Tour de France cycle cafe tour
Mike Williams - Content provided by House of Travel
First held in 1903, the Tour de France has become one of the most popular sporting events in the world. For over a hundred years spectators have been entranced by, not only the drama and intrigue of the epic cycle race itself, but of the stunning mountain ranges, vineyards and sunflower fields that serve as its backdrop.
For the competitors, the Tour de France is a gruelling, relentless affair, but that's far from the case for those who choose to embark on a Tour de France experience of their own. Tour de France cycling tours are achievable for anyone who rides a ride bike, not just the serious cyclists and offer an unparalleled experience of both the race and the country.
Cycling tour specialist Karl Woolcott advocates a Tour de France cycling experience that soaks up the joie de vivre of France: the culture, cuisine, cycling, scenery and the coffee. In fact, he even uses coffee to distinguish the different cycling levels available to riders. There's the less demanding 'cappuccino' level, then 'latte' and, for those keen on pedalling 100km or more per day, 'espresso'. There is even a non-riding 'fluffy' option, focusing more on markets and wineries.
Karl is New Zealand's own "Mr Cycle Tour", as well as a travel consultant at House of Travel Taupo and has been taking cycle tours to the Tour de France every year since 2005. He also organises cycle tours to Italy, California and the Tour Down Under. Karl's approach not only caters to those who want a challenge, but also to those who just want to focus on the freedom that comes from using a bike to travel through picture-book countryside. Non-riding partners are welcome and have as much fun as the cyclist, taking in the France sights and indulgences, but without the blisters.
Typically a two-week tour will encounter the Tour de France race about six times, prioritising the must-see sections as the race nears the finish line. Group members will enjoy an insightful sampling of the different types of course sections, from mountain top triumphs to decorated villages. A cycle through France's incomparable countryside is only broken up for the requisite morning coffee and noon lunch break. At around 2pm the group will be in place on the Tour de France hill, revelling with the Tour Caravan and anticipating the approach of the Tour riders themselves.
On the other days, usually when the Tour is on a flatter, less exciting stage, the group will go on their own expedition. Favourite day trips include visiting a French market or countryside town, a trip to a vineyard, or simply travelling from one town to the next.
If you love cycling, particularly the aspect that involves relaxing in a café after a Sunday ride, or if the je ne sais quoi of France's beautiful countryside and enchanting culture is calling out to you, be sure to consider a Tour de France cycling tour for an experience of a lifetime. However, remember to book well ahead as these tours can sell out up to a year in advance.
To find out more about Tour de France cycling tours, contact Karl at House of Travel Taupo