There truly is no better way to explore a new land than on two wheels. What’s more, a luxury bike tour allows you to connect with your surroundings in a meaningful way and discover a new corner of the world. You can sample the cuisine and take in the sights, sounds and culture of a region, all while sharing in your pedal-powered passion. In this article we shine a light on some of the best luxury tours, companies, and destinations you can find.
Planning a luxury bike tour can be broken up into convenient chunks so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of information you have to remember.
The first thing to do is to choose the location and season you will be riding in. Later in this article we will touch on luxury tours in both North America and Europe to help give you some inspiration for your vacation.
The next thing to choose is your ride partners. Make sure everyone is at a similar level, or if not, that there is a general understanding of the plans. This way no one gets left behind or restless if the pace isn’t high enough. Be prepared to get brutal. If you want a relaxed holiday, maybe don’t invite the semi-pros in your club. On the other hand, if the goal is to train and get fit, leave the laid-back riders at home.
Will you want to ride purely on the road or mix it up with a luxury mountain bike tour or gravel ride? Decide this in the group and start planning routes and researching the area before the travel date. This way you get an understanding of the area, if it is hilly or flat, and the type of riding you will be doing day after day.
Of course, you can plan a luxury bike tour yourself, but it can be a stressful experience trying to juggle friends, accommodation, events, and your own riding. Cut this all out by traveling with a luxury bike tour company. The section below details some of the very best that can help guide you around Europe on two wheels.
Planning what kit and accessories you will be bringing with you is a vital stage of preparation. Create a tick list and compile the best clothing, accessories, equipment, and non-cycling kit you will need for the tour. Not forgetting of course your bike, shoes, and helmet. Something like the men’s and women’s CASTELLI Free Aero.
Race 4 bibshorts are ideal for hot conditions and are constructed to keep you cool. On top, the CASTELLI Vantaggio jersey and CASTELLI Primavera jerseys are also brilliant pieces of kit to tour in. If the sun goes behind a cloud at all on your tour, the SPORTFUL Pro Vest is sure to keep your core warm. Lastly, our range of Alba and POC sunglasses as well as our ABUS and POC helmets will neatly finish off your look and keep you safe. For more on what to take on your trip, read our essential kit list.
Getting the miles in before travelling is crucial if you want to have the best experience. Depending on your destination you might be riding all day on rolling terrain, so you will need a base fitness to help get you going. Trust us, having some training miles in the legs will make your luxury bike tour far more enjoyable and comfortable as you will be able to keep up with the pace.
For more on planning a bike tour, check out our earlier articles on the subject. Planning A Cycling Trip? Here Is Our Guide To Help You and What Makes A Great Cycling Trip? both take you from initial internet search to the plane.
As well as our step-by-step preparation for a luxury bike tour, there are some things to consider beyond the obvious when planning a trip. These are tips that no one really tells you but are vital for you to have a successful tour.
It’s easy to forget about your nutrition when riding round a beautiful part of the world sampling rich cuisine. This is all fine but remember to keep eating and drinking on the bike throughout the day so that you do not hit the wall. Down time is also crucial for recovery. It’s well worth planning days off the bike in advance of the trip. These can be used to boost the morale of the group and delve deeper into the region’s culture. Our previous article, Pitfalls When Planning A Cycling Trip, is a cautionary tale of what to avoid on your travels and dives a little deeper into this point.
To really get stuck into the culture of a region it is well worth travelling with a luxury bike tour company so that you can have as much of an authentic experience as possible. One such company is Duvine. They run bike trips all over Europe and combine culture, local character, cuisine and luxury accommodation with quality bikes, gear, ride support and routes to create a truly immersive experience. The guides are expert cyclists and connoisseurs of their region, as well as top mechanics and linguists, so there really is no stress. The accommodation, meals, gear, support, activities, and bikes are all provided so that you can keep the pedals turning and the good times coming.
Italy is arguably the home of European luxury bike tours. Not only is the cycling spectacular, but the cuisine, views and accommodation are world class. From the high peaks of the Dolomites to the glistening coast of Puglia via the cedar-lined gravel roads of Tuscany, Italy is a true feast for the senses. Wherever you choose to travel in Italy you will find great riding and even greater company.
