Luxury cycling trips
Each and every one of us has a preconceived idea of what a luxury cycling trip is. If we think in terms from the last century, it is probable that we will be thinking of champagne, oysters or five-star hotels. Perhaps, at the time, the bicycle would have been secondary, overshadowed by the more common thoughts of what could be considered luxury.
Today, the concept of luxury is closer to the fulfilment of a dream and the accomplishment of living a unique experience adapted to our needs. In that sense, of course, personalization and customer service are the key elements to luxury.
Logically, the dream of a 20 year old athletic cyclist is not the same as that of a 55 year old senior. Each person will want a trip adapted to his interests and possibilities and, obviously, to his physical shape. In this article we will concentrate on the concept of luxury travel for the latter, the seniors.
What does a cycling trip need to be considered Luxury?
Only trips contracted through a third party are taken into account here, i.e. guided and personalised trips. A DMC, or ‘destination management company’, is a tourist service provider offering and carrying out services at the destination point. In this case, the DMC will offer specialized bicycle touring services and can be purchased directly from the provider or from your local or online travel agency.
It is necessary to have a medical insurance that covers you during your stay. Western European counties healthcare is excellent, but it is not free for non-EU citizens. Catalonia Bike Tours includes a medical insurance in case of accidents for all their tours, regardless of the client’s country of origin.
The DMC should always be aware of the objective of your trip and abide by it. Whether you wish to relive old routes from days gone by, take that route you’ve always wished to do, copy the route from one of your cycling heroes, or simply enjoy some leisure cycling: landscape and relaxation.
This is definitely the most important factor related to a luxury cycling trip: an experienced DMC who knows the area thoroughly and offers an excellent customer service.
Before hiring, make sure that the DMC has multilingual staff with official credentials, vehicles and equipment adapted at practicing cycling; complies with all current legislation regarding compulsory insurance for customer coverage; that the company is certified by the official regional offices and that it is capable of offering a range of complementary sports services so as to round off your trip.
The trip should be adapted according to your physical form. It is therefore necessary for the DMC’s to adjust the mileage and profile of the stages so that you can complete the route regardless of your physical form.
A luxury cycling tour should not only focus on the route and the sports event but should be complemented by visits in the area so as to create a global tourist experience.
What are your interests? Culture, gastronomy, shopping, leisure, … whatever they may be, the DMC must design the routes so that once you get off the bike, you can enjoy whatever complementary activity pleases you most thus forging you dream trip.
This is not a minor issue. Carefully choosing the hotels that fulfil the requirements of a cyclist is also a synonym for luxury cycling trips. Amongst the services that you as a cyclist may appreciate is the possibility of adapting your meals according to your sports diet, enjoy a session of physiotherapy upon arrival, have access to a spa and relaxation area, the availability of a laundry service for cyclists or an area to safely store the bikes.
And, of course, new, quality beds and mattresses, a selection of pillows, silence while you sleep, a well stocked minibar in case you fancy a midnight drink, room service and a quick and efficient reception. And of course, friendliness all the way through.
It should be according to your desires. It should meet your energy needs or any special needs during this period of time. If you have special needs due to health issues (diabetes, celiac disease…), your religion or any other reason, let the DMC staff know so that it can be taken into account when designing the trip.
The DMC must provide you with enough information before and during the trip.
Include your companions
If a non cycling companion will be accompanying you on your trip, or wants to do it partially, the DMC must provide you with enough information on alternative activities so as to make his trip interesting as well.
The Dolomites, a mountainous range that is a continuation of the Alps, spans through five provinces and three regions of northern Italy and where up to four different languages are spoken given their proximity to Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia.