CAMP & TOURS // GENERAL FAQs
also see Field Notes for each individual trip
RIDE // 50-80km per day, with a few lumps and bumps
MEET // 10-15 / 50-100 fellow tourers + Pannier Hosts/Guides
EXPLORE // wild countryside with challenging riding
RELAX // hearty food & drink, often around a campfire
>> HOW DO I JOIN A PANNIER EXPERIENCE? <<
Check out our Pannier Camps & Tours page for a full listing of upcoming destinations and dates, which you can book online. We’re adding more locations as we go, so keep your eyes peeled on the website, social media channels and email updates. Don’t forget to tell, and bring your friends!
>> ARE YOU REQUIRED TO PAY FOR THE WHOLE TRIP, STRAIGHT AWAY? <<
No! Well, it depends on how soon your planned trip is, but we do offer the opportunity to pay a 50% deposit to secure a place. Please see our booking terms and conditions for more info on this.
>> WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CAMP, TOUR, AND EXPEDITION? <<
Camp // 2 – 4 nights. Pannier Basecamp setup with both day rides and circular overnighters.
Tour // 3 – 7 nights. Traditional point-to-point tours starting and finishing in new places every day.
Expedition // 7 – 13 nights. Our annual big trip, typically somewhere long-haul and epic.
>> CAN I JOIN A PANNIER TRIP ON A NORMAL ROAD BIKE? <<
Potentially, yes. We’d insist on a minimum tyre width of 33mm and plenty of gears. Cyclo-cross bikes, or the new generation of “all-road / gravel” bikes are ideal. We have a fleet of ace bikes to hire, if you need one. Check the bike section of your desired trip’s field notes for more information or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about your setup.
>> ARE ALL TOUR DATES GUARANTEED TO GO AHEAD? <<
Unfortunately not. Tours are only guaranteed to go ahead once we have received enough bookings to meet our minimum group size. Guaranteed tours will say Guaranteed next to the departure date in the booking section on the tour page and as soon as we guarantee a tour, we will inform all tourers currently booked on.
>> WHY DO YOU HAVE A MINIMUM GROUP SIZE? <<
Firstly, we want to keep our tour prices as low as possible, so we spread the large fixed costs involved over the entire group. We therefore need a minimum number of bookings to cover some of these costs before we can run a tour. Secondly, we design our tours to offer a great social experience to riders, and want to avoid people turning up to find out they are one of only two or three people on a tour – we believe it is more enjoyable when a group of 8-15 tourers are riding/socialising together…
>> WHAT IF A TOUR DOESN’T REACH MINIMUM GROUP SIZE? <<
As per our booking conditions, we will make a final decision weather to cancel or guarantee a tour a minimum of six weeks before the departure date. In most cases we will cancel/postpone a tour earlier than six weeks before if we know bookings are low.
>> WHEN SHOULD I BOOK TRAVEL/FLIGHTS? <<
If a tour is already guaranteed to go ahead we recommend you book your flights and/or travel plans straight away.
If a tour is not guaranteed, we recommend you wait until we get in touch to say that it is guaranteed before booking any non-refundable travel. We cannot refund your travel expenses if a tour is cancelled/postponed because it didn’t reach the minimum numbers.
>> IS THE CYCLING HARD? <<
The nature of the places we ride means that Pannier routes are designed to be challenging, but accessible. Challenging given the terrain (it’s not all flat, by any means) but accessible in the short-ish distances we ride each day. You won’t get left behind and we’re big fans of riding to an overall daily average of around 15KPH.
>> DO I NEED TO WEAR A HELMET? <<
We’re not pro/anti-helmet by any means, but the answer is yes on all our Camps, Tours & Expeditions. If you don’t, you’re on your own.
>> WHAT’S THIS 15KPH CLUB ALL ABOUT? <<
It’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek referral to our slow touring style. 15KPH has been our average pace on pretty much every tour we’ve done – factoring in stops for photos, lunches, hot drinks, swims. Sometimes it’s even less!
