Before booking my Best of Provence – Relaxed 7 Night solo riding tour, I had not ridden a bike for more than a couple of hours at a time let alone six days in a row! So, coming into my tour, I had no idea what I was getting myself into or whether I would be able to even complete the journey, however the itinerary that Outfitter Bicycle Tours had designed for me, gently taking me through Provence’s old Beaux Villes, lavender fields and vineyards was too enticing, I couldn’t resist! So without training, padded bicycle shorts or a helmet I arrived in Avignon to find it all there waiting for me. Outfitter Bicycle Tours had everything I needed ready to go and all I had to do was simply ride and enjoy. With everything taken care of, I was left to be enveloped by a hedonistic love affair with riding, food, wine, Provencale life and the most beautiful countryside in France.
Each day began with a delicious breakfast at the hotel followed by a quick meeting with the support crew to ensure that I had everything I needed for the day and that the bike was in top shape before I set off on my journey up and down the rolling hills of Provence. The day’s ride would take me past old stone churches and courtyard fountains; across stone bridges and alongside pretty streams; through the vineyards busy with farmers picking grapes; past other cyclists who would wish you a good day and a good journey; and into the Beaux Villes of Provence where I would stop for a coffee and something sweet from the bakery.
My itinerary provided me with an opportunity to stop in at the vineyards and wine caves and enjoy long lunches on a restaurant terrace by the river or in a beautiful hilltop village looking through the heady blue haze that covered the gorgeous Provencale landscape below. Being able to choose my own pace provided me with plenty of opportunity to take photos, chat with other riders and tourists over lunch or dinner, take detours on impulse and always finish with a relax at the end of each day by the pool or with a massage and a sumptuous dinner in the stunning hotels chosen by Outfitters.
By the time that my six days came to an end I was riding like a pro, alright semi-pro, and I had made the decision to stay longer in Provence and tackle the coveted Mont Ventoux! Pas de problem.
Now, it has been months since I rode through Provence with Outfitter Bicycle Tours but there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about that journey. It has inspired me to purchase my own bike and ride every week. My journeys are not quite the same but I still love to ride and it keeps me connected to where it all began in Provence.