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I’ve always enjoyed bike riding. It’s a very serene, relaxing activity, and it’s good for you. My wife likes a good bike ride too, so it’s also something we can do together. We’ve taken trips to Europe in the past, but we’ve never done any bike touring there. So what if we wanted to go for a week of bike touring? How much would it cost? Could we reasonably accomplish this, with our small savings and income? In this section of my blog, I’m going to explore my options, and see if my wife and I can finally make this trip a reality.
There are two basic ways to take a bike tour, solo or with a touring group. Going it alone means more freedom, but means less support during your ride. You generally have to carry all your belongings with you , which can add an extra 30 pound burden to your adventure. Managing the trip is entirely in your hands this way, for better or for worse. Going with a touring group on the other hand means the support of other riders, as well as an equipment van to carry your luggage.
First, let’s take a look at some pre-paid tour packages. With these, you pay a set amount up front, and a company provides for all your needs. This should give me an estimate of our trip cost’s high end.
This is a 10 day tour with 8 days of cycling 25-35 miles per day. Almost all accomadations are included, including a support van and lodging. The cost is about $3200, each. This doesn’t sound terrible at first, but air fare is not included! I know from experience that you can comfortably backpack around this area for $100 per day, so what does the extra $2200 buy you? A support van?
Most bicycle tours I have seen fit this price range. They seem to be aimed at upper middle class business people with little free time and lot’s of disposable income. I came accross a great website that argues for going it solo. Planning Your Own Eurpopean Bike Tour, written by Charles Hansen, makes a good case for planning your own adventure, and it appeals to me. Mr. Hansen gives experienced advice about everything from bicycle maintenance to finding a hotel for the night. I think this approach will suit my wife and I the best.