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Top 4 Must-Haves For An Awesome Bike Tour

Beppe Salerno
Posted by Beppe Salerno on May 24, 2016 2:30:00 PM

Repost- Before you take a well-deserved bike tour halfway across the world, make sure you read these 4 must-haves personally handpicked for you.

Lungomare Blog

Must-Have # 1 - Getting into the Right Mindset

As famous blogger / bike touring enthusiast, Amaya Williams once wrote: Ride your ride and nobody else's. 

I've watched many cyclists put so much pressure on themselves they end up sapping all the confidence they have in the first place.

They keep on saying, "I should've covered a mile by now …."

They end up quitting at the first sign of trouble … never to try again.


Bike tours aren't about competition.

You're not going to win a medal, that's for sure.

It's all about enjoying the ride and getting to know yourself a little bit better – how fast can you go, how strong can you be and how durable you are against the elements.

More than the competition, it's about working with your team (or the avatar of yourself) and sharing the experience with newfound friends and buddies.

Look, just because you're lagging behind the pack doesn't mean you have to quit. Bike tours are supposed to be enjoyed – and not getting worried about the bumps and the bruises along the way.

You get into bike tours because you want to improve yourself and appreciate what you've become – a better, stronger and healthier you, plus enjoy the sights and experiences on the tour.

And that's more important to us.

At the end of the day, we'll all be gathered around, enjoying some of the best food and wine in the area and applauding you for conquering the ride. 

Must-Have #2 - Getting Fit

 … And speaking of having the right mindset, I'm a big proponent of preparing both mind and body for a tour.

That means having the discipline to follow a training program.

There's no substitute for getting on a bike and starting to  pedal.

I don't care if you play tennis twice a week or shoot hoops with your buddies during the weekend. Cycling is a different animal and should be treated differently. That's why my suggestion is to ride for at least 6 weeks – 8 weeks at most.

I'm not saying to terminate your pilates or gym membership. You can still enjoy other sports. It's just going to be on top of the program, not instead of it.

There are people who are too cautious; they refuse to push themselves.

You've probably heard about these people. They’re full of excuses and would rather sit on a couch and watch TV all day.

They're the same people who think they're too old, too fat, too busy or too sickly to participate in a bike tour.

Not true.

I've got clients who are over 70 years old and have been conquering cycling tours as if it's a child's play. It is just a matter of developing a pair of stronger legs and improved cardiovascular capacity. Everything will fall into place after that.

And I'm willing to teach you a fitness program that will prepare your body for a bike tour. 

Our 6 week training plan will get you ready for your active cycling vacation.

I've been preaching about physical training throughout our discussion but the mental aspect is equally important.

According to Tom Allen of Tom's Bike Trip:

"Training yourself mentally will serve you far better than attempting to train yourself physically."

On his blog, he wrote a list of things you can practice right away to set yourself up for an exciting, albeit demanding, bike tour.

I included my favorites on the list below.

To see the entire list, please read his article, "15 Unorthodox Ways To Train For Cycle Touring & Bikepacking (Bicycle Optional)":

  1. Start hanging out with other bicycle travelers
  2. Reduce your intake of social media
  3. Re-wallpaper your home
  4. Cook one-pot meals (Note: pasta!)
  5. Sell your fridge
  6. Quit electricity
  7. Do nothing more
  8. Talk to strangers
  9. Practice the art of non-verbal communication



Must-Have #3 - Awesome Bike Tour = Awesome Planning

The first thing you have to do is to check if your airline is bike friendly. Give your airline a call too as online info has often proved unclear or out of date. 


Then, let's proceed.

There are two types of bike tours:

  1. Self-supported bike tours
  2. Organized bike tours

Self-supported bike tours are more flexible when it comes to schedules. You have all the time in the world to spend your time on a bike; it could last for days, weeks, months even years.

Organized bike tours, on the other hand, are relatively convenient for people who are doing it for leisure and have a shorter timetable.

There are three guidelines I want you to consider before booking a bike tour:

First, consider when you're going.

For example, on our Plus Tours we visit regions when we know it's the best time to go. 

Meanwhile, Joe Morris of adventurecycling.org says June is a wonderful time to visit northern France. He also says that July and August are the best months to visit the cooler region of southern Rhine in Germany.

According to the US Adventure Cycling Association, the Southern Tier Bicycle route (San Diego, CA and St. Augustine, FL) is best ridden in early fall or spring for optimum conditions. 

If you're traveling to southeast Asia, December is probably your best bet since it's the coolest season.

Lastly, decide where to ride.

Are you leaning towards paved roads vs dirt tracks? Would you like to visit rural areas and the countryside? Or, perhaps you're more of an adventurous type and want to traverse steep hills and epic climbs? My recommendation is to visit 5-10 websites of travel providers in that region and then go with the one with the most expertise to help you come up with an ideal bike route.

Now, I understand some of us are busy people. We have 9 to 5 jobs and we can't commit weeks pr months away from the office. 

Then you may consider an overnight tour. This might be the most convenient type of bike tour you can ever have and the experience is just as exciting as a weeklong bike ride.

Must-Have # 4 - Setting up a Budget

Let me ask you this: how much is enough?

It's a tricky issue for some since it's a balance between necessity and luxury.

Are you going to stay at a hotel room priced over $90 a day or go stealth camping for a night? Are you sold on affordable luxury? If you are, we are on the same wavelength. 

If you’re looking for affordability, I recommend sites such as Tripsite with many tours available online. The good thing about guided tours is that you don’t have to ship your own equipment; especially if you’re only booked for 2 to 5 days.

Plus, they can suit any budget. 

One example of low budget city and short-haul tours is Budget Bikes, a European bike rental company that offers tours around Germany, France, the Netherlands and England. The company offers day rides with simple but reliable bikes at an affordable price.    

You can also try self-guided tours which allows you to explore routes without guides or assistance.

You're basically on your own; you are expected to fix your own flats and bring yourself to the next stop. The tour operator, on the other hand, takes care of logistics – hotel reservations, tour maps, luggage transportation and in some cases, replacement bikes and emergency assistance.

Final Thoughts

Going on a bike tour is an investment, but it's worth it.

You get to see the world from a much different perspective from where you're living now. You meet people who show you how big our planet really is. 

You experience a sense of achievement you won't get from spending 8 hours a day sitting in an office.

This is different.

And it's within reach if you only decide TODAY to follow my tips. You'll thank me later. 

If you're passionate about trying something else and leave behind your work even for a week, then let the bike bug bite you and enjoy the ride.

Did I forget something?

What are your tips for awesome bike tours?

Leave your tips on the comments section.

I hope you learned a lot from this article and I invite you to consider us for your next bike adventure.

We’ll promise a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

You’ll visit old castles and ancient ruins that have inspired countless of Hollywood blockbusters. You’ll go all the way to rustic villages to enjoy vintage wines and slabs of top-quality cheese. And finally, you’ll discover the Italian wilderness and experience what Italy was way before the Roman Empire was born.

Give us a call right now or send a message.

Topics: Cycling, Tourissimo Tours

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