It's natural to be nervous about your first multi-day cycling European cycling vacation. Here, Pure Adventure Self Guided Travel guides and fans share their travel tips for having a fun and memorable holiday.
Ride before your departure
Worried about being physically fit for your European cycling vacation? Loren Siekman, Pure Adventures' Chief Adventurer advises the best way to avoid this fear is to ride at home prior to coming. "The confidence of being physically prepared puts this out of mind during the trip. Its also part of the fun of booking a vacation - this will be the motivation to get out on the bike every week to prepare for your European cycling trip!" says Siekman.
Cycle at your own pace
"It's all about the experience", says Croatian cycling tour guide Luka Poznic. Ride at your own pace, slow down or stop if you need to, so you can enjoy the scenery. While in Istria, Poznic encourages tour riders to stop at the local market and eat fresh freshly picked apricots.
Your orientation guide is local to the European region you are travelling in. They will know the best restaurants to eat at, unique historical landmarks to discover and the prettiest places to stop for pictures. Remember, there is no such thing as a silly question.
Don't worry, ride happy
"There is a misconception that self-guided bicycle touring means riders are on their own and don't receive any support for the tour organizer", says Siekman. Luggage transfers, most meals, bicycle repairs, all accommodations, detailed maps and bicycle equipment are all included. Self-guided simply means you ride at your own pace and can truly enjoy the adventure of your European cycling vacation.
Most daily tour routes don't exceed 50 kilometers, so no need to overpack your panniers and carry unnecessary weight on your bicycle. Your camera, water, money and sunscreen are all you'll need most days. That said, Poznic always packs his swimsuit when guiding cyclists through Slovenia. With so many freshwater beaches, there's always an opportunity for a refreshing swim.
Be an adventurer
Magali Badio, who has worked with Pure Adventures for more than 10 years, tells new tour riders to enjoy the slow pace of a self-guided European cycling vacation. "Discover the country and don't try to do too much in a short time, or else it ends up being a stressful vacation," she advises.
We admit this wine bottle holder that can attach to your bike is nifty, it's best to stick with water while you are ON your bicycle. Poznic advises to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, taking a break to rest under the shade of a tree if needed. But after you rack your bike for the day, heed the call of Catalonia's or Tuscany's wines - there's a reason why our most popular tours include routes through Europe's most prolific wine regions!
Hello, ahoj, salut, ciào
Not brushed up on your French, Spanish, or Italian? What about your Czech, Flemish, or slavic languages? The world would be a small place if we only went to the places where we spoke the language; fortunately for Pure Adventures clients, everywhere we go there is English language support. Part of your tour documentation includes key word language dictionaries for the various destinations we visit. Many clients like to take a short language study course before they go just to get the basics. And, the basics will take you pretty far: Hello, Thank You, Please. And, even better, many of our destinations are now places where many people have English as a second language well mastered. The big 3 of France, Italy, and Spain probably don't speak English as well or as widely as places like Slovenia, Croatia, Belgium, Holland and other similar smaller countries. There will be moments however when you will be face to face with people who don't speak English and you'll have to do your best to communicate. That's part of what makes this a "pure" adventure and is sure to be part of your best memories!