bike riding

The Comprehensive Guide to Cycling Tourism

A cyclist biking in France

Imagine a vacation that combines fitness, adventure, and the opportunity to explore hidden gems around the world – welcome to the exhilarating world of cycling tourism! Biking allows you to immerse yourself in diverse landscapes, connect with local communities, and enjoy a unique perspective that most tourists don’t get to experience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the growing popularity of cycling tourism, the different types of cycling tours available, and how to plan your next thrilling cycling holiday.

Key Takeaways

  • Experience the ultimate cycling adventure with a range of exciting tours and destinations!
  • Get fit & healthy while exploring nature on two wheels.
  • Prepare for an unforgettable journey by selecting essential gear and following safety tips.

The Growing Popularity of Cycling Tourism

A cyclist on a bike touring in the countryside

Cycling tourism is gaining traction among adventure seekers and fitness enthusiasts alike. With the desire to discover nature, more people are turning to bike touring as a way to explore the world while staying active and healthy. Cyclists of all ages, backgrounds, and budget levels enjoy the thrill and adventure of cycle touring. Some benefits of cycling tourism include:

  • Breathtaking scenic rides
  • Adrenaline-pumping mountain biking
  • Opportunities to explore new destinations
  • Connecting with nature and the environment
  • Meeting fellow cyclists and forming new friendships

There’s a type of bike tour for everyone, whether you prefer leisurely rides through picturesque countryside or challenging off-road trails. So grab your bike and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

The surge in cycling tourism can largely be attributed to the myriad of health benefits it provides. Some of these benefits include:

  • Providing a great workout
  • Contributing to mental well-being and overall health improvement
  • Supporting sustainability by reducing carbon footprint and promoting eco-friendly travel practices
  • Allowing travelers to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations
  • Building relationships with local communities
  • Experiencing the beauty of nature firsthand

Cycling tourism offers numerous and exciting specialist niches, including:

  • Road cycling
  • Mountain biking with mountain bikes
  • Family cycling
  • Touring/expedition cycling

Health Benefits

Cycling tourism is a fantastic way to get your body moving and improve your physical fitness, mental well-being, and overall health. In particular, road cycling bike tours are a hit among those aiming to enhance their fitness while soaking in nature’s splendor. The best way to get in shape for bike touring is to simply get out there and start pedaling.

Nutrition also plays a vital role in ensuring a successful cycling tour. Here are some key points to consider.

  • Road cyclists usually strive for high-calorie meals to keep their energy levels up during the day.
  • Mountain bike enthusiasts may require a different nutritional approach depending on the intensity of their rides.
  • No matter the kind of cycling tour, nourishing your body with appropriate nutrients is vital to sustain stamina and savor the journey.

Unique Experiences

One of the most attractive aspects of cycling tourism is the opportunity for bicycle tourists to discover lesser-known destinations and immerse themselves in local cultures. With a wide range of exciting cycling tours available, such as private group guided bike tours, adrenaline-pumping mountain biking tours, and longer touring/expedition cycling tours, there’s something for every traveler and skill level.

Exploring Europe by bike allows you to experience:

  • The United Kingdom
  • The Netherlands
  • Denmark & Scandinavia
  • France

Navigating the scenic countryside, historic sites, and charming villages on two wheels offers an unforgettable and intimate connection with the places you visit. Plus, the sense of accomplishment and camaraderie shared among fellow cyclists makes for a truly memorable journey.

Types of Cycling Tours

 A group of cyclists enjoying a scenic view during their cycling tourism adventure

As the popularity of cycling tourism grows, so do the options for different types of bike tours. Here are some examples:

  • Leisurely rides
  • Challenging expeditions
  • Mountain biking adventures
  • Road cycling tours
  • Wine and food tours by bike

There’s a cycling tour to suit every preference and skill level.

This section will delve into the three primary types of cycling tours: road cycling tours, mountain biking tours, and touring/expedition cycling tours. Each type of cycling tour offers its own unique set of challenges and rewards.

Road cycling tours focus on paved routes and scenic landscapes, while mountain biking tours emphasize off-road trails and technical terrains. Touring/expedition cycling tours, on the other hand, cater to those seeking long-distance journeys that can span across countries or even continents. No matter which type of tour you choose, you’re in for an exhilarating adventure.

