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How our tours work…
Once again, we’ll be taking modest sized groups of cyclists to places that deliver a magical mix of challenging cycling, cultural interest, natural beauty, historic significance and quiet roads.
Along the way we’ll eat the local food, drink the local drinks and we’ll cycle the roads that usually only the locals know about...
On all our cycling holidays, we book a hotel for the first night of the tour. Participants make their own arrangements for getting to the start. We arrange the route and support crew to look after you along the way. We book all the accommodation and arrange group meals for some of the evenings.
The support arrangements consist of a luggage van and an on-road mechanic. The luggage van acts as a “sag wagon”, although with larger groups we also have an extra support car. We have a crew of 2-4 people, depending on group sizes. Groups range from 6 to 25 cyclists. Our cycling holidays will only run for a minimum group size of 6.
On the road
We provide you with route notes, maps and Garmin GPS uploads for each days cycling. Our routes are very carefully planned – we have spent many years researching and developing each of our itineraries to obtain the perfect balance between challenging cycling, cultural interest, stunning scenery and quiet roads. Beyond the bike, we like to eat well and sample lots of local produce and delicacies. When we find a sensational restaurant for an evening meal, we book it and then include it in one of the “group meals”.
On all our trips, the daily distances average between 80 and 110km (50 – 70 miles) per day, and cover varied terrain. This is not a roll along a canal path or through a couple of wineries.
In the morning after breakfast you can set off when you are ready. Our rides are not 'bunch' rides - people tend to ride in small groups with others who have a similar plan in mind for the day ahead (e.g. an extra col, a long lunch or plenty of photos/tourist stops). Having your own map/GPS-route give you the flexibility to cycle at your own pace along the route, stopping when you like to visit attractions and enjoying lunch at your leisure. Our route notes also describe highlights of the days cycling and offer suggestions for potential touristic and lunch stops. You can spend as much of the day as you want out on the road, however we do provide afternoon tea most days around 4pm at the campsites/hotels.
Most days begin with us providing breakfast in our marquee at the campsite (or at our hotel for hotel nights). On a camping trip, this will usually consist of breakfast cereals, croissants, fresh fruit, bread and jams and tea or coffee.
After breakfast you pack up your tent and put your luggage in our truck. You are now ready to hit the road with your map and/or GPS. Our cycle mechanic is around to offer any mechanical assistance that you may need. In the event that you have a major breakdown, we will try and keep you on the road by visiting local bike shops trying to find whatever parts are necessary. Where practical should you break down on the road, the mechanic will usually be along to help you out. As a last resort there will always be the support vehicle or “sag wagon”.
The route we take passes through villages fairly regularly so you will easily be able to find lunch and water along the way.
When you reach the day’s destination, we may be staying in either a campsite or a hotel. When we are camping, from 4pm there will usually be afternoon tea. This comprises a selection of local, seasonal produce, sourced by our crew at the markets and villages we pass through. After something to eat, you collect your luggage and set yourself up for the overnight stop.
In the evenings, sometimes we will have a group meal and sometimes you will be left to find your own food. The group meals are included in the price, highlight the gastronomy of the region and include wine. We try and book the best place that we can find and we arrange a menu with local specialities and character.
You will need to be able to comfortably ride around 80km a day for 2 weeks. This is not a group or ‘peleton’ ride. You do get to ride at your own pace. It is not a race and the intention is for people to take their time over the riding and enjoy the places we are passing through. While we do have a sag wagon for cyclists with physical or mechanical difficulties, we cannot make special arrangements and we do not have medical staff on the crew. Please contact us if you require any more clarification of the type of fitness required.
A bicycle, some spending money, a toothbrush and a sense of humour. We recommend you hire one of our 2-second pop-up tents and deluxe air mattresses. Bring appropriate cycling and casual clothing for both very hot, rainy, and potentially cold weather as all our trips take us over mountain passes close to 2000m high. Pack your bathers – swimming pools or beaches are at many campgrounds. A more detailed list will be provided upon booking.
We offer hire of a “pop-up” 2 second tent and an inflatable sleeping mattress. This option is included on the booking form. Alternately, bring your own camping equipment (tent, mattress, sleeping bag). Please contact us if you require any further info.
For more accommodation info and tent hire...
Do I need to bring my own bike?
Yes, we recommend you bring your own bicycle and are responsible for ensuring it is in good condition, recently serviced and that you have necessary spare parts (e.g. Tyres, tubes, spokes). We can provide details of companies that hire quality road bikes if you prefer. We are able to provide mechanical assistance on the tour but do not carry spare parts. We will do our best to get you back on the road as soon as possible if you have a breakdown.
We do not offer bicycle hire, however we can put you in touch with some quality companies in the regions we visit if this is something you are interested in. Read our page on traveling with your bike for more information.
You get yourself to the hotels at the start and away from the hotel at the end of each trip. We book comfortable 2 to 3 star hotels in each city, near the railway or drop off point for airport buses where possible. We will provide you with hotel details closer to departure date as we do not finalise these bookings until trip numbers are confirmed.
All arrival and departure cities are accessible by air and rail.
We also recommend a quality travel agent based in Australia who assists our customers organise flights and connections from home to the start/finish of our holidays. Contact us if you would like us to put you in touch with her.
We recommend Sky Scanner as a useful site for comparing airline prices.
We do suggest you arrive a day before the scheduled start of the trip so that you have time to enjoy the city, adjust to changes in time zone and ensure your luggage has arrived with you safely.
If there is a delay in your luggage arrival, we will not be able to wait for it in our starting city, as the trip must commence as planned.
What about insurance, health and medical?
You must insure yourself, your bicycle and your belongings in order to join one of our tours. We will ask for your insurance policy details at the time of final payment.
The crew are not medically trained. We will have basic first aid supplies but it is your responsibility to bring any medications. Chemists will be available at the villages we pass through along the way. Medical clinics will be accessible in some towns and we will help as best able.
You must also have a travel insurance policy that protects both you, your belongings and your bicycle. You must consider the implications of an accident during your vacation and take these responsibilities seriously. Details of your policy must be provided to us at the time of full payment. Bicycles can often be added as an ‘extra’ on most conventional policies.
What’s the weather like?
Whilst the weather is notoriously changeable in Europe, generally July and August in southern Italy & France will be warm. You may need to be ready for some hot days and some cold days – 35 deg Celsius is not uncommon and in the mountainous regions, cold-snaps are possible. Make sure that you have two water bottles on your bike. The crew will advise you of any days where places to stop and eat and drink are limited.
For more info or to make a tour booking...