Group cycling holidays can be absolutely awesome. Your friends, long days of sunny riding, new scenery and routes…

But, for those in charge, the process of booking a group cycling trip can also be fraught with stress.

In this article we hope to help anyone organising a group cycling holiday/tour. We cover:

  • Things to consider when booking a group bike holiday
  • A few of the most popular group cycling destinations
  • Tips for group cycling

We want to help you end up with a cycling holiday you and your friends will remember (for all the right reasons!) forever.

Part 1: Booking a group cycling holiday

1. Agree on a budget

How much is the trip going to cost? That’s usually the first question your friends will want to know when you start planning a cycling holiday.

Your budget will dictate everything about the trip – including

  • where you go – can you afford flights and transfers? What are costs like in the place you’re going – for example Switzerland will likely be much more expensive than Spain
  • whether you get someone to help you organise everything and
  • what kind of accommodation you stay in.

So agree with your friends how much they’re willing to pay and go from there.

We’d also suggest collecting a deposit from everyone early on – that way people are committed and can’t back out (which could scupper everyone else’s plans!).

 

Swimming pool at Estival EldoradoPool at the Estival Eldorada Resort, Costa Daurada
Cyclist admiring view in Prades mountains, Costa DauradaIn the quiet hills of the Costa Daurada

2. Appoint a leader

You need one main point of contact for the group cycling trip. They can delegate out jobs to others, but it’s always best to have one person that has oversight of all the arrangements.

Jobs that’ll need to be taken care of include:

  • Flights (and bike reservations if applicable)
  • Transfers
  • Bike hire 
  • Guide booking 
  • Accommodation booking
  • Itinerary planning 
  • Restaurant bookings

You could always host a booking party – get everyone to do their research on a particular topic and then present their findings to the rest over a bottle of wine and a takeaway. It should be a quicker (and more fun) way of making decisions made than by endless emails/whatsapp messages!

3. Find a cycling holiday destination

Not every cycling destination makes the best group holiday destination. For example, not every destination has hotels that can accommodate large bike trip groups, routes that will cater to different fitness levels and cycling experts/services on hand to provide the facilities cyclists need.

Accommodation

Make sure the destination you choose has accommodation that will fit the size, budget and inclinations of your group – whether that’s luxury beach villas – or indeed cycling specific hotels.

Start thinking about accommodation early on. Especially if you’re travelling with a big group, you’ll need plenty of time to find accommodation that meets your budget, criteria and that people are happy with. You don’t want to find the perfect hotel only to find it’s booked up. If you’re planning a multi-stage group cycling tour and changing accommodation every night, this is even more important.

If it’s going to be a fixed base cycling holiday, consider whether a villa may be a better option than a hotel. If you know each other well, it can be really nice having some communal space.

Check the cancellation policy. Now we’re travelling in a post-Covid world, we all know how suddenly things can change; sadly there’s always a possibility that you’re going to have to end up changing your booking at the last minute.

Plan your routes

On a cycling holiday, the cycling is quite important! A good group holiday destination will have routes everyone’s going to love.

Be honest about how fit your group is. You might think you’re all like-minded cyclists but if someone hasn’t done any training while someone else is fitting in 10 hours a week, there might be problems. Either pick whose going on the hotel very carefully so you’re all at about the same level, or try and design your routes to flex around fitness. For example, figure of eight rides often work well so that the A group can do both loops while the B group takes it easy or pauses in a cafe a little longer.

Nominate one person from the group to be in charge of having the route on their computer – and at least one other person from the group too (ideally everyone!) in case the group gets split.

And finally, don’t leave route planning until the last minute. You don’t want to end up on holiday with no routes to ride.

Bike hire

The eternal question of whether to bring your own bike or hire one. It’s often a very personal decision – but for those that come down on the side of hiring a bike when they arrive, it’s nice to have some high quality options to choose from.

Take a look at the options before you book your group cycling trip, so those that want to hire can do so. It’s also nice to know there’s someone with a physical storefront in the area – in case of any sizing or technical problems.

Make sure you know who’s doing what in terms of hiring/not hiring so that you can figure out the logistics for transfers/bike hire well before you arrive.

