Well maybe not all of them, but the sort of supported tours where your muggins wife has a 'holiday' in the same region you are touring and meets you at the end of each day are pants big time!

Both of the Easter tours, London to Paris and Paris to Geneva, were partially supported by my family and, after trying it twice, it is fair to say none of us feel compelled to do it again.

Theoretically there are some advantages: only having to carry what you need each day, emergency backup should things go wrong, a mini holiday and change of scenery for the family and someone to share the trip with; but these advantages disappear, in practice.

The only real weight saving is a change of clothes and, if that's a big deal you are probably carrying too much! On short credit card tours you can probably carry everything you need in a rack pack and a bar bag.

Having backup might help get your bike sorted out in the event of a catastrophic failure but, I suspect, you simply more likely to simply abandon the tour. I doubt it helps with medical problems, an ambulance will still be a better bet if the problem is really serious.

The holiday angle is the biggest mistake of all of them, in reality it is absolutely no fun for the family because they are not really free to do whatever they want and it often falls to the 'support person' to sort out all the unforseens, which just adds to the stress.

Sharing your experiences isn't the joy bringer it might seem. The loss of independence for both parties leads to frustration and all you end up discussing is everything you didn't get to do that you wish you had.

A Better Way?

For next Easter's mini-tour we plan to try it another way: Get to the start, go our separate ways and meet at the finish. That way the family get a real break, I can start and finish at a convenient place and, when we meet up again, we can have a few days together that aren't full of stress.