Some routes that we bike (both road and mountain bikes) are more challenging than others due to length, steepness, or the amount of cheese you consumed at lunch. Generally speaking, the more difficult the path or road, the slower we go. Of course on a self-guided bike trip or private-group bike trip, the pace is totally up to you, as are any deviations you may wish to explore. The following rating guide will help you decide if a tour is right for you. Remember, the ratings are an average for the whole tour, and the individual days may vary slightly. Generally these apply to the routes that we bike in the countryside. Some rides can be shortened for those who wish an easier day.
Keep in mind that all of these ratings are for people who are fit, and are accomplished bikers. The ratings apply to an average biker, not beginners and not experts. For example, a Moderate rating means that a fit biker will enjoy the day’s ride but not be challenged by it. If you don’t have a history of fitness or biking, (couch potato), then the Moderate route will be more like the Challenging route to you. Like wise the Challenging route may require you to “dig deep”. On group trips there’s always van support when you’re ready to call it a day. Another option on some trips is to rent an E-bike, which will “flatten out the hills” and help you keep up with the stronger riders. E-bikes will easily lower the ratings at least one level, a Moderateday will become an Easy day, and so on.
Easy ;You will ride between 20-40 miles per day, (mountain bike: 10-15 miles) with mostly flat or gently rolling terrain. Although steeper stretches may be encountered, they are not frequent. Surfaces are generally solid, but can have occasional stretches of loose stones or uneven surfaces, especially on mountain bike trails. Biking times will vary between 2-4 hours.
Moderate; You will ride between 40-60 miles per day, (mountain bike: 15-25 miles) with some moderate to steep inclines. Paths will vary from cobblestones and pavement (road bikes) to dirt, rocks, or grass (mountain bikes). Mountain bike trail surfaces can be fairly loose and uneven, requiring good balance skills. Some easy scrambling over boulders may be required. Biking times will vary between 3-6 hours.
Challenging; You should be prepared to be able to bike 40-80 miles per day, (mountain bikes: 25-30 miles) over occasional to frequent steep inclines and declines. Road bikers should be able to negotiate any type of road surface. Mountain bikers should be comfortable on a wide range of trail surfaces, including loose gravel and stones that require superior balance skills. Routes for both road bikes and mountain bikes may be exposed and windy. Biking times will vary between 4-7 hours.