Our cycling routes are designed for people with an average or above average level of physical strength and fitness. The character of our tours surely is not competitive but may not be suitable for people with no or very little cycling experience. To help you judge the level of difficulty, we have divided our tours into three categories. The level of difficulty is assessed by measuring the average daily cycled distance (day trips not included) and the character of the climbs according to our GPS data.
For all tours, elevation profiles and information on the length of the individual stages are provided on our website (navigate to “Tours and Destinations” and choose “Detailed Itinerary”). Similar to the system explained above, the stages are again subdivided into three levels of cycling difficulty: Easy, Moderate and Challenging.
Easy cycling on mostly flat terrain. The average cycled distance is below 40 km and the average ascents below 400 m per day.
Longer Stages and more climbing: The average distance is around 60 km and the ascents below 800 m per day.
Challenging cycling with long climbs. The average stage length is about 80 km and the average ascents around 1.000 m.
On all of our tours luggage transfers are provided. In most cases, a support vehicle will accompany the group during the day to provide beverage and give you the option to hop on if you should feel unwell.
During hikes, you may carry a small bag with food and drink for the day.
Costs for visa are not included and may vary depending on your country of residence. Please check the visa regulations for your country well ahead of the journey (usually one month to two weeks prior to departure will be sufficient).
You will need a passport which is valid for another 6 months after entry. For Chinese Visa, you will need to contact the Visa Application Centres in your country. If you have further questions on how to obtain a visa, we are happy to offer you our help and advise.
Individual Extension of Your Holiday
Individual extensions of your holiday before or after your China By Bike cycling trip might be well worth a thought. If you need any assistance planning your onward stay, we are happy to offer you our guidance.
Please note that during high season (Sept -Oct for China, Winter for SE-Asia), flights and hotels might be booked out months in advance. Therefore we advise you to let us know about your plans before booking your journey.
In cooperation with bike manufacturer GIANT, China By Bike has designed our 26” bicycles to suit the specific requirements of our tours. The chosen components are sturdy and reliable and the cycles will be thoroughly maintained by GIANT franchise mechanics after each trip.
All the shifting system components are of the Shimano ALIVIO type. Stable-terrain tires guarantee a secure and stable driving even on unpaved or slippery roads. The rear rack is compatible with all common pannier and luggage systems. Our bicycles all have aluminium frames and are available in two different shapes and three different sizes which should be chosen according to your body hight. The hight of the lady’s frame is 43 cm while the man’s version comes in 48 or 56 cm.
Of course you can bring your own special equipment such as a seat, a handlebar bag or toe-clip pedals for more comfort. We will help you attach your gear to the bicycles at the beginning of the tour.
Our bicycles are equipped with:
- aluminium frame
- 26” wheel
- Shimano ALIVIO shifting system; Rapidfire shifter; V-Brakes
- 24 gears derailleur gearshift with chainrings 42, 32, 22 and a cogset of 30, 26, 23, 20, 17, 15, 13, 11.
- rear rack, rear kickstand and mud guards
- wide handlebars with curved bar ends
- non-slip aluminium pedals
Women’s Frame, 43 cm (17”) Frame Hight
Men’s Frame, 48 cm (19”) Frame Hight
Men’s Frame, 56 cm (22”) Frame Hight
As a souvenir from your journey with us we will give you a functional China By Bike T-Shirt. As you sign up for one of our tours, please make sure to tell us your preferred size (S, M, L, XL – sizes S and M are also available in a Women’s cut).
What to bring on our tours
- light and casual summer clothing
- one warm sweater
- waterproof clothing for cycling
- a swimsuit
- a cycling helmet or a different kind of hat
- one pair of sturdy, slip resistant shoes
- a pocket knife (no carry-on luggage)
- a torch
- sufficient memory and spare batteries for your camera
- an alarm clock
- one towel (some hotels may not provide towels)
- personal medication
- one spare pair of glasses (for people in need of glasses)
- high SPF sun screen
- lip balm
- mosquito repellent
- instant coffee
Additional Expenses and Common Cash Fund
For the convenience of not having to split the bill every time we go to a restaurant (in East Asia, all dishes are usually shared) or buy entrance tickets, it has been proofed handy to establish a common cash pool as soon as we arrive at our country of destination. The group cash will be used to cover common expenses only and is usually managed by one participants of the journey. Once empty, the cash pool will be filled up by all participants in denominations of around 30 Euros/Dollars each time.
It is hard to say how much money exactly you will need for additional expenses such as food, entrance fees or transportation costs. Depending on the country of destination the additional costs usually range between 400 to 650 Euros/Dollars. Spendings on goods for your own use and souvenirs will have to be added to that sum.
