Picture yourself cycling through quaint countryside, eating at be-flowered restaurants without any guilt because you're getting so much exercise; meanwhile your luggage is being whisked by van to the delightful inn where you'll rest that night...
This dream can be yours, en famille, thanks to companies that specialize in Europe biking trips. And while most are in the higher echelons of pampering and pricing, affordable options do exist.
For starters at the high-end, check the family section of Butterfield and Robinson, a well-regarded company that has many tempting Europe bike trips. How about "castles and cave art" in France's Dordogne Valley, for ages 8 and up?
Different age levels are accommodated on different family trips: you might find a Holland biking trip with kids as young as 3; or an Ireland trip for kids 12 and up.
One nice touch at B&R: "we understand that everyone can use a break, so sometimes we take the kids off to make a few discoveries of their own."
Price is steep: but check for discounts, especially if a child age three to eleven is the third person sharing a room.
Backroads is another well-established tour company that offers family-only Europe bike trips. Most of the family bike trips have no minimum age; under 4's usually ride in bike trailers; 4-6's might use a trailercycle; and riding in the support van with a parent is also possible.
If your budget is less expansive and you're a sporty type, consider the economical holidays at Breton Bikes, run by a couple of biking enthusiasts who specialize in holidays in France. Their particular amouris "cycle camping" (combining cycling with camping), but hotel stays are also available.
"Cycle camping is our first love. Our own holidays are spent in the saddle (along with three children under 5!)" say the owner-operators.
And what's nice for family travelers: "For all our holidays we supply everything you need; even for camping, all you need to bring is yourselves." Children are especially welcome.
Sample pricing, for camping: "Adults £190 (about US$350- check current rate) for one week; under 18's £140 ($190) ; children under 11 £60. The prices are great, and the website sounds friendly! (* Check for price updates.)
Finally, what could be a better place to cycle than the flat terrain in Holland? There's 20,000 kilometres of cycle paths, plus, cycle bridges, cycle tunnels and even cycle ferries. Check reasonably-priced Bike and Boat holidays at Cycletours, with special rates for kids 0-3, and 4-11.