Choosing the Right Biking/Cycling Vacation
Biking/Cycling Tour Operators
A tour operator can make or break your cycling vacation. Many operators have access to locations that the average person cannot go or can help save you much of the headache of cycling alone. Many tour operators will have a car follow the group when possible to carry the injured, tools, supplies, lunch, and whatever else is necessary. The best guides can teach you how to handle a sharp turn or maintain a reasonable pace for a long distance.
Some tours are run by large international companies, provide gourmet meals, and include absolutely every cost, while others are run by local guides who just piece together tours when they can find a group and offer bare bones services. Most tours will give significant discounts if you go in a group and for the greater number of people going on the tour. Prices vary drastically from tour to tour, operator to operator. Be sure to have a written contract stating everything included in your tour from the equipment down to the food.
- Bicycle Adventures (http://www.bicycleadventures.com, Tel. +800-443-6060)
- Hawaii, the Western US, New Zealand, and Canada are all common ground for this Washington based operator.
- BikeHike Adventures (http://www.bikehike.com, Tel. +604/731--2442)
- Mount Kilamanjaro, Vietnam, Morocco, and Venezuela are all locations toured by this Canada based operator.
- Breaking Away Bicycle Tours (http://www.breakingaway.com, Tel. +310-377-9806)
- France and Italy Tour de France style with racing packs, private and self-guided tours, and all around luxury.
- Butterfield & Robinson (http://www.butterfield.com, Tel. +866-551-9090)
- A biking and walking tour specialist whose exotic destinations range from Tunisia to Provence to La Ruta Maya. Pricey, but worth the price is comfort and luxury are a big concern.
- Costa Rica Expeditions (http://www.costaricaexpeditions.com, Tel. +506-257-0766)
- One of the largest tour operators in Latin America, specializing in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Combine biking down the Arenal volcano with white water rafting a stay in an eco lodge.
- Cycle America (http://www.cycleamerica.com, Tel. +800-245-3263)
- The US is the focus here, with biking trips in National Parks, coast to coast, and cross state.
- GAP Adventures (http://www.gapadventures.com, Tel. +800-708-7761)
- Well known company has biking trips all over the world for varying skill levels and combination trips to places bikes can’t reach.
- Global Adventure Guide (http://www.globaladventureguide.com, Tel. +800-732-0861)
- An 11-day, 690 mile journey through Vietnam, altitude training, road cycling, and mountain biking are possibilities. Worldwide tours.
- KE Adventure Travel (http://www.keadventure.com, Tel. +800-497-9675)
- This highly regarded adventure travel specialist offers trekking, biking, wildlife, climbing, skiing, and combination tours all over the globe.
- Peru Bike (http://www.perubike.com, Tel. +511-449-5234)
- Some of the best quality gear and guides in the country, and a wide range of trips in the coastal desert, Sacred Valley, and central highlands of Peru make this one of the best cycling operators in the country.
- Vermont Bicycling Vacations (http://www.vbt.com, Tel. +800-245-3868)
- Three decades of bike touring in North America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and New Zealand earn this company high marks from numerous publications.
Many cyclers prefer to venture off on their own without the guidance of a tour operator. This way you won’t have to stick to a set path or maintain the pace set by the group. You have the freedom to go where, you want, when you want, and how you want. Many people will bike solo for thousands of miles, sometimes taking years, and traversing as far as the length from Alaska to Patagonia. Others will fly into a city and rent a bike and get a map and set off for just a few days.