Guided cycling trips through Europe

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of January 1-7, 1998
Guided cycling trips through Europe
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Guided cycling trips through Europe
Question: We would like to send our daughter to Europe on a cycling trip for her high school graduation next summer. What tour companies are best for ensuring her safety, and seeing the most of Europe? We aren't locked into any particular part of Europe and would like to keep the cost reasonable ($2,500-$3,500 with air fare included). Is this realistic?

Alan Twardowski
Stillwater, Minnesota

Adventure Adviser: Is that great Italian restaurant in Stillwater still open? I can't remember the name, but I remember feeling like I was dining in a cave. It was a memorable experience.

On to biking. I know of dozens of companies that offer cycling tours in Europe. A few with particularly good reputations are Backroads (800-462-2848), Ciclismo Classico (800-866-7314), Bike Riders (800-473-7040), and Gerhard's Bicycle Odysseys (503-223-2402). The average price for a week-long trip in most of these catalogs is approximately $2,000-$2,500.

Berkeley-based Backroads offers trips in Scotland, Ireland, England, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria, and the Czech Republic. All of the itineraries sound mouth-watering. Ciclismo Classico, founded by Italio-file (I made up that word) Lauren Heffernon, specializes in cycling Italy. One particularly intriguing and difficult trip is her "Pealing the Peaks of Mount Blanc" — 13 mountain passes are pedaled in six to 10 days. Europeds offers a two-week combination tour of Germany, Switzerland, and France for $3,295. They also offer tours in Iberia, Scandinavia, Holland, and many other countries. Born in Europe, Gerhard, of Gerhard's Bicycle Odysseys, offers combination trips to Denmark and Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, and Germany; and Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria, and Germany.

Before you make any decisions, be sure to call for all of these companies' catalogs so that you can get a feel for what they offer.

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