Who comes on our holidays?
All sorts of people come on our Fully Supported Holidays. Most tours attract a mix of people from all walks of life, males, females, singles and couples as well as groups of friends. Ages usually range from late teens to early seventies. If you are coming on your own then don’t worry, over half of our groups are usually single people.
The important thing is that you enjoy being part of a group. You like making new friends and having other people to share your experiences with at the end of the day.
Do I have to ride with the group all the time?
Every member of the group is provided with our detailed route instructions, so you can ride at your own pace and stop whenever you want, without the worry of getting lost. During breakfast the tour leader will go over the day’s route and suggest a few places you may like to stop, but you are free to do what you want. In practice most people find they team up with other group members of a similar ability really quickly, and so ride with a small group most of the time.
Who is the leader?
All our trips are led by at least one experienced leader from the UK. There are usually two leaders – one driving the support vehicle and the other cycling with the group, usually at the rear to ensure that no one gets left behind. They carry a first aid kit and a tool kit, so that if you or your bike breaks down they will be there to help.
And the support vehicle?
The support vehicle is there to transport your luggage to the destination, and also to provide any additional assistance required. The vehicle carries a more comprehensive tool kit and spare parts as well as first aid kit, water, etc. It generally doesn’t follow the group closely but will usually meet up with you once or twice a day, so you can top up your water bottles, grab a snack or if you have a problem you can jump on board.
Are the holidays ‘On Road’ or ‘Off-Road’?
Most of our holidays are on paved tarmac roads, or paved cycle paths. (On some of these holidays the route may take you along a short section of cinder or unsurfaced cycle track, but this is will only be for a very short distance, and we only use unsurfaced cycle paths if they are suitable for lightweight cycles with narrow tyres).
We do run a limited number of off-road mountain bike adventure tours. Good quality MTB bikes can often be hired locally, and we can advise you whether this is an option on any given trip .
How hard are the trips?
All our holidays are graded, and you should use this as a guide when deciding on a tour. When grading our trips we take into account the hills and road surfaces as well as the sights you may wish to stop at along the way. Average daily distances are given in the trip descriptions for each tour but these are intended only as a guide).
Do you hire cycles?
Due to an increased number of regulations we no longer hire cycles for our holidays, although we can often arrange bike hire for our mountain bike adventures – just ask if you require help.
We have always strongly recommended that clients use their own cycles as there is no substitute for using a bike that you are familiar with and are comfortable riding. To minimize the problem clients may face when travelling with a bicycle we now also offer cycle transport on most of our holidays to transfer your cycle to and from the UK (see below).
If you currently live outside Europe and are thinking of coming on one of our trips but are unsure about bringing your own cycle, please call or e-mail for advice. We are based close to Heathrow airport in England and can store your bicycle and/or bike box prior to the start of your holiday (or afterwards) if you want to do some travelling around Europe without your bike while you are here.
Do we need cycling helmets?
A cycling helmet is not compulsory on Bike Adventures trips (except where required by the laws of that country), however we do recommend that you wear one as an added safety precaution.
What about accommodation and food?
On our holidays we have a mix of both camping and hotel based trips. Breakfast is included on all tours.
Our camping trips are always good fun and we provide ‘afternoon tea’ (with homemade cakes and jams whenever possible) at the end of the day’s ride. This has become legendary amongst our regular customers and is a good time to relax and share the highlights of the day. The trips are obviously cheaper and of course you can also save on food as it is easy to prepare meals at the campsite if you wish. If you haven’t tried camping before we have tents and mats available to hire. These are comfortable 2/3 person tents that you will have to yourself. On our camping holidays a substantial and varied continental style buffet breakfast is provided at the campsite each morning.
On our hotel/B&B trips we mostly use small family run accommodation, providing a friendly relaxed atmosphere. These are usually classed as 2*/3*or similar. We book rooms with ensuite facilities wherever available, but this cannot be guaranteed due to the variety and number of establishments used. Breakfast is provided locally at the accommodation each morning.
Lunches and evening meals are not included in the price of UK and European holidays. The tour leader will usually suggest somewhere to stop for lunch (but you are welcome to stop wherever you want). Hotels and campsites are chosen to ensure that there is a restaurant nearby (or a pub in the UK and Ireland), so that you do not have far to go for an evening meal.
