by Lyn Mettler
Interest in bike tours appears to be growing around the world with 47% of surveyed members of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) reporting an increase in bookings. Those most likely to hop on a bike trip are couples ages 41-60, though the option is also popular with families and younger singles ages 20-40.
What’s so appealing about this type of travel? Here are 5 reasons to consider a bike tour for your next vacation:
For your health – Many people return from vacation with a few added pounds after letting themselves indulge in foods they don’t normally consume. When you’re on a bike tour, you not only get exercise, but you’re likely to burn off all those calories you eat at meals during your down time. On a trip with Sonoma on a Bike, for example, you’ll pedal off the gourmet meals and wine that you enjoy at Sonoma County restaurants and wineries while enjoying phenomenal views by day.
A treat for the senses – There’s nothing quite like being out in the open air to truly capture the beauty of a location. With 360-degree views all around you and no dirty car or bus windows in the way, you’ll more fully be able to appreciate — and remember — the fantastic scenery from your journey. Your sense of smell will delight in the fragrant flowers and the allure of locally-prepared foods cooking as you pass by, and you’ll be able to hear the birds and the distinct sounds of a region clearly without distracting glass in the way.
Get to know the locals – Being out in the open also puts you into closer contact with the local residents. You’ll find yourself in delightful conversations that might never have happened when in a tour bus or behind the wheel of a car. Stop to ask for directions, pop in a local cafe for lunch or have a drink at an area watering hole and chat up the patrons. Sonoma on a Bike, owned by Sonoma residents, assists with this benefit, putting riders in touch with local food producers and offering behind the scenes glimpses of Sonoma wine country for an insider’s touch.
A sense of adventure – Will you be able to make it up that steep hill? What’s around the next bend? A bike tour puts you on a one-of-a-kind adventure. Amazing views emerge as you pedal area roads; challenges await you as you navigate inclines, sharp turns and steep declines. You are truly powering your own journey with time to dawdle or move ahead as you see fit.
At your own pace – On a bike tour, whether on your own or with a group, there is typically plenty of time allotted for stopping and enjoying whatever catches the eye. Why not have a glass of wine while the sun sets over the ocean or stop for a delicious pastry at the village cafe? You’re in no hurry, except to arrive at your next destination before dark.
Most bike trips average about seven days, according to ATTA, though many companies offer shorter options for those who can’t escape work or family for a longer time period. Expect to pay an average of $257/day for a bike trip with varying options for more affordable or luxurious, all-included options. With these benefits in mind, consider seeing your destination by bike.
(Credit: Sonoma on a Bike)
Lyn Mettler is a travel journalist and contributor for InsureMyTrip.