Travel time

When picking where to go, consider how far it is from the airport to the place you’re staying. You’re unlikely to be popular if your transfer takes forever as this not only eats into your holiday time, but costs more too – see more on transfers below.

Popular group cycling destinations

Below we share some examples of some of the most popular group cycling destinations.

Descending down towards CapafontsCruising through the gorgeous countryside of the Costa Daurada
Bike storage at Hotel Estival EldoradoBike hire and storage at the Estival Eldorada Resort, Costa Dauradaages of the Costa Daurada (credit: Peter of the Spoon)

4. Guided cycling tours or self-guided cycling trip?

Another big consideration is whether you’re happy to plan the trip yourself or you prefer to outsource it. Getting a business that’s experienced in organising group trips will of course save a lot of hassle – for a start you won’t need to bother with a lot of the points on this list if you opt for a trip that’s fully organised by someone else!

There are plenty of cycling holiday companies that will offer everything from fully supported cycling trips (complete with guide on a bike and support van) to self-guided cycling trips where they just give you the routes and you do everything else.

This article about what to look for in a cycling tour operator should help.

5. Remember transfers

Unless you’re all driving to your cycling holiday, you’ll need to remember to book transfers from the airport to where you’re staying. Remember to factor in bike boxes!

If it’s at all possible, try and fly together – it makes it a lot easier (and cheaper) for transfers!

6. Book restaurants in advance

It might sound a bit over the top, but if there are more than a handful of you, you definitely need to book restaurants in advance, especially if you’re travelling in high season.

Nothing worse than a group of hungry cyclists with nowhere to eat!

Local food from SalouClassic Spanish fare – absolutely delicious!
Food is very important on a group cycling holidayBeautifully presented amuse-bouche, Cal Tendre restaurant, Cambrils

7. Use technology

There are some brilliant tools out there to help you organise your trip. Here are some of our favourites:

Splitwise

A free app that allows you to split costs between groups on trips. You add your expenses really easily on the go, before you forget who paid what, and you can split by percentages or shares. It’s also easy to settle up and record who has paid who back.

Ridewithgps

Our favourite route planning website. You can easily plan and edit routes, upload and download routes and sync with your bike computer. All the routes you find on epicroadrides.com are created using ridewithgps.

Google docs

If you want to get the group involved in researching/commenting on your trip research, set up a google spreadsheet. That way everyone can view/amend (as you wish) the real time document. You could also create a google doc with details of the finalised plans, so everyone knows what’s happening and can access the information on their phone.

Shared photo album

If all of your group is using an Apple phone, then creating a shared photo album is really easy. However, that’s pretty unlikely. In this situation, we’ve used Google Photos before to create shared albums, so everyone can enjoy the photos your group takes on holiday.

8. Check, check, check the details

It’s boring but to ensure a hassle-free holiday, the details are really important. Here are a few final points to think about

  • Passports – as a rule of thumb, you must have at least 6 months remaining on your passport on the day you return.
  • Insurance – this is vital, especially post Covid and post Brexit. Make sure you all have insurance that will cover everything from medical claims to cancellation/curtailment due to Covid and bike damage too. We have some tips for travel insurance here.
  • Bike servicing – if you’re bring your own, remember to have it serviced before you leave home. If you’re hiring, here are some pointers.
  • Packing list – it’s so easy to forget something important (Garmin mount, cycling shoes, gloves…) how about creating a packing list for the trip. Our list might be a useful start.

And if you fancy organising a nice bespoke cycling kit for your group, read this article on our things to check before you buy!

Cyclist entering Santa Creus monastery building complexSantes Creus monastery in the Costa Daurada hills
Bike packed into a Bike Box AlanTake time to pack for your trip!

Part 2: Great group cycling holiday destinations

Here are some ideas for destinations that tend to be favourites amongst cycling clubs and groups of cyclists:

Mallorca

Mallorca is a classic destination for groups of cyclists. It’s got a great range of hotels, from big hotels with lots of facilities to five star luxury, lots of flights from the UK (and elsewhere) and tons of cycling service providers. There’s varied terrain, smooth road surfaces and the weather tends to be good from April onwards. All these things make planning a group cycling holiday in Mallorca pretty straightforward.