On all hotel based holidays if you are travelling alone you can either pay the “Single Room” price for the holiday and have a room to yourself or pay the regular price and we will book you into a twin bedded room with another single member of the group of the same sex. However please note that on most holidays the number of single rooms available is limited and they do tend to go quickly.
How do we get to the start of the holiday?
For most people flying offers the quickest and easiest way to get to the start of the holiday, although for most destinations travelling by train (or coach) is also an option. We will provide transport from the nearest airport and railway station to the first night’s campsite or accommodation.
To comply with European law the cost of any flights required for a holiday is not included in the Tour Price of the trip.
You may make your own travel arrangements or we can do so for you. It is now very easy to book flights/train tickets on the internet and the information we provide for each holiday includes details of the relevant airlines etc. However if you wish us to make the travel arrangements for you we can do so but there is an additional administration charge of £5.00 for each leg of the journey booked, and this will be added to your holiday cost. Just tick the relevant box on the booking form and a separate form will be sent to you. Note: To comply with European regulations if we are booking flights we will require a credit card number to enable us to book the tickets in your name. However we will always contact you before making any travel arrangements etc.
So I can take my bike on the plane or train?
Generally you can travel with a bicycle on most airlines, although nowadays most carriers (including all the ‘low-cost’ operators such as Ryanair, easyJet, bmibaby, flybe etc) charge for ‘oversized baggage’ such as cycles. The cost varies from airline to airline but is usually £20-30 per flight.
You are also usually required to ‘book’ your bike on to the flight, if you just turn up at the airport without having done so the airline may refuse to carry it. You will also need to ‘pack’ your cycle before you check-in. You should expect to have to remove the pedals, turn the handlebars to one side and place the cycle in a bag or box. We can provide suitable plastic bike bags if required. Additional information on flying with your cycle can be found in our General Information booklet that is sent with your holiday booking confirmation.
You can also travel by train with your bicycle across most of Europe. The regulations vary from country to country, but generally you can take a bike on slower local services without too much hassle. On the fast intercity trains you generally have to buy a ticket for your bike (and book ahead). Not all trains will take bikes (but the timetables usually indicate which do or don’t), and some services, such as the French TGV trains, won’t take bikes at all unless they are packed to conform to their standard baggage regulations.
What is the Bike Adventures ‘Cycle Transport’?
For an additional fee we are able to offer transport for your bicycle from your home to the start of your trip on most of our holidays (and return it at the end of the trip!!). Generally your cycle will be collected by courier from your home (or work) about a week before the start of the trip (you will need to have it boxed up) and delivered to our office. We will then transport your bike in the support vehicle to the start of your holiday.
At the end of the trip we will bring your bike back to our office and it will then be returned to your home in a few days.
Can I extend my holiday or make other travel arrangements?
If you wish to extend your trip by arriving a few days earlier or staying on for a while after the rest of the group have gone we can usually book additional hotel or campsite nights for you. You will obviously be responsible for making your own way to the start of the trip, or getting back to the airport or station, and you should be aware that this can sometimes be some distance away. There is no charge for this service provided that you inform us at the time you make the booking. For any subsequent changes there is a charge of £10.
Can you suggest a training programme?
Bike Adventures do have access to specialist training advice. Following a booking feel free to ask us about his, and we will give you the benefit of our experience.
Alternatively, if you feel you require a formal programme your local cycle shop should have books and DVDs on the subject.
In general if you have not previously ridden the mileages planned for the tour you should start cycling as much as possible several months before the holiday, gradually increasing your mileage each week until you are able to cycle the average daily distance for the holiday for 2 or 3 consecutive days (and still be ready to get on your bike and do the same again the next day). The fitter you are the more you will enjoy the holiday.
I have a few more questions – who can I talk to?
We want you to come on our holidays, but it is also important to us that you enjoy the trip and it is suitable for you.
If you have any questions about any aspect of any of our holidays – please send us an e-mail (or give us a ring).
We look forward to talking to you.
Telephone: (+44) 07534 413591