We normally don't promote tours, since our Europe for Visitors site focuses mostly on independent travel and cruising. However, there are times when escorted tours make sense. Bicycle tours are a good example: With an escorted bike tour, you enjoy the companionship of fellow cyclists, the expertise of a knowledgeable tour leader, and the convenience of having a support vehicle to haul your luggage (and you, if you're tired or saddle-sore).
There are many companies that offer tours on two wheels, but we recently learned of one that claims to be the oldest North American purveyor of cycling tours:
ExperiencePlus! launched its business in Italy nearly 40 years ago, and the company now offers tours in 11 European countries (and on several other continents as well). ExperiencePlus! is a family-owned business, and it's run by the daughters of the couple who founded the company in 1972.
For more information about the ExperiencePlus! roster of bicycle tours in 2011, visit www.experienceplus.com.
If you prefer independent bicycle travel, ExperiencePlus! can help you with that, too: Its BikeRentalsPlus! division can arrange bicycle rentals and self-guided tours at more than 100 locations in Italy and France.