How do I contact First Light?
We can be contacted by phone, fax or email or snail mail. The website provides all the necessary information you’ll need, but if you have additional questions email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the US call 1 339 200 9970. Outside the US call +44 (0) 7710 60 1078. Our Skype name is first_light_bicycle_tours
|What is the First Light difference?
We offer a mix of guided and self-guided biking tours, from 1-15 days for individuals, groups, private parties and families. We also offer training camps, sportive specials and performance based short breaks for both the leisure and experienced cyclist.
We take great pride in our routes, which have been meticulously planned down to the last detail. They take in beautiful parts of the host country, offering both popular, classic rides as well as little known areas yet to be discovered. Each tour is a mix of interesting sights, scenery with enough flexibility and options laid out for a cyclist’s every need.
Our guided groups are small, no more than 13 cyclists, which we think makes for a more friendly and interesting experience. Our self-guided Explorer tours allow you to go independently, without a group, but with support.
We’re passionate about walking, cycle touring and discovery. We take pride in the tours we offer and strive to give you the most unique cycling experience you can get, on the best equipment money can buy, at a reasonable price.
Lodging is handpicked for quality and character, the beds inviting, the showers hot and long. For dining, the restaurants are the best in the area and have been vouch-safed with a few memorable, wine-laden meals of our own.
As longstanding, serious cyclists we decided to make this our work, and our play. We’re pretty passionate about providing a top-notch experience that you can honestly say you thoroughly enjoyed and will remember for years to come.
|What’s included in my trip price?
For our guided tours we offer all lodging, breakfasts, most dinners, bicycle rental, vehicle transfers within the tour, van support, the services of 1-2 guides, planned routes, detailed maps or GPS units, recommendations and much more. All you have to do is get there.
On self-guided Explorer tours we offer all lodging, breakfasts, some dinners, luggage transfers, scale maps and/or GPS, itineraries, technical support and bicycles to rent. For more information on Explorer tours, see what’s included on each tour page.
|What shape do I need to be in to take a First Light trip?
First Light trips are not an up-at-dawn, give me twenty push-ups affair. But being reasonably fit certainly makes the trips more enjoyable and safer for you. We go into detail about what to expect in our What Tour? links.
A basic fitness level is needed if you’re to have an enjoyable and safe trip. If you’re currently cycling, swimming, running, fast walking or taking aerobics classes, you shouldn’t have any trouble cycling on a regular guided leisure tour. The routes are designed on a 1-5 scale, easy to difficult. For difficult or advanced tours, such as our tours in the higher mountains, we recommend you be an experienced cyclist with corresponding fitness levels typical of club-level cyclists, with the ability to ride at least 50 miles at 16mph in varying terrain. In all our tours, we also have optional add-on routes to increase degree of difficulty or distance for those wanting more of a challenge.
You ride at your own pace and you’re supported along the way. On guided tours, trip lengths are optional. On both guided and self-guided, there are loop days built in so you can ride, rest or explore the area on foot.
Because you use different muscles riding a bike than running or aerobics, we recommend cycling 40 minutes, 2-3 times a week in advance of the tour. Real “saddle time” is a great way to rediscover your cycling muscles, increase your bike handling skills, minimize any bike seat discomfort and increase your confidence.
If you live in an area of the country where you can’t cycle outdoors, most gyms and health clubs have excellent indoor spin cycle classes. They’re good motivation, excellent preparation for a bike tour and you get to ride with other avid, sweating cyclists while it’s howling outside. Spin twice a week for 45 minutes and you’ll be passing everyone in sight. Spin more and we may ask you to be a Trip Guide.
|Am I carrying my own luggage on the bike?
No. Your luggage will be transferred for you and will be waiting for you when you arrive. On road tours, the bikes are fitted with an optional handlebar bag big enough to carry a map, camera and incidentals. On Self Guided tours your luggage is transferred for you to the next lodging.
|What do the Trip Guides provide in the way of support along the route?
On guided tours, depending on the size of the group, there’s up to two Trip Guides per tour group. In larger groups, one cycles with the group, bringing up the rear as you pedal at your own pace. The other drives the support van. The van takes the luggage to the next hotel and is there to “sweep up” cyclists who need assistance. For mountain tours, for practical reasons, you’re followed by a support vehicle, rather than a bike guide.
|How do you handle different cycling speeds and abilities between all the cyclists?
We go to great lengths to describe our tours to potential customers on the website in detail. We also spend time on the phone with you to get a better idea of your fitness and experience. On advanced tours such as performance or mountainous tours that involve big climbs and longer distances, we take care to match cyclists to each other on that respective tour.
Also, guided routes have built-in mileage options for those who want more or less time in the saddle. This allows each cyclist to “do my trip” as they say. It’s also totally natural for couples or friends to travel together but not cycle together. So if your idea of a perfect trip is to explore every village or castle, but your partner just wants to put in the big miles, you’re both free to follow your own pace and join up again later.
