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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
Is my money secure?
Yes, 100% secure. You can book with confidence as Green Jersey Cycling Tours are members of the Travel Trust Association which guarantees financial security for our customers over and above the requirements of the Package Tour Regulations 1992. All customers are provided with a Financial Guarantee document issued by the TTA and your money is held in trust by them until after your holiday is over. For more details see here
Why should we book with you?
Our holidays are carefully planned and designed to show you the best of France, whether it is a long weekend or a two week odyssey you are undertaking. We are a specialist family-run company sticking to what we know and love; we therefore firmly hope and believe that you will get an excellent level of service from us. Our enthusiasm is unending and our sole goal is to give you a great cycling holiday in a country that we love. In short, we want to share the many years of happy biking in France that we have had, with you. You will more than likely make new friends, sharing a common experience and goal.
We ensure that everything is taken care of down to the smallest detail, and our staff are chosen for their 'can-do' attitude - if you want anything, just ask, and they will do their best to provide it.
Is there a single supplement?
We actively welcome single people, who due to the nature of our holidays will instantly have things in common with our other guests. We have completed many cycling tours on our own and in company, and know from experience that whilst you may be quite content to pedal along at your own pace, it's always nice to have people to talk to in the evening.
There is no supplement if you are happy to share a room with another single traveller of the same sex. If there is an odd number of people on the trip and you end up with a room to yourself then you've got lucky, there is still no supplement.
You may however select the 'Single Room option' if you prefer a guaranteed room to yourself and you tick the relevant box on the booking form, in which case we will reserve a room for your exclusive use and charge the amount stated. The price varies from trip to trip and can be found on the relevant trip page.
What about meals?
Breakfast and dinner are included in the holiday price, with table wine included in the price. As our guests may go at different paces, you make your own arrangements for lunch - we can recommend suitable places along the way. Anyone who has travelled in France will know that French hotel breakfasts can at times be somewhat limited. We make sure that the hotels we use do not fall into this category and offer a generous breakfast buffet.
On most tours an evening meal will not be included on one night of the tour when your guide has his / her evening off. This will be made clear in the final documentation.
Please note self-guided tours are on a Bed and Breakfast basis only.
How do I find my way each day?
Prior to the holiday you will receive your 'carnet'. This detailed notebook contains full route details, descriptions, distances and other useful information - many people keep these as a fond memento of their holiday with us! If you do manage to get lost we will guide you back to the route or come and collect you. We recommend that you also carry a map with you just in case you feel like a detour or a shortcut.
Our gradings are an indication of both the hilliness of a ride and the daily distances. You can find the distances in the itinerary section for each tour, so as a starting point you should be comfortable in cycling that distance on your holiday (see 'What about daily distances below?'). A ride that was completely flat, regardless of the daily distance, would be graded 'easy' because we assume you have looked at the daily distances and are happy with them. We then alter that grading to reflect how hilly it is. A ride with a couple of steep hills each day would be rated easier than a ride which undulates all day. We are happy to provide further information on each ride including elevation profiles. We want you to make the correct choice!
What about the daily distances?
The rule of thumb is that you should be able to comfortably cycle half the planned daily distances, so if you can do about 20-30 miles prior to departure you should be fine. Good first time tours are our Canal du Midi ride which is pan flat for virtually the whole ride, our Loire Valley Classic route, which is pretty flat with just a few undulating hills, or our Bordeaux Superieur route. By the end of your vacation you'll notice how much easier it is! Watch out though - it's so rewarding having a great cycling holiday that you'll be thinking about the next one before you've finished the first!
What does it mean when you say the rides are 'supported'?
Our fully supported holidays are accompanied by a full time member of our staff. They are there to make sure you have a good time throughout your trip and to take care of you. They will see you off in the morning having loaded your luggage ready for onward transportation. Throughout the day they will be positioned at various points to offer to fill your water bottle, or so that you can get extra clothing or shed clothing, from your luggage. From a safety point of view, this also means we know everyone is OK and can be alerted to problems at an early stage. At the end of the day our domestique will be waiting at the hotel with your bags. At any point they are contactable by mobile telephone. Each evening during supper they will give a briefing on the next day's ride and weather forecast, and answer any questions.
What about the 'Self Guided' option?
On our self guided option you get the same great routes as our supported trips. We realise that not everyone can make our scheduled dates, or may simply want to holiday on their own. Simply email us with your choice of dates or put them on the booking form and we will check availability by return. You still get the advantage of our research into the area and the best roads, and our route books with directions and interesting facts. We book and pay for the hotels on your behalf, on a bed and breakfast basis. We are still available to answer your questions or to tailor the trip for you, perhaps adding an extra night here or a shorter day there. You will need to transport your own luggage and be self-reliant when it comes to bicycle maintenance as there is no vehicular back up on these tours.
Can you provide electric bikes?
