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Popular Walking holiday
Try a host of different activities in glorious Turkish surroundings.
This is a small group adult holiday. The group is usually between 4 and 16 in size, with an average of 12 like-minded clients booking individually, in a couple or as friends together.
Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list
This cycling trip took in beautiful countryside, pretty and interesting towns and villages and good food and wine but was let down by having only vehicle support and no leader cycling with the group.
Any of the views of the beautiful Provence countryside from hilltop villages along the route - Vacheres, Villemus, Montfuron, Lurs and above Bras d'Asse are a few of many. The long, fast descent from Fontienne to Forqualqier. Having lunch at the edge of the lavender fields above Bras D'Asse in the warm afternoon sun after having cycled in the rain earlier in the day.
Tom, our driver and leader was kind, extremely knowledgeable about the area (he's lived there for many years) - and our safety was paramount for him. This was his first trip and I felt that it was too much to expect him to guide the group, provide vehicle support and sort out the bikes in addition to provide the softer, front-of-house things that you'd expect from a group leader. Since Tom wasn't cycling - and hadn't cycled the route before - he didn't have the sort of in-depth knowledge that really makes a cycling trip run smoothly. This meant - for instance - that getting out of Aix-en-Provence took a long time and meant that route finding at a couple of other points took longer than it should have - and resulted in the cycling being a bit fragmented and delayed at times. Tom could have been more succinct with his directions and clearer - when stopping - if the stop was just to regroup, a comfort break or a coffee stop. All of these things would have been better had there been a driver and cycling guide. Having said this, we were joined by a representative of the local partner from day three to day five (after a member of our group had contacted Exodus to say the group had expected a cycling leader) and this gave support to Tom and improved things. The last two days went better than the first two as Tom had had time to get used to leading and the group knew what to expect - in the absence of a leader cycling with the group.
All of the normal things: padded shorts, gloves, sunglasses, sunblock. Drink plenty of water along the way and get in some cycling beforehand as there are some long undulating stretches and a few reasonable climbs along the way (and the odd short, steep ascent, too). Take a waterproof coat, too: we had some rain (most of which was at night or at the end of the day - but we were rained on for a whole morning one day), and this meant you started to get cold quite quickly when you stopped.
Check what the leadership arrangements are for your trip before booking - whether it's just vehicle, or vehicle and cycling leader.
Our bikes took two and a half hours to sort out on day 1, which meant that we missed out on a short bike ride or exploration of Aix-en-Provence. The bikes were also not what were indicated in the trip notes and also had pannier racks (which we'd been advised before the trip that the bikes wouldn't have) - and this meant that we'd unnecessarily brought our own in our luggage.
Overall we had a great time cycling and socialising with like-minded people and loved the countryside and towns of Provence, but felt that not having a cycling guide was disappointing. Although I appreciate it is possible to run a cycling tour with only vehicle support - it is not the best way to do it. A cycling guide has a far better appreciation of the group's abilities and - in addition - will gain more satisfaction from it, in my opinion. This was our seventh cycling trip with Exodus - and we will continue to go on cycle trips with them, as they have far exceeded our expectations in the past.
I appreciate the fact that Exodus, France Outdoors reacted quickly when they were made aware that people in the group weren't happy that there was no cycling guide and provided a representative, Yves, from France Outdoors (initially for two days, and later extended to three days). I'm also happy that both Yves and Tom took the time to listen to the group and discuss this with them.
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