What happens at the start of the tour?
The tour starts in Orleans on the first Sunday. The easiest airport for Orleans is Paris and then by train. Our guides will be around in Orleans on Sunday morning ready to meet you when you arrive. If you are arriving earlier then you can leave your bags with our guides if you want to have a look around orleans before the other participants arrive. We have a group meal on Sunday night with full briefing on what to expect for the week ahead and then the cycling starts on Monday. We will take your bikes over for you so that you don’t have to take them on the plane. You can either drop them off with us beforehand in the Reading area or meet us on the Thursday before the tour starts as we drive down to Dover. Alternatively you can post your bike to us and we will take it over for you.
What happens at the end?
The final days riding is on Saturday and we will take the train from Samur back to Orleans or Paris. One of the guides will drive a van with all of your bikes in back to England and you can pick up your bike from us at some point (no charge) or alternatively we can box your bike and post it back to you (approx £70).
How do I transport my bike?
Your easiest option is to drop your bike off with us beforehand and will will take it over for you and bring it back at the end of the tour – there is no charge for this option. We are based near Reading, Berkshire so this may not be a convenient option for you.
Another option is to take your bike with you at the start of the tour and at the end of the tour you can either take your bike with you on the plane. Alternatively we can take your bike back to the UK for you and box your bike and post it too you – there is a charge of £70 for this option.
Another option is to rent a bike from us.
Whatever arrangements you make we will be happy to help.
How difficult is the tour?
The fitter you are and the more training that you do beforehand will add to the enjoyment of your tour. The tour is easier than most of our tours although you do have the option to extend your daily route for longer days in the saddle if you prefer. If you need any advice about fitness please contact us and we will be happy to discuss any questions and concerns that you may have.
What mechanical knowledge do I need?
We don’t expect you to be an expert bike mechanic but there are a few simple skills that will be a great benefit to you. The most important skill you need to know is how to fix a puncture. It is possible that at some point you will have a puncture or two so it is essential that you carry a puncture repair kit & a spare tube or two with you. It is also helpful if you know how to change your brake pads and adjust your brakes and gears however this isn’t essential. Our guides will help you with any repairs and adjustments en-route.
What are the lunches like?
Lunches will be a mixture of picnic lunches and lunches in cafe’s or restaurants situated in some picturesque places. We will source local specialities and provide plenty of delicious French food every day of your tour, you certainly won’t go hungry. We will have plenty of food available and will cater for any special dietary requirements.
Will I be left behind?
No, a tour leader cycles at the back of the group so that you won’t be left behind if you are worried about cycling too slowly. Throughout the group there will be a mix of abilities and cycling speeds so you will usually be able to cycle with others that cycle at a similar pace. Some people like to cycle fast whilst others prefer to take their time, stop for coffee & cake or stop to take photos etc so whether you are a ‘speed demon’ or more of a ‘tourer’ there usually will be someone to cycle with each day.
What are the groups like?
Obviously each group is different but generally they are a fun, friendly, helpful & adventurous bunch. There will be people of all ages and from all walks of life. We tend to get quite a few older riders although there will always be a few younger riders as well. So far our youngest rider was 18 & the oldest was 82. We think that a group of 8-16 is ideal as there will be plenty of people with similar interests & character without being such a big group that it becomes too much.
Generally the group will be split 50/50 between people travelling alone and people that travel as a pair such as two friends or partners. There will be plenty of people to socialise with throughout the day and in the evening.
Many of the people on this tour will have cycled on a tour with us previously so you may even bump into someone you know!
What happens in the evenings?
Once you have arrived at your accommodation you should have chance for some time to relax, have a shower etc before the evening meal. We usually arrange somewhere to eat for the evening meal so that we can all get together & you won’t be left alone if you would like to eat with others. Quite often will simply arrange a certain pub to meet up & just drift in when you are ready whilst at other places we have a set time to eat – it just depends on the location.
Does the support vehicle follow the group?
No, the back up van doesn’t drive behind the group at all times but the van shouldn’t be too far away if you require assistance. In the morning we have a group brief and set off cycling, meanwhile the backup driver will collect all the luggage. Once all of the luggage has been loaded, the support vehicle will leapfrog the group stopping when necessary. The backup driver will be at the lunch stop should you need anything from the van & in the afternoon will go on ahead to ensure that your luggage is in place before you arrive.
How much luggage can I take?
There is limited space in the back up van to store luggage. We therefore request that you try to keep your luggage size to a minimum and try not to bring too much with you. Washing clothes can be done en-route so you shouldn’t need to bring a clean set of clothes for every day. The ideal size for luggage is 70 x 50 x 30 cm and a weight of 15-18kg (or less).
What bike should I use?
The most suitable bike for this trip is a road bike or hybrid, however it is entirely up to you what type of bike you use.
Please ensure that your bike is fully serviced and in good working order before the start of the trip.
You are going to cycle over 150 miles so it is important that your bike won’t let you down. You may want to fit new brake blocks, tyres & inner tubes before you start the ride and also bring spare inner tubes, pump, puncture repair kit and multi-tool to carry with you each day. It is essential that you are able to fix a puncture.
It is also advisable to have lights from & rear lights on your bikes and try to be a visible as possible.
Can I hire a bike from you?
It is advisable to use your own bike if possible however we realise that it is not always possible to use your own steed so you may wish to hire one. We have hybrid bikes available. It may be possible to arrange a electric pedal assisted (eBike) to be hired at an additional charge,
All of our hire bikes come fitted with cycle computer, pump, 2 water bottle cages, bell and front and rear lights. There is also a small saddle bag with a spare tube, multi-tool, puncture repair kit & tyre leavers. We can also provide a helmet for you at no extra cost.
What gear should I take?
We provide a suggested kit list so please contact us if you would like a copy sending to you.
France is a wide and diverse country which contains a variety of different and changing landscapes. France is also 1/4 as densely populated as the UK and much more rural so the roads are quieter and cyclists are treated with much more respect.
France is the cultural home of cycling and everyone has heard of the Tour de France. We will cycle through some of the iconic landscapes that you will have seen whilst watching the tour.
France enjoys much better weather than the UK so chances of a dry and sunny tour is much more likely than if tackling LEJOG although it must also be noted that it can get very hot in the summer months.
France is also well known for it’s gastronomy and also fine wines and we will do out best to ensure that you sample plenty of the delights on offer. Added to that a rich culture, medieval villages and stunning architecture all of which makes France an ideal place for a long distance cycle tour.