Road Cycling Tours

Road cycling tours are perfect for those who prefer to stick to paved routes and appreciate a mix of scenic landscapes, cultural experiences, and challenging rides. These tours often cover long distances and are favored by touring cyclists who enjoy the thrill of riding fast on asphalted and sometimes paved roads.

Accommodations on road cycling tours can vary from established campgrounds and hostels to more luxurious options, depending on your preferences and budget. With the growing popularity of gravel biking, road cyclists can also explore unpaved roads and trails, adding an extra layer of excitement to their journey.

Mountain Biking Tours

For those seeking a more adrenaline-fueled experience, mountain biking tours offer the perfect opportunity to explore off-road trails, navigate technical terrains, and enjoy thrilling descents. Mountain bikers tend to be adventure seekers who love pushing themselves physically and honing their mountain biking skills on challenging trails.

There are several types of mountain biking, such as:

  • Trail riding
  • Cross-country mountain biking
  • Downhill mountain biking
  • All-mountain biking

Each type caters to different skill levels and preferences. With more and more trails designed specifically for mountain biking, enthusiasts can find the perfect route to match their interests and abilities.

Touring/Expedition Cycling Tours

If you’re looking for a long-distance journey that spans across countries or continents, touring/expedition cycling tours might be the perfect fit. These tours often require a higher level of endurance and may be self-supported, adding a sense of accomplishment and self-reliance to the adventure.

Touring/expedition cycling tours, including credit card touring, can range from leisurely rides to more challenging expeditions, depending on the preferences and abilities of the cyclists. Once you’ve started bike touring, you can choose to go self-supported or enjoy the convenience of catered meals and gear shuttles, allowing you to focus on the journey itself. Joining a bicycle touring club can also enhance your experience by connecting you with like-minded individuals who love to cycle tour.

With the right planning, preparation, and determination, a touring/expedition cycling tour can be an unforgettable experience.

Planning Your Cycling Holiday

A cyclist planning a cycling holiday on a laptop

Organizing a cycling holiday entails key steps such as choosing a destination, crafting an itinerary, and gearing up for the trip. Taking the time to carefully plan your journey will ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience, allowing you to focus on the adventure itself.

The forthcoming sections will walk you through the process of:

  1. Picking a destination in line with your interests and preferences
  2. Devising an itinerary that balances cycling lengths and sightseeing prospects
  3. Getting ready for your trip through training, researching local norms and rules, and sorting out essential travel documents and accommodations.

Selecting a Destination

Choosing the perfect cycling destination can be an exciting process, as you consider your personal interests, preferred terrain, and the climate of the area you plan to explore. Researching popular cycling destinations and consulting online resources like travel websites, cycling forums, and blogs can help you uncover hidden gems that meet your criteria.

Choosing a destination requires considering factors like:

  • cost
  • climate
  • terrain
  • available attractions in the area

By taking the time to thoroughly research and compare your options, you’ll be better equipped to choose a destination that offers the ideal combination of adventure, culture, and scenery for your cycling holiday.

Creating an Itinerary

Once you’ve selected your ideal destination, it’s time to create an itinerary that will guide you through your cycling adventure. Here are some steps to help you get started.

  1. Explore the area and familiarize yourself with the landscape.
  2. Plan a route that considers the amount of ground you want to cover each day.
  3. Take into account the attractions you want to experience along the way.

By following these steps, you can create an itinerary that will make your cycling adventure enjoyable and memorable.

Remember to strike a balance between daily cycling lengths, rest periods, and sightseeing opportunities. Overloading your itinerary with too much cycling or too many attractions can lead to burnout and detract from the overall enjoyment of your trip. By crafting a thoughtful and balanced itinerary, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your cycling holiday.

Preparing for the Trip

With your destination and itinerary set, it’s time to prepare for your trip. This encompasses:

  • Training to ensure physical readiness for the journey
  • Learning about local customs and regulations
  • Organizing required travel documents and accommodations

It’s highly recommended to train for at least two months before your trip to build up your endurance and strength. Additionally, familiarizing yourself with local customs and regulations will help you avoid any potential misunderstandings or conflicts during your journey. By taking the time to prepare for your cycling holiday, you’ll be setting yourself up for a smooth, enjoyable, and unforgettable adventure.

