At Boat Bike Tours we offer full-service boat and bike tours in 14 countries across Europe. Our multi-day tours are fully-catered-for in every way, from gourmet meals to cycling equipment.
European cycling vacations offer the curious traveler an inexhaustible wealth of experiences and adventures, but the huge range of possibilities can be overwhelming: what equipment do you need to bring for day trips, bike-packing, bike touring, or even a boat and bike tour?
Seven things you need for bike touring
Luckily, at Bike Boat Tours we have more than 40 years of experience in helping holidaymakers make the most of their cycling vacations. Our Number One tip: with the right gear, you’re prepared for anything.
So, whether it’s an independent cycling camping trip, or one of our cycling cruises sleeping aboard a hotel barge, we compiled a checklist of things you need for a successful cycling tour.
A sturdy bike
Anyone considering going on a cycling tour will need a sturdy bike that can reliably handle consecutive days on paved, dirt or gravel roads without falling to pieces.
Perhaps your beloved bike is a city slicker or just isn’t up to the task? Never fear! With Bike Boat Tours, guests can hire one of our comfy, dependable touring bikes (and helmets) for the length of their trip at a reasonable rate.
Nevertheless, those who would like to ride their faithful touring companion are also welcome to bring their own bike with them on our tours.
Accommodation: camping gear or cabin?
This one’s a breeze. If you’re on one of our cycling cruises then you’ll need zero camping gear, since you’ll have the pleasure of returning to your own private cabin every night aboard one of our cozy barges or magnificent sailing ships.
A lack of tent, sleeping bag, and camping paraphernalia not only means you’ll feel light as a feather on two wheels, but you can also skip the chore of pitching a tent and breaking camp every day.
Originally named after the French word for ‘bread basket’ (panier), these carry bags clip onto your bike’s carrier rack or front frame and are great for carefree portage of your gear while on a tour, for avoiding backpack sweat patches and for keeping your stuff dry in case of downpours.
All our bikes all come with panniers, and since you’re not transporting a ton of gear, you’ll be free to do like the French and transport fresh pastries from that local bakery you just spotted…
There is a huge variety of navigational aids available to cycle tourists, ranging from handheld GPS devices, through to smartphone GPS apps and good old-fashioned maps.
For a simpler approach, guests on our tours can simply opt to follow the group leader and enjoy guided rides through wonderful European landscapes. They can also ask their crew for a map and GPS coordinates to help them shape their own adventure for the day, navigating to their floating hotel in the evening.
Basic toolkit and puncture kit
Surprises wait around every corner in life, which is why every bicycle rider should carry a basic toolkit and puncture repair kit containing Allen keys, inner tube patches, a spanner, and tire levers.
Guests traveling with our knowledgeable group leaders need not worry, as they carry toolkits as well as plenty of experience in dealing with bike breakdowns. If a real blowout should strike, the tour’s crew is just a call away.
Catering: from cooking equipment to haute cuisine
Besides a water bottle, picnic lunch and any snacks you might need during the day, the most important piece of catering equipment you’ll need on a cycling cruise is your wallet!
While our guests enjoy tasty breakfasts and delicious three-course dinners on board, there are also plenty of opportunities to stop at tempting cafes, bistros or pubs along the way. Or to dine out in some of Europe’s most enchanting towns and cities.
Rain jacket and sun gear
While we can provide almost everything needed for our boat and bike tours, unfortunately we can’t organize the weather.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast in the days before your tour so you know what to pack. It’s also wise to bring a lightweight rain jacket, hat, sunscreen lotion and plenty of layers.
Still not sure what to pack? Take a look at our FAQ page on what to bring on a boat bike tour.
Why not fill in a few brief questions here and let us help you find the right tour for you? And if you’re not quite ready to have a chat, sign up for our free email course—you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about boat and bike tours in Europe.