Loire Valley Cycling
The city streets, quiet back roads and protected cycling paths and of the Loire Valley are ideal for any adventurer seeking to explore the luscious "Garden of France", where centuries ago, French kings and nobility poured into the Loire Valley with the greatest architects of the age, constructing the majestic châteaux, gardens and vineyards now numbered among Europe's most beloved treasures. The region's mild climate is ideal for cycling through landscapes laced with rivers and dotted with small churches and family farms, historic villages and breathtaking castles. We ride 26 to 39 miles each day with full van support, mostly on quiet back roads that wind through pastoral scenes and traditional communities with fresh flower markets, produce stands and fine chocolate. We sample the region's exceptional wines and savor authentic, freshly-prepared French cuisine and we explore the most exceptional châteaux and spend each night in a comfortable, characteristic small hotel or guesthouse. Sharing their expert first-hand knowledge of cycling and the history and culture of this remarkable region, our outstanding local guides provide a Loire Valley cycling tour that is simply unforgettable.
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Loire Valley Cycling Itinerary:
Day 1 Arrive in Blois and explore its grand château, lively shops, and scenic waterfront.
Day 2 Begin with Loire's most exceptional riding and visit the superb Châteaux of Chambord and Cheverny, with a finish in charming Chitenay.
Day 3 From iconic Chenonceau, ride to lovely Amboise, once home to French royalty, and then along the Loire River to Tours.
Day 4 En route to Azay-le-Rideau, visit the great renaissance Châteaux, Villandry, and marvel at medieval architecture in Langeais.
Day 5 Our final ride takes us to shining Châteaux d’Usse, to the vineyards at Champigny for wine tasting, and on to historic town of Saumur.
Day 6 Our cycling adventure in the “Garden of France” ends.
Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control. From time to time, weather conditions or the interests of the group may provide an opportunity for the guides to change the route, or visit additional interesting sites such as a cheese factory or wine cellar. These changes are at the discretion of the guides. Periodically, vehicle support is intermittent while we travel on cycling paths with no vehicle access. In these cases, riders can rendezvous with vehicle support at designated points. Full vehicle support is available along the vast majority of the planned route.
We use Trek 7.2 FX hybrid bikes with medium-narrow tires, a comfortable seat and flat handle bars (not road bike drop bars). Each bike comes with a small patch kit, two panniers, a handlebar bag with map holder, and a rear rack with a bungee. Flat pedals are provided; you are welcome to bring your own pedal and shoe system.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement noted on the trip itinerary. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a roommate if one is available. If a roommate cannot be found, you will be asked to pay a reduced single fee, which is half of the full single supplement. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single rooms available on most departures.
Trip price includes accommodations for five nights in double rooms with private bath, meals as noted in the daily itinerary, bicycle with panniers and handlebar bag and map holder, guide leadership, luggage transfers, full vehicle support when riding roads, most chateau and vineyard entrance fees, cue sheets/maps.
Airfare to Paris, transfer to Blois on Day 1 and from Saumur on Day 6, lunches, alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages, gratuities, travel insurance, laundry expenses and items of a personal nature.
This trip is rated Moderate . All participants should be comfortable riding on a variety of surfaces including paved and gravel bike paths, city streets with vehicle traffic, country back roads and dirt trails. Participants should have cycling experience that includes shifting gears, braking, riding in groups and riding safety, in addition to being comfortable riding for 4-5 hours per day. The terrain in the Loire Valley is relatively flat; however we will encounter rolling hills and steeper hills in some places. A regular conditioning program beginning at least 2-3 months prior to departure is recommended consisting of cycling (with some hill work), walking/running and a daily stretching regimen. Ensuring you are comfortable in the saddle for daily rides of 24-39 miles will greatly enhance your ability to fully enjoy all this adventure has to offer. There is vehicle support for riders on this trip and all luggage is transported from hotel to hotel each day.
The climate in the Loire Valley is temperate, with some periods of high heat and humidity during mid-summer months. Generally, daytime temperatures average 70-80° F with evenings dropping into the 60s. High humidity can compound the challenge of mid-summer heat. Although this region of France typically records the lowest amount of annual rainfall, some showers are a possibility so effective raingear is a necessity.
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Loire Valley Cycling
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff.
- Trek FX 7.2 hybrid bike, 21-speed
- Toe clips, basket type (optional)
- Rear rack and bungee cord
- Rear panniers (2)
- Handlebar bag with map holder
- Maps and cue sheets
- Repair kit, including spare tire
- Water bottle cage (2)
- Valid passport
- Airline tickets
- One piece of luggage, wheels and a retractable handle are recommended
- Daypack or carry-on bag
- Luggage tags and locks
- Security wallet or money belt
- Sweater and/or light jacket and/or windbreaker
- Long pants
- Long sleeve shirt
- Sun hat
- Cycling jerseys, short and long sleeve
- Cycling tights or pants
- Cycling shorts
- Cycling raingear, jacket and pants, waterproof and breathable
- Cycling vest
- Arm and/or leg warmers
- Cycling gloves, both short and long fingered
- Headband, sweatband, beanie, etc.
- Cycling socks
- Cycling shoes (see "Things to Consider")
- Walking shoes or sandals
- Sport/cycling sunglasses
- Sunblock and lip balm
- Toiletry kit
- Personal first-aid kit
- Water bottle(s) or hydration pack
- Camera + memory, batteries, charger
- Electrical adapter plug/converter
- Ear plugs
- Reading and writing materials
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Laundry bag, cord and soap
- Bike rear view mirror
- Bike computer
- Heart rate monitor
- Saddle (without the post) or gel seat cover
- Favorite energy snacks / drinks
Things to Consider
- Always pack essential items such as your passport, REI Adventures trip final bulletin, money, eyewear, medications and a change of clothes in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
- We recommend bright-colored bicycle clothing for visibility and safety.
- Always test your clothing layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding.
- If you are not bringing a shoe and pedal system (optional), you will need a shoe designed for cycling or cross training to be used with the provided flat pedals (toe clips are optional). Consider these features: lightweight, closed toe, designed with stiffer soles to provide more efficient energy transfer as you pedal. Stiff soles protect your feet while riding and support the full length of your foot to reduce cramping and fatigue.
- If you bring your own saddle, please bring only the seat and not the seat post. Seat posts are not universal and will likely not fit the bike you'll be riding. You are welcome to bring a gel seat cover for use on the provided saddle.
- Formal attire is not required at restaurants. Comfortable, casual clothes are appropriate for sit-down meals. We suggest bringing slacks, shorts that are mid-thigh or longer, skirts, or summer dresses in fabrics that are easy to wash and wear.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.