Top Cycling Destinations in Europe

 A cyclist riding a bike in the UK

Europe is a cyclist’s paradise, with a diverse range of landscapes, vibrant cultural experiences, and well-developed cycling infrastructure. Among the top cycling destinations in Europe are:

  • United Kingdom
  • Netherlands
  • Denmark & Scandinavia
  • France

Each of these countries offers a unique and thrilling cycling experience that caters to various interests, preferences, and skill levels.

Exploring these countries by bike allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture, traverse picturesque landscapes, and navigate through charming villages and historic sites. Whether you’re a leisure cyclist or an experienced touring cyclist, these European destinations are sure to leave you with lasting memories and a newfound appreciation for the joys of cycling tourism. Be sure to have your phone on you so you can take those breathtaking photos. A wireless charging phone case and mount will keep your phone within view and fully charged during your ride.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is a dream destination for cycling enthusiasts, boasting picturesque countryside, iconic historic sites, and challenging hill climbs. Some of the most thrilling cycling routes in the United Kingdom include:

  • The Lakeland Loop in the Lake District
  • Box Hill Olympic Circuit in Surrey
  • The Camel Trail in Cornwall
  • Snowdon in Wales
  • The Sea to Sea (C2C) route

In addition to these popular routes, the United Kingdom offers countless other cycling opportunities, such as the Essex Rivers in Essex, the Severn Valley Country Park, and the Berwick to Lindisfarne route in Northumberland. With its diverse landscapes and rich history, the United Kingdom provides an unparalleled cycling experience for adventurers of all skill levels.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a cyclist’s dream come true thanks to its predominantly flat terrain, extensive cycling network, and incredibly bike-friendly culture. As a nation of avid cyclists, the Dutch have built an impressive infrastructure of bike lanes and paths, as well as supportive laws and regulations that make cycling a breeze.

With its picturesque countryside, charming villages, and bustling cities, the Netherlands offers a unique and captivating cycling experience. Whether you’re exploring the vibrant tulip fields, navigating the intricate canal systems of Amsterdam, or embarking on a leisurely coastal ride, the Netherlands is sure to enchant and inspire cyclists of all ages and abilities.

Denmark & Scandinavia

Denmark & Scandinavia are well-known for their scenic coastal routes, pristine nature, and strong focus on sustainability. Whether you’re cycling along the breathtaking Danish coastline, exploring the rugged wilderness of Scandinavia, or venturing into the Arctic Circle, you’ll be captivated by the region’s stunning landscapes and commitment to environmental preservation.

In addition to the natural beauty, Denmark & Scandinavia also boast a vibrant cycling culture, with a high percentage of the population using bikes as their primary mode of transportation. This focus on sustainability and eco-friendly practices makes Denmark & Scandinavia an ideal destination for cycling tourists who value environmental responsibility and unforgettable natural experiences.


France is a popular cycling destination, renowned for its iconic Tour de France route, picturesque villages, and diverse landscapes. Some of the highlights include:

  • The rolling vineyards of Bordeaux
  • The sun-kissed beaches of the French Riviera
  • The stunning countryside of Provence
  • The majestic Alps and Pyrenees mountains

There’s no shortage of breathtaking scenery to explore on two wheels in France.

Some of the best cycling routes in France include:

  • Loire à Vélo
  • Burgundy
  • Alsace
  • Bordeaux and Dordogne
  • Provence
  • Southwest France

Whether you’re a casual cyclist seeking leisurely rides through charming countryside or an experienced touring cyclist looking to conquer challenging mountain passes, France offers the perfect blend of adventure, culture, and natural beauty to satisfy every cycling enthusiast.

Essential Gear and Equipment for Cycling Tours

Having the right gear and equipment is pivotal for a fruitful and enjoyable cycling tour. This includes choosing the right bike, appropriate clothing and footwear, a phone charger, and necessary accessories and tools. By investing in quality equipment and ensuring you have everything you need, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your cycling adventure with confidence.

The subsequent sections will delve into the essentials for a safe and enjoyable cycling tour, ranging from picking the ideal touring bike to packing suitable clothing and accessories. With the right preparation and gear, you’ll be ready to hit the road and make the most of your cycling holiday.