Yes, we will be pleased to arrange hire of an electric bike if you would like one. Clients who have used them really recommend them and it means couples or groups of friends who may be used to cycling different distances can still enjoy a fantastic cycling holiday in France together!
What do I need to take with me each day?
You should be able to fit most things you are likely to need into your jersey pockets and seat pack, such as a waterproof, camera, wallet, suncream and lock. Some people bring a small rucksack or have a bar bag, which should be easily detachable in case you want to stop off and look at the sites. A bar bag is probably better as you can attach your route notes to the top of it. At the beginning of the tour we will provide you with a 75cl water bottle (which are yours to keep) and our support team will be strategically positioned at points along the route with water and snacks (included). It's a good idea to bring a small bag with you to put in the van for things you may need during the day.
How do I get to the start and home again after the ride?
Our rides are carefully planned to offer easy access to the start and finish. Some begin or end in St. Malo which has a direct ferry from Portsmouth, others in towns with an airport. At the end of your holiday you can either fly home or let the train whisk you home - the French railway network, SNCF is excellent although you will need to consider Transporting your bike. Different mainline routes in France have different bike carriage policies. These are outlined on the route information pages but facilities are liable to change so you must check with the railways yourself, but generally speaking most TGVs (the type of train you take if you want to get anywhere quickly) carry several cycles, but pre-booking is essential. The notable exception to this are the trains back from our St Malo to Sete route, where you will need a bike bag. We will be pleased to answer any questions about this and make enquiries specific to your needs.
We also offer a Bike Return service to St Pancras allowing you to relax on the train whilst we help with getting your bike back form the south of France.
On the holidays which start at St Malo and Ouistreham, we set off early in the morning soon after the ferry from England arrives (ususally 8.15 to St Malo and 6.45 to Ouistreham). If you are arriving by other means we recommend arriving the night before. We can recommend a convenient hotel if you would like us to.
Do you hire bikes?
We have a limited number of hire bikes available if you do not want to bring your own. We have a selection of sizes available in road and hybrid style, with a wide range of gears making them suitable for all riders, and some hybrid (straight handlebar) bikes.
They cost £125 a week (or pro rata) to hire - when you set this off against Ryanair charging £40 each way it's good value, and you don't have to lug your steed around airports and train stations. If you wish to hire a bike please say so at the booking stage. If you leave it until one week before departure we cannot guarantee one (although as always we will do our best!). Our hire bikes come with pump, spare inner tube, lock and bike computer. They have flat pedals with cages - if you prefer to use cleats please bring your own pedals. Likewise if you have a favourite saddle you may wish to bring this too. Please note we do not provide helmets so you must bring your own.
Sometimes we are asked why we don't include bikes in our tour price. The answer is that most people bring their own and it would be unfair to charge for something people don't want or need.
Can my non-cycling partner come along?
Yes, we welcome non-cycling partners who want to come along and see the sites. We will probably even have a spare bike for when they are converted! They can ride in the vehicle with our tour managers, or of course you can bring your own transport, they pay the same price as a cycling member of the group. Non-cycling partners travelling with the tour managers should be aware that our first priority is to the safety and comfort of the cyclists and that they should not view the tour manager as a personal driver to take them wherever they want!
Transporting your bike
The good news is that on some routes we offer a bike return service, so no bike boxes are required and no baggage handlers can do their best to squash your finest carbon frame, and you don't need to worry about taking your bike on the Eurostar. This costs £50 per bike (2018) and we will let you know which train you should take to get back to St Pancras to meet us. We can sometimes arrange to deliver them back to your house / a friend's house if it is on our route (extra charges may apply); please just ask as we like to help wherever possible.
If you are flying you will need a bike bag or box. Boxes are sturdier and whilst more expensive, they give more peace of mind against damage and are a good investment if you take your bike away often. There are also places that hire them out and we suggest http://www.bikeboxhireeasy.co.uk/index.shtml.
With bike bags you will need to take off your pedals and turn the handlebars at right angles which normally entails undoing your headset. It is a good idea to put bits of wood between the forks (the wheels will have to come off) and to wrap up your rear derailleur in cloth, bubblewrap or both.
We have found that useful for extra protection is a cardboard box from our local bike shop which will protect the bike from knocks, over which we put the bike bag. Pipe lagging is also a good idea to protect as many tubes as you can, or just tie newspaper around the tubes.
If you are taking the train home your bike may still need to packed up into a bike bag although you generally will not have to go to the lengths described above as it will be carried around by you, not an airport baggage handler. It will have to fit the maximum size allowable for luggage which is 1.2m x 0.9m, in order to fit into the luggage racks on the trains. An increasing number of French high speed trains (TGVs) take bikes fully assembled and we can advise on this, although they do need pre-booking and cost 10 euros.
On local trains you do not need to pre-book and can take your bike, fully assembled, onto the train with you.