France’s Loire Valley is the right location for a week-long bicycle tour!
This 800 sq. kilometer valley alongside the shores of the Loire River in north-western France is the house to dozens of magnificent chateaus, tons of of kilometers of well-built bicycle paths, and 1000’s of form and welcoming individuals. The Loire Valley is understood for its vineyards, gardens and small historic cities. Nevertheless it’s additionally recognized for being the house of the Loire Valley 7N self-guided bicycle tour with Active4Adventures.
It doesn’t matter what your biking degree could also be, there’s a lot to be loved in France’s Loire Valley and Active4Adventures has designed a week-long journey by bike that nearly anybody can full with each ease and pleasure.
My pal Rob and I lately participated within the Loire Valley 7N bike tour… and that is my assessment of the general expertise. You should definitely scroll all the way in which to the tip of the article to see my finest images from this superb week-long bicycle tour!
What Is A Self-Guided Bicycle Tour?
Not like so many different bicycle excursions organized by touring firms all all over the world, the Loire Valley 7N (the “N” stands for “Evening”) bike tour with Active4Adventures shouldn’t be a “guided” tour. There isn’t a skilled cycle touring information to escort you alongside your route every day and there’s no group of strangers you can be spending your time with all through the tour.
As an alternative, Active4Adventures makes a speciality of “self-guided” bicycle excursions – a sort of bicycle tour that mixes guided bicycle touring (the place the whole lot is taken care of for you every day (your route, meals, lodging, and so on.) and you might be escorted alongside your route by an expert bicycle touring information) and self-supported bicycle touring (which requires you to journey alone (and not using a information) and carry all of the clothes, instruments, meals and equipment it’s essential to survive in your bicycle for days, weeks or months on finish). The self-guided bicycle excursions that Active4Adventures presents are a mixture of those two extremes.
How To Take part
Come to France and take part in a week-long bicycle touring journey you’ll keep in mind for the remainder of your life!
Your first job is to determine which of the numerous bike excursions Active4Adventures presents you wish to take part in. The Loire Valley 7N tour is only one of many excursions the corporate has made obtainable. Dozens extra will be discovered on the corporate’s official web site at www.active4adventures.com.
After you have got determined in your perfect bike tour, contact the corporate and inform them which dates can be perfect for you. The good half a few self-guided bicycle tour is that you simply get to decide on which dates go well with you finest, slightly than attempting to regulate your schedule to that of the touring firm.
When you’ve picked out your particular tour and scheduled your perfect dates, your work is basically completed! Active4Adventures will do all of the heavy lifting from this level ahead. The corporate will reserve your lodge stays for you, organize most of your meals, put together your route info and a complete lot extra! Your solely job from this level ahead is to get your self to the beginning of the tour on the date you have got organized with the corporate.
And if you wish to deliver your individual bicycle on the tour, you may! However if you wish to make it tremendous straightforward for your self, Active4Adventures will give you a motorbike to make use of throughout your tour (at an extra value). That is what my pal Rob and I did once we lately participated within the Loire Valley 7N bike tour. We merely flew into France and had the corporate present us with two of their hybrid bicycles at first of the tour. The bikes they gave us have been in wonderful situation and we have been each very proud of them all through the tour. (I’ll discuss extra concerning the bikes in only a second.)
How Does A Self-Guided Bicycle Tour Operate?
A self-guided bicycle tour is much like a guided bicycle tour in that the route, accommodations and meals have all been taken care of for you by a longtime bicycle touring firm (on this case, Active4Adventures). The distinction between this and a guided bicycle tour, nevertheless, is that on a self-guided tour, you’ll not be joined every day by an skilled bicycle touring information. As an alternative, you can be given a route map and GPS that you will need to comply with every day to get you to your vacation spot… and your private gadgets (comparable to clothes, toiletries and electronics) will probably be transported from one lodge to the subsequent by the touring firm.
Whereas a guided bicycle tour is often carried out with a small group of individuals, self-guided bicycle excursions will be carried out alone, with a pal or liked one, or with a bunch of virtually any measurement.
One of many primary advantages to a self-guided bike tour just like the Loire Valley 7N is that when you not solely have extra freedom and get to decide on your individual journey companions, however you’ll in the end find yourself spending much less cash as a result of self-guided bike excursions are sometimes far inexpensive than guided bicycle excursions (since you aren’t paying for a information to accompany you).
The Loire Valley 7N, for instance, prices solely 970 Euros (roughly $1,250 USD – on the time of this assessment). This worth contains seven nights lodging, all breakfasts, most dinners, a street/map e-book, GPS use all through the tour, transportation of your private belongings to and out of your lodge every day, and a complete lot extra!
