It’s hard to disagree that there is absolutely no better way to experience a place than from a bike. The real beauty of bike touring is that it can take you to all kinds of spectacular places, and experiences. It’s faster than walking, so you can travel great distances, yet you’re completely immersed in all of the elements, so you can feel, hear, see, and smell your surroundings, whether they be fields of native wildflowers, tall old growth forests, or beautiful golden sandy beaches.
So How do you get started?
Here are a few basic things to keep in mind:
What Type Of Bike Tour peaks your interest?
There are many different types of Biking tours, from the pick-a-route, grab-a-friend-or-two, pack-and-carry-all-your-stuff-and-go variety to the kind where you let your credit card handle everything and all you have to do is pedal.
So you just have to ask yourself a few more important questions. Where do think you would like to go? Do you want to go somewhere exotic, where nobody speaks your language? You might be better to find a guided, fully supported tour. Do you want to explore some popular destinations in Australia? It’s pretty easy to do it yourself or with a small group. NSW national parks offers many exciting cycling adventures, with biking trails for all levels. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/cycling-adventures
Which bike should I choose?
The type of bike you will need for your trip will largely depend on the terrain your tour will take you through. You need to be wary before attempting to take a road bike, off-road or attempting a mountain bike trail. Your local bicycle shop is the best place to start looking for the best bike for you, for the best tour for you!
How Far Do You Want to Ride?
How far you want to go of course, will greatly increase what you will need to take. Always plan and be prepared for adversity like bike maintenance or unfavourable weather. If it is a longer tour that you would like to undertake, get a group of friends together and it’s also not a bad idea to consider having something like a support van nearby and they can also help carry all the gear.
How Much stuff Are You Willing to Carry?
This is a massive consideration. If you and your companions are doing this all on your own, that means you’ll have to carry everything you need – rain gear, tools for bike repairs, and maybe camping gear. It’s also the type of trip that demands that you perform an extra level of preparation, as you need to practice packing and riding with a large amount of gear. You can lessen the load by “credit card touring,” which means carrying only what you really need and paying for the rest (i.e. food, lodging, etc.). If you prefer to carry nothing but your phone and maybe a vest, a supported tour is a good option for you. Remember the longer you want to go, the more you’ll need to take.
How Much Are You Willing to Spend?
Fully-guided, supported bike tours can vary wildly in price from DIY all the way up to $9,000 or more depending on your personal luxury requirements. As you would imagine, the two price extremes can put you up in very different accommodations. With the lower-budget tours, you’ll likely camp (which can be quite amazing, depending on where you are) and be responsible for much of your own gear. On the higher end, you can get all the mod cons and a chocolate on your pillow ( 5 star all the way baby!).
If you go full DIY, you will still have some expenses, even if you camp in a tent every night. Factoring in campsite fees and/or motel rooms, meals, and gear, figure on at least a few hundred dollars. If you camp regularly you can save some money by buying a national parks yearly pass from http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/passes-and-fees/annual-passes
What’s Your Ultimate Goal?
Before you decide on a guided tour, decide on what you want to get out of the experience before you pick one. Don’t forget to do some smaller distances on the bike to give you a chance to do other sightseeing during the day. If you are heading to a wine region such Orange in NSW, short rides between wineries is a must! Or heading to Phillip Island, experience the beautiful vistas overlooking the ocean on the bike rail trails. Long distances can be very ride-focused, so you’ll be riding for most of the day, for the purpose of covering the longest distances between your points of interests.. There are culinary tours where food is just as important as the bike riding. All types can be rewarding. It’s just a matter of picking the one that’s right for you.