Costa Blanca

A relative new kid on the scene, the Costa Blanca is steadily building its reputation, thanks to its climate and increasing popularity with pro teams. Like Mallorca, it has lots of spacious hotels which offer their rooms at very reasonable prices during what they see as shoulder season. Flying here is also easy thanks to the airport at nearby Alicante. New specialised cycling cafés and cycling hubs are increasing the offering to cyclists too and smoothing the path for those in charge of arranging the annual cycle trip for their group.

Costa Daurada

Costa Daurada is another even newer addition to the group cycling scene. It might not have as many cycling cafés as the Costa Blanca, but its long sandy beaches and quiet, unspoiled inland hills, dotted with medieval villages and vineyards are alluring. Its coastal hotels are big and used to dealing with large parties of summer tourists (hence also offering very competitive shoulder season rates), but overall we think of Costa Daurada as the Costa Blanca’s more tranquil sister.

Girona

Girona offers a slightly different experience to the destinations above. It doesn’t cater for mass package tourism and as such it sits at the more luxurious end of the market, appealing to those with a passing interest in the city’s incredible architecture and history and willing to pay a little more to hang out in cutting-edge-cool bars and stay in a boutique hotel. Due to the number of pros that make Girona home, it’s got tons of cycling services, from bike shops to health-food focused restaurants.

Part 3: Tips for group cycling on holiday

Something that’s often overlooked is that group cycling holidays involve riding as a group!

If you haven’t done much group riding, it’s definitely worth trying to get out on some group rides before your trip. Ideally you should do these with the people that will be on your trip, so you can get used to each other’s riding styles; it’s also good for motivation.

Here are some group cycling tips:

1. Communication

Learn the basic hand signals cyclists use. For example, point to the ground to warn of debris/pot holes or for larger obstacles such as parked cars, put your hand behind your back and point away from the object.

Remember to shout “car up” (i.e. car is approaching from behind) or “car down (i.e. car is approaching from ahead) to warn your group of other traffic.

2. Positioning

While riding at the back of the group can feel less stressful when you’re new to group riding, it also means you’re more likely to get dropped. That’s because gaps get amplified through the group, so a tiny gap at the front for a corner or traffic light can turn into a big gap for you at the back. It’s better to try and stay in the front third of the group.

It’s also sensible to ride close to the rider in front as this makes your life significantly easier from an aerodynamics point of view. However, since you’ll need to be 30cm or less from the rider in front, you’re going to need a good level of trust and communication.

3. Bike handling

Never brake suddenly when you’re riding in a bunch; you’ll cause a pile up.

If you need to slow or stop, give a verbal warning so people know what you’re doing.

When cornering, try and maintain a smooth, predictable line and avoid heavy breaking.

4. Don’t overlap wheels

It’s important not to overlap your front wheel with the back wheel of the rider ahead of you. If you do, there’s a high possibility you’ll end up touching wheels, which is a common cause of crashes. It’s fine to get close to the wheel in front – just don’t overlap!

5. Don’t be an idiot!

Attacking on a steady ride, riding through red lights because someone’s given an “all clear”, chasing Strava segments and then not taking your turn at the front after the segment – these all count as idiot behaviour! Don’t do it!

6. Other traffic

Bear in mind that while you may have the legal right to ride two abreast on a road, in the interests of karma and road safety it can be a good idea to “single out” and get in single file to let a vehicle overtake.

Also consider how many of you there are in the group and whether you should split into smaller groups for the sake of safety.

7. Check the local rules

Rules for cyclists are surprisingly different in different destinations. Check the rules of wherever you’re riding before you visit.

Final thoughts

Riding in a group cycling along sunny roads in a new destination can be a huge amount of fun; just make sure you plan properly, go somewhere you’ll have a good time and ride safely!

Where’s your favourite place for a group cycling trip? Share your comments below.

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Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up epicroadrides.com in 2018 to help make it easy for cyclists to explore the world by bike. Today her mission is still inspiring cyclists to discover new places on two wheels – and doing what she can to make sure they have the best possible time while they’re there. Clare has visited 50+ destinations around the world, many of them by bike.

Last Reviewed: 15 April 2023

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