Guided Bike Tours: an emerging ‘green’ tourism sector
We explain what to expect and what to bring on a Guided Bike Tour, as we have a sense that not many people have experienced a guided bike tour in Britain.
Anecdotally, a number of our customers say that they have been on a guided bike tour when on holiday abroad. But the industry is growing in Britain, and there are now a good number of companies offering guided bike tours, ranging from a few hours to a couple of days.
The majority are city based, where there are large populations, and large visitor numbers. They offer guided tours of the city, often making use of cycle-lanes, off-road or quieter routes through parks and residential areas. Some have themed tours, such as the Beatles experience, offered by Liverpool Cycle Tours or you can cycle enjoying the architecture and history of Cambridge’s Universities, for example.
Trip Advisor lists 76 Guided Bike Tours. (We set up our Trip Advisor account last summer, and probably need a few more reviews before we reach the table!)
We contacted Anthony who established Cambridge Bike Tours eleven years ago. Having enjoyed bike tours abroad, he decided to go on one closer to home in Cambridge, only to discover that there wasn’t one, so set up the business.
Now managing the company, and employing guides, he has just created Baldman Bikes Tours as a searchable database of the guided bike tours available- not only in the UK, but internationally.
“We have seen an increase in interest over that last 10 years and that’s potentially to do with people experiencing bike tours elsewhere around the world and now searching for them in the UK where they wouldn’t have does just a few years ago,” he says while discussing his not-for-profit, free to use website, and guided bike tours in general.
“We’re an amazing fraternity of people who want to encourage people to go on bike tours whenever they visit a new place, and who love sharing their passion about a place. It’s truly the best way to get to know somewhere!”
Cycle tours are ‘Green’ ‘Sustainable’ ‘Responsible’ ‘slow’
So what else could be responsible for the growth in interest and the growth in the numbers of providers?
Sustainable travel and tourism is a rapidly growing market in the UK and worldwide. As we face the climate emergency, customers are making holiday and leisure choices with sustainability in mind.
Green tourism often means activities which have a lower impact on the environment, by using less power or reducing consumption and waste, companies and activities.
It’s not all about reducing, recycling and reusing, there are benefits to the tourist as well.
People opting for sustainable tourism often receive a more authentic experience, and get an intimate insight into aspects of local heritage and culture. Cycling with a local guide provides an opportunity experience the essence of a place and to learn more about an area’s history and culture, to a level of details that would simply not be available to the independent traveller.
The activity also supports that culture and community by contributing to the local economy in some way. In addition to being a local company, we use local bike hire shops and call at local cafes with our customers, supporting those two sectors.
Cycling is also great way of being able to see more during your visit than you would if on foot. For a rural area like Anglesey, it’s a great way to explore. Many of our stopping points are at places which could be difficult to access by car, as there are few parking places along narrow country lanes!
A bike tour enables you to visit places without adding to your carbon footprint, beyond reaching the meeting point, especially if you’re bringing your own bike.
Cycling is good for you!
Perhaps you like being active on holiday? Cycling is a great way to spend your day exploring!
Cycling burns between 400- 800 calories per hour, depending on the person and level of exertion, and can be an enjoyable way to incorporate exercise into your holiday, or into your daily life!
However, you may not have been on a bike for a while. We set a leisurely, enjoyable non-competitive pace. According to cycling UK, 68% of trips in the UK are under five miles – a distance many of us could easily ride. We hope that cycling with us will encourage you to integrate more cycling into your daily or weekly routine.