Mountain bikers don’t just like ordinary vacations – they want to take mountain bike holidays, where they can get out and try out trails that they don’t often get the opportunity to try out. They also enjoy mountain bike holidays because they get to experience cultures, challenges, and scenery that simply isn’t common place to their lives. It’s no wonder that touring companies have started offering mountain bike holidays in almost every imaginable destination in the world!
Even bike manufacturers are getting in on the action. Trek has Trek Travel, which specializes in – you guessed it – mountain bike vacations and tours. Fisher Bikes has also started offering tour packages – with Gary Fisher as your friendly guide! Other manufacturers are sure to follow in the very near future – because there is a definite market for mountain bike holidays!
Travel agents are another good source for finding mountain bike vacation packages, but they usually don’t offer what touring companies – which are not the same as travel agencies – can offer. Touring companies typically offer guided tours, but many offer self-guided tours as well. Depending on where you want to go, and what your level of experience is, a self-guided tour may be more enjoyable than a guided tour. However, if you are inexperienced, or if you are going to a foreign country, you should strongly consider a guided tour.
The tour guides are usually well trained, and they know the places that they will be leading you like the back of their hands. You won’t have to worry about getting lost or not finding the most challenging trails for your skill level – the guide has all of that information. These guides typically know what is acceptable, and what is unacceptable, in the areas that they often ride in, in terms of dealing with the locals – especially in foreign countries. These guides are also well equipped to deal with emergencies – whether it is a bike breakdown or an injury.
Self guided tours, on the other hand, are exactly what they sound like – self guided. The touring company makes all of the arrangements for you to get to the destination where you will ride – but no guide accompanies you. You are not guided on the trails in most cases either. This means that you need to have the necessary experience to deal with any situations that may arise, such as injuries or breakdowns, and you need to be able to read a map well. You may also need to do some investigating to determine where you may and may not ride – especially in a foreign country! Beginner mountain bikers typically do not have the necessary experience, and need to stick to guided tours for the time being.
If you have never been on a tour of any type, it is a good idea to know what you are getting into before booking the tour. Some tours consist of only you, your guide, and other members of your party – such as your friends or family members. Other tours consist of you, the guide, and other people who have signed up for the tour – strangers. It is important to know what the arrangement is before booking the tour.
You also need to know what is expected of you on the tour. Most tours provide the bikes, and they are usually top of the line bikes. Some companies will allow you to bring your own bike, but in most cases, you will be responsible for your own bike. Your food may or may not be provided as part of the package. Again, it is vital that you find out all this information before booking the tour.
For your next vacation, you should definitely contact some of the touring companies about mountain bike holidays to see if there is a trip that interests you. Vacations are about more than just sightseeing – adventure is the key to a fabulous vacation that you will never forget!
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