In case you are searching for an pleasurable bicycle touring expertise with out all the effort of arranging lodging every night time, designing your individual route, delivery a bicycle abroad, and so on… however you’d like the liberty to decide on your individual journey companion(s) and determine by yourself tempo every day, then a self-guided bicycle tour just like the Loire Valley 7N is simply what you’ve been searching for you!
How Good Are The Bicycles, Maps and Gear?
As I discussed beforehand, you may select to experience your individual bicycle on any of the Active4Adventures bike excursions… or you may select to have the corporate give you a motorbike. In the intervening time, the corporate presents three several types of bicycles: a hybrid, street or electrical help bicycle.
Because of the informal nature of the Loire Valley 7N bike tour, Rob and I each selected to make use of the corporate’s Scott Sportster X40 hybrid bicycle for our time within the Loire Valley (pictured under)… and we have been each extraordinarily happy with the bicycle’s general high quality and efficiency. Every bicycle is provided with a kickstand, rear rack and a small biking pc, which we have been instructed on the best way to use firstly of the tour and used every day to trace our velocity and general distance.
Earlier than our tour started, we have been requested which kind of pedals we most well-liked. We had the selection of bringing our personal pedals with us, utilizing the corporate’s common flat pedals, or utilizing a set of flat pedals with an hooked up set of toe clips. Each Rob and I selected to make use of the corporate’s flat pedals with toe clips, which have been high-quality. If I needed to do it once more, nevertheless, I’d most likely simply use the corporate’s flat pedals (with out the clips) as a substitute. Neither of us felt that the toe clips helped very a lot.
Along with the bicycles, the corporate additionally supplied us with a Vaude handlebar bag, which I used all through the tour to hold my digicam and pockets. Contained in the handlebar bag was additionally a bicycle multi-tool, two tire levers, and a patch equipment (all of which was supplied by Active4Adventures).
We have been additionally given a single Vaude pannier, which we rode with on the rear rack of our bicycle and used to hold the included bike pump, lock and spare inner-tube. I additionally used this rear pannier to hold my rain jacket and no matter meals and private gadgets I needed to hold with me on the bike every day.
Lastly, we got a helmet and a Garmin GPS, which we used as our primary supply of navigation – to get us from our lodge within the morning to our lodge every night time. The GPS was straightforward to make use of, waterproof, and easy to comply with. Plus, the batteries within the gadget have been surprisingly lengthy lasting. The GPS was on nearly all day lengthy, each single day of the tour, and I solely needed to change the batteries twice! Fortunately, Active4Adventures had supplied us with a big stash of latest batteries to make use of for precisely this function!
So far as the bicycles, helmets, GPS and the remainder of the gear wanted for the tour goes, Active4Adventures had all of it dealt with!
How Troublesome Is The Biking?
Active4Adventures has rated the Loire Valley 7N bike tour as a medium-level bike tour, that means that nearly anybody can full it, however some individuals might battle with just a few, brief uphill sections and quite a few medium-length rides on crowded metropolis streets.
The corporate has designed it so that every day of the tour chances are you’ll select between both a brief or lengthy route. For those who select the brief route, you’ll be biking on common about 40 kilometers (25 miles) per day. For those who select the lengthy route, nevertheless, you’ll be biking about 53 kilometers (33 miles) per day. Over the course of the tour, a bicycle owner who chooses to cycle the brief route every day will cowl roughly 240 kilometers (149 miles), whereas the bicycle owner using the longer routes will cowl a distance of 319 kilometers (198 miles).
If that seems like a number of biking to you, don’t fear! It’s not practically as troublesome as you would possibly suppose. The tour routes are designed in such a manner that nearly anybody can full them. They’re lengthy sufficient to be pleasurable and make you’re feeling as if you actually completed one thing every day, but not so lengthy that you simply end every day feeling worn out or fatigued. There are many issues to cease and discover alongside the tour routes, so the comparatively low distances every day are perfect for a tour of this sort.
In case you are an skilled bicycle owner, you received’t have any bother finishing this tour. The truth is, in case your objective is to cycle lengthy and exhausting every day, you is perhaps disillusioned with the Loire Valley 7N. The tour is designed for newbie to intermediate cyclists who’re searching for a brief biking vacation the place the bike using expertise is secondary to the sights and sounds alongside the way in which. If you need an extended, difficult bike tour that leaves you drained, sweaty and sore on the finish of it, this isn’t what you might be searching for!
