A recent Condé Nast survey shows that travelers favor trips that focus on the culture and history of their destination. To this end, Fat Tire Bike Tours offers guided bike tours of London, Paris, Barcelona and Berlin.
In London, Fat Tire Bike Tours has exclusive cycling rights to The Royal London Parks connecting London’s top sites. The London tours start a short walk from the Queensway tube station. The first stop on the Royal London Tour is Kensington Palace, the slightly dowdy former residence of Princess Diana. Other highlights include Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben.
A highlight of this tour include a graphic (if no kids are present ) description of the history of Guy Fawkes in front of the Houses of Parliament. Key historical information at all stops is presented in a clear, entertaining manner by a young journalist who grew up in Central London. The Royal London Tour departs every day in season at 11:00 a.m.
Fat Tire Bike Tours can arrange corporate outings or cater to special events such as bachelor and office parties. Unless you’re traveling in a large group, reservations, while appreciated, are not necessary but will be honored up to a year. The tours are family friendly with kid bikes/helmets and baby seats provided.
For a true cycling vacation, cyclists should consider La Belle Province. No other Canadian province does as much to promote cycling as Quebec. The best place to start your bike trip planning is at Velo Quebec, a non-profit organization that has managed cycling activities in Quebec for 40 years. They act as a cycling tour company, a publishing center and a lobby group for cyclists throughout Quebec. Velo Quebec organizes the internationally known Montreal Bike Fest that includes the 30 mile,Tour d’Ile de Montreal with a different route every year.
Cycling Tours with Velo Quebec:
Velo Quebec offers tours throughout Quebec, North America, Europe, Morocco and the Caribbean. The organization responsible for the 3500 mile award – winning Route Verte linking Quebec from end to end, runs tours on parts of this route. The ever-expanding 2000 mile “Route Verte” represents a concerted effort to connect the various regions of the Quebec and neighboring USA with a safe cycling route. Most Quebec highways whether or not they are part of the Green Route have wide shoulders to accommodate cyclists.
The “Summer Challenges”, a series of 50 to 90 mile long bike tours, range from moderate to challenging and include accommodations and gear transport. The annual “Grand Tour” and “Petite Adventure” complete the Quebec offerings.
Lobbying for Cyclists:
Thanks to Velo Quebec, Montreal is a safer and more enjoyable place for pleasure and commuter cycling. Montreal bike lanes, designed by Velo Quebec, are often separated from vehicular traffic by curbs. Research and lobbying by Velo Quebec will see another 60 miles of bike lanes added to Montreal streets. The “On the Move to School” program encourages elementary school children and their parents to adopt cycling as a daily activity and alternative mode of transport.
Cycling Books, Maps and Itineraries:
The independent cyclist, planning a cycling trip anywhere in the world should visit the bike bookstore at the Maison des Cyclists (Cyclists House) across from Parc Fontaine on the Route Verte in Montreal. Detailed maps, suggested itineraries and cycling magazines including Velo Quebec publications are all to be found here. The Cyclist House also functions as a good coffee and lunch stop that serves high energy, healthy foods such as the daily home-made soup and quinoa salad special.
Cyclist Friendly Accommodations:
In general, Quebec accommodations are cyclist friendly. Independent cyclists and those joining pre – arranged trips should consider these “bike friendly” accommodations in Montreal.
Boulanger Bassin Bed and Breakfast
Azul Bed and Breakfast
Bike transport from Toronto can be arranged on Via Rail and Biketrain.ca