Tour logistics and frequently asked questions
This varies slightly from tour to tour but as a rule a high level of accommodation and breakfast is provided on all the tours. A slight distinction is made between Local and Epic accommodation but as a rule all rooms have en-suite facilities and are selected for their comfort and personality. We provide all evening meals with the exception of one ‘Dinner on your Own’ when you are sent forth alone on your own culinary journey. Also included are two or more first class guides, van support, all shuttles, private tours and tastings, 2 picnic lunches, original itineraries on the road less travelled, trip literature, super snacks during the day and luggage transfers. Each itinerary also includes highlights specific to that particular tour from wine tastings to cultural site visits. The specifics for these are included in the detailed itineraries for each respective tour. Since most things are included perhaps an easier way to answer this question is to look at what is not included.
• Bike Hire on Epic Adventures
• Personal items when you are on the tour
• Wine (we run an optional wine kitty on tour)
On all Ride & Seek tours, you will need to ensure that you have comprehensive medical insurance. The minimum that we require is coverage for the costs of medical treatment and evacuation in the event of an emergency. Extra cover will also cover you for loss of luggage and a host of other issues. We recommend that you take out insurance as soon as you have booked your tour as full cover will cover any costs that you may incur should you have to cancel your trip.
As is standard with bike tours, we also require you to sign a risk waiver and fill out a medical questionnaire before the tour starts. This is an important acknowledgement of the risks that are involved with going on a bike tour. It is fundamental to us that we run a safe tour but it is also important that all participants are aware of what is involved and have sufficient insurance cover in place.
If you require assistance with obtaining insurance speak with your travel agent or enquire at Tin Leg, AXA, Travel Guard, Covermore which are used by many of the riders on our tours.
One of the benefits of keeping the group size small is that it enables us to stay in the smaller, family run establishments that add to the authenticity of the travel experience we hope to provide. We have carefully selected the places we stay in based on their ‘personality’ and the hospitality of the hosts and regularly stay in castles, monasterys and unique properties. Be it Parador’s in Spain, Manoir’s in France or Agriturismi in Italy, we seek to connect you with the places we travel in, through the accommodations we choose. As a rule all rooms have en-suite facilities.
In terms of the graded level of these accommodations we do make a distinction between our tour categories though. This doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality on offer but rather relates to the type of the accommodation we choose. To keep it simple we refer to this distinction in the same terms as the tours themselves – Local and Epic.
Local – Since our Local Adventures usually involve shorter days in the saddle, 2 and 3 day stays in one place, and are designed to cater for non riders as well, we select accommodations with an eye on the amenities and a touch of luxury. On these tours you get chance to settle into the accommodation and enjoy the facilities on offer so we choose the accommodations accordingly.
Epic – By their nature our Epic tours involve daily changes of accommodation which can make choices sometimes limited. However we strive for interesting, unique accommodation and you will not be disappointed – some of the places we stay are truly epic!
We suggest that you arrive at least one day prior to the tour start, which will enable you to adjust to the time zone and minimize the risk of missing the trip start due to flight related delays.
We have a lot riders who come back and ride with us year after year and we really appreciate this. We also want you to feel valued as a Ride and Seek returning rider. This is why we have setup our ‘fideli’ loyalty program.
Our grading system is designed to act as a guide to help participants choose the tour best suited to their cycling abilities. Please be aware that a certain degree of subjectivity is inherent in attempts to classify difficulty levels and therefore we generally suggest that you underestimate rather than overestimate your capabilities. That said our van support is second to none and there is no shame in hitching a lift if you need to.
The cut off point for paying the balance on all tours is 90 days. Prior to this, in order to secure your place on a tour you simply need to fill out the booking form and pay the deposit. 90 days marks the point at which the balance needs to be paid in full though and hence tours booked within this period require full payment at the time of booking. Our full Terms and Conditions can be read here.
We are more than happy to provide advice on travel arrangements to and from the tour as well as offering tips on where to go both before and after the tour itself.
Once you have paid the deposit for your chosen tour, you will receive our Tour Essentials PDF with your payment confirmation. This document will help with your pre tour preparations. The Tour Overview lists the Meeting and Finish points for each stage as well as the gateway airports. We will send the hotel information along with the balance invoice email which includes a survey form and medical declaration which need to be completed at least 6 weeks before the tour.
The start and end point for all of our tours is the hotels that we begin and end the tours in. When the hotel is not easily accessible we also provide a shuttle from a designated point – normally a transport hub – to make getting there easier. We usually provide a shuttle at the end of each tour that will take you to a transport hub from where you are able to connect to your post tour destination.
Whilst on tour all your travel needs are covered by us. This includes transfers, road support and any extra shuttles that are required. Obviously your bike will be your primary mode of transport whilst you are on tour but you will be given van support each day which will serve to keep you fed and watered as well as providing you with a lift if you need it.
