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France

Activity
Cycle
Duration
n/a days
Grade
Grade 1

About the challenge

This exciting cycle ride takes us from the ancient city of Toulouse to the heart of France’s most famous wine-growing area, near Bordeaux. En-route we take in beautiful landscapes dotted with castles and abbeys, medieval villages and vineyards, and along the famous Dordogne River to Bordeaux. Each evening we can taste some of the wines of the areas we have cycled through, and we will visit some vineyards en-route where possible. Cycling is one of the best ways to experience rural France, and this trip will be an unforgettable French adventure.

Please note that once you have completed the booking form below, you will be contacted by Super Skills who will confirm your booking and take payment.

The itinerary

Day 1: Meet Toulouse

On arrival in Toulouse, you can check into your hotel and we’ll spend some time ensuring all the bikes are properly assembled and comfortable. Spend your free time (flight-times dependent) exploring this ancient city on the Garonne River. We meet up in the evening for dinner and a detailed trip briefing before getting a good night’s rest in preparation for tomorrow’s efforts. (Lunch not included)

Day 2: Toulouse – Montauban
Cycle approx. 90km (56 miles)

Heading north-west out of Toulouse, we set off on flat roads for a few miles, and then start to head uphill! We pass small towns and villages dating back to medieval times as we ride through farmland and open country. After a wonderful long descent we cross the River Tarn and start going uphill again, heading towards our lunch-stop in beautiful wine country. The route continues to roll across this scenic countryside, which we can relax and enjoy as we’re well over the halfway mark! The last section sees an exhilarating descent towards the old bastide town of Montauban, which lies on the River Tarn.

Day 3: Montauban – Agen 
Cycle approx. 84km (52 miles)

We set off again, with a gently rolling landscape ahead of us today. Leaving Montauban behind, we ride through agricultural landscapes, crossing the Garonne as we head east. The first notable climb lies just after the river; on the whole it’s relatively flat today. We head towards the atmospheric medieval town of Aulivar, with its impressive ancient hilltop castle; this will make a perfect place for our lunch-stop. We continue west to Agen, with fruit trees, in particular plums, growing around us – the region is famous for its prunes. The last section of the day’s ride is beautiful, as small quiet roads take us alongside the river, accompanied by fabulous views of the valley, into the old town of Agen. Night hotel.

Day 3: Agen – Chateau des Vigiers
Cycle approx 112km (70 miles)

We set off, roughly north this time, through rolling agricultural country with tree-lined roads and quiet picturesque canals. We ride through small farming communities and ancient villages, surrounded by fields of wheat and more fruit trees. There are several more challenging climbs today, and with the longer distance as well you’ll feel a great sense of achievement at the end of the day! Not long after crossing the River Lot, we start to see vines and wineries; beautiful chateaux also dot the landscape. The reward for our efforts today lies in our arrival at the Chateau – a wonderful experience to end our ride. We have time to relax before meeting up again for a slap-up dinner and wine-tasting. Night hotel.

Day 5: Depart Bordeaux

We transfer to the airport and depart. (Lunch not included)

Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.

Detailed information

What's Included?

The cost includes all accommodation as well as all flights, transfers and meals except two on arrival/departure days as specified in the itinerary. It also includes full trip support of experienced Discover Adventure leaders, drivers and mechanics.

What's Excluded?

The tour cost does not include personal travel insurance, two meals as specified, airline fuel supplement if charged by the airline, or a bicycle. It also does not include entrance fees to any optional sites or attractions you may wish to visit. Remember to allow extra for drinks, snacks, souvenirs and other personal expenses. Please note that costs may fluctuate and we have no control over any changes. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.

Flight Information 

Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with British Airlines, however, we don’t always fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.

Accommodation

Accommodation is in 3-4* hotels with the last night in a 5* chateau. The hotels are comfortable with en suite facilities; standards may vary between the hotels.

Food

All food is included except 2 meals where specified. Lunches are generous buffet-style with plenty of energy food to keep you going! Dinners are generally eaten in the hotel. Depending on your flight schedules, you may be in-flight for the two lunches that are not included.

Dietary Requirements

Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Bear in mind that being vegetarian is not generally well-understood in France, so meals may not be as varied as you are used to. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities where you are free to explore and find something to suit every budget.

Trip Support

Discover Adventure Crew

Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first-aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.

All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. The number of crew and support vehicles looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but the team will be looking after every aspect of your trip whether that’s transporting your luggage, ensuring your route is well-marked, making you lunch and sorting out any mechanical problems. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: cyclist ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.

Luggage

Support vehicles are with the group all of the time. All luggage and spares will be carried in them. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. Bikes can be transported on flights in bike bags or – a much cheaper option – cardboard bike boxes: ask your local bike shop if they have any. You should also bring a small daypack or waist-pack to carry items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.

Trip Safety

Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency mobile phones, first-aid kits and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.

Preparing for the challenge

Cycling Information

Terrain

Our route is predominantly undulating, with some short sharp climbs and some longer, gentler inclines. There are some good descents. We ride mainly on small quiet roads. Traffic is light most of the time but you must be vigilant for traffic and other cyclists, French drivers are generally far more considerate to cyclists than here in the UK. Distances range from 36 to 70 miles per day; you should make sure you are fit enough to manage these distances. We are always happy to talk through the trip in more detail with you if you are worried about your fitness at any stage.

Bikes

We strongly recommend that you ride a road/racing bike (rather than a mountain bike) for this trip due to the distances involved on well-surfaced roads. It’s really important that you ride the bike you have been training on so you are used to it. Although training in the gym is useful, there is no substitute for getting out into all weathers and really getting to know your bike – especially the range of your gears.

Bike Repairs

There will be a range of spares in the vehicle along with a full tool kit. However it is impossible for us to carry spares for every eventuality so it is vital that your bike it is in good order before departure. It is a condition of travel that you supply your own helmet and wear it at all times while cycling, with the straps done up.

Clothing & Equipment

We could be exposed to bad weather at any time even in the height of summer so be prepared for all weathers and temperatures and remember that weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list, and you are entitled to useful discounts as a Discover Adventure customer.

Weather

The weather in this region is changeable; days in the summer can be very hot or quite chilly! Rain is always a possibility and it may be windy in flatter areas.

Fitness Levels

Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.

Passport & Visa

A valid ten-year passport is essential for travel in France and must be valid for your entire stay. There is no visa requirement for UK citizens or other EU members. Other nationalities should check entry requirements.

Vaccinations

We insist that you have had a Tetanus injection in the last ten years, and highly recommend protection against Polio. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.

Worldwide Sustainable Tourism

Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.  AITO, our Trade Association, has recognised the work we do in this area and has awarded us 4 stars as a Responsible Tour Operator.

Discover Adventure Projects

We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.

Carbon Offsetting

We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with The Conversation Volunteers and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org.uk or call 01302 388883.

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