Touring Bikes explained


If you’re going on a boat bike tour in Europe then it’s highly likely you’ll be riding a touring bike on your journey.

What is a touring bike and what is it used for?

 A touring bike is a type of bicycle that is designed to cover long distances in comfort. Also called a tour bike, they are built to be extremely sturdy and reliable, with an upright sitting position for more relaxed riding and plenty of capacity to carry bags and equipment.

Design features of a touring bicycle

 You can recognize a touring bike from its pannier racks, hand brakes, gears and mud guards. The rack over the back wheel (sometimes also over the front wheel) is designed to carry pannier bags that click into place.

A touring bike always has gears, usually between 7 to 21 gears, so you can adjust your pedaling for hills or flat surfaces. The tires of touring bikes are usually fairly wide, anything between 25-50 mm, to maintain comfort on surfaces that can sometimes include gravel or cobblestones.

All our touring bikes have a low crossbar, known as a step-through frame, for easy mounting and dismounting. These bikes also feature normal pedals and bike seats.

The difference between a touring bike and a road or mountain bike

The main difference between a touring bike and a road bike is that the latter is designed for high-speed cycling, while a touring bike prioritizes comfort. You won’t win the Tour de France on a touring bike, but it will allow you to enjoy the scenery whilst cycling comfortably and safely over long distances.

Similarly, the difference between a touring bike and a mountain bike is that a mountain bike is designed for cycling up and down steep and uneven (off-road) terrain, with thick grippy tires, a light frame, and a suspension fork on the front wheel. Touring bikes are better suited to regular roads, bike paths and gentle hills, rather than steep mountain roads.

For some of our tours that cover more hilly areas, such as the Greek Islands, we offer hybrid bikes, which combine the best features of mountain and touring bikes in one.

Touring bikes on Boat Bike Tours

On our tours, some bikes come with the ship, some are provided by Boat Bike Tours, and we have a limited number of e-bikes that you can use if booked in advance.

You can see the type of touring bike available (including brand and number of gears) for each of our tours by clicking the ‘Ship Info’ button at the bottom of each tour page.

Enkhuizen Round tour.
Sail & Bike Wadden Sea Comfortable adventures, island hopping

Discover the Wadden Sea by bike & ship

Pretty harbor towns Enkhuizen & Stavoren

Texel & Terschelling islands bike trips

Sailing ship with max. 26 passengers

Duration of the tour.
travel time 8 days
5 stars
54 Reviews
  • Guided cycling: A tour leader will guide you during the cycling days
  • Independent cycling: No tour leader, the ships’ crew does daily briefing, independent cycling
guidance Independent cycling
  • Level 1: easy tours, very flat terrain
  • Level 2: quite easy tours, mostly flat terrain
  • Level 3: requires a higher level of exertion, medium hilly terrain
  • Level 4: for experienced cyclists, hilly terrain with climbs
Difficulty level 1 Difficulty level 1