New Champagne Tour Route
Cycling the champagne vineyards
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Published on: 12th October 2017
By Green Jersey Cycling
We are often asked how a day on a cycling tour in France works. Here's an outline of what happens:
As a rule we tend to depart at 9am for the day's cycling, so most people have breakfast at about 8am. We will tell you the night before what our planned departure time is - it may vary from the printed itinerary we send you in advance, due to weather, riding speed or just the wishes of the group to leave earlier or later. There will be one of our staff on hand at least half an hour before departure, to help with any mechanicals and give you general information about the biking in store. We also load your luggage then, with your main piece going in the back of the van and a more accessible piece in the front, with anything you may need during the day. Some people come on our tours with a pannier or rucksack, intending to ride with them, but soon realise that we are in such close attendance that they don’t need to do this.
Once all that is done we give a quick, but more detailed, briefing about what to expect that day: weather, terrain, places you will pass through and known hazards to watch out for, but most importantly, where the first coffee stop is so that you can fill up on our delicious home made cake. This can be anything from 15 - 25 miles in, depending on the tour.
A quick check around to make sure we have all the hotel room keys and we send you on your way on the day’s adventure. With our route cards and Garmin tracks you should not have difficulty navigating and our routes are well-tested so any ambiguities have been ironed out over the years. Riding at your own pace, or with others as you prefer, you are usually within striking distance of others on the tour so you can see where they turn, and we know the difficult junctions that can be missed so we put a van there to make sure you don’t!
At about 11am you will see the welcome sight of the van by the side of the road and our picnic tables and cake tins (did I mention them already?). There is plenty to eat, and coffee, tea or squash should you prefer. The coffee stops are an important part of our offering, a sociable occasion as well as a break to refuel. It’s also a chance for the slower riders to catch up a little and for the faster ones to plan where they might drop their friends by trying to extract confidential information from us like where the next hill is.
Your route card will have the lunch stop marked on it and we will also confirm where this is at the morning briefing. Lunch can be one of two things. Where you pass through a larger town or village where we know there are facilities, it will be a self-bought sandwich / café lunch; we will tell you what to look out for. Where (and this is often the case) you are passing through parts of France that have changed little in centuries – apart from the laying down of immaculate road surfaces for cycling – we buy a picnic and tell you where we will be. A picnic lunch is included in the holiday cost. We try and do lunch at about the 60% mark for the day, but this will vary.
If it is a short afternoon we don’t have another van stop but with a longer day we will. You will see the van in both eventualities though as one of our golden rules is always knowing where our riders are on the road. You can always flag us down too, if you need anything from the van at any stage.
The usual time of arrival at our hotel is 4-5pm, although it can be later on some of our longer trips across France. We will help you put your bike away – usually inside in safe storage or if not, locked in the van. You should then have a couple of hours to unwind, have a shower, have a walk around where we are staying, and have a beer. Sometimes this happens in reverse order.
After locating their room most people do some personal admin like rinsing their clothes in the basin, updating Strava (we have a Strava club, do ask to join even if you haven’t cycled with us yet) or updating Facebook with their pictures of clear blue skies, fantastic roads, mediaeval villages, impressive chateaux, birds of prey, ice-cream stops etc etc! Any problems with your bike can also be looked at now by our team so you have the minimum disruption to your downtime.
We meet for dinner at 7 – 7.30pm and you will usually have a choice of menu - not always, but we do strive to have a choice more often than not. The evening meal is intended to be fun and have a dinner party atmosphere so you can enjoy some fine French food. Dinner is included in the price of you holiday except on occasions when your guides have their night off once a week and on rest days on our tours which have them. The days when dinner is not included is when we stay in larger places. We think this gives you an opportunity to explore and to ‘do your own thing’ which most people tell us they appreciate occasionally.
We will give you an outline of what to expect the next day and what time we will leave. A lot of people find their bed beckons earlier than they expect after lots of lovely fresh air and a glass or two of wine. And so another day comes to an end, another chunk of miles have been ridden and your suntan is slowly but surely improving! Most of all we will have had the opportunity to share our love of France with you, and what better way to see it than by bike!
A demain, as they say in France!
Green Jersey Cycling: 12th Oct 2017 09:00:00
Cycling the champagne vineyards
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