To hire or not to hire a bike? Your questions answered.

A van with 9 bike on the roof

There are some people who wouldn’t dream of riding 8 days on an unfamiliar machine. Just as there are others who are filled with dread at the prospect of having to pull their bike apart, pack it and then drag it half way around the world.

We are asked many questions by guests regarding our advice on whether to hire a bike on our Italian Cycling Tours or not, so here are a few things to consider when making your decision.

Three men packing their bikes into cases

1. How much travel are you intending to do pre or post tour?

If you have a couple of weeks either side of the tour and there is a chance that the bike may not get much use, then there is a strong case for possibly hiring a bike.

While travel in Italy with a bike is quite well catered for on trains and internal flights, and most cars even as small as a Fiat 500 L can fit a bike case, 2 people’s luggage and 2 people (well tested by us!), the thought of having to think about the bike with every move, can prove to be a little too much hassle for some people.

Then there are the other options of freighting and/or storing your bike post tour, both of which are not advisable by us. In our research and from experience, freighting your bike is very expensive and storage with the limited options available at train stations and through services such as are not advisable for expensive machines, often with limited insurance coverage.

A group of cyclists adjusting their bicycles

2. How sensitive are you to slight changes in position?

If you are a rider who is pedantic about their position on the bike and even the slightest adjustment, this usually means you will be happy to take the time to pack your bike.

However, if you do choose to hire a bike, we do ask all riders to complete a bike measurement form which lists all of the critical measurements on their current bike. This ensures that we can then source the correct sized frame and adjust it as required to mirror as closely as possible their ride at home. We also have a bike mechanic on tour with us who can make all necessary adjustments as required.

Two men adjusting the height of a hire bike in Italy

3. Should you bring your own saddle?

We strongly recommend that if you’re hiring a bike that you also bring your own saddle, so that your most important contact point is exactly the same as your last ride back home. This is a small additional piece to your luggage but can be the difference between a good and a great week on the bike.

The saddles on the hire bikes are all very high quality and for riders who are quite comfortable riding in different saddles, there is no need to bring your own saddle. This is a very personal choice.

A pinarello hire bike leaning against a tree

4. What is the quality of the hire bikes?

We have heard from a number of guests who have hired bikes in the past across Europe that it can be a lottery with the age, quality and state of a hire bike received.  It’s always a much nicer experience to be riding on a new or near new bike.

Our bike partners supply us with a mix of quality bikes with rim and disc brakes, and depending on the time of the year, these are new or near new. The feedback from our guests on our tours who have hired these bikes, has been nothing but praise for their handling and feel.

Bicycles parked near a trulli in Puglia

5. What is the cost of hire?

The price to hire a high quality, carbon road bike is between €450-€850 depending on specifications and length of tour. Given the bike quality and support available, this is seen by most of our guests who hire, as being exceptional value…. particularly when weighed up against the chance of damage to your bike in transit and potential associated costs, or the risk that your bike does not turn up on time for the start of the tour, thanks to the airline’s mishandling…. both scenarios which occur often enough that it is worth calling them out here. When you can arrive on tour and your hire bike is all set up for you, you’re guaranteed to receive what you have reserved (which is often not the case with many bike hires) and at the end of the tour, you can leave the packing and handling to us, the value equation is quite quickly realised.

So if you have one foot in each camp with regards to bike hire, and can’t decide, think about what is going to be the best and easiest option for you, knowing that if you supply us with all the detailed information we require about your current set up, you will arrive on tour with just your saddle and pedals needing to be fitted, and a few minor tweaks to get you in the same/similar position as at home.

If you have any questions about bike hire on one of our Italian Cycling Tours, click here to send us an email any time.

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