We had never done ANYTHING like this before and we are so glad we did! We are in our 60’s and have only been cycling for a couple of years. Although our months of training for this trip included almost daily climbs and distance, we found it to be challenging. While the pace and daily distances were not difficult, there were climbs that were tough.
From the moment we met Sabrina and Riccardo (our guides for the trip) we knew we were in good hands. We always felt safe and cared for during the trip because of their professionalism and kindness. They were fun to be around and made every moment of our tour a delight. The night before departure they met us at our hotel, explained all that would take place on our first day of riding and fit our rental bikes to us. Our bikes were new and in perfect condition for the trip. Riccardo patiently made all the adjustments that any of the riders required.
There were seven cyclists in our group. We came from Canada, Italy, and the United States. It was a delight to get to know our fellow adventurers and become friends in such a short period of time. Even though Sabrina and Riccardo assisted in translations when needed, it was fun to attempt to learn a bit of each other’s language and culture.
Our first morning of riding took us through the heart of Paris. Having an experienced guide with all the bustling traffic and turns was essential. Our first stop that morning was Notre Dame Cathedral. Seeing the beautiful architecture and landscape of a city like Paris from a bicycle is an indescribable experience.
We experienced France and England in a way most tourists don’t get to enjoy. The itinerary permitted us plenty of time to stop and take in sites and places along the way. We saw, from a unique vantage, cathedrals, grand castles, the white cliffs on the coast at Brighton, pristine farmland, and charming villages. Morning and afternoon breaks as well as our lunch breaks were well planned to ensure a pleasant stop with opportunities to buy food and drink in shops or dine in cafes.
Our guides took care of all the timing and navigation, hotel check in, and dinner arrangements. After a day of riding, it was nice to find a clean and comfortable hotel room. The rooms in Paris and London were especially luxurious.
Our tour group ate together at the same table each evening for a tasty meal during which we enjoyed sharing our memories of the day. As we were gathered for dinner, Riccardo and Sabrina briefed us on the itinerary for our next day. Surprisingly, each morning, after fueling ourselves with breakfast at the hotel, we felt refreshed and ready for a new ride.
This was the type of vacation that makes it impossible to pick our favorite part. There was so much to see, with new friends, all while achieving something that most never try. We have a sense of accomplishment and admittedly like the look on friends faces who say: “you did WHAT on your vacation?”
We are so glad that our first trip to Europe was a Verde Natura bike tour. They are so well organized, so experienced, and so friendly. We have nothing but pleasant memories from this adventure.
Article and photos by Greg and Rosie Lucado