FLAT BAR ROAD BIKES
A Flat Bar Road bike is a road bike that has a flat handlebar rather than the drop bar handlebar on a traditional road bike. They also often have 28 mm tyres as opposed to 23-26 mm on traditional road bikes, although this is now changing and 28 mm is becoming the norm across all road bikes. Bikes in this category can also have some carbon elements and possibly weigh less than 13 kg. By stepping up from a hybrid to a flat bar road bike you are initially getting the best of road biking but without the complication of going the 'full hog'! The prime difference between flat and drop bar road bikes is that you posture is more upright and you don't have to learn the art of using paddle gear levers (otherwise known as 'dual control levers'). Many riders prefer the thumb lever over paddles for changing gears, especially as the latter usually are part of a barrel system which shows you which front cog you are using and the gear you are in.
Touring companies such as Girolibero and French Cycling Holidays provide either cross bar or step through hybrid bikes to their guests, with step through popular for males and females as they are easier to get on and off for novice riders. From my experience, this is the most common type of bike offered by on and off road cycle touring companies.