From Source to Sea
type of tour: A bespoke road cycling holiday for those who have “done” the mountains and want an alternative to climb-laden days in the saddle. (mostly) flat routes with well-appointed accommodations and memorable meals highlighting local wines and culinary specialties. castles, cathedrals and chateaux will be daily sights and the presence and power of the loire will always be felt.
best bike: modern (or vintage) road bike with at last 25c tires. Rental bikes available.
Start: Orange End: St. Nazaire
13 DAYS*/14 NIGHTS – FULLY SUPPORTED 6800€ Deposit of 800€ (*May Add Optional Rest Day 200€)
Luxury Upgrade or Single Supplement 1000€
Custom Dates Only. September or October suggested for 2020.
Emphasis on the celebrated food and wine of the Loire River Valley from its Source in Provence to its rendezvous with the Atlantic on France’s west coast.
Daily rides will range from 50 to 120 miles (80km – 140km) with between 1,000 – 5,000 feet of climbing (300m – 1,500m). We will provide all guests with a detailed road book at the start of the trip. You do not need to worry about navigation, your guide will take care of that. You will absolutely have the opportunity to ride ahead if you feel like pushing on the pedals. That said, if you prefer to have the route on your personal GPS, we’re happy to provide it for upload. The route is generally “flat” with some rolling/hilly days to start….levelling out as we pedal towards the coast. The lack of mountains means we don’t have to spend dawn to dusk in the saddle. We can even schedule in an optional rest day for the perfect balance of ride-time and down-time.
arrival and departure
International flights to Toulouse, Montpellier, Nice or Marseille are widely available. You can take the high-speed TGV from Paris or many other major cities. Otherwise, affordable European commuter airlines like Air France, EasyJet and Ryanair typically fly into Montpellier (or other larger cities in the South of France). From there, take a train to Orange and we can arrange to pick you up. Rental car services are available for one-way travel if you prefer not to take a train. The roads into the Vaucluse are easily navigable and very well marked. Departures can be arranged from Bordeaux, Paris, Nantes or other major hubs. Contact us if you need any assistance making travel plans.
Why should you pay us and not that other tour company? Because we live and work in France year-round. We know the Loire River Valley well and we love to appreciate the great local food and wine of the region. We know how to balance an enjoyable day on the bike with a bonafide challenge. Most importantly, we know how to have fun. We are cyclists who think a great ride should be shared. We love bikes and love to ride them in some pretty amazing places, just like you. We are more interested in providing our guests with a personalized experience instead of just filling tours. Four riders is all we need for a group tour. Private tours available for solo cyclists, pairs, special events, etc.
We provide experienced guides who love to help guests discover the wonders of France, an expert mechanic with a great sense of humor and the patience of a saint and a fully-stocked sag wagon. He’ll tune and clean your bike along the way. We also include ground and bag transfers, accommodations the night before your tour, memorable meals (because food is a big part of why we ride), a custom jersey, 2 custom bottles, a custom canvas goodie bag or tour poster and portable cycling nutrition that actually tastes good.
We’ll stay in beautiful, well-appointed bespoke hotels. A buffet breakfast will be available every morning, thoughtfully prepared by our hotel hosts, often including homemade jams, etc. French breakfasts consist of croissants, butter and honey, charcuterie and cheese; with juice, coffee and some granola or cereal and NOT bacon and eggs, pancakes and waffles or even gluten-free toast. We’re happy to help supplement your morning meal if you need something extra. In the evenings, expect 3-course dinners including wine. We typically prepare healthy, picnic-style lunches on the road highlighting local flavors. There will be cheese. There will be pastries and chocolate. Don’t worry, if you can’t eat these things, we will accommodate your specific needs. If we enjoy a lunch stop at one of our favorite local restaurants, we’ll make sure they can accommodate any dietary restrictions or desires.
i really need my beauty sleep!
Everyone does, even the most accomplished cyclist. A good night’s rest is essential for recovery; physical, mental and emotional. Remember, rooms will be shared. If you are traveling solo, we’ll try to match you with a compatible roommate but if you’re squeamish about a stranger seeing you in your pajamas, you can request a single room or luxury hotel upgrade (for the entire tour) for a 1000€ supplement. Hotels are TBD depending on the season and availability but we promise it will be a well-appointed luxury property with modern bathrooms , clean sheets and WiFi to upload all your gorgeous cycling photos. We’ll chose a place that won’t mind you sleeping with your bike in the room or going to breakfast in your bibs. For summer tours, there will be a pool!
When we aren’t on tour, we operate a neat little bike shop which means we can usually handle any last minute cycling emergencies. We sell socks, tubes and other helpful items if you forget those. Bicycle rentals are available. We rent high-end, carbon disc road bikes by Parlee with Ultegra. We recommend you consider bringing your own saddle. Want to bring your own bike too? Easy! You provide the Bike Flights label and we will unbox it/assemble it before your tour then disassemble and re-box it after your tour for 150€. Travel insurance highly recommended. Can non-riding guests come along? They are absolutely welcome! They can join us at the hotel after our ride each day. We’ll provide a non-cycling guest supplement if they want to share your room (but not your meals…they get their own). We can also help plan off-the-bike activities. If we haven’t listed it here, don’t hesitate to ask us about it. We’re always available by email, instant message or by phone.
We speak French and English. Ok, enough already. Let’s go for a bike ride through the French countryside, shall we?