Cycling Holidays: To Hire, or Not to Hire? - Total Women's Cycling

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Cycling Holidays: To Hire, or Not to Hire?

Is it better to hire a bike or take your own for your cycling holiday this year?

There’s so much to consider when you’re embarking on an exciting cycling holiday adventure.

Ensuring you have everything you need for a cycling holiday can be pretty stressful. You find out that you need to pack a lot more than you usually would for any other vacation.

Whether you’re heading overseas to cycling the beautiful sights of Italy, or if you’re staying local to shred the trails of the UK, cycling holidays will have you debating whether to take your faithful steed, or whether you should hire a bike and try something new.

Fit for Purpose?

There is a number of pros and cons for taking your own or hiring a bike for your vacation. The first question is to ask yourself, “Is my bike up for the job?”.

Your bike needs to be fit for the style of riding you’re going to be doing. Whilst many of us will go on cycling holidays that suit our discipline, some of us may try something new, like passing up the big rig MTB for an urban city bike holiday. Having the wrong type of bike can lead to all sorts of complications, most notably, just being uncomfortable.

To take your own bike, it needs to be reliable and in good enough condition to withstand the miles you’ll be clocking up on it. Take time to service and thoroughly check your bike over to make sure there are no niggles and problems which could cause a serious issue on holiday.

How much does it cost?

Whether you take your own bike or hire one, costs are going to be incurred. If this is a factor in your holiday budget then it’s important to weigh up both options.

If you’re travelling by plane, and you wish to take your own bike, then you’ll incur transport charges for sporting goods with the airline, these prices can vary anywhere from £75+. In addition to the transport cost, you’ll need a suitable bike bag or box. A branded bike bag can set you back roughly £250, or you can grab a bike box and use that.

The hidden costs of flying with your bicycle

The cost of taking your own bike may be more expensive that hiring a bike while you’re out there. Some tour companies and holiday packages include bike hire which may work out to be cheaper than you thought. It’s best to research this possibility before you depart.


No matter the cost, or the additional effort of taking your own bike, it may just be that you would prefer to have your bike with you. You know exactly how it rides, all the niggles and noises you’ve become accustomed to are comforting and familiar which may be what you need when cycling in unknown areas.

However, hiring a bike can allow you to experience a different ride altogether. It provides an opportunity to test and compare with your own bike if you’re in the market for a new one. They do say that variety is the spice of life, so try something a little different.

Don’t forget to think about insurance!

When you hire a bike, whether in the UK or abroad, don’t forget to consider insurance or you might be left with a nasty shock should you have an accident and something happens to the bike. It’s worth asking the hire company what insurance is included and if you’re taking part in a sportive or race then make sure they include these too.  If you’re unsure if they’ll cover you, some insurance companies such as Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance offer a handy short-term bicycle insurance that includes bike hire or if you’re an annual customer, you can add on a hire bike to your policy for the period of hire.

There are many pros’s and cons for taking your own or hiring a bike for your cycling trip. It’s best to weigh up the differences between, effort, cost and confidence and see which option fairs better.

If you do decide to opt for a hire bike, ensure you do enough research to be confident with the hire bikes on offer so that you have a fun and comfortable riding holiday.

You may also enjoy:

MTB Holiday Essentials

Where to ride MTB: Morocco

5 Wild MTB Holidays in Europe


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