ExperiencePlus! Blog

Bike & Barge Amsterdam to Bruges

Q&A with a first-time ExperiencePlus! Traveler

Luxury travel advisor and expert traveler Theresa Jackson joined our Bike and Barge: Amsterdam to Bruges this July and answered a few questions about her first ExperiencePlus! tour.

Would you consider yourself a cyclist?

I don’t yet consider myself a cyclist because I am not out weekly or more on rides.  I do spin a few times a week, but I don’t ride on the road or train as much as I aspire to. It does not stop me from joining cycling trips, however, which I really love.

What was a typical day on tour like for you?

My typical day found me arriving at breakfast later because I didn’t have a need for so much fuel to start. Chatting and catching up with others. Going over day sheets to see what my personal pace and tour philosophy was going to be for that day. The days allowed for that kind of variance, which was very nice.

Were there any aspects of this bike tour that you were pleasantly surprised by?

The accommodations (barge). The free time and freedom of time.

How was it traveling with a group as a solo traveler?

It was great.  This group was amazingly open and friendly, and the guides joined us as well to ensure we solo travelers fit right in.

Did you have any trouble navigating our chalk arrows on each day’s route?

No trouble at all!

What advice would you give to a solo traveler on their first bike tour?

While you don’t need to be a “cyclist” you do need to know how to ride a bike.  Pay attention to instructions and take time during your test ride to ensure you have a good bike fit and get comfortable handling your bike. Ask guides if you have any questions, and don’t worry, if you want company you can also ride with a tour leader or fellow travelers!

What was it like sleeping on the barge each night?

Lovely!  It was nice we didn’t move at night, so no engine noise.

What items did you pack that you were very happy to have with you?

Bike shorts, my padded seat cover. The right shoes with stiff sole bottom (I used tennis shoes) so that my feet didn’t fall asleep. It was great having my cycle bolero for cooler mornings, and my water and windproof North Face rain jacket.

ExperiencePlus! also provided me with this helpful checklist for packing.

What advice you give to a person thinking of taking a bike tour for the first time?

I would suggest you start riding at least 6 weeks in advance. If you don’t live in an area, or don’t have time to get out and road ride daily, prepare by spinning to build strength and endurance. If you can add 1 road ride for at least 1 ½ hours per week (add hills if you are going on Level 2 above trip) that will help a lot as well. With this bit of preparation you will have a level of confidence in your endurance and ability. If you’re newer to cycling consider picking a tour that is at a lower level of elevation grade for your first trip; you will be inspired to continue taking bike tours if you loved the experience!

Check out ExperiencePlus!’s custom training plans as well.

Learn more about ExperiencePlus! Bike and Barge tours here.

Pssst: Interested in taking a Bike and Barge tour? Take advantage of our annual Early Booking Discount and save $200 on all 2020 bicycle tours. Submit your reservation by November 15th, 2019 and we will take $200 off (per person) to reward your early planning efforts!