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      Ibike Tours

     

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. What kind of bike?
    2. Do I bring my own bike or rent a bike?
    3. How do I prepare and what personal belonging should I take?
    4. Do I carry my own gear or is there a support vehicle? What happens if I get tired?
    5. How difficult is the program? How far do you ride?
    6. How is the route picked?
    7. Is this program sensitive to the culture and the environment?
    8. What kind of accommodation are used?
    9. What is the food like?
    10. Who participates on these programs?
    11. How large are the groups?
    12. How do I sign-up?
    13. When should I sign?
    14. What does the program price cover?
    15. What doesn't the program price cover?
    16. Where can I read the complete "Terms and Conditions" for the Ibike?
    17. Ibike A to Z

    Answers To Most Frequently Ask Questions On Ibike

    Choice of Bikes: Mountain-bikes work on all the programs. Some programs use predominately paved roads where touring bikes are suitable. Detailed information on selecting and setting up your bicycle and equipment is sent in the pre-departure information packet. Most participants prefer to take their own bike.  This is practical because bicycles are carried as accompanied baggage on international flights.  On some airlines this service is free, but some charge a hefty fee so it is good to check the baggage regulations before you make a final decision about an airline.

    As the airline reduce their baggage allowance and increase their baggage surcharges, good quality folding bikes become a serious consideration. The Bike Friday “World Tourist”, which fits in a suitcase, has been used by the program director and participants on all of the programs; through the sands of Mali, rutted roads of Ecuador and mud of Cameroon, without failure and with great overall satisfaction.  There are some compromises: the small wheel can drop further into holes and alter the inertia of the bike, and the shorter wheel base changes the center of gravity to be much more over the front wheel.  This is most likely to catch up with you going downhill on a rutted gravel road -- but also can be mitigated with strong cycling skill.  If you are considering taking a folding bikes and have questions, please contact us.

    Rental bicycles are only available on a few programs.  There are several factors that interfere with our ability to provide rental bikes for our programs:

    • Really suitable bikes (and accessories) are generally not available for rent in the local bike markets in most parts of the world.  (Though in a pinch you can make do -- see " African Panther.")

    • The uncertainty of long term storage of our own bikes (most programs run only once or twice a year.)

    • Problem with logistics and the cost of moving the bikes across borders from program to program.

    • The unknown of what sizes of bikes and how many to have available.

    • Very low demand for rental bikes because, in fact, most people still want to use their own bikes for tours that do as much cycling as ours do.

    Generally the people who have been most interested in rental bikes are those who wanted to do additional travel after the program without a bike or are try to avoid the airlines hostility towards bicyclists. The most common solutions have been to beg or buy a modest used bike at home for the trip, pay the airlines one-way, and then donate it or sell it at the end. It is possible, and sometime cheaper, to buy a bike locally, but you have to be prepared to be challenged by the quality of the bike (see " African Panther.")

    Level of Difficulty: The bicycling difficulty is moderate and designed for generally active people. There have been a lot of participants on the program who have never cycle toured and never done international travel before who have thoroughly enjoyed the program.  It is an active program, but it is not an iron man competition.  The bicycling is meant to be a means to cultural immersion.  If you are in descent condition and curious about the destination you should be able to do the program, regardless of past experience.  Daily distances average less than 40 miles (65km) per day, are usually between 30 and 50 miles (50-80 km) per day, but may range from 20-80 miles (35-100km) per day.  It is good if you can work up to averaging 10-12 mph (16-20 km/h) on rolling terrain. The daily plan is linked to road conditions, terrain and points of interest. We try to start programs with lower mileage and let it increase as people get in better shape and adjust to conditions.  If the roads are rough or ascending the mileage is usually lower.  If the roads are smooth or descending the mileage may be more.

    Unless otherwise noted the bicycling portions of the programs are “self-contained,” which means there is no support vehicle carrying baggage (local transportation is generally available if people get tired).  For “self-contained” tour participants carry their own gear on their bikes using a rear rack and panniers. Individual gear usually averages about 20 pounds (10 kg).  If an Ibike program will be your first exposure to self-contained bicycle touring you are not the first.  The pre-departure materials provide tips and guidance for packing for self-contained bicycle touring and the office is available to help you and answer your questions.  (Where identified, programs have dedicated support vehicles to carry gear and assist cyclist.)

