Why should your next group trip consider a bike and boat tour?
BikeTours.com’s former resident group travel guru, Richie Daigle, told us why bike and boat tours are perfect for groups.
1. There’s only one hotel, and it floats!
Most hotel-based bike tours require that you move from hotel to hotel throughout the tour. One of the benefits of a bike and boat tour is that you are only checked into one “hotel” and that hotel moves around throughout the tour.
This allows you and the group to get settled into one room/cabin. The saloon/restaurant on board often becomes more than just the place where everyone eats. It’s a place for early morning coffee and watching the sunrise, post-lunch naps and reading nook, the setting for late night laughs with friends over beer and wine, and the social beating heart of the boat.
2. Groups can have varying ability levels, and it won’t mess with the mileage.
Many groups are composed of various different ability levels. Most bike and boat tours offer e-bikes. There are also some bike and boat tours that offer various riding options for different cycling abilities.
E-bikes are a great way to level the playing field. On my last tour in the Dalmatia Islands, my girlfriend Emily rode an e-bike while I road a mountain bike. On some days we rode together and some days I rode with the mountain bike group while she rode with the hybrid and e-bike group. This set-up is great for groups with different cycling interests and ability levels.
3. The boat and ports are great for non-cyclists.
So what if there are some members of your group that don’t want to cycle at all? A bike and boat tour is still a great adventure.
On my last tour, all the ports where we were docked were quite interesting. Normally the port is in a small town with shops, cafes, old churches, and other sites well worth visiting.
For a non-cyclist, a bike and boat tour without the biking becomes a relaxing cruise experience without all of the frills, distractions, and huge amounts of people that you would likely find on a large cruise.
4. The food is amazing.
Allow me to share an “industry secret” with you. There are some tour companies that purposely arrange exceptional food on their bike and boat tours. However, they don’t market or say anything about this. Rather, they allow the delicious food to be a welcome “surprise” for their guests, because we all know that happy taste buds and happy stomachs make for happy people.
During a brief visit to Venice, I was offered to have dinner on board the Ave Maria with a group who was finishing their bike and boat tour from Mantua to Venice. Knowing the food on this bike and boat tour is exceptional, I walked through all of Venice, past the dizzying aromas of dozens of inviting restaurants, and took a water taxi across a bay to the small island where the Ave Maria was docked. My journey through Venice to the Ave Maria paid off and then some. I had a marvelous glass of wine and perfectly cooked salmon.
5. You’ll have a carefree schedule.
Once you arrive at the boat, there is nothing left to worry about. The schedule, rides, meals, transfers, and overall logistics of the tour are already set. All you have to do is enjoy the ride.. and the food and beverage!
This should be a welcomed relief to any group leader who is accustomed to organizing all of the logistics of a tour for a group.
6. The islands will welcome you.
Most bike and boat tours will allow you to see more of a region than you would be able to without the boat. This may mean that you cover more of a distance along a river, or, as in the case of the bike and boat tours in the Dalmatian islands, this may mean that the boat takes you to islands you would have a hard time reaching otherwise.
And from experience, I can say that riding on these islands is tremendous. Low traffic roads, beautiful coastline, and historic towns. Riding on islands is a cyclist’s dream!
7. You’ll foster and grow new friendships.
If your group is large enough to charter a boat, then you will have the whole boat to yourselves. Sharing meals, beverages, and the space of the boat will likely bring your group together and further strengthen relationships over the course of the tour.
If your group isn’t quite large enough to charter the boat, you will become part of a larger and more international group. On the last bike and boat tour I was on, there were 11 nationalities represented. At the end of the tour, one gentleman from Argentina addressed the group and said that, even though there were 11 nationalities represented in our group, at the end of the week we had become one family. This is so true.
Learn more about bike and boat tours here.