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.
IT IS A BIT OF AN ALAN JELLEY BRAIN DUMP ONLY AT THE MOMENT – HOPEFULLY ALL THE TOUR LEADERS CAN HELP REFINE IT
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 cycle.travel (https://cycle.travel/)as 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
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
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 !