Velocip is a German-based bicycle touring company that has been in business since 1988. They offer both guided tours and self-guided bike tours. (They call their self-guided tours “Individual Bike Tours.”) Velociped also offers both bike trail tours as well as road bike tours. Most of their tours are in Europe, but they also have tours in Hawaii, New Zealand, Cuba and Vietnam. Bicycle tourists have two options for booking tours with Velociped. They can book directly on the Velociped website or they can book through a bicycle touring company such as Tripsite.com.
Velociped Self-Guided Bike Tours
One of Velociped’s bike touring specialties is self-guided tours. They do an excellent job of bridging the gap between guided bike tours and on-your-own bike tours. These self-guided tours provide touring bicyclists with bikes, lodging, touring guide books and luggage transfer. And they provide these services at a price that is not too much more than you might pay if you planned your own bike trip. Of course it helps that they’ve been in this business for well over two decades and have built up a strong relationship with local hotel operators.
Advantages of a Velociped Self-Guided Bicycle Tour
So why go with a tour company rather than plan and organize your own bike tour? Well, as stated above, these self-guided tours are probably about the same cost as what it would cost you to plan your own pedaling tour. Plus, it saves you a lot of hassle. In addition, since Velociped has been doing this bike-tour-thing for quite awhile, they have the system down. They provide you with the following tour essentials:
- a sturdy, comfortable bike – Their bikes are usually 21-speed touring bikes with a comfortable seat and handlebars. The bikes are in good shape and are usually less than a year old.
- pannier – Velociped provides you with a water-resistant pannier for holding your daily touring gear such as a rain jacket, lunch/snacks, camera, etc.
- bike repair kit – You probably won’t need to use it, but it’s nice to have a bike repair kit when you’re traveling all day for multiple days.
- bike lock – This gives you peace of mind so that you feel comfortable going into restaurants or going on side tours and leaving your bicycle parked outside.
- lodging – Velociped provides you with comfortable lodging. Be forewarned that the lodging, although fairly close to your bike route/trail, is not always as close as you’d like. But this is understandable considering all of the specific criteria that the lodging must meet. First of all, it has to be in the affordable range, and often times trailside accommodations aren’t very affordable. Secondly, it has to be comfortable. Although you will not always (maybe never in some countries) get a room with air conditioning, you will likely get a clean and comfortable room for the night. (See “Tips for Touring in Europe” post.) Tour companies must also find hotels that provide bicycle storage. Many hotels just don’t have room for such luxuries. And finally, they must find hotels that provide breakfast since this is usually included in most self-guided tours.
- luggage transfer – I can’t even imagine going on one of these marathon tours while schlepping around all of my own luggage. First of all, that would be a lot of stuff, therefore quite heavy and cumbersome. Secondly, I’d have to constantly be worried about leaving my bike for fear of losing not only the bike, but everything else that I need for the tour. And finally, I would have to pack in a much more spartan fashion. No thanks!! This service alone makes the self-guided touring service worthwhile.
- touring books & maps – I saved this one for last because it’s much more important and valuable than most people would realize. The touring literature that is provided by Velociped is exceptional. In most cases, they provide you with two essential touring publications. One is a guide to the trail or route you will be taking. It includes maps and a mile-by-mile description of the route. For example, in the case of the Moselle River Bike Trail, they provide you with a wonderful bike line publication entitled Moselle River Trail: From Metz to the Rhine. This book comes complete with a series of day-to-day maps, colorful photos, a thorough description of the route and even GPS Tracks that allow you to follow the route with your GPS-enabled device. Plus, you also get another tour book published by Velociped. This one has general bike touring information, specific directions to your daily lodging facility as well as detailed descriptions of some of the main towns & sites you will be visiting. Unlike travel guides you might purchase at a bookstore or online, these guides are specifically tailored to your bike tour and your bicycling itinerary.
Book Your Tour Directly Through Velociped or…
You have two choices when it comes to booking your bike tour. You can book directly through the Velociped website or you can utilize the services of a cycling vacation company such as Tripsite. You will get the same wonderful services described above no matter which option you choose. You will also pay the exact same price either way. However, I have found that it’s nice to have the added convenience of a bicycle touring specialist such as Tripsite to provide an added level of assistance when planning tours. Tripsite has a well-designed website and dedicated staff who can help you with your travel plans. This is especially helpful if you’re planning multiple bike tours in one trip. But either way you go, booking a tour with Velociped or Tripsite is a great first start in planning your dream bicycle tour.