Please click on a review below to see the full review. You can then click the back arrows above to return to the previous page.  To see the whole review, click on the bolded review title. Click on the Older Posts title at the bottom of the page to see earlier reviews which work their way back till 2012. 

Once you open a review that interests you, you can in most cases click on the photo and you will be taken to the webpage for that tour from the company that that we booked with.  In some instances you will find that a little searching will identify several companies offering the same tour.  It can pay to check out the alternatives as this can lead to better prices or a bonus for booking or even access to a better room as companies each pre-book and some may still have rooms that others don't.

Reviews are both subjective and relevant to the author who wrote them, as are the star ratings.  

Furthermore, these reviews present the author's opinion at a point in time and with the passage of time companies can change an itinerary, guides can change and conditions on the ground can vary.  In relation to the latter, for example, the review from 2013 of the Po River Tour dealt with a tour that was impacted by massive rain and flooding across central Europe and northern Italy.  A year earlier or later riders would have had a vastly different experience.   

Therefore, please use these reviews as a starting point to gain an initial understanding of what is available and what you might experience.  You can compare reviews in this website with other sites and after that you might want to contact tour facilitators and operators to ask questions and seek more detail about what is being offerer now. 

STEVE'S REVIEWS

Australia - Tour of the #East Coast of Tasmania. *****

February 2022
Mary and Steve at the finish in Hobart
Mary and Steve at the finish in Hobart

With the Australian COVID lockdowns on the east coast drawing to a conclusion Mary and I took the post omicron plunge and headed to Tasmania this month to join the AllTrails tour from Launceston to Hobart! A ten day tour with eight days of riding and two rest days at Freycinet and Port Arthur. By driving to Melbourne and catching the Spirit of Tasmania we were able to take our Specialized Turbo Creo SL E road bikes and they made the tour so very enjoyable.

Over the eight days of riding I rode in excess of 670 kms and climbed more than 8,000m. Mary's figures were slightly less as she had a hammie strain half way through a day's riding and later I joined one really long ride with steep climb just to see how I would go.

The tour was superb, with the tour crew - Rick and Lou - providing great support, while the 12 riders soon established a great level of camaraderie and support. In addition breakfasts were generally excellent and occasionally superb, while the provided meals (most lunches and dinners) were also of a very high standard, culminating in great meals in Port Arthur and Hobart. Accommodation was as advertised, 3 or 4 star hotels or equivalent with our accommodation in Richmond being a little quirky, but still pretty good.

Our bikes each weigh 12 kgs without the 1kg battery range extenders and we looked at our pre-tour stats and decided that we wouldn't take the extenders as our main batteries should be capable of providing adequate support for even the longest days. We had our bikes in our room on all but one night and were able to recharge them from the room power points without any issue. At our Richmond accommodation all bikes had to stay outside and so our bikes chargers were attached to a power board which was in turn attached to mains power in the establishment via an extension cord. We don't know how it happened (but could guess) but the charging stopped with just 1% power added to each of our bikes. The bike were locked down with a tarpaulin and a locked cable and we only discovered the failure to charge as the bikes were uncovered prior to our ride the next morning.

We had finished the day before with 60% and 58% charge left on our bikes respectively after a 60km ride and we were facing another 80 kms + ride with lots of climbing. It was a great test for the bikes, particularly as we faced over 1100m of steep climbing. I'm pleased to report that even though we used the sports and turbo modes as needed (to beat the 'fast' riders up climbs or to counter strong head winds) we arrived in Port Arthur with out any issues. However we had tested the batteries with my bike in the 'red' literally with less than 10% charge left, while lightweight Mary still had just over 10% left.

One of our riders, Derek, rode a Zoomo Sport e-bike which essentially is an Australian developed urban e-bike which weighs about 28kgs and has a battery life of about 6 hours which apparently will allow the rider to get about 80kms riding up to 25kph depending on the terrain. At the end of the tour I asked Derek, who seemed to ride consistently between 10 and 25 kph, at what point each day did he replace his battery with his spare. His answer was that he had not had to use his spare, but he rode at slow speeds and often turned the emode off and relied on his legs alone. This process kept him within sight of his partner who was on a regular Trek road bike, usually at the rear of the ride, and left him with lots of e-power for the big climbs.

So, did we enjoy the riding experience and would we do it again? The answer is a hearty yes! We really worked the sport and turbo functions hard and they came up trumps. On the day that I rode 119 kms with one big climb and about the last 40 kms into a strong headwind, I only used less than 40% of my charge. Possibly because the bike is so well balanced that riding on the flat or rolling roads, even with a headwind saw me averaging 28kph over the first 40kms and close to 25kph over the whole ride. It's a fabulous bike and I look forward to trying it soon in other difficult conditions.


Australia - Slow Ocean Road Tour, Victoria *****

March 2021


 Our first cycle tour since COVID began was a six day tour organised by AllTrails along the Great Ocean Road which follows the Victorian coast between South Australia and Port Phillip Bay. We were collected in Melbourne early on a Tuesday morning (luggage and our bikes) and bused to a location about 40km west of Port Campbell. Six days later we finished the riding element in Mornside before being bused back into Melbourne to end the tour.  in between we had been provided with six lunches, five breakfasts and five dinners, all of which were excellent. We were to fend for ourselves for dinner in Apollo Bay but we all ended up eating in the same pub, such was the camraderie. Richard our tour leader, strongly supported by Lou our bus driver and general fantastic all round helper, looked after us fabulously. The tour was a mix of rides which averaged about 40kms a day and involved bus tranfers when the distances got too long or we were mixing our activities. besides riiding the Great Ocean Road, we had a great time riding e fat tyre MTBs aroung Cape Otway, stopped and admired many view points along the coast, visited an animal reserve, visited the Cape Otway Lighthouse,  visited Timboon for lunch on our way to the start of the ride and travelled by ferry from Queenscliffe to Sorrento. Dinners were excellent and ranged from a bbq dinner cooked for us by Richard and Lou at our Otway caravan park (we had a delightful solar power eco-hutwhich was spacious and well appointed) to an amazing dinner at the 360Q Restauant in Queenscliffe to celebrate the end of the tour. Accommodation ranged from motels to cabins to bnb’s and all was excellent. All up a fabulous way to recommence cycle touring after the COVID interuption. We now look forward to joining AllTrails for another tour later in 2021!


 

This Italian bike tour was booked directly with Road Bike Tours Italy which was then a relatively new bike touring company. The company has a range of road bike tours across Northern and Central Italy and we opted for the tour that seemed to best suit our riding abilities as it was relatively flat most of the time and daily...

We flew into Bari on the east coast of Italy and spent a night there before meeting the tour guides at the railway station the next morning. We had booked direct with Trek Travel in the USA and as a result this was one of the most expensive tours we have joined as the riders were mostly from the US...

Another Rad & Reisen tour, this time on the MV Bordeaux, a barge with 51 cabins and junior suites offering guided and unguided tours. We opted for a junior suite and rented 21 speed step through bikes. Most of the cabins were occupied and the majority of riders had opted for self guided touring. Our guide, Scott, was excellent and...