How does Self Guided work? Well, you may want to start by reading "What is Self Guided" and then what we describe below might be more understandable. Or check out this blog post that recently appeared in Huffington Post.
Where ever you are, whatever country and region you wake up in today - it is a beautiful day! It has to be - you are on vacation and you are doing something you worked long and hard to achieve! Go maximize your experience in your own way!
Breakfast is on your time. We include breakfast in every hotel we book in our tours, so you don't have to worry about what to do for breakfast on this day, or any day. Most of our hotels are offering buffet breakfast with a nice choice of items that meet lots of different tastes. Coffee, teas, hot chocolate, juices, fruit, cereal, breads, are common. Yogurt, cold meats, eggs, hot meats, potatoes, and other items are present in the higher end accommodations. Hours vary by country. In Spain, all meals are much later than other parts of Europe. You can expect to be able to eat breakfast between 7:30 am and 10:30 am at a minimum. Do not skip breakfast, this is the best way to start your cycling day!
Prepare to ride: get your cycling clothes on, your bags packed up (if you are moving hotels today) and gather up your needed on-bike materials like: maps, cue sheets, phone numbers, money/credit cards, travel documents like vouchers, etc. Camera, sunscreen, water bottles, etc.
Ride out of the hotel when it suits you! The itinerary is laid out in detail, so you can plan according to your wishes. If there are important sites along the route today that you want to spend a lot of time visting, then plan accordingly. Keep in mind open hours of sites and remember to think ahead for a lunch. You could buy some picnic supplies before you leave the town/village where you are starting, or you can plan to visit a restaurant from the ones we suggest in your roadbook. Note that most businesses close for lunch hours between noon and 2pm on average. Restaurants are of course open during those hours.
Visit, explore, stop to take pictures. Talk to locals, ask them questions, buy souvenirs, etc. You may want to do some reading about your destination before you come with the suggested materials we send, or with your own research. If it is interesting to you to know what local products are specialities and what to look for in quality items, then read in advance.
Late afternoon you should be coming into your new hotel (or back to the same one as the previous night). We recommend that you try to be at your hotel before usual dinner hours and leave some time to either swim in the pool, rest with a book, walk around the town to visit, or whatever makes you happy. When you arrive at the hotel, your luggage will be waiting for you, or shortly on the way. We guarantee to have luggage delivered before 5pm. Ask about the garage for the bikes and then be sure to lock up the bike and take all your belongings off the bike. The rest of the day you can do as you wish. If dinner is included, be sure to ask about the hours the restaurant is open. If you have a voucher for dinner, remember to take it with you.
Savor the dinner; savor the experience of the day, and take in all that is going on around you. Perhaps this is the only time you will ever visit this particular place - take mental notes, and congratulate yourself on a great day, a great choice, and a great vacation!
The key points to a typical day on a self guided tour are:
- you set your schedule; when you get up, when you have breakfast, when you depart to ride, how fast you ride, how long you stop, and so on. The day is yours to spend as you wish. We show you how much you have to cycle, and so you can plan in function of your wishes.
- you will navigate; study your maps, be comfortable reading maps or using a GPS and be ready to interpret the route as you go; leave a little extra time for this instead of counting what you normally take to ride 30 miles.
- your bags are handled - don't worry about them; take what you need on the bike and enjoy!
- you have a local contact if you need it
- lodging is covered, your room waiting for you, and meal suggestions are provided if not included. You have very little to think about except what is in front of you!
- know how to fix a flat tire - flats happen! This is something you must know how to do; other bike problems are supported.
- have fun knowing you spent a lot less than most others getting a similar experience on a guided trip!
"I wanted to write and let you know how marvelous out trip to Tuscany was and thank you for arranging such a wonderful biking tour. Giuliana and Marco were terrific and made sure we had everything we needed. The route maps were easy to follow, our hotels were terrific and the bikes satisfactory for our Tuscany adventure!! "
- Julie S./USA
"Excellent trip. The route selection was superb, the hotels were excellent, and the local support was superb (flexible, knowledgable, and extremely helpful)."
- Michael C./USA