Tour Difficulty Ratings

For cyclists, there's no better feeling than riding the perfect stretch of road. The most sweeping descent. The gnarliest trail. The scenic path with the postcard views of the countryside. Rides that can't be put into words, and simply have to be experienced.

Because there are no compromises when it comes to finding the very best cycling route in some of the most exciting and remote destinations on the planet, it's important to make sure you're prepared for the physical and technical challenges involved on any cycling tour. Our tour difficulty ratings are designed for every style and level of cyclist. From roadies, to mountain bikers, to weekend riders, and even active travelers, all seeking the ride that fits their level of fitness or desired challenge.

Use our difficulty ratings to find the cycling trip that fits within your limits, or challenges them.

Excursions Difficulty Ratings

Easy

Easy Excursions tours are short sightseeing rides, and usually half a day in length. Total riding distance is no more than 20 kilometers on flat roads in good condition. Easy tours pack in plenty of stops to take photos, listen to the guide, or just take a break from riding. These short tours are suitable for most riders and most are family-friendly.

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Leisure

For a slightly longer ride, go on a Leisure Excursions tour. Flat to undulating terrain keeps things interesting while still offering a fun and relaxed cycling experience of less than 30 total kilometers. Leisure Excursions rides are ideal for beginning cyclists or active travelers with decent fitness.

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Moderate

Escape the tourist trail with our Moderate Excursions tours. Longer rides further into the countryside, mixed terrain, and more potential for climbing add an element of challenge and adventure. Moderate Excursions tours average no more than 50 kilometers a day, but keep a comfortable pace so you still have time to stop and take photos and enjoy the ride. Cycling experience and a reasonable level of physical fitness is recommended.

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Active

For the adventurous cyclist with only a few days to spare, Active Excursions tours make the most of your time in a destination. These tours are both fun and challenging, and can average over 50 kilometers of riding in a day, or traverse terrain with multiple larger climbs. Most Active Excursions tours incorporate off-road riding on non-technical tracks, or combine cycling with another adventure activity such as kayaking, rafting, or ziplining. Cycling experience and good physical fitness is highly recommended.

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Hard

Our Hard Excursions tours offer true adventure and physical challenge in a shorter amount of time. These rides incorporate challenging cycling elements such as technical off-road sections, sustained climbs, or long distances. Regular cycling activity and good physical fitness is strongly recommended.

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Touring Difficulty Ratings

Easy

For a gentle introduction to cycling holidays, our Easy trips combine seeing the best of a destination with light bicycling activity. Short days of less than 30 total kilometers and on flat terrain mean riders can focus on taking in the sights and sounds of the environment without having to physically struggle. Daily rides include frequent stops to take photos or explore, and plenty of time off the bike. Easy trips are ideal for those new to cycling or for families with younger children.

See Easy Touring Trips

Leisure

Leisure trips are for cyclists who prefer to take in the surroundings at a comfortable pace. Average daily distances of 45 kilometers make for longer days than our Easy trips, but terrain is still flat and on roads in good condition. With no climbs or technical sections, Leisure trips are for the recreational cyclist or traveler with reasonable fitness, or for families with older children.

Ride or exercise twice a week so that you’ll be comfortable riding for a few hours in one day.

See Leisure Touring Trips

Moderate

Moderate trips are for the recreational cyclist looking for a bit more of a challenge. Riders can expect distances of over 75 kilometers on flat terrain, or maximum daily climbing of up to 500 meters over a shorter distance. Moderate trips have more variety in day to day riding, and can include a longer or more challenging climbing day or two. Road conditions may be rough or hard-packed dirt, but with no off-road or technical sections. Cycling experience and good fitness are strongly recommended.

To prepare yourself, aim to ride twice a week, with a long ride on the weekend so that you’ll be comfortable riding for several hours at a time. Add variety to your cycling experience, like new routes and in new areas, to build confidence.

