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Please read below for the answers to some of the most common questions about self guided, fully supported cycling holidays with Australian Cycling Holidays?
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The distance travelled each day varies depending on the route. Generally adults travel around 40 – 60kms per day. That generally translates to 3 – 4 hours in the saddle over the course of the day (not including the many fabulous stops, breaks and side trips that you might be tempted into).
When cycling with young children, each day’s ride is generally about 15 – 25kms. This allows for a slower pace, and more time for stops along the way. Again, this generally translates to about 3 – 4 hours of cycling during the course of the whole day.
A reasonable level of fitness is required, but nothing special. If you do some sort of regular exercise – jogging, walking, playing soccer or, best still, cycling a few days a week then you should be fine. A little regular riding before coming on a biking holiday is always recommended as it will make the day easier for you. However, because these are self-guided tours, you can cycle at your own pace. If you get tired or your muscles are getting sore, just take a break – there’s plenty of time!
Please note though that if you haven’t done any regular exercise for a while you should see your doctor before coming on a ride.
To cycle in each day, you will need a cycling outfit:
- Shirt (shirts with a collar are good for keeping the sun off your neck)
- Covered shoes
- Cycling gloves if you have them
- Warmer clothes for winter and a light jumper/windproof jacket is useful when cycling in Victoria
We recommend that you take the following items, and keep them in the front pannier that we supply you:
- Rain jacket
- Any medications such as a ventilator
In your luggage, which will be delivered to your accommodation for you, you will need to pack the following:
- Light jumper for cooler months
- Clothes to change into in the evening
- A second pair of shoes, for when you’re not cycling
- A towel and swimming costume (note that you might want to take these with you during the day)
At the beginning of your tour we supply you with a water bottle, an emergency rain poncho and some small snacks – just in case you have forgotten these items! However, particularly in summer you may find that you need to purchase an extra water bottle.
We classify our tours as Family Friendly if they meet the following criteria:
- Total distance covered each day is no more than 25kms
- 75% or more of the tour is on off-road cycle paths.
- 90% or more of the tour is on cycle routes (this includes on quiet roads).
- Accommodation provides family rooms, and a playground nearby for the kids.
Where it is necessary to pass along a busy road, and there is not a suitable footpath for cycling, we always advise walking the bikes on the grass or path rather than cycling on the road with children. These instances are kept to a minimum and will not exceed 500 metres at any one time.
We have tried to design our family-friendly cycling tours so that active children aged 8 and over should be able to cycle independently. However, as children are all different, and fitness and cycling abilities vary, it is impossible for us to guarantee that all 8 year olds will be able to do this cycle. What’s easy for one child can be quite difficult for another.
At a minimum, for a child to cycle independently on one of our Family Friendly cycling tours, they must be able to:
- Cycle competently without training wheels.
- Be competent with the use handle-bar brakes (not back pedal brakes), and be able to stop on demand, including on hills.
- Navigate road-side paths and corners.
- Be aware of and able to comply with the basic rules of cycling, such as stopping at traffic lights and keeping to the left
If your child does not have this level of cycling competency, then they are too young to cycle independently. In these cases, you must hire a baby seat, a tag-along or a trailer for your child.
As a general rule, the below table outlines the recommended options for cycle touring with kids.
Things to consider when deciding on the best ride for your family
|2 -3 years old
Not surprisingly, these kids are too young to cycle. We recommend hiring one of our baby seats for your child. We can supply baby helmets, or you can bring your child’s own helmet.
With children of this age, you are not limited to the family-friendly cycling tours – you can book on any of the tours in our portfolio.
|4 to 7 years old
Most children of this age are still too young to complete the family-friendly cycling trips unaided. Therefore our recommendation is that you hire one of our tag-alongs. They are a bit like a tandem, with an adult seat at the front and a child seat at the back. The child is able to cycle, and help you up hills (well, if you’re lucky), but doesn’t have to cycle. With this option also, your child feels and is part of the cycling, not just a passenger.
For longer tours or if you want more weather protection for your child, we also have kid’s trailers that you can tow along behind the bike.
With both these options, you can book on any of our cycling tours, not just the family-friendly ones.
|8 to 14 years old
By this age, most children can cycle the Family-Friendly cycling tours themselves. We have a selection of bicycles for children in this age group, all with handle-bar brakes and gears.
If you child is not used to cycling with gears, that’s fine, they don’t need to. However, if your child is not used to handlebar brakes, and is instead using back-pedal brakes, then we do not allow them to cycle on one of our bikes. Nothing is more terrifying to a kid than not being able to stop.
