Guided mountain bike tours vs self guided
Struggling to decide between a guided and self guided mountain bike tour? We have the answer…
We try to solve the eternal problem of guided mountain bike tours vs self guided trips
There are many arguments for and against both self-guided and guided mountain bike tours, however, we strongly believe that a fully-guided mountain bike trip – in any destination – is the only way to ensure you get the best, safest experience, and most value for money from your adventure tour. And in this blog post we aim to demonstrate this and convince you that guided is the way to go!
Preparation and planning
Time is precious to all of us, and planning a mountain bike adventure is no small undertaking. There are many different aspects to consider, not just the mountain biking routes. You’ll find yourself spending endless hours on the internet, researching accommodation, transport, places to eat, trails, weather, costs…you haven’t even left the house and you’ve already lost hours of your life plugged-in to some technology or other to figure out how you’re going to spend your spare time.
We’ve done all this research, and tried and tested the whole package for you, so why not take advantage of our expertise and local knowledge and leave the hard work to us?
But I like researching and planning myself…
Okay, so you like to take control of the planning process yourself, and take pleasure in creating your own mountain bike holidays for you and your friends/family. How do you know that what you’ve planned is the best itinerary, with the best accommodation and restaurants in the area? Can you be sure that your mountain bike adventure will live up to your friends’ expectations and deliver everything that they had hoped – and paid – for?
Delivering the experience
An incredible mountain bike tour isn’t about any one element of the trip, it’s about the whole package, and we work with local guides and fixers in every destination to ensure that the whole adventure lives up to, if not exceeds, your expectations.
We know what makes a good mountain bike tour absolutely fantastic, and it’s the combination of: excellent trails; delicious local food; beautiful scenery; friendly and welcoming accommodation; local culture and people; and experienced, knowledgeable guides who are prepared for every eventuality.
All of these details have been finalised well in advance of your arrival, and will seem seamless to you when on tour, but a lot of work has gone in to producing the finished article.
But navigation is part of the fun for us…
We appreciate that some people really enjoy navigating their own way along the route, and perhaps we’ll never convince those people that having a guide is a better experience, but in some areas a small mistake in map reading can lead to an extremely long detour in the wrong direction. Tension builds and patience is tried, and when you finally end up in the not-as-nice-as-we-thought accommodation, no one is speaking and the mood of the group has deteriorated considerably.
Would having your own personal skills teacher on hand, or a local person who can tell you about the geology, flora and fauna, or even accommodation and food stops planned in for just when you need them, help to turn your holiday into an amazing mountain biking experience?
We will be on hand during each of our tours to offer just this kind of information and tuition to help you understand more about the country you are experiencing, and to improve as a mountain biker.
TripAdvisor can go some way to helping you choose good accommodation and eating places, but you can spend a lot of time sifting through recommendations and often end up feeling more confused than when you started. You also won’t know if an establishment has changed ownership recently and suddenly gone downhill, or if the location really is what you were looking for. We have spent a lot of time building up strong relationships with local accommodation and food providers for our trips, and in some cases this rapport allows us to offer you special meals for your group in small restaurants that don’t otherwise open for dinner.
With a local guide you’re more likely to have those special experiences that your average tourist misses out on… like sharing tea with local farmers in the mountains of Nepal.
When things don’t go according to plan
The real value of a guided mountain bike tour is demonstrated best when things don’t go exactly as planned. When the weather takes a turn for the worst and a ride you thought would take five hours actually takes more like nine. You don’t have enough food or energy left in the tank and you don’t know any shortcuts. An experienced mountain bike guide will be able to gauge the weather, trail conditions, group mood, and will alter the route if necessary to make sure that your day in the saddle is the best it can be.
If you have chosen the self-supported option, do you know the risks and are you prepared for them? Do you know where the phone reception cuts out? Where medical attention can be sought? What the weather has been like over the past couple of weeks? Do you have sufficient emergency equipment for the terrain you are traveling in?
We hope to have convinced you that a professionally guided mountain bike tour is the best option for ensuring a truly outstanding adventure experience, but if you’re still not sure you can read some of our customer reviews and meet your mountain bike guides before making your decision.
Read more of our stories for great travel tips, skills and adventure inspiration…
2 thoughts on “Guided vs self-guided mountain bike tours – what’s best?”
It sounds like there are many differences between the two types of mountain bike tours. Like you mentioned, I think it mostly depends on your skill level and the difficulty of the trip as to which one is best for you. I’ll have to talk to some tour guides and see what they think I should do based on my abilities. Thanks for the tips!
I have enjoyed reading your post. I really like mountain biking. Sometimes going outdoors on my bike is the most satisfying thing i do in my free time. I have sometimes used the services of tour guides if i wanted to go to new terrains and trails. It’s real fun
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