Your First Time on a Bike Tour
Are you new to multi-day bike touring? If so, don’t worry! We have a great variety of trips that are perfect for your first time on a bike tour.
Great bike tours for beginners
Why is this trip good for beginners? This is a three-day rail-trail ride, which is mostly flat and downhill on crushed-limestone bike trails. Pedal along the scenic banks of Pine Creek on the trail sharing the same name, and take in the views overlooking Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon. Lodging for this trip includes a night at the Nature Inn which was recently voted the #1 Eco-Lodge in the United States by readers of the USA Today.
Why is this trip good for beginners? You’ll spend five days enjoying the glory of the Pacific Northwest on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, which is exceptionally beautiful. Ride peaceful rail-trails through scenic pine forests — short rides of 10-23 miles. There’s lots of time to explore off the bike, enjoy the area and rest in the refined lodging.
Why is this trip good for beginners? This three-day rail-trail ride is another flat and downhill adventure on crushed limestone paths. This is an unbeatable introduction to the charm and history of the Great Allegheny Passage. You’ll have plenty of time to explore and enjoy the small towns and amazing cultural and historical sites, including Fallingwater, Salisbury Viaduct and the Historic District of Cumberland.
Why is this trip good for beginners? The Erie Canal tour is just four days long, the mileage is low and the riding is car-free. We’ll pedal by early 1800’s historic commercial port cities, explore canal locks, and ride 100 miles of the Erie Canalway, a National Heritage Corridor.
Why is this trip good for beginners? If you have a bit of bike fitness and want to see some incredible mountain scenery, take this trip in Idaho. You’ll ride the famous Route of the Hiawatha and the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, both on the Rail-to-Trails Conservancy’s Hall of Fame list. Enjoy the grand vistas and beautiful lakes of northern Idaho. If you’re lucky, you might even see a moose!
Why is this trip good for beginners? If you’re reasonably fit and comfortable riding on roads, this tour in the Finger Lakes is a great first-time bike tour. Home to almost 100 wineries, this moderately challenging tour weaves between three of the largest and deepest of the Finger Lakes. You’ll visit unique wineries, hike along stunning waterfalls, visit historic sites and eat some incredible food. It’s the best of all worlds!
Tips for going on your first bike tour
Still a little nervous about going on your first bike tour? Here are some tips on choosing a trip, planning for it, and riding while you’re out there!
Know that all Wilderness Voyageurs bike tours are fully guided & supported
Guided and self-guided tours can offer completely different experiences. For example, a self-guided bike tourist has the freedom to ride any route, find their own lodging, and plan their own meals. But on a guided tour, a rider’s only concern is cycling from Point A to Point B. We take care of all the rest — booking hotel rooms, organizing meals and snacks, fixing broken bikes and transporting luggage!
Be honest about your ability level
Even if you’re a generally athletic person, don’t assume that good fitness will give you a comfortable cycling experience. Athletes who do lots of running, swimming or fitness classes make the mistake of signing up for an advanced-level bicycle tour. But nothing replaces having a lot of time in the saddle. Cycling uses a lot of different muscles than other sports, and even super-fit people can get a very sore rear end after being on the bike for a few hours.
Train for your tour
Regardless of your athletic or cycling ability, make sure you’ve trained for the bike tour. you need to put some time in the saddle. Try to ride at least four days a week. Ideally, start 6 – 8 weeks before your tour, earlier if you can. (We send out a training plan with each trip booking!) Trust us, your sit-bones will thank you.
Be realistic about the distance you wish to cover each day
Remember that you’re on vacation and there will be a lot to see along the way—and you’ll be riding for several days, usually back to back. So don’t use your weekly Sunday ride as a guide. Also, you’re at a much slower pace on a bike tour. You’ll find yourself getting on and off your bike to take pictures, visit that amazing castle, or stop for a pastry. Pace yourself and remember that the support vehicle is always nearby if you want to skip a leg of the ride or finish early.
Consider a car-free, bike path tour
We offer many tours that follow dedicated pedestrian paths! These trails are well-maintained, free from vehicles, easy to follow and (usually) flat. Riding on a bike path takes away the stress of dealing with cars on the road. Read more about our bike path and rail-trail bike tours.
Consider an electric bicycle
Some purists may scoff, but electric bikes can make a big difference in your experience. Fitness level isn’t the only factor involved — older riders, or anybody recovering from injury can benefit from riding an e-bike. E-bikes are also great “equalizers,” when two riders are of differing abilities. Remember, an e-bike isn’t a moped. You still have to pedal — just not as hard!
Pay attention to the weather
Look up average weather conditions and rainfall in the area you’d like to tour. If you’re going somewhere for the first time, try picking a time of year with a nice temperature and not a lot of rainfall.
Dress for the weather you’re likely to encounter. If it’s likely to be cold, bring layers and remove clothing as the day progresses and temperatures climb. Be prepared for the chance of rain. Carry good rain gear to cover your shoes, legs, and torso. You’ll thank us later.
Bring your own helmet—and wear it.
We encourage clients to bring their own for reasons of hygiene and safety. When you bring your own helmet, you know it fits and hasn’t been damaged. And no matter how safe the cycling seems, protect your noggin and wear a helmet! Some of the worst accidents are in places you wouldn’t expect.
Whatever bike tour you choose to do next, Wilderness Voyageurs is here to provide support and make your vacation fantastic! All of our inn-to-inn bike tours include a support vehicle, two professional guides, fantastic food and well-planned routes to incredible places. Join us on your next adventure!
Click here to request a Wilderness Voyageurs bike tour catalog!