Bicycle Tours

Company or Self-Guided?

So you have decided to consider different bicycle tours. Maybe you have been thinking about wandering through the Tuscan countryside and staying in local inns or small hotels. Or maybe a trip in the wild forest of Canada and camping out would be more to your liking. Both are great. But now you need to decide if it will be self supported or a tour company will set out your route, figure out where you are staying, and probably guide you and other tourist along the way. The information in this page should help you set up a bicycle tour, whether you need suggested routes, maps, or different tour companies.

To the left, be sure to check out the free maps for different countries and bicycling in certain countries. Those pages offer a wealth of information that can take hours of research on the web to collect. This information comes from our readers, my personal experience, and any where else I can find it. So enjoy…

Bicycle Tour Companies

An established tour company can expedite the planning process and can almost guarantee a pleasant trip, especially if you are traveling in a foreign country. Most of the routes that they use have been road tested over the years, the inns and hotels have been pre-approved and rated, and the sites and activities noted. In short, they do all the planning for you. About any bicyclist at any fitness level, including families, can experience a supported tour.

Your tour can have a company supported ‘sag wagon’ to carry all your gear from stop to stop, an experienced guide who knows the local terrain and people, and someone who will fix your bicycle in emergencies. Some tours include all meals. You just have to show up and ride. Or if you want to save money and have more of an adventure, you can have them plan out your route after input from the tour members. The tour company can recommend anticipated stopovers with hotel accommodations and reservations. You just carry all of your gear with you. Unfortunately, the price reflects the amount of pre-preparation that the tour company performs.

Back to Top

Self-Supported Tours

If you want a true adventure, you might want to consider an unsupported tour. You plan out your route, research the stopovers and accommodations, and carry all of your gear. You might choose a ‘credit card’ tour where you carry minimum gear and stay at hotels and eat at restaurants. Or if camping suits your adventure spirit and eating out occasionally, you can plan a fairly inexpensive trip. Self-supported bicycle touring can be moderate to strenuous depending on the terrain and if you choose hotels or camping.

Bicycling Events

If you want to share a bicycling experience with hundreds and sometimes thousands of others who share your passion, then participating in an annual bicycle tour can be a wonderful experience. Usually you are supplied with route maps, a ‘sag wagon’ to carry all you gear and offer emergency repair, and sleeping areas during your stopovers. Most events have alternate routes so you can limit or extend your daily mileage and some offer meal stops. Sleeping areas can be outside camping, indoor gyms, or hotels that you pre-arrange. At these events, you will meet all levels of bicyclists, ride with all ages, and see all styles of bicycles.

Family Bicycling

Bicycling touring with children can be easy too. You choose a touring location, stay at a central hotel or resort, and head out on short trips in different directions each day. You can plan out trips to local site-seeing spots, maybe to an ice cream store, and definitely for a picnic outing. Children love bicycling, exploring, and experiencing a true adventure.

Back to Top

About John Stultz

John Stultz is the owner of Bear Paw Tents. He's been bicycle touring for over 30 years and is excited for sharing his insight on cycling. He considers himself an ultralight backpacker and ultralight bicycle tourer. John is the original founder of He started the website to share his passion for touring and to help people plan for their own bicycle tour.

Speak Your Mind