil directly that is pressed from his own personal olive garden (we get a case every few months), and wine that is not exported that we found at vineyards we really liked ship to us directly. If we went back, we feel we could totally go on our own and book everything ourselves.

We've done a lot on our own as well by doing our own booking and bringing our own bikes. Riding along the Danube. Riding for a week in France, a month in Germany, etc... .

Your checklist (besides the obvious of budget)...

1. Bikes - take your own, or rent
2. Booking your overnights - do it yourself, or hire a service
3. Luggage - carry it yourself, or hire a firm to transport it for you
4. Season/Location - decide what time of year and where you want to ride
Last edited by CyclingDuo on Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:39 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Raybo
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Re: Road bike tour to Europe

Post by Raybo » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:31 am

Check out https://www.cycletoursglobal.com

Also, you might contact the Adventure Cycling Association (http://www.adventurecycling.org) to get a copy of the monthly magazine, which has several pages of classified ads for touring companies.

Be sure to check local holidays when setting your schedule. Tomorrow (Monday = Pentecost) is a national holiday in Germany.
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stlutz
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Re: Road bike tour to Europe

Post by stlutz » Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:19 pm

I always prefer trips where I can stay in 1 location as opposed to having to move around every day. For me, I find this gives more flexibility to adjust my riding around weather and how I feel each day as opposed to the itinerary saying that we have to ride from X to Y in a driving rainstorm.

Girona is a great location to do this type of riding from. There's varied terrain and enough options to fill up a solid week. Good bike rental options are available. It's an hour train ride from Barcelona. Just don't go there in the summer (too hot).

Dieharder
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Re: Road bike tour to Europe

Post by Dieharder » Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:23 pm

Thanks for all responses. This is exactly what I was expecting. I will go through all those resources. What is the major down side of guided tour groups? apart from having to adjust your schedule along with everyone else. I don't mind doing it on my own, if I had at least another partner, because of all the issues in Europe lately I am a bit skeptical to bike by myself. My wife is not so much into biking, although she is an active person who works out, running, gym, etc, but not a bike person beyond the re-creational bike. I probably have to see if there is anyone from the bike club who is interested.

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CyclingDuo
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Re: Road bike tour to Europe

Post by CyclingDuo » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:21 pm

Dieharder wrote:Thanks for all responses. This is exactly what I was expecting. I will go through all those resources. What is the major down side of guided tour groups? apart from having to adjust your schedule along with everyone else. I don't mind doing it on my own, if I had at least another partner, because of all the issues in Europe lately I am a bit skeptical to bike by myself. My wife is not so much into biking, although she is an active person who works out, running, gym, etc, but not a bike person beyond the re-creational bike. I probably have to see if there is anyone from the bike club who is interested.
No major "downside" for doing it in a tour group - outside of being stuck with a bunch of Americans which defeats the purpose of embracing another culture by being on your own. :mrgreen:

Totally understand your worry of issues, but it is rarer than being struck by lightening. You'd be more of a target in a group of Americans rolling along together chatting in English from town to town. :mrgreen:

You could stay in one location as your hub, and do daily loop trips of 30 - 100 miles in different directions so you were back at the same hotel/B&B every night without having to worry about your luggage being transported. You could hire a solo guide to ride with you. You could hook up with a tour group of many different nationalities. You could do it all on your own.

Everything is available that meets your needs, desires, and wants.

We lived and worked in Europe for over a decade, so getting by in any country is not a problem or fear for us as our comfort level is not taxed. English is the International Business language, so you'll be hard pressed not to function well simply by using common sense.

Book a week in France, Italy, Germany, or Austria. These countries are all very familiar with cycling - and Americans.

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