Tour Planning

This document is intended to assist you in your thought processes when you go through the process of planning, organising and executing a cycle tour.

A the bottom there is also a list of document from previous tours which might assist in your thinking.


Phase 1 – Understand your Concept

Only do a Tour to a location that excites you. It can be tough to do this – if you are not excited then you’re not going to enjoy it.

Who are your likely participants ? Is it for the retired members with lots of time on their hands, or is it also for the folks who are still working and possible want a long-weekend 4 day tour ?

Do you want to cycle from the Coventry area or use transport to and from the start/end

Is it going to be a daily ‘moving-on tour’ or a ‘single centre tour’

What is the ethos of the tour – is it going to be a physical challenge or is it a more relaxed approach – make sure that members are aware and come into the tour with a clear understanding.

Is it hotel based or camping ?

Are you interested in visiting attractions on the way – if so don’t be too aggressive with the distances / climbing / timings

Think about having a rest day in an interesting location if the cycling is physically challenging day after day

When is it planned for  – Probably away from peak holiday periods and school holidays

Decide manageable participant number.

Decide if you are going to set a target number of participants and that you will prebook accommodation based on that (probably aiming for twin-bedded rooms), or if you are prepared to set a certain date for people to commit and then you will try to book accommodation  for that number … or if you will leave it for people to book their own accommodation on the way, and which leaves you focusing on being a guide and leader.

Phase 2 – Route Planning

Route planning is bit of an art form that need you to balance distance/climbing with intermediate refreshment stops and overnight stops, and chose quiet roads.

Personally I use ( the routing algorithm favours the national cycle routes, it shows cafes, shops and pubs along the way, and it links nicely to Streetview to check road conditions and junction layouts.

Other Tour Leaders have their own preferences for route planning !

Select a rendezvous point which is on the ‘right’ side of Coventry

60 miles a day with panniers is probably the upper comfortable limit for experienced riders … for inexperienced then maybe 40 miles a day

1000 metres of climbing a day is probably the upper limit

Overnight stops

Identify potential hotels / campsite – check they take cyclists and have secure storage for cycles

Check if breakfast included – if not will need to identify a nearby breakfast stop

Check nearby evening meal options

Refreshment Stops

Morning coffee stops – possibly 15 – 20 miles after breakfast

Lunch preferably just over half total distance for the day

Afternoon cafe stops can be tricky – check closing times particularly at  weekends… and sometimes they’re not even open on a Monday

Look for possible bike shops on route


Check availability and timing of any intermediate ferries -and numbers of bikes that can be carried

Phase 3 – Setup

Confirm availability of accommodation at overnight stops – if possible make a no deposit reservation for probable number of participants

Produce Draft Route Sheets, maps, and gpx files

Send out routes for suitability confirmation by experienced leaders

Identify options for getting to and from any start / finish points away from Coventry

Phase 4 – Engagement

Produce Planning pack

Publicise and open to participants

Engage with participants and confirm hotel / camping places

Make sure you have good contact details, ICE numbers, and certainly for overseas trips that you have travel insurance details and emergency handling details

For overseas tours insist that it is a condition of coming on the tour that people have travel insurance

Phase 5 – Executing the tour

Communicate days ride at breakfast or prior evening meal.

Ensure that everyone is unambiguously clear about the departure time

Identify a lead rider / navigator for the day

Identify a backmarker for the day

Ensure everyone has a route sheet / map / gpx file

Make your plan, check viability every day – and be very resistant to change it. People are stronger cyclists than they think they are !

Propose a departure time at each refreshment stop

Phase 6 – Post Riding

Evening meals can be a wonderful collective experience but they can also be an absolute nightmare … especially as the group size gets above six

Look at the options available each night if possible – try to aim for English, Indian, Italian, Mediteranean styles

Contact restaurant before hand to see if they will take the group

Understand how the bill for a large group

Try to pay for drinks separately / individually


This table contains information on past tours which might prove useful to future Tour Leaders doing their planning, and reports on the success of the trips which might prove encouraging !

Tour Name Tour Leader Tour Documents Trip Report
Vicky Palethorpe    
2021 – SOUTH DOWNS Alan Jelley


Mike Thomas
Bob Tinley 2019 Peak District Tour
Alan Jelley–-Cotswold-Weekend-Planning-document-Version-3.pdf  
2018 – RUTLAND
 Mike Thomas
2018 – ISLE OF MAN Paul Whithead
2017 HAMPSHIRE & IOW Alan Jelley 
Mike Thomas
Alan Jelley Schedule for September 2016 Cycle Tour version3 – 31st August 2016  
2016 – YORKSHIRE Bob Tinley