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So you might be interested in biking and hiking after all

So you might be interested in biking and hiking after all

Mar 21st, 2002, 09:29 AM
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So you might be interested in biking and hiking after all

On a previous post, I wondered if there was anyone out there who did the "active" type vacation travel at all. There were some (!!)and there were other people who had been thinking about trying these type of trips.

I have just been digging up websites for a friend who is researching a biking trip in the Dordogne region of France, and thought I'd pass them along to you.

Might I suggest you take a look first at http://gorptravel.gorp.com/ for an overview.
Gorp acts as a broker for many different companies. The four-letter code on each trip is the clue to which company (for example, BRBN is Backroads Brittany Normandy). I have never used Gorp to arrange any of our trips, so I can’t make any kind of recommendation. I thought their set-up to compare trips was sort of neat.

For individual company addresses:

This is a company that provides lodging, an itinerary, your bikes and luggage help. They just don’t go with you. I was tempted to use them for our spring 2002 trip.

I don’t know this company.

Again, we’ve taken three trips with them and will take our fourth this summer. Well run, good reputation, pricey. Has special Family trips.

Friends of mine who do Backroads also like this company. They consider Backroads to be a bit more upscale.

Don’t know this company

Don’t know this company, but one of the posters on this site had used them and liked them.

I was interested in some of their trips.

Cheap versions of some decent trips.

For strictly hiking trips,

Diane and Jim, the present owners, were our guides on our second trip with the company. We thought they did a good job. When our kids are older, we plan to return with them. We're longing to do their Scottish Highlands trip.

Once again, I would never choose to do all our travel this way. The negatives are that one is "on the move" a heck of a lot. While we travel light, I don't like going from hotel to hotel constantly. For that reason,I look for trips with two-night stays (for example, our 8-day trip this summer will be in four places) as opposed to one-nighters to add some sanity to it all.

My husband, however, would gladly live this way. He doesn't have to worry about any logistics, he gets to meet other people without having to take care of their needs, he eats well, he indulges in excessive exercise without wearing out his wife and children (look for companies that offer short, medium and long daily alternatives!!!), and he can stop for a beer early and often. In fact, if this sounds like your husband, you might want to buy this type of trip as a 40th or 50th birthday present.

Mar 21st, 2002, 10:27 AM
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Those sound as if those particular biking excurdions are well planned and well organized tour type deals.

I did my mountain biking in Switzerland strictly on a freelance type situation.

I rented a mountain bike in the village of Saas Fee where from a home base in Saas Fee, I rode around the village, rode around the base of the glacier in Saas Fee, at least as far as my trail, my legs,my lungs and my heart could take me anyway.

Then I rented another mountain bike from a bike shop in Zermatt just over from the train station in Zermatt.

Riding a bike can be loads of fun.

Hopefully, I plan to ride some more mountain trails around the Allmenhubbel and Grutschalps area around Muren.

Thanks for the information. There is some good information here and I hope this thread doesn't get lost.
Mar 21st, 2002, 11:01 AM
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I didn't read your previous post, but my wife and I have biked in Europe on our vacations the last 7 years. We do it solo, bikes on the plane at DFW and claimed at the destination along with our panniers etc. Our trips have been:
1. Ireland, Dingle peninsula, ring of Kerry.
2. Italy, the Lake District from Stresa to Lugano, Locarno and ending in Varenna with a side trip to the Ticino.
3. Austria, from Krimml to Melk via the Salzach and Danube.
4. Germany, the Romantic Road from Heidelberg to Fussen.
5. Germany, from the Black Forest to the Rhine and Mosel
6. France, the Normandy coast from St. Malo (Brittany) to Honfleur
7. Germany north and some of Denmark.
This year we leave April 10 for 3 weeks in Holland.

Mar 21st, 2002, 11:17 AM
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Richard: Wow, I am impressed with your bike trips, we are thinking of trying one, but I definitely want my our bike, how did you pack yours for the plane and have you have any trouble with that?
Mar 21st, 2002, 03:48 PM
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Bonnie, Didn't post to impress, just wanted to help if people like us, I'm 64 Sandi is 55, needed advice for cycling in Europe. We are fortunate in that we live in the Dallas area and so our flights are non-stop, e.g. DFW/FRA, DFW/MXP. We have tried boxes and translucent bags issued by AA and found the bags work just fine. We travel to Europe once or twice a year and the times we don't have our bikes we always wish we had them to explore. We've ridden in Paris on an early Sunday morning, around Cesky Krumlov and just neighborhoods in towns where we stayed. Cycling is a great way to experience a country, it is so easy to stop and talk to people.
Mar 21st, 2002, 03:57 PM
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Irish Cycling Safaris is also quite good...
Mar 21st, 2002, 08:47 PM
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Just wanted to add that some of these tours charge you for "renting" one of their bikes; others just include it in the cost. All tell you how to pack your own bike should you wish.

