Bike Asia Travel style
We think cycling through a region for the first time with a group of like-minded people is such a great way to travel. In Asia, we believe cycling is the best way to travel as it’s about the best pace to soak up all the extraordinary experiences on offer here. Our aim is to provide you with the opportunity to meet new peoples, learn about new cultures, experience different landscapes, try out the local food, and most all to have some fun in the saddle as well as off it. Cycling is a major part of all our trips – they are cycle tours after all – and this trip is designed so it is accessible to people with a reasonable level of fitness. We avoid transfers mid-trip on our tours (we like the idea of the journey and the reward of cycling “all the way”) so you’ll find on our tours that once you set up the bike you can generally ride it to the end barring unforeseen circumstances or your own inclinations. Our trips are also designed to allow you the opportunities and time to appreciate the environment, scenery and culture around you, and to participate in any activities that may arise. Our emphasis is on getting you to those little travelled places for authentic experiences with local people and culture, although we do stop by the famous places on our itineraries when they are just not to be missed!
This trip is fully supported, so should you want or need to take a rest, there will be a seat for you and a place to put your bike in our support vehicle with great drivers ready to offer help any time you may need it. Our leaders and guides, both local and Western, are there to make sure your bikes are running smoothly, your tummies are full and to offer insights into the region and it’s people. On this tour it’s important to be aware that you’ll be travelling in rural area’s where service standards or language or accommodation may not be as you are accustomed too. As such, you may feel challenged at times, either physically or culturally, which is entirely normal and a part of what we believe makes for a rewarding adventure. Our experienced staff will be on hand to guide you through any challenges and support you to get the best out of your experience.
There is a mix of accommodation styles on this trip. 12 nights are in good standard hotels/guesthouses; twin share, private bathrooms, hot water, television, air-conditioning etc; 2 nights are in more basic style accommodation – possibly without private bathrooms, i.e. shared washing and toilet facilities, sometimes Chinese style squat toilets. We are staying in these places because, travelling by bike we get to travel through some of the smaller, rural areas, and this means of course that we are limited in our choice of accommodation – sometimes we are staying in the ONLY guesthouse. Whilst not having all the facilities that you may be accustomed to at home, we can safely say that these small, family-run places make up for that in location, views, atmosphere and friendly service. Hygiene is very important to us and our passengers so we try to use accommodation with a good level of cleanliness. All the sleeping arrangements are for twin share and if you are a single traveller you will be paired up with someone of the same sex unless you book a single supplement. We choose hotels (where possible) which are comfortable, clean, centrally located places which are more than adequate in every way.
Food is a very important part of any travel experience – particularly essential when cycling – and is a highlight of any Bike Asia tour. Most of the meals on this trip are included in the cost, with a few exceptions like free days. To see which meals are included, read the inclusions list or the itinerary. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for and should you have any other dietary restrictions, you just need to inform us. Chinese breakfasts usually include one or more of the following; noodles soup, steamed buns, fried bread, fresh soy milk, fruit and green tea. Depending on location, lunch can either be relatively simple but hearty, such as vegetable fried rice or meat/vegetable noodles or banquet style, such as steamed rice with a selection of vegetable and meat dishes. Dinner is always banquet style with plates of meat, fish, fresh vegetables, tofu and rice. We aim to give people every opportunity to sample local/ regional specialities and to enjoy the huge variety of Chinese dishes available. We also provide snack food for morning and afternoon tea with biscuits, fresh fruit, dried fruit, tea, coffee and hot chocolate. We will also provide you with filtered drinking water for the duration of the cycling. The meals are always very generous, the food is healthy, very fresh and very tasty, so don’t worry, we’ll make sure your appetites are satisfied and you have more than enough fuel to get up those mountains!
Bikes are included on this trip as we recognise the often significant costs that can be incurred travelling with your bike these days. Our mountain bikes are UCC (a local regional brand that we choose to support for just that reason – don’t worry they are more than adequate for the job!), 27 speed, hard tails with lockout front suspension, hydraulic disc brakes and running Shimano/ SRAM components. Bikes are available in 15”, 17”, 19” or 21” sizes and fitted with semi-slick tyres, a water bottle cage and optional female designed saddle. We keep them well-maintained, in as near new condition as possible and travel with all necessary tools and spare parts. Your Bike Asia leader/ mechanic will fix any bike problems. You may wish to bring your own pedals, cleats, saddle, handlebar extensions or bike bags as we can easily fit them to our bikes. You are of course welcome to bring your own bike. Keep in mind though, that while we offer maintenance and spares for the bikes we provide, we can’t guarantee that we can cater to your particular bicycle’s needs so it would be best to bring your own parts and tools. If you are unsure we recommend that you speak to your local bike shop about what parts to bring and make sure it has had a good service. Because we travel with a support vehicle it is not necessary to carry many things when on the bike. You may like to carry a daypack, bumbag or handlebar bag with personal belongings, camera, sunscreen etc., or you may prefer to leave a daypack in the support vehicle and carry only a camera & rain jacket (perhaps in a seat-post bag) when cycling.
All the roads we use are chosen because, as much as possible, they have very little traffic. The cycling terrain on this tour is roughly 80% on sealed roads, 10% on dirt roads and 10% off-road on small tracks and trails. This trip varies between hilly to flat terrain with nine notable climbs, the longest of which is 13km. The cycling altitude varies between 130m and 825m. Traffic is mostly very light but there are one or two short busier sections. In Bangladesh the cycling is very relaxed but you do need to be alert for surprises such as vehicles, potholes, animals, people…everything really!