What to expect
Our tours all start on Saturday. We make our way to the first hotel - we'll happily help with this, just ask - and our first formal get-together is to meet prior to dinner at a time that your guide will tell you.
The first evening is relaxed, the intention is to get to know each other, and an opportunity for you to ask questions.
On Sunday morning, we'll all be fitted to our bikes and given water bottles, maps, bike helmets, panniers, luggage tags, etc. This process can take a while if we're a big group!
Once we set off on our bikes, our holiday begins properly. Every region we tour has special reasons for visiting, and we pride ourselves on our itineraries, specifically designed to explore these fascinating regions. So we have an itinerary, but we have about 3 hours of cycling to squeeze into a 7-hour day, so the focus is definitely as much on exploration, lunch and interesting places as it is on cycling.
During the week, we'll aim to leave our hotel around 9 o'clock - it means we can relax throughout the rest of our day. We'll arrive at the next hotel by about 5, which leaves time to unwind, relax and perhaps explore a little before dinner. We try hard to be relaxed about timings. There's always time for a photo. Always. And we'll find plenty of time for lunch-stops, picnics, coffees - perhaps even a small beer!
Dinners are included on our trips. Many regions have their own distinctive cuisine - in Provence there's a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh herbs and local olive oils. Burgundy features many famous dishes like Boeuf Bourguignonne, escargots, époisse cheese, oeufs en meurette, while in the Dordogne we'll see plenty of goose, duck, foie-gras, walnuts truffles, and strawberries. I see it as very much our job to showcase the best local food from each region, which is reflected in our choice of restaurants. And these days, France is much more welcoming of vegetarians, vegans and other dietary regimes.
Each day, our luggage is transported to the next hotel. We don't operate a support vehicle - this is a choice. There is a different, and I think better, group camaraderie if we think we're on our own, a group of cyclists. The truth is, we'll always look after you. If anyone needs transport, we organise it, no questions asked. But mostly, we're just a bunch of cyclists out for a good time.
That's what you can expect.