On a self-guided tour, your guide is… yourself! Instead of following another person or group, you are given all the tools to explore a region on your own, at your own pace, to fulfill your own desires. A self-guided tour includes arrangements like hotels, some meals, and bike rentals, but the rest is up to you.
Q. What is included in a self-guided tour run by BikeTourEurope? Ans.
BikeTourEurope self-guided tours start when you arrive in the starting town or city of your tour. In general, our tours include a personal greeting, whether the local representative meets you at the train station and transfers you to your hotel, or meets you later on at the hotel for breakfast.
Our local rep will also give you a tour kit featuring:
His/her cell phone number, in case you need to call!
A map of the area marked with your tour route
Cue sheets giving you specific instructions to “turn left at the fork!” or “go straight!” (for tours with tricky navigation)
Route notes on the best local cafes, restaurants, shops, and sights
The cost of the hotel is included in the tour. BikeTourEurope chooses family-owned establishments with excellent service and charming features. No matter what the star rating, you can expect comfort and character from the hotel or bed-and-breakfast where you stay. Most accommodations include bike storage areas and some have laundry facilities. If you have any meals at the hotel, let us know in advance of any dietary requirements, and we’ll pass it on to the chefs!
Daily breakfasts are included. Be aware that European breakfasts are delicious but usually pretty light. Most of our selected hotels offer and “improved” breakfast to ensure that you’re fueled up for a day of cycling.
Some or all dinners are also included at pre-selected restaurants, depending on the tour. The restaurants are certainly a treat, and you may feel like treating yourself to the region’s special beverages. As varieties and prices vary by region, drinks are not included in the tour price.
Luggage transfers will be provided for you by third-party companies. In general, your luggage will be picked up at your hotel at 9:30 in the morning. The luggage transfer company is used by other agencies, thus delivery to your next hotel is not guaranteed until 5:00 PM; the longer time means prices and your carbon footprint are lower!
Our ears will be open in case you need to call us!
Q. Why pick a self-guided tour over a guided one? Ans.
Guided tours are great, too, but going on a guided tour is a bit like being in school again: your guide is your teacher, and you, the cyclists, are the students. You have rules and an agenda to follow. When you’re on a self-guided tour, you make the rules! You can choose to cycle more miles than the group, if you feel a challenging ride is rewarding; you can choose to cycle fewer miles, if you feel that sightseeing is more rewarding. Self-guided tours build self-confidence as you find your way through unfamiliar territory, which ultimately gives you more exposure to the country.
Q. What happens in instances of bad weather? Ans.
We don’t have any set rules, but no matter where you are, please call our cell phone number. We are a local company, so we will use our local resources. The luggage vehicle might give you a lift, or we can call a cab. You may also use your information kit which has phone numbers for local businesses and hotels.
Q. What about mechanical issues? Ans.
We suggest that before you leave for your tour, learn the basics, like fixing a flat tire or readjusting chains. Because it’s not a guided tour, there’s no support vehicle. Still, we won’t leave you stranded, especially if it’s a serious problem. Also note that your kit’s list of contacts will usually include local bicycle shops.
Q. What happens if the tour is too difficult? Ans.
This is highly unlikely to happen! Before you start your tour, our job is to evaluate your fitness level. Providing you give us honest information, we’ll make sure the tour is a fit for your abilities. We’re cyclists, so if we say it’s a tough ride… it’s tough!
Q. What happens if there’s an emergency or another unexpected situation? Ans.
In the event of an emergency, we hope you first call the emergency number in your kit, then contact your local guide. If you can, give us a call, and we’ll get in touch with your emergency contact. If, perhaps, an airline loses your luggage, contact us and we’ll figure out what to do next.
Q. What if something unforeseen happens? Ans.
While we all imagine a carefree ride under blue skies, cyclists on self-guided tours sometimes encounter problems. Part of the fun of self-guided tours is feeling like you’ve conquered a situation on your own. However, BikeTourEurope will never leave you stranded! You can retain your sense of adventure, but know that we’re your safety net.
Q. What are the benefits of traveling on a self-guided tour? Ans.
The major benefits of self-guided tours are the flexibility and independence they allow you. When you’re your own guide, you can follow your own free will. You can start your day early, or sleep a bit late. You can choose to wander off the beaten path, or you might choose to stay in town and skip out on riding for a day. Also, you have increased opportunities to meet people, whether area locals or cyclists visiting the area like you. Another great benefit of self-guided tours is the “green factor”: you are using environmentally-friendly transportation and you’re supporting local businesses.