Rent It or Bring It? The Bike Tour Conundrum

How one expert decides

When going on a cycling tour, it can be difficult to decide whether to rent a bike or bring along your own. Take it from Bruno Toutain, an avid cyclist and founder of the French tour company Cyclomundo.

Even after ten years in the cycling tourism business, Toutain has trouble deciding, so he put together a checklist of questions that he—and you—can use to make your choice:

• What is your destination and what are your goals for your trip?

• Do you understand your rental bike options or the options and costs of taking your bike on a plane?

• Do you have multiple connections by plane, train or car?

• Are you traveling without a bike before or after?

• Do you have a custom bike?

• Are you prone to aches and pains from ill-fitting equipment?

• Do you have a good bike case/bag that will appropriately protect your bike?

• Do you have the skills to re-assemble your bike?

• Do you have a place to store your bike case while on your cycling tour?

More of a visual thinker? See the list in flowchart form (click to expand):

One additional piece of advice from Mr. Toutain:

"Once you look at all the different aspects of bringing your own bike or renting, it is important to commit to your decision and work through all the arrangement details."

Bruno Toutain founded Cyclomundo in 2003 after he found himself constantly helping friends in New York arrange cycling trips to France, his native country. He lives in the French Alps and continues to travel to the U.S. and throughout Europe.