When your children are in this age group, then we recommend booking on the family-friendly tours, particularly if this is the first cycling tour that your child has ever done. Often children of ages 12 and up find the family-friendly cycling tours quite easy, and want to try the longer adult cycling tours.
Please be aware that our Family Friendly cycling tours may still have busy roads to cross and some on-road cycling, though we do endeavour to keep this to a minimum. Please see the FAQ ‘What is your definition of a “Family-Friendly” cycling tour?’
|15+ years old
As a rule-of-thumb, most children at this age are just as fit as you are, if not more so! By 15, children are often old enough to undertake the regular length tours, which average about 40 – 60 kms a day. They also have awareness of traffic and therefore you might think about taking them on some of the adult cycling tours.
If you are going to do this however, please make sure first that your child is competent and confident when cycling on roads with cars. Although country roads may not have much traffic, when cars do go past they are travelling very fast.
Your child can use one of our bikes or bring their own along, depending on their own preferences.
This is always a concern (and often not just for the kids!).
If someone in your party gets too tired to continue, these are the options:
- Take a break! There’s no hurry, and unlike other forms of exercise, your body can recuperate very fast from the strains of cycling. Don’t make a decision now – wait 30 minutes and then decide. We have found that most kids bounce back pretty fast.
- On the Family Friendly cycling tours, you are often near a train line, and so you can catch the train for a stop or two. Bikes are allowed on trains for free during off-peak hours, however a child-fare ticket is required for bikes during peak-hour travel.
- Take a Maxi-Taxi. The ride notes which we provide for you contain contact numbers for local taxi companies, and many Maxi Taxis are able to fit an adult and a child bike.
- If all else fails, you can take a taxi to your destination, after securely locking your bikes and advising us of their location.
Please note that these options are all at your own expense.
Sadly it does sometimes rain during a cycling trip, so make sure that you pack the wet-weather gear. We do provide rain ponchos just in case you have forgotten to pack your own rain-jacket, but these are disposable ones and not will not survive constant use.
After years of cycle touring ourselves, our advice is simply head for the nearest cafe, pub, tree or picnic shelter and simply wait it out. Most showers don’t last that long and generally you are good to start cycling again within half an hour.
Please note that we do not offer any refunds if you decide not to cycle due to inclement weather. Please see our booking terms and conditions for further information.
You are very welcome to bring your own bike! However, please remember that not all bikes are suited for the type of cycling that you’ll be doing, and that a bike specially equipped for touring will probably be the most comfortable for you. Road bikes may not be able to travel along all the road surfaces that you will come across on the trip; and mountain bikes are not well suited to this type of activity due to their smaller wheels and chunky tyres. If you are thinking of bringing your own bike along, please discuss with us first and we can advise whether or not it will be suitable.
For any young children taking part in the rides, we prefer if they do bring their own bikes, as it is important that they are familiar with and comfortable on the bike.
Note: If you bring your own bike, it must be roadworthy and capable of completing the trip. We may refuse to provide roadside assistance, or in the worst case refuse service if your bike is deemed unsafe or unfit to complete the ride.
While it is highly unlikely, as we provide detailed maps for your ride, if you have decided to follow an intriguing looking side-trail, it could happen. No problem. Give us a call and we can sort out where you are and how to get back.
Feel free to ask us details of our Cyclewayz app travel guide. It provides electronic navigation for the whole journey and a wealth of interesting information on the areas you are cycling through. After you trip you can use the app to select from many other half day, day and longer rides which we have mapped but which you can do yourself.
All our cycling tours start and end at a public transport hub, so that it is always easy to get back to where you started. Generally this means that you will need to catch a train or bus back to your start location. Details of how to get back, including timetables and fares, will be provided to you along with your itinerary when you book a tour. Please note that all transport to and from the tour is at your own expense.
In NSW, our Lighthouse to Lighthouse Family-friendly Cycling Tour starts at Stuart Park just near North Wollongong Station. You can either catch the train here from Sydney, or drive down and leave the car here. The ride finishes in Kiama, and there are trains roughly every hour which will take you back to North Wollongong Station and Sydney.
In VIC we start at Cowes Jetty easily accessed by car or Public Transport. You finish at the travel hub in Leongatha which has direct buses back to Melbourne. We can help out with your transport – just ask us.
Yes you can. Just let us know when you are booking your trip if you would like to include a rest day or an extra night somewhere along the route.
Yes we do. If you want to head out on your own, carrying your own gear, we can hire you all the equipment that you will need, and assist with route selection and advice if needed. Just drop us a line.