How to choose a good cycling holiday in France?

There is a bike tour for almost every physically fit traveler. But to find your perfect tour de France by bike, you will need to assess what is important to you. What type of accommodation are you looking for? What type of meal are you anticipating? What is your idea of ​​adventure? Your idea of ​​comfort? How much personal attention will you need? How do you prefer to cycle alone or in a group? Do you want to meet people and make new friends, or do you dread the idea of ​​sharing your cycling holidays in France with a group of foreigners?

These are all valid questions, and it is essential to take them into account before you start shopping for a cycling vacation in France. A bike tour is guaranteed to give you a better understanding of what you enjoy – before you even start pedaling.

What is a guided bike trip?

A guided bike tour is led by an experienced guide, often assisted by a small support team. Bike tours of France vary in price and quality, from luxury tours with hotel accommodation to inexpensive camping tours. The duration of the trips varies from 2 days to 8 months (or more), and the average distances by bike vary according to the circuit and the company. Some also offer full-day guided tours without accommodation or meals.

The cost differences are related to the level of accommodation, meals, bicycle rental, baggage transport and entrance fees to attractions along the way.

What is a self-guided bike trip?

Less expensive than a guided bike tour, a self-guided bike tour is also organized through a travel agency. They provide maps, book accommodation and arrange for your luggage to be transferred to your accommodation every day. Breakfasts are always included and some companies include dinners.

Although you don’t have a cycle guide, someone is always available on the other end of the phone for emergencies or mechanical help.

What is a fixed base bike trip?

Simply put, this is a cycling holiday that uses a fixed base – usually a hotel, B&B, or lodge – from which you can explore the area. These tours can be guided or self-guided and organized by a tour operator, with a daily itinerary plotted within a specified radius around your accommodation. Sometimes your tour operator will have other means of transportation to transport you to more distant departure points. However, fixed-base vacations can also be trips that you have organized on your own directly with the accommodation provider, who can supplement your own research with route advice and local maps. Fixed Base Cycling is a flexible option that gives you the flexibility to change your daily trips and routes without impacting cycling the next day. You can even take a day off if you want!

Evaluate the level of difficulty on the cycling circuits

On a guided and self-guided cycling holiday in France, many companies will offer two or three cycling options suitable for those who want to ride more and those who want to visit more and ride less.

You should look at the elevation profiles (ie are there any mountains en route and, if so, what is their height or slope? Terms like “beginner” and “advanced” can be subjective, and many companies use their own system to indicate different difficulty levels.If you are unsure, be sure to check with the tour operator.

Do the prices of the tours change?

Tour prices change periodically, as do routes and dates. Be sure to check the tour operator’s website for the most recent information.

How to find a guided tour?

Search the freewheeling tours de France directory – we work with some of the largest cycle touring companies in France to bring you a good selection of guided tours by companies with a good track record in France. Ads can be searched by region as well as by type of tour. You can also use our tailor-made service (this is our Corsica page but we can offer a similar service for most regions of France). It’s also a good idea to ask other riders for personal recommendations.

Once you’ve found a tour and company that might be right for you, spend some time riding the cycling route to make sure the tour fits your needs, and write down any questions you have on the bike. tourism business.

Be sure to ask your touring company if roadside assistance is included, especially if you are taking a self-guided tour.

What should you ask the tour company for?

There are a number of details that you should clarify before booking your cycling holiday in France. Ask about the deposit required to book the trip and check their cancellation and refund policy. Also, is there an additional charge if you are traveling alone?

You might want to ask about their guides’ experience and find out if they are in the area where you will be cycling. You can ask for referrals from past clients if you want reassurance.

It’s also worth asking if you’ll need to know basic bike maintenance skills. Also ask if the tour requires knowledge or special equipment: are the bikes included in the price (if not, how much is the rental and equipment like saddlebags, pedals, helmets, etc? Or, if you prefer to bring your own bike, can the company help you with airport or train station transfers?

And what if you have found your perfect tour de France by bike, but none of the dates planned correspond to your working holiday or your children’s mid-term? Most companies will try to accommodate you the best they can – ask if they can either schedule another date for this tour or offer you a private tour for your preferred dates.

Family cycling holidays in France

Finding a family cycling tour in France shouldn’t be a problem. There are a lot of companies that offer family tours as part of their regular hours, while other companies will tailor tours for children if you arrange them in advance. More often than not, these will be private tours for your family only, or you could involve a group of other family cycling and have fun together. Even if you’ve found the perfect tour and the company isn’t promoting it as a family bike trip, ask if they can customize it to make it a family tour for you.

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