Choosing the Right Bike

Selecting the right touring bike is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable cycling tour. Factors to consider when choosing a bike include frame material, gearing, tire clearance, and your budget and preferences. Bikes such as the Ribble Gravel Ti - Ekar, Marin Four Corners 2021, Cube Kathmandu Pro 2021, Trek 520, Trek 520 Grando, Ribble CGR SL (for bikepacking), and any bicycle specifically designed for touring or gravel bikes are great options to consider when looking for touring bikes.

Keep in mind that different types of cycling tours may require different types of bikes. For example, road cycling tours typically involve riding on paved roads and may require a lightweight road bike, while mountain biking tours often involve off-road trails and technical terrains, necessitating a sturdy mountain bike designed to handle rough conditions.

Opting for the right loaded bike for your tour will guarantee a seamless and pleasurable ride throughout your expedition.

Clothing and Footwear

Wearing comfortable, breathable, and weather-appropriate clothing and footwear is essential for a successful cycling tour. Some tips for choosing the right clothing and footwear include:

  • Padded bike shorts can help keep you comfortable during long rides
  • Moisture-wicking fabrics can prevent chafing and discomfort
  • Depending on the climate, you may also need to pack layers for warmth or lightweight, breathable clothing for hot weather.

When it comes to footwear, sturdy shoes with good traction and support are crucial for cycling tours. Look for shoes that are specifically designed for cycling or opt for hiking shoes with a stiff sole for added support. Sporting appropriate clothing and footwear will let you concentrate on the forthcoming adventure and thoroughly relish your cycling experience.

Accessories and Tools

Packing the right accessories and tools for your cycling tour can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey. Essential items include:

In addition to these basic necessities, other useful items to consider packing are:

  • A handlebar bag for easy access to essentials
  • Rain covers to protect your gear in wet conditions
  • A bike lock for securing your bike when not in use

Equipping yourself with suitable accessories and tools from your local bike shop will leave you well-armed to confront any obstacles that might emerge during your cycling tour.

Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Cycling Tour

Securing a safe and enjoyable cycling tour is of utmost importance for both your well-being and the success of your adventure. Staying safe on the road involves following traffic rules, wearing protective gear, and maintaining your bike regularly.

This section will offer tips on ensuring safety and enjoyment during your cycling tour.

Staying Safe on the Road

While embarking on a cycling tour, your safety should always be a top priority. Here are some tips to help you stay safe on the road.

  • Adhere to traffic rules
  • Wear a helmet and other protective gear
  • Ensure your bike is well-maintained
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Stay vigilant to avoid potential hazards
  • Navigate busy roads with ease

By following these tips, you can enjoy your cycling tour while staying safe.

Another important aspect of road safety is maintaining your bike regularly, including checking tire pressure, brake function, and chain tension before each ride. Having a basic repair kit on hand can also help you address any unexpected issues that may arise during your journey. By taking these precautions and prioritizing safety, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and enjoyable cycling adventure.


Cycling tourism offers an incredible opportunity to explore the world, improve your health, and connect with nature and local communities in a unique way. With the right planning, preparation, and equipment, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on a thrilling cycling adventure that will leave you with lasting memories and a newfound appreciation for the joys of bike touring. So gear up, hop on your bike, and let the adventure begin!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an example of a bicycle tourism?

Organized tours such as Cycle Oregon and RAGBRAI are excellent examples of bicycle tourism, where a large number of cyclists and support crew travel through an area.

What are the benefits of bicycle tourism?

Bicycle tourism allows you to experience the health benefits of active living, embrace the slow life and make genuine connections with nature and locals, leaving you with stand out memories that last a lifetime.

What is the history of cycling tourism?

Cycling tourism first began in the late 19th century, when Paul De Vivie, a French textile broker, became fascinated with biking in England. Historical sources suggest it might have begun in France around 1820, but it was not until 1869 that three people cycled from London to Brighton and Liverpool to London, setting the pattern for modern cycling tours.

What is the meaning of cyclotourism?

Cyclotourism is a form of bicycle touring which provides the opportunity to enjoy leisurely rides while discovering new sights, exploring new routes and having memorable experiences.

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