What Kind of Bike Should I Bring?
Riding with the Velo Girl almost always means you will be climbing. We are almost always on paved roads (any exceptions will be noted in advance) so the best choice of bicycle style is a road bike.
We discourage the use of “tri bikes” with aerobars (some of our local events with steep climbs and descents even prohibit them) because they are not as stable on a descent.
We also discourage mountain bikes, because they are generally slower, heavier, and the shocks will eat up your pedaling power, which makes you work harder.
Touring bikes, cross bikes, and hybrids are all reasonable choices, but you’ll be most comfortable on our typical tours with a road bike.
If you have questions about the type of bike you own, and its suitability to one of our tours, please simply shoot us an email or give us a call, and we’ll talk about it.
But Wait, There’s More…
One other note about road bikes: if you usually ride on the flats, say in Florida, you’ll want to check your gear ratios. If you don’t know what that means, your trusted bike shop will… just ask them.
Most recreational cyclists in these mountains use a gear ratio suitable for climbing, with a crankset that compliments those gears. You give up some of the top end speed that is valued for the flats, but your legs will thank you when you’re grinding up a long and/or steep climb here in the mountains. Again, if you have any questions, just get in touch.
Rent or Bring Your Own?
We encourage you to bring your own bike on your Velo Girl Rides tour.
We’ve found that most riders prefer the bike they know, and the comfort of knowing that their bike fits their body perfectly. The cost of transporting your bike can be expensive, but we’ve generally found that it is roughly equivalent to the cost of a rental. On a longer tour, rental fees add up quickly — contact us for an estimate of what a rental will cost for your tour.
That said, it may not be practical for you to bring your own bike.
Let’s help you make an informed decision:
Bringing Your Bike
If you drive, you already know what to do. If you’re flying to your Velo Girl Rides tour, you have two options. First, you can bring it along as checked baggage.
This means finding a shipping case designed specifically for a road bike, which may be available for rent from your bike shop (or can be borrowed from your bike club). Whomever gives you the case can tell you how to pack it. But don’t hesitate to add padding and packing material.
Alternatively, you can pester your local bike shop for a box (they get them when they receive new bikes). Most shops will even pack your bike into that box, for a fee.
Check the additional fees your airline will charge, and arrive at the airport early. Forewarned is forearmed!
Second, if you don’t want to schlep your bike through airports at both ends of your journey, then you may want to consider shipping it. We’ve used both Fedex Ground and UPS, and the cost is roughly comparable to checked baggage. The packing techniques are the same.
You are welcome to have your bike shipped to Velo Girl Rides, and if you like we will unpack it, assemble it, and have it ready when you arrive. We generally can store the box for you, as well, so it can be re-used to ship your bike home. Just get in touch with us in advance to work out the details.
Note for international visitors: as you probably already know, shipping your bike internationally is not a great idea.
It is difficult to clear customs, and delays can stretch from days into weeks.
We always recommend that international travelers fly with their bikes as checked luggage, so that their bike clears customs with them when they enter the country.
Renting A Bike
When you prefer to rent (or don’t have a choice, due to logistics) we will provide a rental bike (for an additional fee). We’ll pick up your rental prior to your arrival, and it will be ready when you get here. We will also return it for you.
We usually use Liberty Bicycles as they maintain a small fleet of aluminum and carbon road bikes, and they do a fantastic job keeping the bikes maintained and ready to go; they even maintain a log on each bike and its adventures.
The fleet is relatively small, so if you plan on renting for your tour, please let us know as soon as possible so we can obtain your particular requirements and reserve your bike as far in advance as possible.
Please contact us if you have any questions, or if you’re struggling with making the decision.