Outdoor enthusiasts have been lugging backpacks throughout the wilderness for years, and bike tours are the logical next step. Especially with mountain bikes, cyclers can travel the roads and off-roads and go much farther than the hikers.
On a bike, riders see the oceanfront, valleys, forests, vineyards, mountains, lakes and rivers as well as villages much more intimately than from the window of a car, bus or train.
Bike tours allow travelers to interact with local people and enjoy a local meal and still make good time to their next destination. Riding a bicycle is also the best way to get to know city streets.
Bike tours can be highly structured for large or small groups with every meal stop planned and hotels booked in advance. They can also be freewheeling forms of tourism where riders take each day as it comes, with a basic idea of what they want to do and see in the area.
Structured tours have arranged accommodation and the planners will transfer luggage from one stop to the next. A day-by-day itinerary is given including where to stop for meals and what sights to visit. It is important to get to the next destination before dark. Some scheduled tours allow riders to rest for a day if they particularly like a hotel or area.
There are tours for every age and riding experience level. Families with children can enjoy a tour that is specifically planned with easy terrain and frequent stops to rest. There are also bike tours for seniors that have a pace suitable for them. It may be better for children and seniors to have a guided tour where their needs are especially considered. Self-guided bike tours are great for people who are experienced at riding and know how to travel.
Touring by bike is also one of the best kinds of Green Tourism. It has the benefit of reducing the traveler’s carbon footprint and allows them to support local economies. They can travel through an area with zero impact and leave it just as pristine for the next visitors.
There are several ways to haul gear with a bicycle on a tour. Pannier bags are one way to carry supplies and equipment. They attach to the back of a bicycle and hang over the rear wheel. They should be packed so that the weight is evenly balanced. More items can be put on the rack that supports the bags. Pannier bags over the front wheel are usually small, because they can affect steering.
Another way to carry gear is with a bicycle trailer. There are some strong, metal trailers with single wheels that can be pulled by a bicycle. This makes control and steering of the bicycle easier. Some bicycle trailers have their own suspension which helps in off-road riding.
For those who do not ride bicycles on a regular basis, it is a good idea to practice shorter runs for several weeks, so their muscles will be ready for a long bike tour.