One other factor value mentioning concerning the routes which were designed for this tour is that regardless that you can be following a predesignated route every day, you at all times have the choice of breaking away from the tour route at any time. This is among the main advantages of collaborating in a self-guided bicycle tour – you get to determine the place you’ll go, how briskly you’ll journey, and a complete lot extra! So, in case you are an skilled bicycle owner and also you’d prefer to expertise the Loire Valley whereas on the identical time overlaying greater than 54 kilometers/33 miles every day, you may at all times select to interrupt away from the established Loire Valley bike tour route and go off on a motorbike experience of your individual, solely to return to the predesignated route later within the day.
What Are The Inns/Lodging Like?
Because the title of the tour suggests, there are seven complete nights on the Loire Valley 7N tour. The lodging every night time vary from large French Inns the place five-course meals are served, to small romantic accommodations with bike parks and English-speaking workers.
General, I’d price the lodging on this bike tour very excessive. Even probably the most discerning of vacationers will probably be happy with the selection of lodging every night time.
That stated, I did discover a really small downward development regarding the accommodations over the course of the tour. What I imply by that is that whereas the primary three accommodations we stayed in every night time have been extremely elegant and nearly excessive in regard to their luxurious and measurement (3 or 4 star accommodations), the previous few nights weren’t at fairly the identical degree (2 or 3 star accommodations). Nevertheless, I loved the previous few nights of lodging simply as a lot as the primary three and had no complaints general. Each lodge was lovely, clear and protected.
Probably the greatest issues about all the accommodations featured on the Loire Valley tour is that the workers on the accommodations all spoke English. So in the event you’re coming to France for the primary time and are nervous about not understanding the language, there’s nothing to be nervous about.
How Good Is The Meals?
Most (however not all) of the meals through the tour are included with the value of admission. Breakfast every day is served on the lodge the place you might be staying. Lunches aren’t supplied and should be bought someplace alongside the way in which every day. And dinners every night time are normally included (and served on the lodge the place you might be staying), though there are two nights on the tour the place dinner shouldn’t be supplied.
As a result of some meals aren’t included within the general worth of the tour, it’s essential to budged for this additional expense… and meals shouldn’t be precisely low-cost on this a part of France. Count on to spend an additional 15 or extra Euros per day for lunch and snacks… and much more than that if it’s essential to buy your individual dinner.
The meals that’s served all through the tour is basically, actually good! The breakfasts are sometimes a buffet-style endeavor the place cereal, pastries, fruit and meats are on provide together with espresso, tea, and a plethora of juices.
Dinners are a a lot fancier occasion. A 3 to 5 course meal is commonplace. Meat, greens and beautiful deserts. It doesn’t matter what you fancy on the dinner desk, you’ll be proud of the meals on provide.
As a vegetarian, I used to be a little bit nervous about what meals is perhaps obtainable, however I used to be pleasantly happy to find that I used to be catered to in the most effective of how and never solely by no means went hungry, however left the dinner desk every night time greater than happy.
On the few nights when dinner was not included, Rob and I’d stroll to a close-by restaurant, sit outdoors with the locals at a small desk and eat our meal whereas taking within the sights of the town and the individuals strolling by.
Images From The Active4Adventures Loire Valley 7N Bike Tour
Relatively than offer you an in depth abstract of my expertise on the Loire Valley 7N bike tour, I’d prefer to share a few of my images from the tour with you. Whereas the lodging, meals, bike paths and general service on this week-long bicycle tour have been past very good, I believe the next 150+ images say extra concerning the expertise than I might ever describe in phrases. Get pleasure from!
Upon arriving in Excursions, France for the beginning of the tour, Rob and I have been met by Sebastian from Active4Adventures, who match us on our new bicycles, handed out our road-books (the map and itinerary paperwork we used to navigate our route and accommodations every day), and confirmed us the best way to use our bicycle computer systems and GPS gadget.
That’s Sebastian, from Active4Adventures, on the left. I’m on the suitable within the photograph above… and Rob is on the suitable within the photograph under.
After being given our bicycles, maps, GPS and the whole lot else we would want for our week-long bicycle tour, we have been proven inside our lodge for the night time. Wow! The place was superb.
We ate within the lodge eating room that night time and have been served a stunning multi-course meal. What a good way to start out the tour!
The following morning we awakened early and ate breakfast within the eating room earlier than returning to our room, packing up our issues and getting ready our bikes for his or her first day on the street.
After a fast photograph, we jumped on the bikes and waved goodbye to our first lodge. We have been unhappy to go, however excited to see what lay forward.
At a number of factors throughout our tour of the Loire Valley, we cycled alongside large fields of crimson poppies.