See Moderate Touring Trips

Active

Cyclists looking for more of a physical experience will find it on our Active trips. Longer distances of over 75 kilometers on undulating terrain, or up to 1,000 meters climbing over shorter distances provide more of a challenge for fit cyclists. Active trips require cycling experience, but not technical expertise, as most road conditions are tarmac. Riders should be comfortable making sustained climbs, being in the saddle for longer, consecutive cycling days and for tackling one or two especially difficult riding days.

Get out and ride three times a week, with a longer ride, up to 70km, on the weekends. Aim to feel comfortable spending several hours at a time in the saddle, and with cycling on back-to-back days. Try to ride in hillier areas to get used to climbing.

See Active Touring Trips

Hard

Off-the-beaten-track destinations don’t come easy, and our Hard trips explore mountainous, remote, and high altitude destinations by bike. Confident cyclists looking for a consistently challenging trip will find it, with many daily distances of over 75 kilometers and frequently steep, hilly terrain. Road surfaces are often rough with potential to go off-road entirely. Cycling experience, including off-road, and regular training are highly recommended for our Hard trips.

You should be comfortable with long rides and long climbs. Aim to ride three times a week, with a longer, more challenging ride on the weekends. Climbing preparation is key- go for rides in hillier areas or take a spin class if you live in a mostly flat area. Get some experience riding off-road or on trails - have fun with it!

See Hard Touring Trips

Extreme

Extreme trips push the boundaries of what’s possible on a guided cycling tour and are for cyclists with a high level of skill, fitness, and a taste for adventure. Locales are exotic and remote, with basic support and comforts. Terrain is challenging and often steep with high possibility for rough surfaces and off-road sections. Riders should have experience with physically and technically challenging trips, and be prepared for consecutive, long cycling days of more than 75 kilometers and 1,000 meters of climbing. Extreme trips are our most challenging for the experienced and physically fit cyclist looking for a truly unforgettable adventure.

You should be comfortable with spending most of the day in the saddle, riding long days back-to-back, and tackling big climbs. Aim to ride three times a week, and ride on both weekend days. We recommend cross-training to keep up your fitness.

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Road Difficulty Ratings

Cafe

Short and sweet, like a ride down to the cafe. Our Cafe tours are pure and simple rides on flat terrain, averaging under 100 kilometers of total cycling distance. Ideal for the road cycling newbie, mixed ability group, or the cyclist wanting to take a look at their surroundings for a change.

You should be able to maintain a 25km per hour speed and be comfortable riding for 1 hour between breaks. Ride once a week or join a spin class to get comfortable on the bike.

See Cafe Road Trips

Intermediate

The sweet spot for the rookie cyclist, Intermediate tours are shorter stage rides on flat or light climbing terrain. Maximum daily distances of 120 kilometers with no steep hills let you set your cadence and enjoy the ride. Intermediate tours are suited for cyclists who prefer century rides and minimal climbing.

Maintaining a 25km per hour speed should feel easy, you should have no problems riding for an hour between without stopping. To prepare, aim to ride once during the week and get out for a longer ride on the weekend.

See Intermediate Road Trips

Endurance

The ideal ride for the puncheur, the all-rounder, the enthusiast. Endurance tours encompass rolling hills, long rides on flat terrain, and a challenging climb, or several. Day to day variation in difficulty keeps things interesting and won’t force you to choose between enjoying the ride and experiencing an exciting destination. Endurance tours are best suited for cyclists able to handle over 120 kilometers on smooth terrain, or a shorter distance with average daily climbing under 1,000 meters.

You should be able to reach and maintain 25 - 28km per hour speeds for an hour at a time. Ride three times a week to build fitness and go for longer, multi-hour rides on the weekend. We recommend joining a local cycling club to stay motivated.

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Fondo

Fondo tours are exciting rides for the amateur cyclist looking for more out of their experience. Consistently challenging distances of over 100 kilometers per day, jaunts into steepville with some leg-testing climbs, and a tough, ride-affirming day or two make for dynamic and satisfying riding. Fondo tours are ideal for cyclists with experience tackling demanding ascents and riding multi-day tours.

You should feel comfortable maintaining a 28km per hour speed for at least an hour at a time, and be able to manage hillier terrain on your ride. To prepare, aim to ride three times a week and vary your training with longer rides, hills, or cross-training.