The choice is yours when it comes to you deciding what your trusty steed on tour will be. We appreciate the deep affinity that a person can feel towards their own bike and particularly on the tougher tours it is always nice to rely on ‘old faithful’ rather than break in a new bike. That said please have a look at our bikes as they are of the highest quality and are geometrically fairly neutral so if you choose to hire a bike we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Hire bike insurance
If you are renting a bike through us you are responsible for it whilst on tour and therefore liable for any damage incurred or theft due to negligence on your part. The bikes are given to you fully serviced and the guide team will cover any incidental mechanicals and wear and tear such as tyres and brake pads. However, for anything more substantial the responsibility lies with the rider. To cover this risk you can purchase comprehensive bike insurance for €80 for a stage or €150 for 2 or more stages or an Epic.
This cover is provided by Ride and Seek PTY LTD and if added to your booking, simply means you will not be out of pocket for any necessary repairs, damage or theft of your hire bike.
As subjective a question this is to answer we have tried through our gradings and tour classification to provide a degree of objectivity. In a nutshell the ‘Local Adventures’ are designed to cater for all levels. Extra loop rides are available on these tours for the more fervent rider but for the cyclist who wants to take it easy the tour design caters for them too. The main ride on each day seeks to avoid the hardest of the inclines – we save these for the extra loops – and the route design allows for rest days and conveniently requested lifts in the support van. The ‘Epic Adventures’ on the other hand are typically graded harder as the tour design is geared towards riding from A to B and cycling over whatever stands in the way – on the best cycling roads available of course. The van support is still available but the route design is such that lazy rest days and shuttles back to the hotel are harder to facilitate. These tours are generally geared for the cyclist who trains regularly and is seeking to challenge themselves.
Mainly because we appreciate that not every one wants to drink wine we choose to run an optional wine kitty for each tour. The amount that it costs to be part of the kitty varies from tour to tour and very much depends on the quality of the wines that can be found in the region in which we are travelling. The big advantage of the wine kitty is that it gives the guides the opportunity to present a degustation of the local wines during the course of the tour. Sometimes the kitty will get thirsty and will need a bit of topping up but generally we are adept at spending it over the course of a tour in such a way that it runs out right at the end. Please note that the guides always pay their way in the kitty and that in the event that there is any money left over it is divided up and handed back to the members of the kitty. This rarely happens though!
The answer to this is yes if you travel with a soft or semi-compact case. Hard cases are different matter though as we do not have the space. We offer a service of transporting hard cases to your final destination that we are happy organising if you give us sufficient lead time. The cost of this courier service is passed on to you though. Please get in contact if you require further details of what these costs are – they vary from tour to tour.
Unfortunately, there is because the places we stay in charge a set amount per room rather than per person. We are keen not to ‘penalise’ single travelers though and seek to simply cover the extra costs, rather than add a margin, which means that our single supplement is lower than that of most other tour companies. The single supplement varies from tour to tour so please consult the relevant tour page and the dates/prices tab for the details. If you would like us to try and find you a roommate to avoid this cost we are certainly happy to liaise with other single travellers in the tour party on your behalf. Obviously by sharing a room you avoid paying the single supplement.
So long as you let us know in advance we are able accommodate all food requirements. Some of the areas we visit are not perhaps overly familiar with the essence of say, being a vegetarian, or what a gluten free diet entails. We have become adept though at ensuring that the places where we eat are both sensitive and imaginative in catering for special dietary requirements.
The answer to this is a very enthusiastic yes! With over 20 years experience of designing tours around the world we are very adept of customizing tours to the requirements of our customers. In some cases this customisation relates solely to running one of our established tours as a private tour for a group. Please get in contact for details of how large a group needs to be before we can run a private tour – this number varies from tour to tour. For more original custom tours we are confident of being able to conceptualise and run tours anywhere and everywhere. We’d love you put us to the test.
We generally recommend ATM’s to be the best way to get hold of money whilst on tour. On all of our tours you will see ATM’s along the way so accessibility isn’t a problem and generally they provide the best exchange rates.
Of course! Your guides are all accomplished mechanics and generally no job is too big or small for them to sort out on the spot. In the event that we don’t have the tools in the van to fix the problem though we are used to using our language skills to get the problem fixed at the bike shops that we know along the way. Feel free to ask us any questions whilst on tour about bike maintenance as we are always happy to share our knowledge.
Obviously the best fit you can usually hope for is your own bike as that is what you are most used to. That said we are confident that our choice of quality bikes, and experience of fitting people to bikes, is such that you won’t be disappointed. We fit people to their hire bikes based on their height and bike inseam –see below for notes on how to measure this – which we ask you to provide at the time of booking. We don’t just ask you for your bike frame size because different manufactures calculate frame sizes differently. In addition we also carry extra handlebar and seat stems to enable us to make further adjustments to suit the needs of the individual rider.
Note- How to measure your bike in-seam? This is best done barefoot. Stand against the wall and put a book between your legs so it pressed right up against your pelvic bone. Make a mark with a pencil on the wall along the top of the book. Measure the distance from the floor to the mark in centimeters.
The simple answer to this is that it is your holiday and you can choose to ride as much or as little as you like. That said some of our tours are better geared for non riding days than others. The Local Adventures for example are designed in such a way that non riders will always have something interesting to do if they choose not to ride. All of the Local Adventures provide ample opportunities in this regard and are actually set up in such a way that non riding partners can be accommodated. The Epic Adventures on the other hand require daily hotel changes so non riding options are less obvious even though a lift in the van is always available.