Taking a bike tour of your city is a great way to see the place that you live in a completely different way.
You can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time but without the downsides of seeing the city by car. While going on a bike tour can be a great experience, you need to take the time upfront to plan your bike tour properly.
You want the tour to be worthwhile for all involved, but it doesn’t have to require weeks of your time to plan a good tour either. Here are a few helpful tips to help you get started.
Choose The Type Of Tour
The first thing that you’ll want to do with any bike tour is to choose the type of tour that you’re planning. While there is an incredibly diverse selection of tours that you could choose to go on, the type of tour can be boiled down to a few different options:
- Credit Card Touring
This type of tour is one of the easiest to run. The idea here is that you plan your tour (of any length), with the goal of carrying only a minimal amount with you on your bikes. Everything else, from your food to your lodging (if necessary) is paid for on the road.
While this is an expensive form of a tour, it’s very easy to set up and requires more route planning than anything else.
- Self-Supported Touring
Longer term, self-supported touring is far more involved than a credit card tour, but it’s also much cheaper as a result. In this case, you would carry all food and other gear that you need for a multi-day tour. This would allow you to easily stop at any point on your journey for food, water, or to rest.
It also is very self-contained, which many cyclists enjoy touring new areas because it allows them to operate with the greatest amount of flexibility (following the pre-trip planning process).
- Day Tours
If you are looking to do a quick day tour, then you won’t need to carry additional gear with you, and you can select a bicycle that is more appropriate for a shorter city tour. This can increase your level of comfort, and allow you to spend more of your time planning the route that you’ll be taking rather than negotiating lodging and incidentals the entire time.
Know Your Group
When planning a tour of your city, you’ll want to keep your group’s interests in mind. Where many people stumble with this part of the process is that they’ll too closely associate their group’s interests with that of their own.
When you’re planning your route, you should try to think about your route as if it were a route that you would recommend to them if they were going on a trip without you. Most bike tours are planned for the benefit of others, and by thinking of only their interests, you’ll be able to plan a more enjoyable route as a result.
Where this gets difficult is if you are trying to balance a few different types of interests. One of the best ways to plan a route with multiple sets of interests is to intermingle the points of interest throughout the tour. This is most easily explained in a small group tour with two completely different sets of interests.
For example, if half of your group wants to experience the food in your city, and the other half wants to experience the culture, you’d be best served by planning your route to highlight a food stop, followed by a museum stop, followed by another food stop.
This would allow each group to experience something that interests them regularly throughout the day, and it allows you to keep both groups engaged throughout the tour as well.
Add-In Buffer Time For The Unscheduled Events
No matter how well you plan your bike tour, something is almost always going to happen to derail your plans. This is almost always outside your control and can range from an injury before or during the bike tour to an unscheduled event that breaks up your bike tour and requires some additional buffer time to make all of your stops.
Unscheduled events can be good as well. You could ride by something that the group wants to take a look at, or have an incredible experience at one of your earlier stops, and want to stay longer.
By planning buffer time into your schedule, and making sure that your schedule is relatively flexible, you will be able to roll with the punches and handle these unscheduled events while being confident that they won’t derail your overall tour schedule.
Planning a bike tour isn’t always a simple process, but it’s extremely easy when you keep in mind the overarching strategy and tips described above.
Have you planned a bike tour recently? What are your best tips? Let us know in the comments.