The biking every day consisted on a mixture of using by way of lush inexperienced countryside and charming French cities.
We’d cease repeatedly all through the tour to take images, discover hilltop church buildings, and experience down colourful alleyways.
After we reached our lodge every night time, we’d instantly safe our bicycles. Each Rob and I have been pleasantly stunned to search out that every of the accommodations we stayed in had a particular storage or storage place only for our bikes.
As soon as we made it to our lodge within the afternoon/night, we’d every take a bathe after which wander across the space surrounding the lodge. Generally our accommodations have been situated in charming little cities with eating places and close by chateaus to discover, whereas different occasions we have been extra within the nation and have been in a position to get pleasure from quiet walks within the close by woods.
We by no means knew what we’d be served for dinner, however the meals was improbable on every night time of the tour! Whereas Rob and I each get pleasure from several types of meals, there was by no means an issue discovering one thing good to eat.
Quiet slender streets, stone structure, and big chateaus grew to become our norm.
Often, we’d meet different cyclists and vacationers alongside our route and take a couple of minutes to take a seat down with them, hear their tales and inform them concerning the adventures we had had up to now within the Loire Valley.
Regardless of the place we have been, there appeared to at all times be one thing to see, do or discover. The images you see listed here are only a few of the unbelievable sights you may count on to see whereas collaborating within the Loire Valley 7N bike tour.
The Domaine de Beauvois lodge within the metropolis of Luynes was a favourite for each Rob and I. From the skin, the place was spectacularly attractive. Inside, the workers was welcoming, the rooms have been spectacular and meals was to die for!
Our dinner on the Domaine de Beauvois was the most effective meal we had through the course of your entire tour.
We spent two nights within the beautiful metropolis of Amboise and we felt at residence there after only a few brief days. The biking on this space was to die for, and the surroundings alongside the way in which was unforgettable. Rob and I saved telling ourselves that the biking was getting higher and higher, every day.
After an amazing day of biking, we’d test into our lodge for the night time, take a bathe (and typically a brief nap) earlier than exploring the world close by or going to dinner.
Whereas an amazing majority of the tour is on paved roads or bicycle paths, there are just a few small sections the place you can be using on filth or grass-covered trails.
The Loire Valley is crammed with cyclists of all totally different varieties. Under are two self-supported bicycle vacationers conducting a special kind of bicycle tour the place they’ve chosen to camp every night time and carry all of their very own belongings on their bicycle.
One of many primary actions on the Loire Valley 7N bike tour is to cease alongside the way in which and discover the huge gardens and much more large chateaus which are scattered all through the world. There are dozens of properties like this to discover all through the tour.
If you aren’t biking on a separated bicycle path within the countryside, you’ll be biking by way of lovely French villages.
All through the Loire Valley are houses, garages and storage items dug into the native stone. Under is a small home carved out of rock and surrounded by native vegetation.
Within the countryside, farms are widespread, as are great stretches of street, perfect for bicycle touring.
Under is the smallest lodge we stayed in through the course of our bike tour. It had a motorbike storage, English-speaking workers, a big dinning room and a big, clear room. The lodge was situated only a brief stroll from the middle of the town.
We obtained fortunate with the climate… and solely had sooner or later of rain through the course of the tour.
Sadly, our bicycles didn’t have fenders/mud-guards on them, so we obtained a little bit soiled. However even once we have been chilly and muddy, we have been nonetheless having a good time!
There are such a lot of issues to cease and see alongside the way in which within the Loire Valley. The place is designed for bicycle touring!
How To E-book Your Tour With Active4Adventures
Reserving a bicycle tour with Active4Adventures is straightforward!
1. Initially, go to their web site at www.active4adventures.com and search by way of the handfuls of various bicycle excursions that they’ve on provide… and discover the tour that appears most fascinating to you.
2. Contact the corporate by way of telephone (1-800-929-0152) or by way of e mail and allow them to know which bicycle tour you have an interest in collaborating in… and what dates would finest go well with you.
3. After the corporate has checked to see if these dates will be secured for you, you’ll be requested about renting a bicycle for the course of the tour, what kind of pedals you want to use, what dietary restrictions you might need, and a complete host of comparable query.
4. Lastly, sit again and loosen up whereas Active4Adventures arranges your bicycle tour for you! Your solely job now’s to e-book journey preparations to the beginning of the tour the place you can be met by an Active4Adventures tour information who will provide you with a quick orientation earlier than the beginning of your memorable bicycle touring vacation.
For extra info on Active4Adventures, go to the official firm web site at www.active4adventures.com.
Images by TOURING-BICYCLE and Roberto LoRusso.