Bike Tours: Eat, Drink, Ride!

One of my very favorite ways to see a new city is what I call “the drink and a bite tour.” I walk the downtown area, stopping to pop in anyplace that looks (or smells) particularly interesting, but having only a little something (or, even better, splitting a little something) at each spot.
I absolutely love it, but it only lets you cover a pretty small space — a few blocks, really; maybe a bit more if you’re ambitious and in a really walkable area.
Still, I’ve been hearing more and more about bike tours based on food, wine and beer in different areas, and I’m pretty in love with the idea. I really like the idea of biking for leisure once in a while instead of always speeding along at race pace, and a tour that combines riding a bike and sampling tasty local eats (or drinks)? That sounds a bit like heaven.
cycling tour
Not sure something like this is for you? I’ve got good news for you — there are all kinds of different culinary bike tours, and regardless of your skill level or foodie preferences, there’s probably something out there that’s just your style. I pulled together a few resources to get you started, but this is only the tip of the handlebar. If you’re looking for a tour for your next vacay, you can either search for tours in a specific area (try checking with the Chamber of Commerce or the tourism board of the city you’re visiting if nothing shows up in the ol’ Googles) or, if you’re not set on a specific place, you might want to find a company that does bike tours in lots of cities (or countries!) and pick the one that best suits your preferences.
If you’re looking for luxury … you might want to check out the options Gourmet Cycling Travel has to offer. Tuscany! Provence! Bordeaux and Basque! The company owners are the tour guides for these trips, there’s an in-house chef with Michelin star experience, and both serious cyclists and newbies are welcome. And this list of the top luxury bike outfitters from Forbes is not to be missed.
If you love your California wines … you’re seriously in luck! Napa and Sonoma have numerous tours available, and Santa Barbara is definitely worth consideration, too.
If you dig the beer scene … go Beer Cycling in France, Belgium and France! Their tagline is “Getting you from pint A to pint B,” and, as with the luxury tours, you can find various destinations and both high and low difficulty tours. Or, find a tour with Beer and Biking — they’ve got tours in Colorado, Maine, Alaska, Germany, Japan and more.
If you crave international adventure … you’ve got a plethora of options! VBT has tours all over the world — this tour of Croatia features dinner in a local home and some cooking lessons. If New Zealand is more your style, you can find road cycling, beach cruising and mountain biking options in Hawkes Bay.
If you’re looking for eats off the beaten path … check out this list from Budget Travel. They’ve got the deets on culinary bike tours in Charlotte, San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago, Portland, Austin and D.C.
If you’re looking for ideas on where to go and what to do … let the pros at Bicycle Adventures to the legwork for you. They have tours available basically everywhere (all over the U.S., Canada, and even in Spain, New Zealand and Taiwan), but they also offer a wide variety of types — budget-friendly, epic and challenging, family-style, and far more. Or head over to Trek Travel — they’ve got just as many options, with a few geared toward true cycling buffs featuring classic climbs in various European destinations. Duvine is another fantastic resource with many types of tours available … everywhere — North America, Africa, all over Europe and more.
And, if all these options feel a bit overwhelming, may I suggest using a spreadsheet (or two) to organize your vacay? Always works for me!
Have you ever gone on a bike tour like this? If not, would you? Why or why not? I’m SO on board. Kristen

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