Let’s be honest: unless you’re over the age of 60, guided tours suck. But, they don’t have to if you find the right outfitter. Whatever your view on group travel, these three guided mountain biking tours are worth a look. They don’t come cheap, but a few thousand dollars seems plenty justified for an epic, once-in-a-lifetime trip you’ll never forget.
On the Trail of Southern Giants (Chile & Patagonia)
Patagonia’s landscape is so rugged, beautiful, and extreme that it doesn’t feel real. It covers an expanse of some 400,000 square miles (approximately 150% larger than the U.K.), most of which is vast open space that’s as wild and pristine today as it was tens of thousands of years ago. H+I Adventures’ aptly named “On the Trail of Southern Giants” tour covers more than 1,200 miles — most of which is on two wheels. Every day of the 12-day tour is packed with bucket-list-worthy experiences — like watching the sunset at Torres del Paine, barreling past snow-capped volcanoes, glacier kayaking, drinking fine Chilean wines, and falling asleep to clear views of the Milky Way under the region’s ultra-dark skies.
Skill Level: Intermediate
Cost: $4,560 USD
Caesar Bike Tour (London to Rome)
During his relatively brief reign over Europe, Caesar covered a lot of ground. Ride & Seek’s Caesar Bike Tour allows adventurous long-distances bikers to do the same with a comprehensive pedal-powered tour of the continent. The tour is divided into two legs so riders can opt to complete either one or both. From London to Rome, the full 33-day package covers more than 2,000 miles, including Europe’s most stunning landscapes. Riders traverse the English Channel (by boat, obviously), through France’s legendary Champagne and Burgundy regions, then on to Switzerland. The Italian portion plays like a highlight reel of the country’s most well-known destinations: the Dolomites, Venice, the Adriatic Coast, and Tuscany, before concluding in Rome.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Expert
Cost: €12,800 (approximately $14,300 USD)
Treasures of the Himalaya (Nepal)
In addition to stunning climbing opportunities, Nepal is home to some of the world’s best mountain biking as well. Sacred Rides’ Treasures of the Himalaya defines an epic guided tour. The 12-day journey isn’t for the faint of heart as it requires an Ironman-level of fitness and endurance. Multiple, intense, vertical climbing days (including, in the company’s own words: “one monster of 3,000 vertical feet”) are required. Highlights include views to the 26,545-foot peak of Mt. Annapurna, straddling two valleys (the lush Kathmandu Valley and the desert-like Kali Gandaki Valley), visiting ancient temples and monasteries, and riding the world’s deepest valley. As an added bonus, travelers will fly from Pokhara to Jomsom — arguably one of the most stunning commercial flights in the world.
Skill Level: Expert
Cost: $3,395 USD