Above: CycleItalia's 2016 support van
ALL of CycleItalia's guided-tours are fully supported. Since there's no industry-standard for this term it's up to the potential client to determine what this means and whether the company they're considering meets their requirements. Below are things CycleItalia provides with * denoting those we think are essential to defining the term.
1. Support vehicle - one that travels the cycling route and can transport the ENTIRE group and their bicycles in case of bad weather*
2. Luggage transfer*. This can be done via the support vehicle or perhaps by a separate vehicle that may not follow the cycling route.
3. A skilled guide* who knows the route, speaks the local language and is equipped with a mobile phone, just-in-case.
4. A skilled mechanic* for the bicycles (rather than someone with a bag of tools)
5. Food and water* in the support vehicle for situations on-the-road where they may not be easily available.
6. A guide on the road cycling with you.
For other helpful comparison tips click HERE.
When comparing your options, don't be afraid to ask about these things BEFORE making your reservations. In our almost 3 decades in the challenging bike tour business we've heard plenty of horror stories about "support" vans that turned out to be little more than luggage transfer vehicles not following the route, guides who were clueless as to the route beyond the directions provided, didn't speak the local language or could only hand you a tool bag in the event your bicycle needed repair. Worse might be those who scrimp on support vehicles and staff, stranding their clients in inclement weather or forcing them to continue to the night's hotel when common sense or fatigue would tell them to climb in the van. All tours and tour companies are NOT created equal - it's up to you to discover the differences.