See Fondo Road Trips

Etape

For serious cyclists looking for challenging, multi-stage rides. Etape tours feature quintessential cycling terrain with multiple tough climbs over long distances, frequently venture into steep topography, and hold enough wildcard days to continually test power and grit. Expect daily climbing of over 1,000 meters (and then some), and over 100 kilometers of pavement. Etape tours require confident and ambitious cyclists with experience and stamina to meet the challenge.

Work on maintaining a 28 - 30km per hour on the flats for a minimum of an hour at a time, and be comfortable riding longer climbs. Preparation is key. Ride 3 times a week, with a longer, more challenging ride on the weekend. Cross training with bodyweight exercises and stretching is recommended. Be sure to include ample recovery time- at least 2 days a week.

See Etape Road Trips

Pro

For the grimpeurs of the world, Pro tours present some of the most demanding terrain you’ve ever ridden, and won’t soon forget. Consecutive 120+ kilometer days, daily climbing in excess of 1,500 meters, high altitude cols, and extreme gradients make up the ultimate Road test. Pro tours are designed for experienced cyclists with strong stamina and fitness, but beckon those who relish the pain of intense physical challenge and seek rides that reaffirm their love of the sport.

You should feel comfortable with a 28 - 30km per hour pace on the flats for a minimum of an hour at a time, and with riding longer climbs without stopping. To prepare, aim to ride 4 times a week, with longer rides on both weekend days to build stamina. Include interval training like hill repeats, and allow enough time for rest and recovery between training days.

See Pro Road Trips

Trails Difficulty Ratings

Novice

Flat, off-road riding on hard-packed dirt roads and wide jeep tracks that aren’t technical. These rides are through open countryside and involve minimal climbing, while still incorporating a few fun, but manageable, descents. Suitable for riders with non-technical cycling experience.

Having a baseline level of fitness will make tackling moderate hills and the odd steep section easier, especially if you need to hop off and push! A bit of off-road experience can help with mountain biking skill and handling, but most recreational cyclists should be able to manage these rides.

See Novice Trails Trips

Sport

Let’s get technical! Sport rides cover mixed terrain from farmland to forest, steppe to stony riverbed, and beyond. Longer distances mean much of the day can be spent admiring the view from the saddle, or standing out of it on some sweeping descents! Expect some climbs, obstacles, and lots of fun. Experience off-road riding is recommended.

Aim to ride, or exercise, two to three times a week to keep up fitness. On the weekend, hit the trails for a few hours at a time to keep your handling skills fresh and to increase stamina. Ability to ride most Blue or S1 trails and singletrack should prepare you well for a ride with some short, steep climbs and descents and small obstacles.

See Sport Trails Trips

Advanced

Longer, off-road rides with technical elements and single track sections. Advanced rides traverse mountainous territory, with frequent daily climbing of over 750 meters, sometimes at high altitudes. These trips go remote, where vehicle access isn’t always possible, and technical skills and physical stamina are a must.

Cycle a few times during the week, and add additional abdominal exercises to build core strength for balancing and weight shifting. A few weekends with back-to-back long days on the bike will help to increase stamina and prepare you mentally for the challenges of a multi-day mountain bike trip. Aim to handle Red or S2 level trails and singletrack on your off-road training rides to try out standing descents, tighter curves, and small jumps.

See Advanced Trails Trips

Expert

For the rider experienced on technical terrain and long, challenging off-road trips, our Expert rides offer a new kind of challenge. Expect truly out-there adventure with intensely technical tracks, incredible descents, and sustained climbs over rough terrain to get you there. High altitude and remote locales with only the most basic amenities are par for the course. A high level of physical fitness and solid handling skills are strongly recommended.

Exercise 3 times a week, and hit the trails for extended rides on both days during the weekend. Your training should focus on increasing fitness and endurance, so cross-training is strongly recommended. Add additional upper body and core work twice a week to improve stabilization strength. You should aim to feel comfortable riding Red or S2 level trails, and give the odd S3 section a try to get a feel for bigger jumps, large obstacles, and hairpin turns.

See Expert Trails Trips