Vaccinations and Health related Issues
In the countries we travel to there are no obligatory vaccinations. Tropical medicine bureaus recommend vaccinations against hepatitis, polio, tetanus and typhus. For legal reasons we neither urge nor discourage you to get vaccinated or receive prophylactic treatment. Please consult your general practitioner or other competent institutions
such as health departments or tropical medicine bureaus to learn more about appropriate health protection. Our participants have so far been spared from serious health implications due to infection. However, diarrhoea or related issues – as on any journey to unfamiliar places – may occur.
Our main criteria for the choice of hotels and guest houses is their individual charm and style. The location and and atmosphere and architectural style representing the local culture matters more to us than star-ratings.
Hotels such as the Lüsongyuan in Beijing, the Laomadian in Shaxi or the Morning Sun Hotel in Yangshuo are insider tips among China lovers and set benchmarks in that respect.
The Sala Prabang (Luang Prabang) or the Sala Don Khone in Laos are good examples for hotels which bring together comfort, style and typical architecture.
In rural areas we sometimes have to accept less comfort. Here accommodation can be simple, according to the local standard. Generally, we prefer staying in family owned guest houses to support the local economy. All rooms feature a bathroom with shower and toilet.
On some routes, one home stay is included to encourage an even closer exchange with the local people and their culture. At the home stay, sleeping in dorms and sharing bathrooms outside the rooms might be necessary.
In the case of booking related issues, Chiny By Bike reserves the right to change accommodation to an alternative one, securing a similar standard as the previously announced accommodation.
You have the possibility to book a “half double”. If no room-mate can be found to share the double, we will charge the usual surcharge for single occupancy reduced by 100 Dollars.
During overnight train rides, tent- or home stays, accommodation in a single room or compartment is not possible.
The East and South East Asian cuisine is popular all over the world. Wherever we travel, fresh ingredients are used for cooking and the dishes are easily digestible.
Having noodle soup, steamed buns or rice porridge for breakfast may be out of the ordinary for many Westerners but some hotels on our way will offer toast and coffee, too. For lunch, we may stop at a cook-shop on the way to have a steaming bowl of noodle soup or something the like. In the evening we check out the local restaurants and try out some of the sheer endless amount of Chinese or South East Asian dishes.
As is custom in the areas we travel, we order a variety of dishes which are then shared by the group. In this way, everyone will find something to their taste.
The Chinese and South East asian cuisine feature a rich supply of vegetarian dishes, too. If you are not used to eating with chopsticks you will most probably learn it much quicker than you think! If you should nevertheless have concerns you can bring along your own cutlery.
Choice of Routes and Road Conditions
China boasts an immense network of roads and especially in rural areas many of them are both quiet and in a good condition – ideal for cyclists.
Always aiming to cycle the entire stage from one accommodation to the next, we avoid bus transfers whenever possible. In some places this may mean that we will cycle on more densely trafficked roads at the beginning or end of a stage to get out of or into a bigger city. This way you will be sure to get the full picture of both the rural and urban areas of the country while choosing our favourite and greenest mode of transport – the bicycle – over cars!
In country with a cycling tradition such as China, riding the bike inside the city is safer than you might imagine: Roads are generally wide, leaving enough space for cyclists on the side and in most cases there are even separate lanes for two wheelers.
Cycling through the countryside we mainly stay on less trafficked and well-paved roads. As China and South-East-Asian countries are developing fast and governments invest big sums into the building of infrastructure, road conditions are constantly improving. This means that we will often cycle on newly built roads with a nice and smooth surface. However, the fast paced change also implies that we may encounter construction sites every now and then, forcing us to tolerate bumpy and sometimes dusty road sections if no alternative route is available.
We have written an extensive guide on how to access the internet while traveling through China – to make sure you can stay connected to the world while being on tour with us, check out this “China Internet Travel Guide“!
Please be aware that things keep changing quickly – make sure to ask us about the current internet situation in China before going on tour!
You can send letters and postcards back home if you wish. The Chinese are not used to writing postcards, so they can be a little hard to get by in less touristy places. Your China By Bike guide will assist you with buying the stamps at the post office and identifying the green mailboxes.
If you wish to call people in your home country, you can use any mobile phone with a SIM card from your home country. Fares may be expensive though – make sure to ask your provider about the costs.
You can also purchase a Chinese SIM to call people within China for low cost and get cheap access to mobile data. Bring your passport, and your guide will help you to register for a SIM at the closest China Mobile or China Unicom store.