How do I register for a cycling tour?
Simply complete our online Registration Form and click ‘submit’. We’ll confirm your registration by email. One Registration Form may be used for up to four riders residing in the same household and using the same credit card/check for payment. If you prefer to complete the Registration Form ‘off-line,’ use our printer-friendly Registration Form scan and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
What level of cyclist should consider a tour?
These are not tours for boardwalk beach cruising cyclists. Particularly our Climbing Tours for fit cyclists and endorphin addicts with low gears and SLIGHT masochistic tendencies. It’s not a matter of ‘keeping up’ — we generally go very slow. It’s more a matter of ‘getting up’ the 8% grade stretching twelve kilometers or more. And, no, you don’t have to be some sort of racer, licensed cyclist or 25-year old type-A, just someone who likes a good challenge. The only warning for people who haven’t done this type of cycling before in a foreign country, it can be addicting!
How hard are your cycling tours?
They’re not ‘leisure’ tours. Our cycling tours are designed for people who enjoy cycling, sweating and the challenge of some climbs. Any decently fit rider with low gears will be jazzed by our daily distances and pitch. If you are grossly unfit or have not been on a bike since grade school, you should probably stick to pedaling the Loire Valley. Some of our tours are easier than others and, for a private group, they all can be customized to whatever you want. Email us if you are looking for a recommendation and, remember, we also arrange a private tour!
Which tour is the best?
This is the toughest question for us to answer because our tours represent our favorite places in the world to ride. There are also individual preferences. We like adventurous challenges and mountain cultures so the Alps(particularly the Mediterranean Alps) and Pyrenees are high on our list of favorites. Between the Pyrenees and the Alps, we like the quiet romantic roads of the Pyrenees and the Basque-Spanish influences. Italy cycling is, well…Italy, a passionate-friendly culture and dramatic mountain scenery. If you’re looking for the best coastal scenery and more civilization, the French Riviera is an all-around favorite; the piercing blue Mediterranean Sea, great beaches, beautiful hikes and serious cycling make this trip hard to beat. For cycling and world-class luxury, it’s hard to beat the design hotels and up and coming chefs in Spain and the Basque Country. If you still have trouble deciding, email us and let us know what type of trip you are interested in.
Can I bring my own bike? Does Ride Strong Bike Tours rent bikes?
Not only can you bring your own bike but our riders WANT their own bikes. Have you ever spent even one day wearing someone else’s shoes? We’ll help you with packing your bike for travel and provide shuttle services to your hotel on the first day. Because of the new baggage fees on most airlines, we recommend you shop around for airlines that let bikes fly free. Otherwise, on some of our trips we have relationships with local suppliers who can provide high quality road bike rentals for your week of cycling.
What gearing should I have?
That depends on your leg strength and how much you want to work. The hills in the Alps and Pyrenees are probably not like those you ride at home. Most of our rides involve sustained category climbing. If your primary purpose is pleasure and general comfort while climbing, you definitely want some low gears (27—29 minimum on the rear) and a triple crank. If you don’t have a clue what we are talking about, go to a good bike store and tell them where you’re going.
What do you recommend for packing my bike?
Traveling with a bike is much easier than you might think. The biggest decision, if you don’t already have one, is deciding what type of bike case to use. Hard-sided boxes are great for protection, but can be bulky and awkward at airports or in taxis. Many clients recommend soft-sided bike bags because they’re sturdy, easier to carry (many have wheels and shoulder straps) and easier to get into taxis. There are several good makers of soft-sided bike bags that can be had for a decent price on eBay. Our Trip Planner will give you all the information you will need for packing and traveling with your bike.
Is there a SAG vehicle?
Yes, on all our trips we have a SAG vehicle leap-frogging with the riders. We carry water, hydration powder, local energy bars and products, fruit and other goodies to keep you fueled.
How much driving do we do?
As little as possible! We like to ride, not drive. We design our tours to minimize the amount of time sitting in a van or car ( no buses!). There may be an initial transfer to get us out of a major city and back to our departure city, otherwise our vans are used more for transferring luggage, not shuttling people. Of course you’re welcome to the ride in the van at any time.
What are your accommodations like on your European cycling tours?
On our European cycling vacations we like to stay in boutique hotels, charming inns or family-run mountain lodges that blend and compliment the region we are visiting. We steer clear of chain hotels or generic facilities that eschew the local culture. Our tours usually include a mix of ‘city’ hotels and quiet rural getaways. In larger towns, we try to stay in the ‘old city’ where we can easily walk to restaurants, shops and cyber cafes. The hotels on our Luxury Tours are all very special and superb!
What is the food like? Do you accommodate vegetarians or other special diets?
Food is good! Among other things, the French, Italians and chefs in Spain know how to wine and dine! We select our favorite local restaurants, bistros or cafes serving up the freshest regional cuisine and friendliest smiles. If you tell us ahead of time, we make every effort to accommodate vegetarians or other special dietary needs. You will not go hungry and will not lose weight no matter how hard you ride!
Do I need insurance?
It is advisable to get travel insurance. Insurance coverage is not included in the tour cost. We will provide you with additional information about insurance upon receipt of your cycling tour registration and deposit.
What will I need to carry on the ride?
Very little. Typically, the most you will need is water bottles, a rain jacket and camera.
What else do I need to know?
Once you’ve booked a bike tour, we’ll provide a comprehensive Welcome Kit that will fill in all the gaps. The Welcome Kit will also include a Rider Profile and Liability Release that you will need to complete and return to us before your final payment.
Why choose us?
We’re DIFFERENT. A stronger bike tour begins with those that dare to take clients to the real places they want to go. We don’t pretend to offer the ‘one size fits all’ bike tour for all different level of cyclists. Our exclusive bike tour destinations are limited to places we consider to be a cycling wonderland for cyclists who enjoy the ultimate in mountain scenery, cycling, personal accomplishment, fresh cuisine and fun, all wrapped up in a reasonably priced adventure of a lifetime. Click here to see why our tours are stronger than the rest.
See you on the road!
“A man in a car sees more than he can take in whilst a man on a bike takes in more than he can see.” Unknown