We’ve found that most people team up with someone else in the group with the same riding ability so you’ll never be riding alone unless you want to. For both guided and self-guided trips, we include optional loop days, which gives you options to ride, rest or explore the surrounding area on foot.
|How many cyclists take part of a First Light tour?
On self guided tours the number can be as low as one to 10.
For guided tours we keep the total number of cyclists under 14 as it’s easier when booking the better restaurants or getting into the smaller hotels and inns. We also think it’s important for you to experience this type of traveling with a dozen new friends, not dozens of strangers. Our Trip Guides have more time to get to know each of you, which makes it a more enjoyable experience for everybody, including them.
|How long will I be on the bike every day?
That’s up to you and depends on a number of factors: your normal cycling pace, degree of fitness and any other side trips you decide to take part in – all will have an effect on your total time.
Depending on the level of the tour, the routes have been planned for an average cyclist to spend between 4 to 5 hours per day on a bike. For tours in the mountains, it depends on your fitness level as to how long you will be on the bike. Add in the downtime – coffee breaks, taking photos, lunching, all this makes for a full and interesting day.
|What other information do you provide to travelers taking a First Light tour?
Once you’ve booked a trip, we’ll send you a package with practical information about the trip. It has arrival/departure info, itineraries, what to bring and other useful information.
|What type of person would go on a First Light bike tour?
All abilities. The age range runs the gamut from mid 20′s to over 60, with a healthy mix of other ages as well. We’ve designed most trips to accommodate solo travelers, couples, independent bike tourers, club and experienced cyclists, private groups of friends and families. We’ve had seasoned, avid, leisure and newcomers to cycling, 2 year olds to 70 year olds on our tours. Some take trips for historical, cultural, fitness, wildlife, photographic, gastronomic, viticulture or eco-tourist reasons. Others do it because there is a classic road route they have dreamed of cycling.
|Do you provide family oriented First Light trips?
Yes. We can offer “kid-friendly” trips. These aren’t watered-down versions of adult trips. They’re designed for families traveling with children to cycle together as on a regular adult tour, but the focus is on shorter, easier routes and more “down-time” so the kids can explore the world around them.
We also take special care to travel on the safest and quietest forest tracks and lanes. On guided trips, depending on the size of the family groups and ages of children on the trip, we can provide staff to give parents extra support during the trip. If you’re interested in a family trip, contact a Trip Advisor for more information.
|How far ahead should I book a trip?
Like everything else in this world, there’s greater choice and availability the further forward you book. Because our tour group sizes are small and can fill up quickly, we recommend you book at least 9-12 months in advance.
For self-guided tours, it’s best to book 3-6 months in advance as the lodging on the routes are highly sought after and fill quickly. Still, we’ll make every effort to accommodate those travelers who can’t commit that far in advance.
For 1 day trips and Short Breaks, you can book less than a week, but that depends on space availability.
|Should I bring my own bike?
The quick answer to that is yes if you prefer to ride your own bike. However, there are quality rental bikes on offer. We just think it’s easier to leave yours at home and enjoy ours instead. You can bring your own pedals and saddle and we will fit them.
However, why pay extra airline costs to box and lug your steed through airports and into taxis, worrying about it being damaged or lost in transit, when there’s a perfectly good bike waiting for you at the other end?
|How do I reserve a First Light Trip?
Reserve your trip using our secure Online Booking Form or download the PDF reservation and email or mail it to the contact numbers provided. You can also call a Tour Advisor and book over the phone.
|How much of a deposit is required?
The deposit per person, is 20% of the trip cost or approximately £400/€500/$500 for most trips. Deposits may be made by credit card Visa or MasterCard, payable in GB Sterling through Paypal. The balance of the trip cost is due 90 days before departure.
If you’re reserving a trip within 90 days, full payment is due upon booking. For convenience sake, with your authorization, we can automatically bill your credit card when the remaining balance is due.
|Will I need a passport or a visa?
If traveling outside of your country of residence you will need an up to date passport. Visas are not required for residents of United States or Canada and in the European Union.
As of last notice, visas were required if you were a citizen of Canada, Australia or New Zealand to enter Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Poland and Hungary. For travelers from other countries, please contact your embassy or consulate for further information on visa requirements.
|Can I transfer to another trip after I’ve made a reservation?
Yes. Up to 90 days prior to your trip you can transfer from one trip to another without any penalty. From 61-90 days prior of your original trip you can switch to a different trip for an administrative fee of EUR80 per person. No trip changes can take place within 60 days of your departure date.
|What other information will you provide about the trip?
Once you’ve made a reservation, we’ll send you a Pre-Trip Travel Pack that includes the tour itinerary and arrival and departure information. We’re also happy to provide answers to your questions over the phone or by email.
|What if I need to cancel my trip?
If, for some reason you must cancel your reservation, the cancellation policy is as follows:
Unfortunately, we cannot make any exceptions to this policy for any reason, including personal emergencies or weather. Please note:
There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early, voluntarily or involuntarily.
|Does First Light provide travel protection insurance?
