If you’ve decided to explore Europe via bicycle.
You may want to consider whether to go it alone or join a group tour, here’s what you should consider before making your decision…
Guided Group Tours
First, you won’t have to bring a bicycle, as one will almost always be provided for you as part of your group package. You also won’t need maps: That’s why they call it a “guided tour.” If you have a tendency of getting lost or are ‘directionally challenged‘ but still want to explore, that consideration alone should point you in the direction of a guided tour. Otherwise, you might well find yourself a wanderer lost in a strange land and, one in which you don’t even know the language, canceling the option of asking for directions.
Where to go? What and where to eat? Where to stay? You can forget all these concerns if you choose a group tour. It’s all pre-arranged. Traveling alone? You’ll make friends on a guided group tour. After all, you and your fellow cyclists obviously share at least one thing in common. Interested in the history of those places you’ll visit? A guide would provide that information and know the best times and places to go. Accidents happen and if your alone you might injure yourself miles from the nearest medical help. Your guide is prepared for such occurrences.
Are you the type who finds any destination with ease and without GPS? And, if you get lost, a brief pause is all it takes to get yourself on track? Going it alone might be for you. Enjoy and looking for solitude? A group is likely not for you. The same applies if you want to go where you want, when you want, with maximum flexibility. If money’s tight, going solo is the better good choice, assuming you meet the above criterion. Looking for adventure and a chance to grasp a new culture beyond the rote destinations of a guided tour? A group is not for you. Notice you’re willing to take chances beyond what most people you know would consider? Going solo will seem the natural choice. Still, the risks remain. Only you can decide whether it’s wise to take those risks.
These are considerations you must weight with care. In rare cases, your life may depend on the assistance afforded by a group tour. On the other hand, if losing the sense of adventure causes you to lose interest in your European bicycle tour altogether, then the equation changes. But if you consider yourself to be ‘directionally challenged’ then don’t even consider going it solo.
In any case, you’ll want to read more on the subject, particularly blogs by fellow cyclists. You can start with this list of the ten best bicycling blogs. Use your Google and check out what the various guided tours offer. Take your time and think it through. With enough research and planning, you’ll gain the insight necessary to making the better choice and having the best European cycling experience possible.