The lure of adventure on two wheels is calling. Maybe you’ve done a few bike tours with other people or in a group and you’re ready to ride solo. Or maybe you prefer to travel alone and meet people along the way, as often happens.
Solo bicycle tours are an excellent way to experience Europe. And here’s what we mean by “solo”—you’re cycling on your own on a self-guided tour. You’ll have a lot of independence and still have luggage transfers, planned routes with maps or GPS, lodging, and a service hotline in case you need support along the way.
If you’re traveling alone but prefer to ride with other people, you may prefer a guided tour, which assures you that you’ll be with others and typically with van support and a group leader.
But if you choose a self-guided solo tour, you’ll gain an experience unlike any other. Here’s why:
1. Ride at your own pace. Forget a pace line—choose your own riding pace, slow or speedy, to take in the sights around you. Move through the world in your own time. Stop and start when you’d like.
2. Make your own schedule. Beyond dropping your luggage in the morning and arriving at the next hotel, you are the master of your day on two wheels. That means stopping as much as you like to smell the flowers, eat gelato, picnic off the bike path, or explore a nearby village. You decide when to start and stop and what you’d like to see along the way.
3. Explore “unintentional detours.” Getting a bit lost is part of the adventure of bike touring solo and we think where some of the magic happens. You’re likely to come away from the experience with good stories or even new friends. And with traveling solo, you’re in charge!
4. Take in your surroundings with heightened awareness. Whether you’re on a more remote tour or pedaling on one of the more popular dedicated bike paths in Europe, when you travel alone, you really soak up the environment—sounds, smells, sights, and feelings.
5. Get to know the local culture. If you enjoy traveling alone, it’s likely you find joy in navigating new countries, new cultures, and new languages. We do, too. Traveling solo enables you to learn more about things you really love
6. Feel empowered. Finishing any bike tour leaves you with a sense of accomplishment—”I did that!” That feeling is even greater after navigating a European country by bike by yourself. Soak up every minute of your solo travel adventure on two wheels.
7. Meet people. If you’re traveling with a group or even a friend, you’re often insulated against meeting new people. When you’re alone, you’re more prone to approach other people–and they’re more prone to approach you.
Single, solo, guided, self-guided, self-contained—what’s the difference?
Let’s start with self-contained tours, because BikeTours.com doesn’t have any. The people you see lugging their gear on their bikes, they’re self-contained. They plan their routes themselves and arrange their own lodging, often camping out.
Self-guided tours give you a lot of the same independence, but they all include luggage transfers, planned routes with maps or GPS, lodging, and a service hotline in case you need support along the way.
With guided tours, you ride with a group and get all the features of a self-guided tour plus typically a ride-along guide, van support with driver, dinners, and other activities.
As a single, you are joining a group of other cyclists on a guided tour. If you’re single and want to make sure you’re not alone, a guided tour assures you that you’ll be with others and typically with van support and a group leader.
As a solo, you’re cycling on your own on a self-guided tour.