Need To Know

Need to Know

All you need to know to enjoy your Cycling Centuries bike tour.

Our bike tours depend on a sustainable triple bottom line approach; that means being environmentally and socially conscious as well as making sure we can ensure a fair profit to all our suppliers, our staff and ourselves.

Pre-Tour Checklist

TODAY
  • Congratulate yourself on choosing a tour!
  • Complete registration and return form along with your deposit of €300 to reserve your spot.
  • As soon as we receive your deposit, we will send you your pre-tour packet with detailed information about preparing for your tour.
  • Dig out your passport and check the date. If you don’t already have a passport, apply for it as early as possible.
  • Make your travel arrangements. Be sure to include travel insurance.

2-4 WEEKS BEFORE
  • Confirm all reservations
  • Plan what you are going to pack.
  • Your final packet comes out 1 month prior to departure.

2-4 MONTHS BEFORE
  • Finalize your travel plans; book hotel nights apart from tour
  • Send/fax in your final payment 60 days before tour departure.
  • Start exercising!

CHOOSING A TOUR

The daily itineraries will give you an idea of the types of terrain, scenery, daily mileages, sites and accommodations you will encounter on a specific tour. Keep in mind that all of the tours offer fabulous cycling, smashing scenery and lots of old world charm. In order to guarantee the tour of your choice, it is recommended to make your reservation as early as possible. If you are thinking ahead, our departure dates remain fairly similar from year to year.


How Can We Help You?


GUEST SERVICES

  • Questions are welcome! The European Headquarters is very familiar with the tours and have first hand experience with most of the routes. We’ll be happy to offer suggestions for additional sightseeing, or arrange a special tour for your group or family (minimum of 10 guests.) Airline ticketing, hotel reservations, car rentals and travel insurance are also available through this office.
  • Guest requests for bicycle sizes, hotel reservations, and travel arrangements should be received in our office no later than 30 days before the tour (at which time we can determine tour meeting details).
  • We must have your arrival information at this time. Requests are handled as they are received. While we will be glad to assist at any time, requests received within 30 days cannot be guaranteed and may incur additional charges.

DISCOUNTS
  • Past guests receive a 5% “Recycling through the Centuries” discount.
  • Join us for 4 tours and receive a 50% discount on your 5th.
  • Your 10th tour is on the house.
  • Groups are cheaper by the dozen: one free for every eleven paid guests.


Getting Yourself Ready


CONDITIONING
  • While our pace is relaxed and the support van available, these are cycling vacations best enjoyed from the saddle.
  • You should be comfortable covering the average daily mileage over terrain similar to the tour. Daily mileage averages 25-40 miles, with most guests spending about 4 to 6 hours "on the road", including numerous stops.
  • Rather than describe Portugal and Spain as "breathtaking", we’ll just tell you right out that it’s hilly. However, most routes do not have long grades, so although hilly, it’s comfortable. Any strenuous days are noted in the itinerary. And remember, the support van driver always enjoys company!
  • Most roads are in good repair; a very few may be a bit rougher and more patched than at home. Many village centers are still cobbled (charm has it’s price...).

Pulling Together the Paperwork


PASSPORTS
  • A valid U.S. Passport with at least 6 months of validity is required for all U. S. citizens. Visas are not required.
  • If you travel on a passport other than U. S., it is your responsibility to check with the appropriate consulates and obtain the necessary visas.

TRAVEL INSURANCE
  • Travel insurance covering trip cancellation and interruption, and emergency medical assistance/evacuation is advised for all guests.
  • If you decline coverage, we require a waiver to that effect. Check with your current medical provider to verify that they include coverage outside the U.S.

TOUR DOCUMENTS
  • Trip documents are issued 21 days prior to the tour. They consist of a tour voucher and an emergency information form which you will give to your our leader, plus daily hotel listing, meeting information, list of tour participants, and, airline tickets (if we ticketed.)
  • If you are leaving the country more than 21 days before the tour, let us know.

GETTING YOUR GEAR TOGETHER

If You Want to Use One of Our Completely Free of Charge Bicycles...
  • Our bikes are all top of the line BH hybrid or road bikes with lightweight aluminum frames, and Shimano transmission.
  • There are four frame sizes to chose from, so you can find the most comfortable fit.
  • All of them come equipped with water bottle supports and rear support racks. Everyone is issued a pump, tire irons, and a tube - in the unlikely event that you should get a flat.
  • If you will be using one of our bikes, please remember to provide your height and inseam measurements in the space provided on the registration form.

