During the course of a year the BBTA holds many weekend and several multi-day tours. These tours are generally self supporting (you carry your gear), but they also can be supported (your gear is carried for you). BBTA tours range in difficulty from the very basic ‘Introduction to cycle touring’ weekends to multi-day self supported group tours (typically held during school holiday periods). Tours are usually graded on the same pace and gradient rating system as the single day tours, and include the daily distance covered. Typically BBTA tours attract up to 30 cyclists (on occasion up to 50).
If you’re new to cycle touring it’s probably best to start with a short weekend tour and work up from there. You’ll need to be able to ride the stated distances each day so you might need to do some pre tour training if you haven’t covered the quoted distances before. Tours are for BBTA members only, or associated touring club members. You should consult the tour leader as much as possible before the tour so you know what to expect.
There are two distinct types of touring. The first type is generally referred to as ‘credit card touring’. You carry very little: basic tools, a few changes of clothes, some emergency food supplies (using perhaps one standard set of pannier bags on the rear, or a backpack). The trip is planned around staying in accommodation (bed and breakfast or motel/friends house/etc) at night. You buy your nights food, pay for the lodgings and maybe lunch for the next day. Then put on a change of clothes and do it again the next day. It’s the easiest way of touring, (probably the most expensive though!) and relies on being able to find accommodation. As you’re not carrying a significant load any maintained bicycle can serve to meet your needs.
The second type is what most seasoned bicycle tourers do who are completely self sufficient. All four panniers loaded up (front and rear), changes of clothes, pots, pans, food, water, tools, tents, sleeping bags, all loaded on a touring bike that has probably seen thousands of touring miles. These are the people that might camp along the road side, in a park somewhere, or sometimes in a caravan park. They’re quite happy to ride all day, stop where they want, cook some food that was stored in their bags and sleep away the night camped beside some placid lake staring at the stars. Sounds good? Well it is, and you’ll find many people willing to tell you all about it.
The Club offers both types of tours so check out the details on our ride calendar and talk to the Ride Leader to see what suits you.