One of the first decisions you need to make when planning a cycling holiday is whether to bring your own bike or to rent a bike at your chosen location. If you ride frequently, are comfortable on your current bike, and plan to ride a similar type of terrain on your holiday, we always recommend bringing it with you. You will already be in tune with your ride and can therefore focus on enjoying cycling in your new surroundings.
However, renting a bike can be a good option for a number of reasons:
- transporting your own bike to your new location just isn’t feasible
- you will be riding terrain for which your current bike is not suited (e.g. in hillier terrain you will want a lower gear ratio)
- you simply want to try out a new model, a bucket list Pinarello Dogma for example
On our cycle tours we offer a choice of road bikes, hybrid bikes, mountain bikes and even electric bikes. Let’s break down the factors that will help you decide which model is best for you and your trip. Firstly, select a bike that is most suited to the terrain that you will be riding. Secondly, consider your cycling experience, confidence and fitness level.
Road bikes are available in aluminium or carbon frames. They are lightweight, built for speed and performance making them ideal for cycling long distances on smooth road surfaces. However, the aerodynamic riding position, relatively stretched out over the drop handlebars along with the skinny tires and hard saddle can prove uncomfortable for some riders if they are not accustomed. As a result, we generally recommend road bikes for more experienced riders and avid cyclists.
Mountain bikes are the best choice if you want to ride off road or in rugged terrain. The riding position of a mountain bike is also much more upright for better visibility. Many riders find this position more comfortable even if they are not planning to ride off-road. The flat handlebars provide good steering control and the fat, shock absorbing tires make the ride more comfortable. Mountain bikes typically have a wider gear range than a road bike making hill climbing easier.
Hybrid bikes combine the more comfortable upright position and wider gear ratio of a mountain bike with the lighter weight and responsiveness of a road bike. The tires are also narrower than a mountain bike’s, but wider and more shock absorbing than a road bike, meaning that they handle well on less than perfect roads. In the Languedoc region, hybrids are the ideal choice for riding on the smaller vineyard roads which offer some of the most scenic routes, but which may have patches of loose gravel or broken pavement in places.
Most people are not lucky enough to be able to cycle every day. So, you may find you will be cycling longer distances while on a cycling holiday than you are used to. So, if you’re looking for a little extra push to help you enjoy those extra miles or get you to the top of that mountain, consider trying an electric bike on your next cycle tour! Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, are also a popular choice for riders who are traveling with friends or family who are stronger cyclists than they are. It gives you extra support and confidence while still allowing you to use your own power at the same time. E-bikes are suitable for smooth road surfaces as well as the less than perfect vineyard roads, but they are not suitable for all terrain riding.
If you are not sure what bike would be best for you, we would be happy to help you weigh up the pros and cons of each option. And whatever your choice, we will ensure you are properly fitted on your hire bike so that you will be as comfortable as possible while riding.