What kind of bike should I bring?
This is easily the most common question we get asked by people contemplating a ride with us. Given the mixture of terrain you can expect on many of our tours – from smooth tarmac two-lane roads, to rutted and muddy tracks in the countryside, and everything in between – choosing an appropriate bike for the tour is no easy task.
This blog covers this topic in detail. Here are the two principal options, in our opinion:
BIKES WITH DROP BARS
A ‘touring bike’ is, as expected, one of the most common choices. These bikes are designed to cover long distances, to be very durable, and to carry lots of gear. On a supported cycle tour, while you won’t use the full extent of these capabilities, a touring bike is always a good choice.
The next kind of bike is what we call a cyclocross or gravel bike. There are differences between these two categories, but overall are somewhat comparable. These may appear at first to be similar to a touring bike, but are typically designed a bit more for speed than for comfort and durability. They are a good choice for anyone used to riding a road bike, but who needs something a bit burlier for a tour.
Note that we do not recommend narrow tire road racing bikes for any of our tours.
BIKES WITH FLAT BARS
People often don’t think of hybrids as a good choice for touring. They are certainly not designed to the same level of durability and capability of touring bikes, but for supported cycle tours, they can be a good choice. A hybrid with a flat bar is a good choice for anyone who likes a comfortable, upright position, or who ‘just wants a bike’. They are also often available with front suspension.
A hardtail mountain bike can also be a good option. It is a particularly good choice for any tour where extended portions of the route will be on dirt roads. And for paved sections, you can easily switch back to a thinner set of tires to regain some speed.
Still not sure? It’s not an easy choice, so send us an email and we will help you figure it out.