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Things to know before your first cycling tour

There’s no better way to get under the skin of a country than from the vantage point of the saddle. With Imaginative Traveller, you can cycle through some of the most magnificent scenery in the world, from the peaceful landscapes of Japan to the colourful Amalfi Coast and the rugged mountain trails of Morocco’s Anti Atlas Mountains.

Ready for your first international cycling adventure? We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about our small group cycling tours.

 

How fit do I need to be? How difficult are the rides?

It depends.

We have cycling tours to suit all fitness levels and abilities. Whether it’s cycling through tea plantations and lush green jungle in Sri Lanka, between seaside villages and medieval towns on the Dalmatian Coast, or along mountainous desert roads in Jordan, how challenging the ride will be will depend on the terrain of the country you’ve chosen to visit, and the route we take through it.

Each tour is given an Activity Level between one and five, which indicate how strenuous the rides will be. Those rated one or two are gentler, while those rated four or five will really get your blood pumping. In reality, most cycling days will be somewhere between 30-70kms, and taken at a leisurely pace, with plenty of time to stop and take in the scenery.

It never hurts to get in a little training before your trip, but don’t worry if you can’t; we’re always accompanied by a support vehicle while cycling, so if you do need a break for whatever reason, you can take one.

 

Do I need to bring my own bike?

No, you don’t need to bring your own bike (although you are welcome to if you wish). You’ll be provided with a well-serviced bike when you arrive for the cycling parts of the tour.

You’re welcome to bring your own saddle, pedals, handlebars, etc. and your cycling leaders will be able to help you fit these.

 

Do I need to bring my own helmet?

You’ll need to bring your own helmet on a cycling tour, as we do not provide them. We understand that cycling helmets can take up a lot of room in your luggage, so if you wish to purchase one locally you should ask your cycling leaders before the cycling begins. (In some places, this isn’t possible; if you’re not sure, please ask your booking agent before you travel.)

 

What clothes should I wear?

Our cycling trips are casual, so you should wear whatever you feel comfortable in! Having said that, we do have some recommendations.

We recommend wearing padded shorts for your cycling tour. They feel strange at first if you’re not used to wearing them, but when you’re on the road for consecutive days of cycling, they make the world of difference. It’s also a good idea to wear a lightweight, breathable, quick-dry top; cycling jerseys are good because of the high collar which keeps the sun off your neck, and the back pockets in which you can stash small essentials.

In some countries, you’ll need to consider cultural sensitivities; for example, in predominantly Muslim countries like Jordan or Morocco, you should make sure that shoulders and knees are covered at all times, especially if you’re female. If you’re not sure, ask your booking agent before you travel and they can advise you.

 

What if something goes wrong with my bike?

A support vehicle will follow behind your group at all times while cycling; if something goes wrong with your bike, a bike mechanic will fix it for you, or provide you with a replacement bike.

 

Is there still time for other activities?

Absolutely! You’ll usually have a rest day in an interesting village or town, giving you a chance to soak up the local atmosphere, and we make sure we stop at the key sights along the way as well. And just as important as the cycling itself is relaxing in the evening with a cold beer or glass of wine, and trying the local cuisine.

 

Need some inspiration? Check out some of our favourite cycling trips


TRIP CODE
IYTXC

GROUP TOUR from £2163 for 13 days

HIGHLIGHTS

- Cycling is the perfect way to enjoy the incredible landscapes of Tanzania. When the going gets tough, ride in the support vehicle, and when it’s time to see wildlife, swap the bike for a jeep or truck
- Kick off your adventure with that cornerstone of all cycling adventures – coffee. Roast, grind and taste your own in the village of Tengeru
- The Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater are two of Africa’s very best wildlife arenas. Fall asleep surrounded by creatures of the African plains and take a safari in search of the rare black rhino


TRIP CODE
EMXW

GROUP TOUR from £1199 for 9 days

HIGHLIGHTS

- Cycle through spectacular desert scenery
- Visit the UNESCO site of Petra
- Camp under the stars in Wadi Rum


TRIP CODE
EMMA

GROUP TOUR from £1079 for 8 days

HIGHLIGHTS

- Ride remote and rugged mountain biking trails 
- Immerse yourself in vast mountain scenery 
- Stay in traditional Moroccan Riads


TRIP CODE
IAMXC

GROUP TOUR from £1410 for 8 days

HIGHLIGHTS

- Cycle through the same landscapes that inspired some of Vincent van Gogh's greatest masterpieces
- Encounter rich Roman history and architecture in the historic towns of Arles and Orange
- Stop in at famous vineyards outside Avignon and savour iconic French wines


TRIP CODE
IZMXT

GROUP TOUR from £1306 for 8 days

HIGHLIGHTS

- Pedal through the rolling green hills, vineyards and olive groves of Tuscany on this classic journey from Florence to Pisa
- From Lucca's tree-lined city walls, follow the gentle Serchio River to the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa
- Retrace the steps of Leonardo da Vinci around his home city, Vinci


TRIP CODE
IQZXC

GROUP TOUR from £1140 for 8 days

HIGHLIGHTS

- Cycle through Central America, a land of mysterious ruins, active volcanoes, idyllic beaches and emerald jungles
- See the sights and engage in a wide range of activities across two different countries
- Chill out with Caribbean vibes in Puerto Viejo, a lively village with great food and even better music


TRIP CODE
EMIR

GROUP TOUR from £1799 for 14 days

HIGHLIGHTS

- The magnificent cave temple at Dambulla
- Climb the rock fortress at Sigiriya for breathtaking views
- Explore the old ruined city of Polonnaruwa
- The fascinating town of Kandy
- Ride through tea estates to Nuwara Eliya
- Search for leopard in Yala National Park


TRIP CODE
EMOV

GROUP TOUR from £1499 for 14 days

HIGHLIGHTS

- Take a cycling holiday through Vietnam’s most scenic landscapes
- Savour mouth-watering cuisine
- Crawl through the Cu Chi war tunnels
- Relax in charming Hoi An
- Cruise among the limestone formations of Halong Bay
- Overnight on a tropical island

 
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