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 there 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 coming 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 will provide bananas, supermarket muesli bars, nuts and raisins etc. If you are doing a challenging tour that involves big days and lots of climbing, then we suggest you bring your favourite nutrition. I take my own as I know what I like. Depending upon the tour we can arrange for your specific nutrition to be waiting for you on day 1. We do a bulk order from Wiggle and have it set to our joining hotel

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 House of Travel Wellington (Kristen Kerry kristenj@hotwellington.com 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 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. ie, what you can sell it for on Trade Me, not what you or the bike shop think it is worth. If you over estimate 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 BUPA challenge which features in our TDU trip) as it is still considered a race. We 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-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. 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 a cost.

Can you obtain V.I.P grandstand tickets at stage starts and finishes?

Yes. They are expensive, however we can certainly make it happen. I'll be pretty honest with you if I think it's worthwhile or not. Two that I highly recommend are The Legends dinner at the Tour Down Under and also a grandstand ticket on the Champs-Élysées for the final Sunday in Paris.

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

In recent years we're pretty much 50 / 50 boys & 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. Our oldest cyclist was 74 however he was a past Olympian. 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. You'll have 1 guide to yourselves. We work on a client / staff ratio of 6 to 1. Also, larger groups mean we can provide more resource 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 sim card. 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.

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?

Yes. Our guides are tipped in advance unless you are advised otherwise. All meals etc that we pay for have advance tipping. It's your holiday so we try and make it as easy possible.

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

As well as organising cycling tours I'm also a travel agent so I can help with anything else you need. In fact, a lot of my cycling clients now use me for their leisure. I've travelled extensively through Africa, South America, Arctic, Antarctica etc.

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.

 

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