As the peloton zoomed through Epping and Buckhurst Hill, the decision was easy. We need to promote cycling holidays, and we need to ride alongside the experts. Exodus have been crafting and developing the widest range of cycling holidays across the globe for 40 years. From relaxing cycling holidays to France to cycling the highest roads over the Himalayas, nothing compares to the freedom of two wheels. A bike lets you travel at your own pace, has minimal environmental impact and best of all, helps you finish your trip with a massive sense of achievement, and perhaps a little more fitness than when you started. We asked Exodus to create something for us, and their team of dedicated cycling experts obliged with a brilliant tour through the Loire. You don’t need to be Wiggins or Froome to enjoy it, just someone with a basic level of fitness. Previous cycling experience is preferable for this wonderfully relaxed six-day ride through a truly charming corner of France, renowned for its architectural masterpieces, beautiful rolling countryside, exceptional vineyards, and picturesque villages. The easy pace of this trip allows you to soak it all up - there is ample opportunity to visit the opulent chateaux of Chambord and Chenonceaux, enjoy gentle cycling along the banks of the Loire and of course savour the wonderful local flavours during lazy lunches. The flexibility of the trip is enhanced by four circular rides, allowing you to have a day off the bike and relax if this appeals. Your luggage will be transported between hotels and each tour will have a leader who cycles the whole route. You will spend 7 nights in a variety of charming traditional 2 and 3-star hotels with en-suite facilities.
Day 1: Start Blois. Day 2: Circular ride following the Loire River; then ride to Chambord to visit the famous chateau (distance covered: 40kilometres/24.9miles). Day 3: Ride south to Montrichard, via Cheverny, Chitnay and Fougeres-sur-Bievre before reaching Thesee (distance covered: 50km/31.1m). Day 4: Circular ride to Amboise and Chenonceaux, both home to magnificent chateaux (40km/24.9m). Day 5: Ride along the banks of the Cher and Indre Rivers to Azay le Rideau; end in Chinon (58km/36m). Day 6: Circular ride following the Vienne River to Candes Saint Martin; then on to the abbey of Fontevraud (44km/27.3m). Day 7: Circular ride through the vineyards to Crissay-sur-Manse (40km/24.9m). Day 8: End Chinon. Number of days cycling: 6 Pace: Leisurely: 10-13km/6-8miles an hour Terrain: Low altitude; 80% tarmac, 20% gravel tracks
Price The next tour departs 24 August 2014 and costs £1079. Future dates are available on request. This price includes accommodation, all breakfasts and three dinners, plus transport and listed activities and the services of a tour leader. Please note this price does not include flights or train travel from the UK, local bike hire (£100 paid on booking), travel insurance, visas or vaccinations. Exodus offers more than 400 worldwide trips to choose from including Premium Adventures in all continents. These trips offer a higher standard of accommodation. All trips are graded which means there’s something for all ages and capabilities.