Which Style Bike Trip is Right for You
There are dozens, hundreds of commercial, organized bike trip options out there. Here is an overview of the pros and cons of each to help you choose.
Up until the advent of Ensemble Cycling's villa based trips, there were four basic styles of bike trip:
1. Fully-loaded, self-directed "touring". A great adventure and the most flexible formula but only for the most intrepid randonneurs (long distance riders). You carry all your own gear in panniers (side bags). Special bikes are usually required. Expect to travel at maximum 50% your usually speed. Usually not for novices or the faint of heart.
2. Self-Guided with itinerary and luggage transfers. Basically, you are on your own (usually with a telephone number to call in case of trouble) and you get yourself from hotel A to hotel B following DIY route instructions provided. Your bags are moved from hotel to hotel by taxi. You can choose from simple to fancy hotels, some dinners and all breakfasts are usually included. Often less expensive; flexible dates; suitable for singles or couples.
3. Full-supported, hotel-based group tours. Like an All Inclusive resort, but on a bike. You join a group of between 10 and 20 other participants. You will have at least one full time guide accompanying you all day everyday, often two. Style can range from simple to luxurious. Often a good way to meet new friends.
4. Training camps and expeditions. Hard core (long distances each day), for serious cyclists only. Either based in one hotel (e.g. Majorca) or moving point to point cross country (e.g. the TransAlp). Accommodations can range from basic to fancy. They are All About the Cycling.
In a nutshell, the “problems” of traditional bike trip offerings that Ensemble Cycling addresses are these:
How does Ensemble Cycling work differently?