Frequently asked questions

Can my non-riding partner join the trip and is the cost the same?

Absolutely. We encourage non-riders and have a daily plan in place so that they enjoy the trip as much as you do. On the majority of tours Team Macchiato (non-riders) have a separate staff member and a vehicle. We've never believed in non-riders simply sitting in a van following cyclists. It's their holiday as well. Even for the fittest client, 14 days' cycling in a row without a day off the bike is hard to do. Having a separate vehicle means we have a plan B for those who want a day off the bike. The cost for non-riders is exactly the same. Mainly because we include a lot of entrance fees, wine, coffee, extra meals, etc.

Can I hire a bike, and would you recommend I do so?

Yes, we can hire you a bike. No problems. They are all late model bikes equipped for the hills. We now also have a great selection of e-bikes as well. However, my preference would always be for you to travel with your own bike if it's practical. For example, if you are simply flying over, riding the tour and then going straight home, then I would advise you bring your own bike. If you are continuing to travel after the tour is finished, then a hire bike is a great idea. If you are going to hire, then please fill in the Bike Hire form you'll see at the top of the website.

Do I take my own energy food, drink?

Totally up to you. On the majority of tours, we provide bananas, energy bars, electrolytes, etc. If you are doing a challenging tour that involves big days and lots of climbing, then you are welcome to bring your own. Your nutrition will be communicated prior to each tour.

I'm planning on taking my own bike. Are there particular airlines to avoid? Can you help with flights?

Good question. There are a large percentage of airlines that will charge you up to NZD500.00 each way to Europe at the first mention of a bike. That's $1000.00 return. European Airlines are to be avoided. If you don't have a good travel agent then I highly recommend Kristen Kerry from Adventure Travel (kristenk@adventuretravel.co.nz Tel 021512922). She has been organising my flights for the last decade or so and really knows her stuff when it comes to flying with bikes, travel insurance, etc. Another really good Auckland agent who is familiar with bike travel is Kim Payne from NZ Travel Brokers (kim.payne@nztravelbrokers.co.nz Tel 021389681).

Do you have travel insurance, and can I cover my expensive bike?

Kristen and Kim have a range of insurance options. The travel insurance part is easy. Covering a bike is complicated and it is purely a case-by-case discussion. Please remember that your bike can only be covered for its current value, i.e what you can sell it for on Trade Me, not what you or the bike shop think it is worth. If you overestimate its value, the insurance company will simply challenge its worth and pay out accordingly.

Warning - please be aware that the majority of travel insurance providers will not cover you if you are doing a fun ride (as in the Challenge tour at TDU or Vancouver to Whistler Fondo) as it is still considered a race. Kristen Kerry can often arrange a policy that will cover you. Your bike is never covered while you are riding it.

How fit do I need to be?

The fitter you are the more you will enjoy the trip. The majority of our cyclists are in the 5 to 6 ½ hours around Taupo category. However, we always have a few cyclists who ride sub-4.30. All our guides are pretty fit, so we can cater for almost anyone. We provide a 10-week training program on the majority of our tours. Leading up to one of our tours, I'd recommend you budget on doing a minimum of 200km a week, ideally more. The most important thing you can do to prepare is to ride hills rather than ride around the bays. Again, we are always available for practical training advice.

I've heard you meet in Taupo for a training weekend.

Prior to the Tour de France - Yes, usually in late April, early May. We spend the weekend together and I answer any questions you may have. On the Saturday, we ride about 100km, have dinner that night and go for a coffee ride on the Sunday. It's a great way of getting to know the people you are about to travel with.

I'm travelling alone. Can I share a room, or do I need to pay for my own room?

20% of our cycling clients are solo travellers. We can match you up with someone (same sex) or you can have your own room for an additional cost.

What's the average age range and boy / girl mix?

In recent years we're pretty much 50 / 50 boys and girls. On any given tour we generally have 80 - 90% repeat clients. The average age is tricky to answer. Most clients, I guess, would be in their 50's and 60's. We don't shy away from cyclists in their 70's, as generally speaking, they're pretty fit. We've had a few teenagers on our trips and some of those have gone on to be professional cyclists. Every year we have a handful of people in their 30's and 40's, so a good mix of ages.

What's the average group size?

We aim for 30 people, but it does depend on what tour. We're big believers in larger groups rather than say 12 people where some people will spend the whole holiday riding by themselves. With a group size of 30, you will always find 4 or 5 cyclists of a similar ability and you'll have 1 guide to yourselves. We work on a client / staff ratio of 5 to 1. Also, larger groups mean we can provide more resources on the ride. Extra vehicles etc, etc.

Can I access the internet in all the hotels?

All of our hotels have access to the internet. For France and Italy, I would certainly recommend a European eSIM. We will give advice on this prior to departing.

What gearing should I have on my bike for this trip? Do you send out a "what to pack list"?

Basically, you need as much help as you can possibly get for the hills. Please don't turn up with a 23-rear cassette. All our hire bikes come with compact cranks. If taking your own bike then I'd recommend a compact crank 50/34 and 11/28 (minimum, I have a 32) for the rear. 34 on the back would even be better.

How much money do I need?

We try to include as much as possible in the tour cost, so you won't need a lot. Generally speaking, an extra $75.00 to $100.00 per day will cover everything else you need.

Are tips included?

Every tour is different. It’s case by case. In North America, we try and include the majority of gratuities. In Europe, we always tip the bus driver in advance, but we encourage you to tip the European guides. It really is case by case and your tour leader will let you know what’s appropriate.

I'm arriving early, can you arrange additional hotels and additional tours?

It’s not a problem organising extra accommodation at the start or the finish of each tour. Kristen or Kim can help with any extra tours you need.

How do E-bikes work with your tours?

Over the past few years, we've embraced them and can provide e-bike hire on the majority of our trips. The Specialized Creo range certainly seem to be the best as far as travelling on a plane. You can take the frame battery out and travel with the range extender battery. To my knowledge, I'm not aware of any other e-bikes you can physically fly with.

Our e-bike theory is simple. If it means you can ride 70 - 80km a day and keep up with your mates, then we would rather you be doing that than riding 50km and then calling it quits.

We do recommend for anyone over the age of 70 to hire a road e-bike. You would still be challenged but you would have a better trip. We find that the altitude and climbing takes its toll on anyone over 70. We often ride 20km plus hills. A road e-bike simply means that you have more time on the bike and less time in the van.

What is your policy on COVID-19 vaccinations?

While we realise that we can no longer mandate our clients to be fully vaccinated, it is still our preference that you are. This precaution is requested, given the physical nature of the activities and the close proximity we have to each other while on tour. All our staff are vaccinated.

If I get sick while on tour?

Ride Holidays will take the sensible approach. If someone gets sick, then it’s our aim to look after them as well as keep everyone else healthy. That’s why we always have spare vehicles and spare staff. If you are crook, then we’ll drive you to the next hotel so you can recover. At the same time, driving you separately from the group means that they don’t run the risk of getting sick. We’ve had an enormous amount of experience looking after sick clients.










 

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