Duvine, and others such as Backroads, Ciclismo, and Trek Travel, offer a number of tours in Italy from the smaller isles of Sicily and Sardinia, to the mainland where you can take in the mountains of the Dolomites, or the picturesque region of Puglia. Italy is renowned for its world-class cycling, and you can experience the best of it by choosing one of these high-class tours for your next trip.
It’s not just the cycling this European country is renowned for – the culture and cuisine are something you need to experience at least once in your lifetime. Devour the traditionally cooked pasta and taste the difference in the local olive oil, while soaking in the atmosphere of a vibrant and colourful country on your bike.
If Italy isn’t top of your bucket list, then fear not, as major tour companies offer luxury tours across Europe. Discover the cols of France, the architecture and history of Portugal or silky smooth roads in Spain, all while not worrying about the logistics of planning your dream trip – it’s all taken care of.
Explore the lesser known regions of France, ones that perhaps aren’t visible from watching the Tour de France. Not every ride need be a life-changing, leg-destroying epic. Instead, why not roll steady through the sunflower laden fields of Provence or the towpaths of the luscious Loire Valley. Complement your stays with the ultimate in fine cuisine by indulging in some of France’s best Champagnes and wines. Each region has a distinct offering that cannot be matched in quality or dedication across the globe.
Portugal might not be the first place you think of for a luxury cycling tour, but it’s having somewhat of a resurgence. No longer just the place where port is bottled, its historical architecture and rolling roads are some of the quietest and well maintained in Europe. Pair the dazzling liquors with smoked meats and hearty stews, or snack on tropical fruits as you ride.
Spain is a further great European offering. Home of the Vuelta a España, it offers much more than meets the eye for a luxurious cycling tour. The drastic differences in landscapes and terrains make Spain an ideal destination for those who want to taste a little bit of everything on their tour. And speaking of taste, you’ll not be able to escape the succulent tapas and strong flavours of the Spanish cuisine – the perfect complement to any long day on the bike.
As well as their deep bench of European tours, Duvine cover the United States, offering several trips that each have their own charm and identity. Whether you’re looking for a mountainous getaway or a vineyard inspired retreat, the US has diversity on its side.
Discover parts of the US that you didn’t realise existed and indulge in cuisine refined and distinct in its preparation. Consider the locally sourced seafood in Washington, where you can enjoy a farm-to-table experience while enjoying the challenging scenery of Mount Constitution. Or one of the many experiences in California – you wouldn’t believe this vast landscape belongs to one state. Stay near the famous wineries and vineyards that are home to some of the world-famous Zinfandels, while enjoying the fruits of the local produce, such as avocados and berries.
If you’re more of a winter lover, why not consider a trip to Colorado in the cooler months, home to the Rocky Mountains? Live like a local in luxury huts and refuges, perfect for a good ski. Or ride through Aspen and Independence Pass to discover why riders flock here for valuable training camps. The United States is home to some of the most varied and beautiful landscapes on the planet, and luxury cycling tours are the best way by far to get to know these areas.
Although luxury bike tours immerse you in the very best of your destination’s cycling and culture, guided riding shouldn’t be a foregone conclusion. Taking on the routes unguided can make for a thoroughly enjoyable - perhaps more adventurous - bike trip. Self-guided doesn’t mean that you will be sleeping under a bivvy and roaming the wilds alone – far from it. Instead, you are following the same routes, staying in the same accommodation, and enjoying the same activities you would otherwise, only not in a group setting.
Whether you prefer guided or unguided luxury tours largely depends on your own preferences. If the idea of a more intimate trip with friends or family takes your fancy, you’re an experienced cyclist or can speak the local language, throwing yourself into a self-guided tour can be an exciting voyage of discovery. If not, it’s a good idea to get yourself onto a worry-free guided tour so that you can have the best time possible.
Luxury bike tours are incredible experiences that make the most out of your training and fitness on the bike. Wherever you choose to travel on your next luxury bike tour, whether it’s at home or further afield, you will need a quality kit for the best experience. Head to our store for the best quality apparel and accessories for your trip. And remember the transport of your gear - brands like EVOC exist to help you get there!