>> WHAT HAPPENS IF THE WEATHER IS BAD? <<
We’ll enjoy riding in bad weather! Bar force majeure and dangerous conditions, Camps & Tours will always go ahead. Pannier guides will make informed calls on a day-to-day basis and tweak the route if necessary. Remember, you can’t get wetter than wet!
>> I’M KEEN TO JOIN A TRIP, BUT I DON’T HAVE ANY BIKEPACKING KIT, OR A SUITABLE BIKE! <<
Our Camps & Tours are designed for both experienced bikepackers, as well as folk who have never tried it before. The minimum you need is some clothes to ride in, outerwear, shoes and an ounce of wanderlust. We can have an adventure bike, all the bags and camp kit you need ready for you to hire if you don’t have your own. Our Expeditions do require a reasonable level of riding experience, due to the remote nature of locations.
>> DO YOU CARRY EVERYTHING FOR US? <<
No. Half of the charm of our trips is being 100% self-sufficient, so everyone has to carry their own bits and bobs. Pannier guides carry most of the kit and essentials anyway. You don’t need a lot of heavy gear: your shelter (when needed), layers for comfort on the ride and at the overnight, water, ride snacks, Pannier mug and spork etc.
>> WHAT IS THE ACCOMMODATION LIKE? <<
Pannier Basecamp // We like to call it off-grid glamping. The firepit area acts as a heart, around which our tipi accommodation and communal social, eating and drinking areas sit. Tipi accommodation is communal: they each sleep 4-5 people, laid out with your own Pannier blanket. If that’s not your thing, you can hire or bring your own private tent. We have composting loos, and a river to wash in, too.
Fixed Accommodation // Anything from remote bunkhouses, to mountain huts, to village gites, with the occasional hotel when needed. All the overnight stops fit the Pannier vibe and ethos – the nature of adventures like these might mean sleeping communally in group rooms, occasionally.
>> IS ALL FOOD & DRINK INCLUDED? <<
Pretty much, yes; we even have our own Pannier Coffee and ‘Route Beer’ for you to enjoy. Inclusions do vary from experience to experience, so please see notes for each individual trip. We are focused on offering an ‘all-included’ experience as much as possible – where meals are not included, it’s likely us eating in local eateries and offering you guys total choice of what you want to eat and drink…
>> CAN YOU CATER FOR ALL DIETARY REQUIREMENTS? VEGETARIAN? VEGAN? GLUTEN FREE? <<
Again, yes. Please let us know as soon as possible, upon booking, so we can work on meal plans and contact the eateries we visit (if required)…
>> CAN YOU HELP WITH TRAVEL? <<
Yes, we’re happy to advise and even help sort things like car-shares once we know who is coming, but we can’t book anything for you. Hold fire on booking any travel until your Experience has been confirmed by us.
>> WHAT IS THE TYPICAL GROUP SIZE? <<
Anywhere between 10 and 15, plus two Pannier guides/hosts. Keeping the groups small means we don’t spread ourselves too thin, you’ll get chance to chat to everyone and of course our impact on destinations is reduced. The Solstice Social is our annual larger-group Camp, with anywhere between 50-100 tourers.
>> DO YOU RUN CUSTOM TRIPS FOR GROUPS, CLUBS, OR COMPANIES? <<
Yes, we’d love to take you and your friends/colleagues out into the wild. Please email David and Stefan at email@example.com with ideas or for more details.
>> DO I NEED INSURANCE? <<
You’ll need your own insurance for your time with us if you want to insure your own bike/belongings. And, importantly, adequate travel insurance and personal injury insurance if joining any Pannier Experiences overseas; you will be required to give a valid insurance number to the group leader on day one. We have insurance partners we’re happy to recommend. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
>> ARE YOU AN OFFICIAL, LEGIT TOUR OPERATOR? <<
Yes, you can check out the booking terms and conditions for details. Your adventure is covered against our insolvency via our TRIP financial-failure insurance, which we pay into upon every booking. This does not include cover for your travel costs.