There are literally hundreds of companies based in the United States that offer bike tours anywhere you'd want to go in the world. Most smaller tour operators specialize in tours to one region or country, though some offer a wide variety of trips. Call many companies and ask for brochures to find the one that best suits your needs. Make reservations as early as possible because many of the best tours get booked quickly. Certainly, there is a bike tour to suit just about everyone.
The two best sources for finding tour operators are the publications put out by the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) and the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). Both the ACA's The Cyclists’ Yellow Pages and the LAB's Bicycle USA Tourfinder contain extensive listings of tour operators, and both sources are available to members of the organizations. To get these publications, call or write to the groups at the following locations.
Adventure Cycling AssociationP.O. Box 8308Missoula, MT 59807406-721-1776
League of American Bicyclists190 W. Ostend Street, Suite 120Baltimore, MD 21230800-288-BIKE
How to Pick a Tour
Depending on where you want to go, there will likely be many tour companies to choose from. How you find the best one for you is a matter of doing a little research and asking the right questions. The following paragraphs describe what to look for.
Location. There are bike tours to just about anywhere in the world. Pick where you want to go, considering the seasonal weather and the difficulty of the terrain in addition to the sights you'll see. Be open, as well, to the suggestions of others. A trip to a place you never considered going may turn out to be an incredible experience. Before signing up, get as much specific information about what you'll see, the amount of time you'll stay, and the routes you'll take.
A reputable company. The tour operator should have a good reputation and a strong track record for successful trips. Get a recommendation from a friend or another bike enthusiast.
Tour leaders and support. Any organized trip you take should be led by experienced adult cyclists who know the area thoroughly. There should also be someone (possibly the leader) who knows how to fix any mechanical problems and is familiar with first aid techniques. Sag wagons often accompany tours, as well.
Difficulty. Tours can range in level from very easy to very difficult. Don't sign up for a tour you aren't sure you can handle (or one that's too easy). If you get stuck on an inappropriate trip, you won't have fun and you could injure yourself.
Accommodations and meals. Some tourists prefer to rough-it as much as possible, while others want luxury hotels. Either choice, and everything in between, is available—just make sure you know exactly what you're getting. The same advice applies to food. Find a tour that will provide what you want in a bike trip.
Others on the tour. Find out how many people will be on the tour with you. You may prefer the intimacy of a small tour, or the social possibilities of a large one. Also, some tours are designed to attract specific groups, such as singles, women, or church members.
Cost. Prices vary considerably, even among tours in the same area. Pay only for accommodations you want. Beyond that, as long as you get what you're paying for, price shouldn't be the main consideration. If you want to save some money, expect less from a tour operator or go it alone.