Six Supported Bike Tour Myths, Busted

Over the Thanksgiving holiday season, we took a look at why a number of companies decided to opt out of traditional holiday sales on Black Friday in an effort to promote spending more time outdoors. And today, one of the companies featured in that piece is back to help us bust some bike tour myths!

What exactly is a bike tour? In its simplest form, it's a long distance bike ride over multiple days, either supported or unsupported, and it's an incredible way to see a lot of country under your own power. If you're a beginner, or even if you're hardcore into cycling, the idea of spending multiple days on a bike and covering significant distance can be intimidating. But supported bike tours can give you the chance to cover miles in the saddle without worrying about what you'll eat, where you'll spend the night, or how you'll get from the start of your trip to your destination in one piece.

Our friends at Bicycle Adventures run tours all over the United States as well as Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Spain, and Taiwan. After 30+ years of business, their crew knows a thing or two about what questions potential tour riders have, and what myths need busting. Learn from the experts, and consider adding a bike tour to your list of warm weather adventures.

Bike tours aren't all about time in the saddle, though that's a big part of it! There's also time to socialize, snack, and hang out when you're not on the road. (PC: Bicycle Adventures.)

Everyone on every tour is superhero fit.

Not true. For most of us who love getting outside, it's about the experience, and the pursuits we participate in aren't our only focus in life. There are plenty of people who are busy, who can’t ride as much as they would like to, and who don't make superhero fitness a priority.  Many companies offer different tour levels, including the number of  miles ridden each day or notes about how steep the hills might be. This means you can pick one that suits your personal fitness level and the experience you're looking for. Plus, on a supported tour, companies like Bicycle Adventures provide vans, and you can hop in for a boost up that hill!

Not a bad view on a bike ride, eh? (PC: Bicycle Adventures.)

I won’t be able to keep up and I won't fit in with the group.

One of the brilliant things about a supported bike tour is that you can ride at your own pace. A support van, sometimes called a ‘sag wagon,’ follows along,  occasionally passing the group and pulling over to make sure everyone is doing well. Need to refill your water bottle or grab a snack? That's your chance.

One Bicycle Adventures employee mentioned one of their regular guests often says doing a bike tour gives her the opportunity to ride with ‘a bunch of new friends I haven’t yet met.’  It’s a terrific way to meet other people who are adventurous and love the outdoors.  You’ll ride together through the same gorgeous scenery, share an incredible experience, and have plenty of time to share your stories and bond over drinks and dinner after each day’s ride.

I won't be able to stay in touch with friends and family at home.

Depending on where you're headed, these days, you shouldn’t have much trouble with that! Sometimes cell service is spotty throughout the day, but lodging provided along Bicycle Adventures tour routes usually has Wi-Fi where you can be connected in the evenings. And sometimes, a little bit of time disconnected from the world can be a wonderful thing. Regardless, if staying connected is important to you, make sure to ask your tour company what your options are before you choose a tour.

With a van behind you carrying your supplies and extra bikes, you can pretend you're in the Tour de France! (PC: Bicycle Adventures.)

All cyclists, especially cyclists who go on and guide bike tours, are obsessed with cycling, and if I'm not, I won't have fun.

Some bike tour guides and participants are self-described bike geeks, but not all of them. Wherever the needle on your cycling passion meter falls, you likely won’t be the only one in your position.

If you like to geek out over bike tech and racing stats and debate the advantages of compression socks, someone else in your group will be right on your wavelength. But if you're new to the sport and want to chat about basic things like tips on shifting or cornering, you'll also be in good company. Whether you think that’s geeky or not, that’s what the guides are for – don’t be afraid to ask!  You won’t be alone in that category either.  Love to cruise along at your own pace, stop to smell the cedars or snap a photo? You’ll have plenty of company.

I’ll have to subsist on energy bars and Gu, and I'll have to carry a massive water filtration system with me.

Not on a well-done supported bike tour! If your guides are doing it right, you can order what you like from a real live restaurant at breakfast. Guides will offer a terrific midday lunch spread somewhere and you can have fresh-caught salmon or other local specialty at that night’s restaurant for dinner. Dessert too. At least, that's how Bicycle Adventures does things.

And during the ride, good tour companies should provide plenty of good snacks and drinks available right from the van. Some companies will even ask your snacking preference before you ever arrive, so the stuff you like is ready and waiting in the snack bin when you get there.

Going on well-supported bike tour means snacks, meals, water, and gear follow you the whole way along to your destination. (PC: Bicycle Adventures)

I'll have to carry SO MUCH STUFF.

Again, not on a well-done supported bike tour! If you're riding on your own, sure, you'll have to carry everything you need. But if you’re on a supported bike tour, that’s exactly what the van is there for. Your luggage goes in the van, and it ends up exactly where you end up. It’s just you and the bike, riding and feeling free – just like it was when you were a kid.

Huge thanks to Bicycle Adventures for contributing, and if you've been on a supported bike tour, we'd love to hear how it went and what tips you have for beginners! If you're thinking about giving a bike tour a try, what's stopping you? Sound off in the comments!