If You Want to Bring Your Own Bicycle...
  • If you choose to bring your own bicycle, please be sure that it is in top-notch mechanical condition.
  • Unless you do all your own mechanical work, we suggest that you take it to your local cycle shop for a thorough "physical" prior to the trip and also secure whatever repair/emergency parts that they recommend.
  • Our mechanic will be glad to help with daily maintenance and minor repairs.

CYCLING GEAR
  • We ask that you bring your own helmet. Common sense and a responsibility to encourage safe riding practices dictates that helmets be worn at all times while riding.
  • Gloves are strongly recommended.
  • Other items you may wish to bring: Gel seat covers, fanny pack and an extra handlebar bag (we provide rear support bags). Many people find compasses useful too.
  • In terms of clothing, cycling togs (especially padded cycling shorts) are the most comfortable for most people.
  • Plan on layers you can don or doff as the weather changes. A poncho or gain gear should be included for the occasional rainy day.

PAYMENTS & MONEY

We have found through past experiences that the best form of payment in Spain, Portugal and France are Visa, Mastercard and Atm cards. American Express is not as widely accepted nor are travellers checks.

Also it's advisable to request pin numbers for your credit cards and atm cards if you don't have one to be able to withdraw money from the Atms as it's the easiest access to cash.


What to Expect On the Road


DAILY SCHEDULE
  • Breakfast is around 8:30AM, and most of the group collects their bikes shortly thereafter.
  • Each morning the staff holds an informal briefing on the day’s route, sights, meals and van schedule.
  • The route will have been previously chalked with arrows on the road making it truly hassle-free – no need to stop at each corner to check your maps!
  • The support van leaves the hotel about an hour after the cyclists and touches base with them enroute to the evenings accommodations. After checking in and depositing the luggage in everyone’s rooms the van doubles back to pick up any weary riders and to assist with packages, provide snacks, picnics etc.
  • Lunch may be a picnic, an informal cafe stop, or a pre-arranged restaurant.
  • The cycle guide will ride sweep toward the rear of the group to render assistance.
  • Drivers are courteous, as these are "people" roads. They are accustomed to oxcart, wheel-barrow, cyclists and foot traffic.

GROUP SIZE/COMPOSITION

  • Most tours average 8 to 10 guests and are limited to a maximum of 18.
  • There’s a pretty even split between couples and singles. Ages range between late twenties to mid-sixties, with a sprinkling above and below.
  • Riders tend to group together according to interests: market goers, photography, museum buffs, strong cyclists etc. Longer routes, without regard for terrain are frequently available for the energetic.


Accommodations


WHERE TO STAY
  • Our tours offer a variety of regional accommodations: Portuguese pousadas, Spanish paradors, private manor houses, elegant hotels, historic inns and castles, as well as quaint country inns, rustic mountain lodges and small family hotels. We select the best experience available, based on a thoughtful marriage of scenery, terrain, lodging and local culture. While our 5-star picks are dazzling, even the simplest accommodations promise comfort, hospitality and a memorable stay.

SINGLES
  • If you are traveling alone you may request a roommate to retain the double occupancy rate. If you would like a private room, a single supplement is applicable (€500). Single occupancy may not be available on all nights on all tours.

MEALS
  • Europeans are dedicated to eating well. Whether dining at a renowned establishment or local tasca, the food is always well-prepared and proudly presented. Fresh regional specialties abound.
  • Daily breakfasts used to be only of the continental variety but now most of the hotels we use provide sumptuous buffet breakfasts. When only continental breakfasts are offered we pad out the fare with cereal and fruit.
  • Approximately ¾ of the evening meals with wine are included.
  • When it’s a free evening, restaurant suggestions are offered but, of course, this is a great opportunity for exploring on your own.
  • Some of the tours will have 1 or 2 picnics included.

Travel


ARRIVALS / DEPARTURES
  • Plan on arriving at the designated hotel pickup point by 10:45am the day the tour begins. (If this varies at all you will be advised upon booking.)
  • On the last morning, we provide a group airport transfer.

PRE & POST TOUR HOTELS
  • As many guests arrive early or stay on after a tour, we will be glad to reserve a reasonably priced hotel room for you, normally at the hotel where the tour will meet.

CAN'T JOIN THE WHOLE TOUR?
  • If you must arrive late or leave early, we frequently make a pro-rated rate available. You must stay at least 75% of the nights, transport is on your own and there is a €100 surcharge.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Be sure to read the following:
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