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mapsd

Biking option during river cruise

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It looks like bikes are available on a lot of the river boats.

We have one in our group who is a serious cyclist and wondering if some lines have nicer road bikes?

Also, is it possible to bike from one port to the next & meet back up with the ship?

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11 hours ago, mapsd said:

It looks like bikes are available on a lot of the river boats.

We have one in our group who is a serious cyclist and wondering if some lines have nicer road bikes?

Also, is it possible to bike from one port to the next & meet back up with the ship?

We've only cruised on Vantage, and I'd say the bikes available are just your basic two-wheeler type bikes.  Nothing fancy.  Indeed, some were a bit wonky as to whether the front wheel and rear wheel were lined up.

 

It may be possible that some lines have better bikes, you'd have to check with them.

 

Also, most times from one port to the next could be too far to make the trip via bicycle in a timely manner.  But, I believe I've read where there were some river cruises in France that might have that option.

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11 hours ago, mapsd said:

It looks like bikes are available on a lot of the river boats.

We have one in our group who is a serious cyclist and wondering if some lines have nicer road bikes?

Also, is it possible to bike from one port to the next & meet back up with the ship?

When I was on Uniworld on the Danube in 2011, for the optional bike tour (out of Passau but it was cancelled by heavy rain) they brought bikes in for the excursion. The ones on board would not really be suitable for a serious cyclist. I did go for a ride in the Netherlands in 2010, and in 2011 on arrival in Vienna I took a bike out to explore the park in the middle of the Danube canal. 
I believe that AMA has more active excursions, but I don’t know whether they have better quality bikes on board or bring them in. I have heard about cycling the Wachau Valley rather than cruising it. 
I think Scenic also emphasizes independent travel, some by bike, but again I don’t really know about the quality of the bikes. 
 

In general, you can’t cycle from one port to the next because the ships generally sail at night.

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In addition to the fleet of bicycles kept on board each of their ships, AMA also has selected itineraries with special bike excursions organized by Backroads, for which Backroads supplies the bikes.  It might be possible for the one in your group to book through Backroads, and the rest direct with AMA.

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Uniworld has bikes on board for individual (un-guided) use which are fine for relatively short rides.  On bike excursions (my BIL and SIL do almost all of them) that can be hours long a local vendor supplies the equipment and guides.

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Avalon was the same...they had bikes on board (one family really enjoyed taking them out to tour the towns every day), but for the bike tours, they had someone bring them in.  We didn't go on them, so not really sure how the bikes were, but I would assume they would be fairly decent as the tours were often as long as our walking tours were.  Some lines have electrically assisted bikes as well. 

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6 minutes ago, Daisi said:

Some lines have electrically assisted bikes as well. 

I think it was Crystal. They used to have ebikes, but I'm sure I read here that they pulled them. I assume that people were having accidents.

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Scenic's bikes are electric-assist, which would probably not appeal to serious cyclists. There are usually one or two opportunities per trip when you can choose to cycle for a few hours along the river with a group rather than taking the daily city tour, and you're always able to forego the daily tour and take one of the cycles out on your own as long as you're back on board in time for departure. 

 

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On 1/22/2020 at 7:25 AM, sbjornda said:

Scenic's bikes are electric-assist, which would probably not appeal to serious cyclists. 

 

I will second that thought. The electric-assist may help some people for casual riding, but it adds a ton of weight to the bike, and detracts from more serious riding. I took a bike out for several hours to do some off-the-beaten track exploring during my cruise in 2019, and found the bike to be significantly less rideable than my personal bike--and it's not like I have an amazing lightweight personal bike. I preferred to ride without the electric assist, but found the assist to be an absolute necessity on slopes that I wouldn't think twice about on a normal bike. That said, it was still wonderful to have the bike option, and explore in ways that I wouldn't otherwise have been able to.

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On 1/22/2020 at 9:22 AM, gnome12 said:

I think it was Crystal. They used to have ebikes, but I'm sure I read here that they pulled them. I assume that people were having accidents.

This is correct. I remember reading this also. Now they have normal bikes.

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You need to check with the lines to be sure what each has, but yes there are generally bikes on all of them. How much in the way of electric assist or not will vary between the providers.

 

For your serious bicyclist friend, the bikes on board are not lightweight road bikes. They are sit-upright manual and/or electric assist bikes built along the lines of city bikes. Fatter seats  and tires.

 

As to biking between two stops, that can happen depending on the distance between two stops and terrain. And whether the stops are both daytime stops, where for example the ship moves between two of the meals. It has been available one or two times on the river trips I have been on so I assume other providers do this as well. The most likely place for this kind of a ride would be along a stretch of river that was flat or along a canal, such as the Danube Canal, so there is a nice wide paved path and it is on the flatter side.

 

Someone mentioned the Backroads alternative above thru AMA Waterways. I have not tried that but it likely would get someone into a better bike. Also, if the boat is parked somewhere for a whole day there is nothing saying you can't find a local bike tour group on your own and go out with them. As long as you are back before the boat moves again. I usually take a day on my own on these trips.

Edited by sayanne

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