I just care about one thing--my seat. I finally found one that works for my anatomy and it travels with me.

My experience with two different companies has been that they provide a roomy front bike pack and some water bottles. One provided helmets; one didn't.

One advantage of both over touring by oneself are the route directions given daily. I compare a daytrip on Europeds, for example, with a rather good book, "Cycling France," and there's about ten times more detail. I think that's why I so seriously considered Randonnee tours this Spring--they could give me the detailed route maps (and luggage schlepping) without the cost of things I didn't necessarily want (I ended up with a non-cycling, more museum-type vacation).
Mar 25th, 2002, 02:29 PM
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Any recommendations for a walking tour? Particularly one in the UK? My fitness level isn't up to hiking status & think this would be more in line with my capabilities.

Found a site, www.specialtytravels.com that lists tour operators according to their activities & countries.

Mar 25th, 2002, 02:33 PM
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A friend of mine with very arthritic knees does walking tours with some UK group annually. She likes it because a)most of the people are her age and pace -- around 60+ --and b) their daily goal is to hike to the next pub.

If I see her, I'll get the name!
Mar 25th, 2002, 02:48 PM
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I've taken three hiking trips with REI and they are FANTASTIC! I went hiking in Crete, the Czech Republic and Thailand (where I also kayaked). The prices are reasonable, the groups are small (about 8-12 people) and they bring you to the backroads places where you are not likely to see any other tourists. Most (if not all) meals are included, and they bring you to small out-of-the way restaurants that the locals favor. The guides are incredibly knowledgeable and fun. They have hiking and biking trips all over the world. I HIGHLY recommend them.
Mar 26th, 2002, 08:18 AM
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amy, thanks in advance for any add'l input re: walking tours. Altho I'm a forty-something, I have no delusions about what I can handle and would rather be the spring chicken amidst an older crowd than the geezer in a twenty-something group.
Mar 26th, 2002, 09:14 AM
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thank you for the info Richard, and Robin, don't be afraid to try hiking trips at 40-something, I am 50 and have been hiking in Switzerland the last two years and planning again for this year. I see 70+ hikers on the Swiss trails, even the difficult ones. It is definitely not only for the young.
Mar 26th, 2002, 11:49 AM
Santa Chiara
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Do you hike alone in Switzerland? I plan to try it this summer. Any recommendations for routes for a single woman?

Also, Amy, I am the one who recommended DuVine. I took their Burgandy tour, and they were fantastic. Best vacation of my life.
Mar 26th, 2002, 12:50 PM
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We use an English company for walking tours. Although they do organized tours we use their footloose tours. They will arrange the hotels and provide maps. They also move your luggage every day. The price is much lower than the organized trips. Their website is www.alternative-travel.co.uk/
Mar 26th, 2002, 01:18 PM
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Santa Chiara: No, I go with my husband. If you stick to the lower routes which are well-travelled, I don't think hiking alone would be a problem during the season. However, I would hesitate to hike alone on the mountain routes because there is always the chance of an accident or severe weather and you could find yourself in a bad situation. I lived in Oregon and Colo. for many years and spent a lot of time hiking, and I do know many people who hike alone, but I personally feel that solo hiking in difficult terrain is a little risky. I don't know if you are looking for day-hikes where you return to the same base, or long distance hiking. The Alpine Pass route goes all the way across Switzerland and some of the lower sections like the hike from Lenk to Adelboden over the Hahnenmoss Pass are delightful, not difficult, and always with other hikers in sight. Zermatt, Kandersteg, and Saas Fee are good bases for day-hiking with a great variety of trails and with plenty of company.
Mar 26th, 2002, 08:01 PM
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Mar 27th, 2002, 07:54 AM
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I have done a number of bike trips over the past 29 years. What I have decided is that I don't want to carry my gear as i ride from place to place. I pick a spot and stay there 3-6 days and explore the area before going to another.

I have transported bikes with no trouble, altho I have never been able to keep the box to use on the way back. Three times the returning airline has transported the bike without a box and i have had no damage. TWA used to have the best boxes, but of course they are out of business.
Jun 1st, 2002, 08:41 AM
fit news to print
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Good info. Now that we're into the prime season for hiking and biking, are there any others out there who've participated in active vacations?
Jun 1st, 2002, 11:27 AM
top this
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Jun 3rd, 2002, 07:37 PM
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