“Self-guided cycling is a cheaper, less scripted way of cycle touring in Europe,” says Price. “It is gaining in appeal as a viable option for independent travelers, active families and those on a tighter vacation budget.”
From 2010 to 2011 self-guided tour sales were up 30 percent from one year to the next; as of early spring 2012, Price’s company has doubled the number of people booked on self-guided tours compared to 2011.
“We expect growth to triple in 2012,” she adds, attributing the growth in part to the fact that more families are booking and so groups are larger because of that. To help clients, she has created a Q&A called “What to Ask When Booking a Self-Guided Tour?”.
Clients tend to ask, among others, if bikes are included in the price? Who is the company behind the tour and what are the trip logistics (including lodging, meals, and transfers) from start to finish?
“Although self-guided tours are for people who are comfortable with the basics of mechanics (i.e. flat tires, adjusting small things on the derailleur), it’s always good to ask about things such as emergency contact information and years in business,” she adds.
The company suggests that clients should at least be minimally physically prepared for the upwards of 30-40 miles-daily rides, she added.
Most tours include 24-27-speed bicycles (a road (racing) bike with drop bars or a hybrid bike with upright handlebars); luggage shuttles, hotels, and all breakfasts. Guests receive a detailed “road book” with information about what to see, where to eat and suggestions for locating bike mechanics along the route. A Bike Safely sheet provides information on safety and road signs.