Cycle Touring - Bike or E-Bike?
Most cycle tours offer the choice of regular bike hire or e-bike hire, depending on your personal preference. If you are not sure which option is best for you, here are some reasons to choose an eBike.
In general, the choice between bike and e-bike is a very individual one, depending on many different factors, and not necessarily physical ones!
Yes, maybe you do have knee, hip, or heart problems, in which case an e-bike is an obvious choice and is opening up fantastic new opportunities for you! However, there is also a whole range of other reasons why an e-bike could be the way to go.
If you are a passionate photographer, and one of the main things you want to get out of your trip is to walk away with a whole series of amazing new shots for your collection, an e-bike will afford you time to stop for longer periods. It will give you plenty of time to look for the perfect angle, and still be able to keep up and catch up to the rest of the group without problem.
Maybe you haven’t had as much time as you would have liked to prepare for your trip, or maybe you have a group of friends that are mad keen cyclists? An e-bike will level the playing field. You might not actually use the e-function of your e-bike all the time, but it is there as an option should you need it and it will mean you won’t be too tired to socialise in the evenings.
E-bikes do handle differently. They are heavier by design, might not feel as agile, or a bit more intimidating to manoeuvre on technical terrain, which some people do not like. Also, you might want the satisfaction and sense of achievement that comes from completing a ride under your own steam and putting in the effort for the reward if need be. Cycling is an excellent way to boost your fitness.
Try before you buy. If you are thinking of buying yourself an e-bike at home, to get to work without a sweat, do your shopping without using petrol, for longer weekend jaunts, if you live on a hill, or simply to do your bit for the environment - an e-bike hire on one of our tours could be the perfect trial to see what they are all about and how to handle them.
If you choose a regular bike or e-bike, we are happy to answer all your questions and guarantee you will enjoy your trip!
What clothing do I need for a cycle tour?
Before you rush out to buy anything, let’s start with what is already in your wardrobe:
Since you are interested in the outdoors and activity, you probably already have some exercise tops or T-shirts that are comfortable, quick drying and easy to wash. Perfect! We don’t recommend 100% cotton tops, but any other ‘activewear’, that helps control sweat and can dry overnight after a quick wash is perfect. There is no need to bring one shirt for each day, nor buy specialised Lycra bike clothing, skin tight tops, or expensive merino. You will see us wearing something comfortable and functional and whatever you might use for other types of activity i.e. gym exercise, hiking or gardening.
Pants and Bottoms
Bottoms and Pants. This literally sums up the two options when it comes to protecting yourself from the potential pain in the * that can occur when biking for longer periods. We do recommend opting for one of these if you haven’t been riding long distances lately:
Option 1 - Bike shorts with padded inserts. These are popular and work well. However, some people struggle with the look and what some feel is akin to wearing a ‘nappy’, especially if stopping at cafes or shops is part of your biking experience, and you are not keen on walking around with extra padding.
Option 2 - An extra comfortable saddle or gel saddle. If you already have a super comfortable saddle that you want to use on your tour, please feel free to bring it along and we can mount it on your touring bike for you. Also effective are gel saddles, which are saddle shaped sleeves that can be pulled over any existing seat and turn it into a luxury ride - without the need for any padded clothing. In this case any quick drying, general exercise pants or shorts will do the trick. No need for lycra or specialised bike clothing. Functional and comfortable wins again.
Not strictly essential, but we wouldn’t want to ride without biking gloves. We love the padding they provide on your palms, so your hands don’t ache after a long day holding - or gripping - your handlebars and when riding uneven terrain. Also, if it’s hot, your hands don’t get too sticky or too slippery on the grips and if your forehead is sweating, you can use your gloves to wipe that off too. Of course they are great to protect your hands should you ever come off your bike, but we aren’t planning on doing that :)
Do you have good fitting, solid sneakers or running shoes? Perfect. Any shoe with a good stable sole, good fit, and breathable upper will do. If your shoe is too soft, you won’t get enough grip and all that hard work paddling will be lost in the energy transfer. And if it doesn’t fit tight, you might get blisters. In any case, make sure you don’t wear sandals or any shoes with open toes. Ouch!
Some people prefer the clip-in system of shoes and paddles. If you have this and prefer it, feel free to bring along the paddles and shoes, so we can mount them on your bike, but don’t feel like you need to get it specially for the trip. They are not for everyone and do take some getting used to!
Wind and Rain
A lightweight rain jacket is useful for both wind, rain and to keep the chill off on a fast downhill.
Last but not least – your helmet. High quality helmets are included with the bike hire in all our tours. If you prefer to bring your own helmet, you can of course, but not many people are aware that helmets have use by dates and that materials can weaken over time or even develop hairline cracks, whether they are in regular use or not. So, make sure to check your helmet - or have it checked - ensure it’s comfortable, fits well, offers enough ventilation, and maybe even a sun visor. This is the one item we would definitely recommend for you to invest a little bit of money in!
In summary: Most of what you need to enjoy your next bike tour is probably already in your wardrobe or garage. There is no need for lycra or other expensive or specialised items. Enjoy using our high quality bikes or e-bikes (your choice) and helmets all of which is already included in the price.