We’ve been sending clients on European bicycle tours for sixteen years, so we’d like to think we know a thing or two about the latest trends in cycle tourism! Here’s what will be big in 2020!
1. Genealogical travel
Ancestry and DNA-testing can be very informative, but even better than just learning or reading about where you’re from? Cycling there! Biking through the region of your ancestors can give you an up-close-and-personal look at your roots, from the places your family lived to the food they ate. A bike tour to your ancestral lands can also give you the chance to:
- Talk to the locals. Hear the history of the region from those who live there.
- Pay homage to the homeland. Immersing yourself in your family’s heritage can be a powerful life moment.
- Take the family! Learn about your past with your family. Genealogical travel is a great opportunity to bring the family together.
2. Multi- and skip- generation travel
Multi-gen travel (kids, parents, grandparents) has been popular for some time, but we’re starting to see even more skip-gen travel (grandparents and grandkids)! Cycle tours offer the chance for different ages, experience levels, and physical abilities to travel together, with e-bike options (more on that below!) for easier riding or more leisurely family-friendly tours (whether that’s in the form or rest days or low mileage cycling). Traveling by bike with people of all ages is good for:
- Family bonding time. Cycle together and navigate the route for teamwork like no other.
- Creating shared experiences. Cycling allows you to soak in the surroundings while you ride. The adventures you’ll have and the people you’ll meet along the way will be the real souvenirs of the trip.
- Getting out from behind a screen. When you’re cycling, there’s no time to be scrolling on social media. It’s a chance to “reconnect” with those tweens and teens who seem to be always tethered to their phones.
Electric bikes aren’t motorbikes or even mopeds — instead, they provide power on demand, responding to and complementing your pedaling speed and power. Electric-assist bicycles open bicycle touring to four broad groups:
- Couples who want to travel together but are hindered by differing ability levels. Sometimes the less-fit (or less-interested) partner wants to cycle alongside the avid cyclist but ultimately slows down or rides behind the party — not much fun for anybody. Ebikes boost your pedaling power, closing this gap!
- Multi-generation (and skip-gen) family vacations face the same challenges — the grandparents may not go the same speed or distance as the rest of the family. E-bikes offer a solution for everyone to participate and maintain an enjoyable level of exertion. Please note e-bikes are not available for children.
- Travelers with infirmities or recovering from injuries can still enjoy an active vacation with an electric bike. Since the ebike compensates proportionately to your effort, riders in less-than-perfect health receive assistance when desired.
- Some would-be and first-time travelers have anxiety over their ability to keep up or cycle multiple days in a row. The reassurances of an e-bike help people step out of their comfort zone. It means they don’t have to worry about being too slow or exhausted and they’ll be able to better enjoy the views and sights along the bike tour route.
4. Active travel for all
(We’ve been saying this since the beginning…) Bicycle tours are for just about everyone! Active travel (including cycle touring) is a vacation option for people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities, not just for those who spend miles in the saddle every day! With a variety of tours that include varying daily distances, bicycle options, and itineraries, first-time bike travelers are growing in number every day!
- If you aren’t comfortable with steep hills or long daily rides, e-bikes help take a bit of the work out of the tour!
- Tandem bikes are great for lovebirds and visually-impaired riders with sighted cyclists.
- Guided tours are great for those who love a set schedule and the guidance of a professional. For those who like a little more freedom, self-guided tours are a more flexible option.
- Tours can be selected with low daily mileage or based on rider levels.
- Guided tours with a support vehicle allow for cyclists to shorten a ride or skip it altogether.
5. Foodie travel
We like to say calories don’t count on a bike tour. So why not indulge and eat well while cycling through Europe? From Italy to Ireland, from Sweden to Greece, there are countless opportunities to try some delicious, new-to-you cuisine, just as the locals intended.
There’s no problem with planning your vacations around the delectable food you want to eat. Cycle through vineyards trying the region’s best wine, take a cooking class to learn from the best, or savor a fantastic meal with the stunning landscape or cityscape of your tour in front of you! The best part is – you earned it! Check out these tours to experience local culture via gastronomy.