A: These tours are designed for multiple levels. Every rider will be given a cue sheet and the option of leaving as early or late (but no later than hotel checkout) as you like. All riders will be given the option of riding with the tour leader. If you'd like to wake up at dawn and knock out 50 miles as fast as possible so you can take advantage of the day, throw some snacks in your jersey pocket, grab a cue sheet, and go! If speed is not your concern and you would rather take it slow, you can make multiple stops for food, water, rest, and to enjoy the scenery. The average age and riding ability varies, and everyone comes on a bike tour for different reasons. Whether your goal is o see new things, meet new people, challenge yourself, or escape the winter. There's something here for you.
Q: What kind of bike should I ride?
A: Ride a bike that fits you well and that can handle long rides. We recommend a fully geared road, touring, or hybrid bike. Make sure you put some miles on it before leave for the trip. Try a ride up and down the Westside Highway or a few laps in the park. If you experience any pain on your bike (i.e. saddle pain, hand numbness, knee pain, back pain), we recommend seeing one of our bike fitters before the trip. Small pains should not be ignored -- they can make a multi-day trip much less enjoyable. If riding an e-bike, please be aware that arrangements must be made to keep the bike consistently charged. Please also check state and federal regulations for up to date information for e-bikes. The e-bikes that we provide are all pedal-assist.
Q: Do you rent bikes?
A: Yes! We rent hybrids, road bikes, and pedal assist e-bikes. Rental bikes are available for all tours on a first-come, first-served basis. We also offer transport options. Please reach out to us to inquire about sizing and availability.
Q: Do you offer any group discounts?
A: We offer one free tour registration for every group of six registrations. That comes out to a 14% discount for each of you! After you've toured with us, if you bring a friend on your next tour who has not travelled with us, you'll receive a $50 credit for each person you bring (immediate family members excluded).
Q: Are deposits refundable?
A: All tours require a non-refundable deposit to hold your spot. Please read our cancellation policy for more information about deadlines for full and partial refunds.
Q: What is the cancellation and transfer policy?
A: Once your deposit has been received, any refund will depend on our finding a replacement from the waitlist. If filled, you can get a full refund, minus a $75 registration fee and any unrecoverable costs (maps, hotel transfer fees, etc.). If requested more than two weeks before the tour start date, transfering to another tour within the calendar year will be permitted (less any unrecoverable costs).
Q: Does Bicycle Habitat recommend tour insurance?
A: While we sincerely wish for every trip participant to attend and complete the tour of their choice, we realize unexpected personal emergencies, health issues, weather, and transportation problems might cause you to cancel or shorten your trip. We recommend purchasing travel insurance. There are many companies offering such insurance; feel free to reach out for a good recommendation.
Q: Who will my tour leaders be?
A: Our tour leaders and staff want to make your trip the best experience possible. They attend to the logistics of your tour and ensure that the day runs smoothly. All are certified in first aid and CPR, and our mechanics are all highly trained. Our staff's main purpose is to facilitate your touring experience. They will provide leadership and support, but in some ways you must rely on yourself. On bike tours, even a novice will learn how to read a map and repair a flat tire -- and we will be right beside you to help! We believe teaching enhances everyone's sense of accomplishment, adventure, and enjoyment. All tours will be lead by an experienced guide and a mechanic, and our support van will always have a spot for you if you can't complete the day.
Q: What about the snacks?
A: If you've never been on a multi-day bike tour, you'll quickly learn that food stops are frequent. We'll attempt to use lodging that has breakfast available (sometimes included in the room price), and we'll have sandwiches and energy snacks available for you to pack for lunch. Cue sheets will include places to supplement what you have packed if you get tired of sandwiches and bars. Our nightly social hours will include adult beverages (craft beer, wine, soda, and juices) and snacks (veggies, chips, dip, nuts, pretzels, and other snacks to help you recover from the day and fuel up for the next. If you have dietary restrictions, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you.
Q: How can I get in shape to go on a tour?
A: Start early, build gradually, be consistent, and get in a tough day. For the two months leading up to your tour, you should be riding a bike, whether it is inside on a trainer, on the road, or on a mountain bike. If you have taken a long time off from riding, you should work on riding at least three days a week, even if it's only for 30 minutes at a time. Check the itinerary for your trip to find out what the longest day of your trip will be. Over the course of your training, try to include a longer ride once or twice a week. If you can, try to build your long ride mileage to at least 10 miles short of your longest ride day (if your tour includes a 65 mile day, try for a 55 mile ride before you leave). Tours often contain many different kinds of terrain. Try including short steep hills, windy roads, and long sustained climbs to make sure you're prepared for anything you might encounter. If you're coming from New York City, try Central or Prospect Park for some short hilly segments and 9W for some longer climbs.
Try riding as often as you can. Riding for 45 minutes a day six days a week might leave you in better shape than one big six hour ride. Get your legs used to getting on a bike every day - that's what touring is all about! If you can't get on a bike that often, try to stay active! A hike, some time on the elliptical, a swim, or some running can all help you maintain your fitness while away from the bike.
Q: How can I get more information about touring?
A: Come to one of our touring clinics! Starting in January, our main tour leader, Rick, will be hosting clinics at our Manhattan and Brooklyn stores to help you pack for, train for, and enjoy your touring experience.
Q: What kinds of tours are there? What kind of tours do you provide?
A: Bike tours range from self-supported, where you carry everything you need, to fully-supported. Our tours, unless otherwise specified, are the latter. All you need to carry with you on your bike is whatever you'll need to get you to the next hotel: a few snacks, some basic flat changing supplies, and water bottles. We transport your luggage, and when your day of riding is over, you arrive at a hotel. Self-supported touring is typically done on a touring-specific bike, or one that can carry a load. Joining a fully-supported tour gives you the option to ride whatever bike you are comfortable on, regardless of its carrying capacity.