As Kelsei and Silvy explored the English countryside, they enjoyed the perfect balance of flexibility and support—with top quality inns, scenic biking, a friendly local host, and the freedom to take everything at their own pace.
Independent Cycling with Support in England’s Cotswolds
Posted on Thursday, March 2nd, 2023
Story by: Molly Waldstein | Travel Writer
If you’ve ever wondered if VBT Self-Guided Bicycle Vacations are right for you, just ask VBT Travel Operations Manager, Kelsei Durfee. “I’m not the most experienced cyclist, so at first I wasn’t sure if a Self-Guided Bicycle Vacation would work for me,” says Kelsei of her recent England: Oxford & the Cotswolds Self-Guided Bicycle Vacation. “But there was great local support right there, and the bikes were perfect. It was lots of fun, and everything was taken care of.” As Kelsei and her friend, Silvy, explored the English countryside, they enjoyed the perfect balance of flexibility and support—with top quality inns, scenic biking, a friendly local host, and the freedom to take everything at their own pace.
A Local Friend Helps You Get Off on the Right Foot
On a VBT Self-Guided Bicycle Vacation, you’re free to take your days as they come—with local support available if you need it. When you arrive at your first hotel, your local host meets you and gets you fitted comfortably on your bikes. “We really enjoyed meeting Will, our local English host,” says Kelsei. “Once we had the bikes all dialed in and properly fit, Will went over safety information, bike routes, and helpful tips about the region. It was really comforting to know there was someone local who would have our back if we needed support.” With a friendly face in the region and a number to call in case anything went awry, Kelsei and Silvy were able to relax and enjoy pedaling through the peaceful English countryside. Following tips from their local host, the pair discovered excellent restaurants hidden among thatched roof villages, and quaint little shops tucked away behind rose-trellised gates.
E-bikes are Magic
Lots of people love guided bicycling vacations—and VBT’s are among the best in the world. Then again, many people prefer to design their own bicycling vacations from scratch—surfing the internet for great hotels and bike paths, finding ways to pack a bike along with their luggage or rent one at their destination. The trouble is, it takes an enormous amount of time to plan a bicycling vacation from scratch—and most people miss out on some of the harder-to-find bike paths and other hidden gems when they do. That’s where VBT’s Self-Guided Bicycling Vacations are the perfect solution—we include iconic boutique hotels and carefully curated cycling routes within a flexible and independent framework for discovery. As with all VBT vacations, you can choose your favorite bike style from our well-maintained fleet, and we’ll have one ready and waiting at the start of your vacation. If carbon fiber road bikes are your thing—we’ve got those. Hybrids, we’ve got those too. And E-bikes—oh yes! E-bikes are a big VBT favorite.
An E-bike can make a huge difference—especially on a Self-Guided Bicycling Vacation where you’re biking independently without a guide or support vehicle. “E-bikes are life changing—especially if you’re new to cycling,” says Kelsei. “I was a little nervous about completing the rides each day, but with an E-bike it was no problem. It was so rewarding to feel that sense of accomplishment at the end of each day’s ride—and it made the spectacular meals that much more delicious.” Especially in groups with mixed cycling abilities, an E-bike can really level the playing field and ensure that riders of all abilities have fun and can relax at the end of each day with a warm feeling of accomplishment.
Ride With GPS: a Voice to Guide You
All VBT Bicycle Vacations come with a handy smartphone app called Ride With GPS. You just download the app onto your smartphone, type in your VBT code, and—presto! You have cycling routes for each day of your tour, complete with voice commands, so you can navigate without having to look down at your screen. This is a handy safety feature—and a helpful way to keep everyone on course. “You have your route map with a little blue dot—that’s you,” says Kelsei. “You follow the route highlighted in red—and the app lets you know if you go off course.” VBT bikes come equipped with a phone mount, so you can secure your phone right to your handlebars for easy access.
On Self-Guided Bicycle Vacations, the Ride with GPS app also includes many special features and tantalizing opportunities to stop and explore—such as the most scenic vista for taking selfies, a sharp turn coming up on the right, or the best English pub for a glass of bitter. Each evening in the Cotswolds, relaxing by the cozy hearth in their hotel lounge, Kelsei and Silvy would check out the next day’s ride on the Ride with GPS app—looking at the elevation gain and loss, and planning stops at local shops and attractions. “It was a great tool for planning the day,” says Kelsei. “It made it easier to explore the Cotswolds and find all these hidden gems we would never have found on our own.” With tools like Ride with GPS, E-bikes, and local support available when you need it, VBT’s Self-Guided Bicycle Vacations are the perfect way to be the master of your daily schedule without spending your time planning every detail.