With its wide appeal to solo travelers, couples, families and multigenerational groups, “bicycle tourism” is booming. Traveling on two wheels enables tourists to connect close up with people and places while simultaneously working off excess calories consumed along the way.
Organized small-group tours accommodate cyclists of different skill levels and interests and take the hassle out of planning. As with any type of trip, travelers should comparison shop before booking and find out what is included in package rates.
Three new 2015 cycling tours offered by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations are among 50 organized by the tour company in 26 countries. The trips include meals, accommodations, sightseeing/cultural attractions and van support:
Berlin to Dresden (10-day trips between May and October; level easy):
Pedal along bike paths of eastern Germany while exploring picturesque countryside dotted with castles, windmills and views of the Karst Mountains. Share a meal with a German family at a pickle and sauerkraut factory in Spreewald. From $2,845 per person.
Lucca, Montecatini and Pisa (10-day trips between April and October; level easy/moderate):
Cycle along rivers that flow beside scenic cities and villages of Tuscany. Visit Vinci, the hometown of Leonardo da Vinci, and enjoy local specialties and a wine tasting at Fattoria del Teso winery. From $2,595 per person.
Colonial Virginia: (six-day trips between April and November; level easy):
Follow the road to independence with visits to historic Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg and the Yorktown Battlefield. Ferry across the James River and cycle to a picnic at Chippokes Plantation. Lunch and sip award-winning wines at the Williamsburg Winery. From $1,895 per person.
For more adventurous and experienced cyclists, tour operator Pure Adventures has introduced new “self-supported, self-directed’ itineraries in remote areas of the U.S. that combine the freedom of self-guided trips with the “sag wagon” service and leader support of a fully guided tour. Cyclists can set their own schedules and eat and stop when they choose.
[This article by Irene S. Levine was published in the Chicago Tribune on March 11, 2015.]
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