Tour logistics and frequently asked questions

What does the trip price include?

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.

What is not included?

•    Airfares
•    Insurance
•    Bike Hire on Epic Adventures
•    Personal items when you are on the tour
•    Wine (we run an optional wine kitty on tour)

Travel Assistance
If you require further nights at the start and finish hotels of your tour please talk to Alessandra – [email protected]. She is our Accommodation Bookings Manager and will be happy to help with these arrangements. We are loathe to say we can get the cheapest deal in this age of cut price internet deals. However what we can offer are our own favourable group booking rates, a preferential cancellation policy and a guarantee that you’ll be able to stay in the same room as when you are on the tour.
If you require assistance with flight arrangements and any pre or post tour travel then our travel partner is Travel Associates who have offices in both Australia and the United States. They manage all of our own tour travel arrangements. If you are in Australia contact Angela and her team on 1800 612 192 (free call). Alternatively you can email her at [email protected]. If you are in the United States please contact Vera Andric on 800-748-3302 (free call) or [email protected]. Simply mention the tour you are on and they will be very happy to assist.
Insurance

We recommend that you have adequate travel insurance organized before you come on tour that covers baggage, health, travel and accident insurance.  Ride and Seek will not assume responsibility or liability for any loss or damage to persons or their personal effects, or for any injury or loss sustained during the tour. It is obligatory that all guests have health insurance cover before travelling with us. Our partner Travel Associates can assist you with purchasing insurance, please contact Angela or Vera on the numbers and emails above.

Accommodation - Local & Epic

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 dissapointed – some of the places we stay are truly epic!

Flights

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.

The 'Fideli' - Our loyal Rider Program

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.

Grading

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.

Tour Payments

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.

Pre tour

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 balance for your chosen tour you will receive a detailed itinerary – sent out around 6 weeks before the tour starts – which includes destination and trip specific information as well as general trip preparation tips.

Arrival and Departure

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.

Meals
We really try to immerse you in the culture of the areas that we visit and this is very much reflected by the menus that we present on tour. We seek to incorporate the regional flavours into the meals you’ll eat whilst at the same time trying to provide as much variety as possible. In some cases you’ll eat al la carte whereas in others there is a set menu or a multi course buffet. However the food is presented we can assure you will be blown away by the range and quality of the food on offer.
As well as putting a lot of time into selecting great menus on the tour we are also passionate about the wines that accompany them. It is a strange coincidence that many of the iconic cycling areas of Europe are also great wine regions – it is certainly the case with our tours. As such we are always keen to present to you a range of the finest wines each area we travel in has to offer. We run an optional wine kitty system which covers the cost of the wines on tour.
Transport

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.

Bikes

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. We charge a per day rate of €30 to hire a bike.

Am I fit enough?

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.

How does the wine kitty work?

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!

Are you able to transport my bike case?

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 through TNT 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.

Is there a single supplement for your tours?

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.

Can you accommodate special dietary requirements?

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.

Are you able to run custom trips?

The answer to this is a very enthusiastic yes! With over 15 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.

What is the best way to get hold of money whilst on tour?

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.

Are you able to look after the mechanical side of my bike?

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.

If I hire a bike how can I be sure that the bike will fit?

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.

Can I choose to have a day off from the bike if I want to?

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.