    Route selection: Educational value, cultural sensitivity, environmental impact, safety, road quality, riding difficulty, the availability of goods and services, and climatic norms are considered in route selection and scheduling. Each program is unique. While safety is a factor in planning the program and most roads are low volume, because the program involves bicycling on roads shared with motor vehicles and, in part, routes are selected because they go to desirable areas, we make no claims as to the safety of the itinerary. It should be understood that bicycling and travel are calculated risk activities.

    Sensitivity: Ibike subscribes to the International Bicycle Fund's 'Code of Responsible Travel'.

    Conditions: Most of our programs are in non-western countries. We primarily stay in towns and villages. Accommodations vary according to opportunity. Sleeping arrangements range from local housing, dormitories, simple hotels, tourist class hotel and tented camps, as available. We endeavor to select locally owned, carbon-lite, clean, friendly and secure accommodations. Rooms are generally, but not always, double occupancy.  Will try to match people with roommates, if they wish. If you don't have a roommate, or don't want a roommate there will be a single supplement charge.  This represents the actually difference in the cost to the program.  Single rooms cannot be guaranteed. Some facilities are rustic. Plumbing, electricity and modern services are not always available.

    Meals are provided at or above the local standard -- by western standards the variety is often limited.  The diet is wholesome and the quantity is sufficient. Food for certain restrictive diets may be limited. By western standards, choice of beverages (i.e soft drinks, beer, liquor) is sometimes limited.

    Participants: It is very hard to identify an "average participant" or the "average group."  Past participants have ranged in age from 9 to 73 - most are between 25 and 55.  But, in fact, the groups are quite "age-less" once we get going -- everybody's working on a common project and "age" falls by the wayside.  There have been more women than men, but some groups are all women and some groups are all men -- we have no way to predict the mix. No aim is put on age or gender of groups.  Most, but not all, participants sign-up alone, some of these people are single and some are married traveling without their spouse (both men without their wives and women without their husband -- we know the program doesn't appeal to everyone.)  Participants have originated from every continent.

    Ibike programs involve physical activity. For the safety and enjoyment of everyone, good physical and mental health are key to the enjoyment of these trips. We travel in areas remote from modern medical facilities. Participants may be required to furnish a doctor's statement of good health. Vaccination and prophylactic medicine may be recommended or required. Ibike provides information and guidelines to help participants stay healthy, but is not responsible for participant's physical or mental health or for medical advice prior to or during the program. Ibike reserves the right to refuse acceptance of anyone whom it deems unsuitable for a trip. We will make reasonable accommodations to enable people with special needs to participate. Under no circumstances do we refuse acceptance based on nationality, national origins, race, creed, color, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

    Registration: Sign-up by sending your name, address, phone number, the name of the program and a deposit of $300 ($100 is non-refundable.) We will send you a waiver form or you can copy it from the website. This need to be read and signed and sent in.   Early registration is encouraged due to limits on group size (usually 10-12); visa and vaccination requirements; and to give yourself an opportunity to explore the reading list.

    Pre-departure information: When your registration is complete, we send a pre-departure information packet. This packet contains visa application forms and instructions (if necessary), packing list, medical and immunization information, cross-cultural information, a reading list, etc.

    Payment: Full payment is due no later than sixty days prior to departure. Registrations received less than sixty days prior to departure will be accepted subject to availability, full payment and a late fee of $50. Unless special arrangements are made, all payments must be in U.S. funds.

    Price: Costs quoted are based on at least six participants. (For groups of less than six people their is a small group supplement of $100.) Fares are in U.S. currency and based on itinerary, tariffs and exchange rates at the time of publication. Unless otherwise stated, the price includes: all leaders, accommodations, two meals a day, transfers, and park, monument and museums fees, on the itinerary. No revisions are anticipated; however, fares are subject to adjustment in the event of alterations in currency exchange, inflation, the imposition of surcharges or changes in the itinerary, with the understanding that any additional expenses will be paid by the participant. No refunds or credit are given for unused services.

    Not included in the price, unless otherwise stated, are: airfare, accommodations, meals and transfers in route to the start of the program, accommodations, meals and transfers not included in the program, visa and passport fees, vaccination, drugs, medical expenses, beverages, airport departure taxes, insurance and items of a personal nature.

    Ibike and associated companies act only in the capacity of agent for the participation in all matters relating to transportation, lodging, meals and/or all other related travel services and assume no responsibility, how-so-ever caused, for injury, loss or damage, to person or property, in connection with any services.

    Please express your individual interests. It is not always possible to make changes in itineraries, but we want you to be as satisfied as possible about overall arrangements. We want everyone to have a great trip!

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