Probably one of the most frequently asked questions during (and before) our tours is: ‘How do I find my way?’. Obviously you do not want to get lost during your cycling tour. During your rides, you wish to pick the best roads and cycling tracks, navigate safely through towns and villages, see a surprising amount of highlights and hidden gems en route, enjoy the most beautiful sights and explore nice areas. And a lot of this has to do with navigation. The Boat Bike Tours team and tour leaders have done their utmost to tackle all navigation issues in advance and to offer you several navigation tools and sources of information that will make your tour easy and enjoyable.
Streets, roads and cycling tracks
We always try to use the safest and most scenic roads and tracks for our tours. The areas that we have selected for our cycling cruises usually have a (very) good infrastructure for cyclists, including many separate tracks, lanes and traffic lights for cyclists, sometimes dedicated flyovers or tunnels and even special ferries for cyclists. However: especially at the start and end of your daily cycling tours, when the ship is usually moored in the centre of a town or city, you must be prepared to ride more crowded roads. Where and whenever possible, however, we have tried to avoid intense traffic and pick separate bike lanes, where available. Outside towns and cities we lead you via quiet rural country roads and (separate) cycling tracks.
In Holland and Belgium (‘cyclists’ paradise’) signposting for cyclist is very good. In the Netherlands and Flanders Boat Bike Tours use the so-called ‘cycling junctions network’ with its own, special and very easy-to-use signposting. In other areas, signposting of long-distance cycling routes are being used, where available (e.g. along the Danube and Moselle rivers). Unfortunately, in some less densely populated areas, like Northern and North-eastern France, signposting is not always very good; for this reason, we only offer fully-guided tours and discourage independent cycling in this region.
For all tours, for which Boat Bike Tours is the organizing tour operator, we have developed special, clear and easy-to-use detailed cycling maps. The maps are printed on water- and wind-proof ‘stone paper’. The maps show all relevant information for your daily cycling stages, like point of departure and arrival (mooring places of your ship), the recommended cycling routes and (if applicable) longer and shorter versions of the cycling tour, interesting highlights and much more. In the Netherlands and Flanders, we use the so-called ‘cycling junctions network’. You can find the numbers of this network on your cycling map. For so-called ‘partner tours’ (tours that are not operated by Boat Bike Tours, but by a foreign, local partner) you will receive maps of a different type. Maps (usually 1 per cabin) are available on board.
Printed information – route notes
For all semi-guided and independent tours, for which Boat Bike Tours is the organizing tour operator, each cycling day we will provide you with a sheet printed ‘route notes’ in English, incl. useful remarks conc. navigation, sights and stops for tea, coffee or lunch. For fully-guided tours in the Netherlands and Belgium, the route notes are available as well, so that you can cycle on your own if you prefer. For fully guided tours in France we do not provide route notes. Because signposting is not always very good we discourage independent cycling in this region. For so-called ‘partner tours’ (which are not operated by Boat Bike Tours, but by a foreign, local partner) you will receive printed notes of a different type. Route notes are available for each cycling day on board.
GPX-files and the app ‘Ride with GPS’
For all tours, for which Boat Bike Tours is the organizing tour operator, the free app ‘Ride With GPS’ is available. Ride with GPS is a bike route mapping tool for cyclists. This option is an addition to Boat Bike Tours’ traditional printed route notes and printed maps. BBT has partnered with ‘Ride with GPS’ to provide you a way to download tour maps and daily itineraries directly to your smartphone. You’ll be able to voice navigation on all the routes and access your tour content anytime from your phone. Ride with GPS can also export routes as GPX-files to your personal GPS gear.
Comprehensive information in the section ‘Ride with GPS’.
Instructions by tour leader and/or crew
Last but not least: your tour leader or (on independent tours, where there is no tour leader) a member of the crew is an important and useful source of information. During daily briefings next day’s cycling tour will be discussed. Please feel free to ask questions and/or advice.