As the slow-travel trend takes hold, people are starting to realize that travel is not just about the destination — it’s the journey. Too many times we find ourselves flying in and out of a city, and just as we're leaving, we realize that while the food may have been delicious, the beds comfortable, and the architecture interesting, we didn't really capture the aura of the environs. And so, to this we say: Get off the bus and get on a bike.
There is almost no better way to see a country and really experience it than on a bicycle. While traveling from one town to another, you can stop and take pictures (because you are in the driver's seat), take a hot minute to breathe in your surroundings, or stop at a local pub or winery and talk to some locals. The two-wheeled trend is taking off, and more and more operators are offering biking trips ... for all levels.
Lest you think it's just for hard-core adventure mountain biking enthusiasts or is another form of pack travel, think again. On a recent bike tour of the Cotswolds that I took with the Carter Company, people went at their own pace. We were given directions, and while one tour leader took the front of the pack for those who hadn't spent 20 years of their lives trying to quit smoking (ahem), there was someone at the back to clean up the rest of us stragglers. A van carried all our luggage to the next town or hotel, and by the time the day was over, I was tired but invigorated. I was also a lot more knowledgeable about England than I had been before, and I hold a British passport! My head was clear, and though it was a group trip, I had the precious alone time to think and mull things over — something you don't often get on a cruise or a tour bus.
And so, we bring you the top seven bike tours we want to take, now.