If you’re both serious and organized enough about self-improvement to be among those now busy listing their goals for the coming year, you might be thinking about such terminally boring objectives as losing weight, quitting smoking, embarking on a new career or finding any career, for that matter. But for cyclists with a taste for different cultures and cuisines, there’s no better resolution than taking a European bike tour in 2010.
For fully immersing yourself in a foreign country’s sights, sounds, scents and rhythms, a bicycle seat provides an ideal vantage point. With no glass or steel shielding you from sprawling vineyards and bucolic pastures, you’ll see Europe’s sights up close and personal. While some challenging climbing may be required to see majestic castles and forts perched atop islands or steep hills, you’ll be rewarded with local color like the donkey trains and families of gliding swans I encountered serendipitously on my 2009 tours in Holland and Greece.
While American firms like Backroads and Vermont Bicycling Touring specialize in making all arrangements for clients, their fees are often considerably more than what European firms charge. Even considering the weak dollar, an 8-day bike-barge tour in Holland booked through BikeToursDirect, a Tennessee-based firm that represents more than 40 European tour operators, runs about a third the cost of a similar VBT tour. The same is true of a 6-day cycling tour through Spain: roughly $4,000 for a Backroads tour vs. less than $1,800 for a tour arranged through BikeToursDirect.
Learn more about European tour options and booking at http://weuropetravel.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_book_a_european_bike_tour.