Why Tour Europe by bicycle?

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To make sense of this question you have to work out what sort of person you are. 

In our experience most people who travel in foreign countries like to have the security of knowing their schedule and particularly their accommodation arrangements.

This is possible when bicycle touring, particularly if you sign up with a bicycle touring company that will take care of all of this for you.  We have friends who have done this and thought it was marvellous.

However, if you want to do your own thing, organising everything in advance will not work well.  There will always be circumstances where you would simply rather be doing something else than riding to the next pre-paid place on your itinerary.

If the weather changes, you have bike problems or you are simply fascinated with the area you are riding through, you may prefer to change your itinerary.

Even after some 200 days of bicycle touring I still feel some slight tension as we hunt for our nightly bed.  We have never had a serious problem, so I don’t know why this is, but I suspect that I would not be on my own.  If this is a major problem for you, then perhaps you should address it in advance, perhaps camp, or use an organised tour, or book your night's accomodation before beginning each day's ride.

The other part of the question relates to Europe as a destination, and there are several reasons why it works well.

For most people who read this web site, Europe is likely to be part of the culture from which their family came.  Europe has a climate better suited to bicycle touring than any other in the world.  Europe has a very well developed bicycle culture, which means that people expect to find bicycles on the roads and are very responsive and courteous.  The bicycle infrastucture in the cities is superb, particularly in central Europe, which means travelling in and out of these cities is easy.

Many parts of Europe have defined bicycle routes, and specific infrastructure to support these routes.

The scale and population density of Europe is ideally suited.  You will rarely ride for more than 20km without significant services.


Europe has many different cultures within a relatively small space.

Europe is safe.  As a first-world area the police and health services are as good or better than anywhere else in the world.

Europe offers a variety of terrain.  The plains and river valleys of central Europe offer a superb way to start cycle touring, while there is wonderful hill and mountain country not far from wherever you are.

The rail system across Europe means that, with the exception of Spain in our experience, you can move with you bicycle easily from anywhere to anywhere else.  This is a bigger issue than you might at first envisage.  Europe is lovely and green because it rains a lot.  If you get caught in a persistent poor weather pattern, you can go to your nearest railway station and buy a ticket to almost anywhere else in the continent, and chances are it will be just about as interesting.

Perhaps as importantly as anything else, your bicycle as a matter of course will take you to places that you have not seen on TV or in coffee-table books.