How to Select a Cycling Tour Operator
To date, we've done 6 European bike trips, ranging
from guided group tours to solo stop-when-and-where-you-want jaunts.
We like self-guided tours for the freedom from the necessary structure of a
group, the luggage hauling, and a reasonable quality hotel room.
|Get copies of the maps and instructions you can
expect to receive from the local operator before you commit. If they
seem unclear to you, reconsider.|
|Confirm that instructions come with how many
kilometers or meters you go until the next route change. You donít
want to be lost in the Provencal countryside in 102 degree day trying to
find a roundabout that doesnít exist after you turn right and go to a
stop sign that isnít there onto a highway that isnít designated with no
idea of how far you are supposed to go. Yes, these were the kind of
instructions we received. Thank goodness for IGN maps of France we
|How much of the route is on gravel? We donít do
gravel, except for short distances. We shouldíve asked.|
|Do they specialize in self-guided tours?
|When did they last actually ride the route
themselves and check the directions for accuracy? We were routed on a
road that had been closed for over 6 months.|
|Do they specialize in English-speaking touring?
Our local operator mostly guided German cyclists. Our directions had
not been translated from French to English by a professional Ė so there
were LOTS of translation issues that contributed to our routing
|Do they utilize GPS? You wonít get lost!|
|What about emergency numbers and support Ė are
they available 24/7? Our local operator claimed they were, but when
a problem came up on a Sunday afternoon, they didn't answer their phone
or respond to voice messages.|
Our accommodations, breakfasts and evening meals were
also arranged by the local tour operator. Our luggage was transported daily
(not necessarily on a timely basis). Most services proved convenient,
clean, and the meals substantial. When we requested additional services and
changes, they were accommodating and helpful.
If only - the directions were accurate, complete and
clear. If only - they answered the phone or returned our calls when we
needed them. If only - they had apologized for our inconveniences, instead
of placing blame on everyone else. Consequently, it is impossible for us to
recommend France Bike for self-guided touring for English-speaking cyclists.
When you choose a cycling tour operator, do your homework.