Take note: these bicycle tours are the only excuse you’ll ever have for walking into a crumbling old castle in Europe in spandex bike shorts.
Bike tours have really stepped up their game. A slew of various operators, each with specialized regions or areas of expertise, offer not only luxury accommodations (in those old European castles, for example), but provide unparalleled access to five-star cuisine along any chosen route. If the thought of biking from one country to another (or even one neighborhood to another) seems an intimidating ambition, think again — these tour operators cater to everyone from the inexperienced to the expert and, of course, to the less-than-active family member dragged along by the promise of food and wine.
Not all bicycle tours are as obsessed with finding the best in food and wine as these ten are. Butterfield and Robinson’s tour from Bordeaux to Dordogne in France, for example, is billed as a “food-and-wine double-header,” because cyclists will journey from the Route des Chateaux (with Grand Cru wine tastings along the way) to wineries in the Pauillac making their way ultimately to an au revoir breakfast in Brive-la-Gaillarde.
Stateside, Backroads’ Bike Riders have got your New England bike trip mapped out perfectly. Their Maine itinerary takes guests from cycling in Acadia National Park to a leisurely, luxurious stay at the Bar Harbor Inn and Spa and from wine tasting on a local vineyard to French cuisine on Lake Megunticook. Wine lovers will appreciate the discovery of a lesser-known wine region, though biking in Sonoma and Napa Valley is a worthwhile tour, as well. Book with Tour d’Epicure for a cycling trip through Virginia’s wine region, which includes dinner at the Inn at Little Washington, wine tastings and vineyard tours, and catered lunches on the road.
Whether you decide on a classic wine tour of Tuscany’s seaside or to bicycle through South Africa, these tours are a marriage between activity and indulging, between fitness and gastronomy. So pack your spandex, get a good stretch in, and choose a destination — there are tours there, too.
Click here to see the 10 Perfect Bike Tours Slideshow.