First Light has partnered with Quoteright, where you can find a travel insurance provider to meet your needs. Most travel insurance plans cover trip cancellation for medical reasons; trip delay; medical expenses; accidental death; lost baggage, and medical evacuation.
First Light strongly advises all travelers to purchase travel insurance, including tour package cancellation insurance and health insurance that is sufficient to cover repatriation and additional hospital and medical costs. You can find a link to Quoteright under Travel Insurance at the bottom of this page.
|I’d like to make pre and post-tour arrangements. How do I go about doing this?
You can contact us and we’ll be happy to provide you with a list of hotels we recommend for pre and post tour lodging.
For airlines, we suggest www.kayak.com to get the best fares. There are also low-cost airlines that service UK and European airports such as Ryanair, British Airways, BMIbaby, Monarch Air, AirBerlin and Easyjet, among others.
|How do I get to the beginning of the start of the bike tour and how do I get back to the airport at the end?
First Light tours begin and end at or near major airports or train stations. These will be listed in the Trip Details for each tour.
|What type of accommodation is provided on a First Light tour?
We strive to use the best accommodation available in the area on all our trips and work closely with our lodging partners on your behalf. Depending on which tour you choose, you will find our accommodation is based on double occupancy with a private bath or shower in a 3 – 4 star hotel, B&B, chambre d’hote or country inn.
Depending where we are in the mountains, good accommodation is harder to find so we use a mix of B&Bs, hotels, chambre d’hote or other lodging, normally between 2-4 stars in quality.
The lodging fits the tour and surroundings and we strive to work with lodging partners that offer warmth, hospitality and appropriate amenities. Some of the lodging is absolutely luxurious, while others are charming and full of character. All are clean, well equipped and very welcoming.
|If I’m traveling alone, can I have a private room?
Yes. Single travelers have the option of having their own room for a supplemental fee which varies from trip to trip. In some cases, single rooms can be smaller than double rooms. On guided tours there are a limited number of single rooms so it’s best to book early if you wish to have one confirmed.
|I’m traveling alone and don’t mind sharing a room. Can you match me with another roommate?
Yes, in many cases. On guided tours, if there are twin rooms available, we’ll do our best to match you with a roommate of approximately the same age and gender. If no roommate is available we’ll place you in a single or double room, whichever is available and a supplement will apply.
|Can you provide private tours and groups?
We’re happy to provide private tours as well as customize a tour to fit your particular interest area. These are similar in price to regular tours unless there are extra costs such as more tour days or higher cost hotels. Please contact a First Light Trip Advisor to get details and discuss your needs at email@example.com.
|Are there restrictions to bringing children on a family trip?
Yes, depending on the trip. In all cases, all children must be accompanied by at least one adult family member over 18. Due to safety considerations, children under the age of 2 are not allowed on Family Trips. Our family trips are suitable for children from 2 – 16.
On all guided trips, any child under 8 must be accompanied by an adult while in the van. If your child weighs less than 40 pounds, parents must provide them with a child’s car seat as First Light does not provide child seats.
Certain trips require a minimum age requirement due to the activities involved. Your First Light Trip Advisor can provide details to these and other questions.
|What discounts are there for families with kids?
Price reductions vary depending on the age of the children, if they’re sharing rooms with their parents or with otherchildren. We strive to offer affordable family trips and maintain some of the lowest children’s prices in the industry.
Given the number of possibilities, it’s best to contact a First Light Trip Advisor for further details on costs, discounts,eligibility, First Light support and adult supervision requirements.
|As a traveler guest, what am I responsible for?
Given the nature of the active vacation, you are responsible for your personal fitness level and health, knowing which tour is right for you and then preparing yourself sufficiently to be able to participate in the daily physical demands of that tour, following the Pre-Trip Travel Planner recommendations, arriving at the designated tour start location on time and with the correct gear, following the directions and instructions of the Trip Guides on guided tours, respecting the laws, customs and traditions of the host country, having sufficient insurances to protect you and your family in the event of an accident, respecting the rights of your fellow travelers on the tour, securing and respecting your cycling equipment, being flexible to changes, delays, weather conditions, other unforeseen and unplanned changes to the itinerary, agreeing to all the Terms and Conditions and signing a Limitation of Liability, Release, Assumption of All Risks and Arbitration Agreement.
To participate in an active holiday, it is necessary that you abide by the authority of the Trip Guides who represent First Light. Our first responsibility is to the safety, rights, welfare and enjoyment of all tour participants. Should a traveler’s continued participation in the tour be seen to jeopardize any of the above, the Trip Guide may ask that individual to leave the tour early.
|What is First Light’s limitation of liability?
Please see First Light’s Limitation of Liability, Release, Assumption of All Risks & Arbitration listed at the bottom of this page.
|How do I contact you if I have more questions?
The website has been written to provide all the information about the tours. For questions that are not related to booking a reservation, it’s best to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For booking a tour from the US call 1 339 200 9970 (8am- 4pm M-F CST). For callers outside of the US, please call +44 (0) 7710 60 1078 or Skype us. Our Skype name is: first_light_bicycle_tours