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Cycling in Europe: Types of Bikes
There are many different types of bikes you can use on a bike tour in Europe. In this simple guide, we describe the various bicycles we offer on our affordable cycling tours.
Well maintained bikes – built for comfort, not speed - are included in the tour cost on all UTracks cycling trips. Men’s and ladies bikes are commonly available and vary between 7 and 24 speed with handbrakes. Certain trips offer electric bike hire and many trips have children’s bikes, trail-a-bikes and trailers for smaller children.
In general, you can expect bikes to include*:
• A lock
• Repair kit
• Map holders
• Anti-theft devices
• Helmets and water bottle holders
*Note that specific bike inclusions will be outlined in the tour 'trip notes section'.
Types of Bikes
UTracks offers three main styles of bikes on our various cycling holidays across Europe as well as electric bike options on most of our trips.
Also commonly referred to as racing bikes, these bikes typically have a lighter frame, larger wheels, 20 gears and are more fragile than other types of bikes. Their main use is for speed and efficiency whilst road riding only as they are designed in such a way so the rider leans forward in a more aerodynamic position. Road bikes are provided on a limited number of UTracks trips.
The combination of features from a Mountain Bike and Road Bikes make Hybrid bikes well suited for long-distance touring on paved surfaces. The larger wheels are more efficient than a Mountain Bike and the wider rims make it sturdier than a Road Bike. They have a Mountain Bike style frame, typically between 18-27 gears, flat handlebars and some suspension. The vast majority of UTracks trips use Hybrid Bikes.
Also referred to as MTB or ATB, Mountain Bikes are primarily designed for off-road cycling but can be used on any surface. Mountain Bikes are provided on a limited number of UTracks trips.
Cycling With Children
Bringing the kids on one of our trips is made easy thanks to the various options available to them.
Kids sized bikes
Smaller, kids sized bikes can be made available for children confident to travel with you on their own bike. Please make sure you request one and advise your child’s height at the time of booking.
Attached to the back of the parent’s bike, these allow kids to feel like they are helping Mum or Dad, but then they get tired they can leave all the work to you and simply sit back and enjoy the ride.
Towing the kids in a trailer behind your bike is ideal for younger children who are not ready to ride their own bike.
Electric Bikes, or e-bikes
are designed to make cycling easier. The pedalling ‘boost’ opens up more options, allowing people of different fitness levels to cycle together or to allow less confident or fit cyclists to take on routes that they may otherwise consider too tough for their current capability. E-bikes are available on the majority of our bike trips in Europe. The makes and models vary from country to country. Learn more about electric bikes in our comprehensive article here
Personalising Your Bike
Our bikes do not come with clip in pedals – they are flat pedals only. You are more than welcome to bring your own cleats and clip in pedals.
You may also wish to bring your own bike seat however you must check the diameter of the stem first to ensure your seat is compatible with the bikes provided on your selected tour.
Getting to know how to use a bike computer before you travel on your self guided trip is recommended. Whilst most of our trips do provide bike computers often taking one that you are already familiar with will save you time on your holiday. Bike computers are fairly inexpensive and you’ll get good use out of it on your own rides at home.
While many of our trips offer helmets as part of the bike package, there is no better helmet than one which is well fitting. Bringing your own helmet from home is recommended and if you pack it well it need not be awkward to carry in your luggage.
Bringing Your Own Bike
If you'd like to bring your own bike on tour please get in touch with our friendly staff for further information. It is important that you only bring a bike that is suitable for the terrain and don’t forget a repair kit and lock.