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10 Tips for Biking Through Wine Country

If You Go on Your Own, Go Carefully

The basic options for wine-country bike touring are the same as with any bike touring: Choose an approach that suits you. If you're experienced and have your own bikes, you can save money and be independent. There are two basic ways to head out on your own without paying a touring company for help:

Rough it. Live off your bike. Take what you can carry, including your tent. Some purists insist this is the only way to tour by bike. You get the feel of the country you're traveling through. A major drawback, especially in parts of the United States, may be that there are few good places to camp. And roughing it may not suit the more casual cyclist who's interested in the full wine-country experience.

Self-supported touring. This is also known as credit-card touring or roof-to-roof touring. You travel light, chart your own course, and find inns or hotels each night. If you go this route, make sure you do your research, and be flexible in case you're overly optimistic about distances. Call ahead to make sure that the inn you saw online is still open and has a vacancy. A variation is to go in a group with at least one person traveling in a support vehicle -- cyclists call it a sag wagon -- bringing luggage and supplies.

Want more help? Read on for tips about tours.