THE RIDE & SEEK EXPERIENCE
Ride and Seek blah
A ‘typical’ Ride and Seek day does vary slightly depending on the nature of the tour – Local or Epic. By definition the Local Adventures are more leisurely undertakings and hence there is more opportunity to explore the area in which you travel. The Epic Adventures on the other hand involve longer distances and more hotel changes and so the rhythm of the tour is a bit different. As a guide though the daily flow described below is applicable to all of our tours.
Start of Day
Breakfast is generally available from 7.30am and typically is ‘continental’ in nature. We work with the hotels to ensure that there is enough sustenance on offer. In this respect we ask our hotel partners to generally beef up their regular breakfasts to account for the riding you have ahead. Where necessary we will add items to the breakfast menu to ensure you start the day raring to go.
On a changeover day we will also set a time for you to bring your bags down to the reception. Most guests tend to come to breakfast dressed to ride and bring their bags down with them then. Whilst you are having breakfast the guides will be loading the van and generally getting set up for the day ahead. This involves anything from bike repairs, setting up the drinks and snack table, programming garmins, settling hotel accounts and preparing the route review.
Our first official appointment of the day is the route review which is generally programmed for 8.30am. The guides will hand out the map sheets and walk you through the garmin set up for the day. We cover a lot of information at this point from details of distance, elevation, strava challenges and potential red flags to points of interest along the way, the historical context and details of coffee and lunch spots. The guides also provide short riding technique clinics on anything from climbing, descending and how to ride as a group.
Generally we aim to be on the road by 9am but it does depend a little on the day ahead. In terms of navigation each day has a corresponding garmin file which provides you with turn by turn directions. All guests are provided with a garmin computer with the routes uploaded or you can use your own device and we simply provide you with the map card with the routes uploaded. Alongside the GPS technology you are also accompanied by at least two guides – one drives the van and other (s) accompany you on the bike.
In terms of the flow of the ride there is no one set dynamic and as such it varies from tour to tour. With the guide support and GPS routes we very much encourage you to ride at your own pace and so we’ll often find that riders spread out depending on their relative riding abilities and their propensity to take photos! We’ve run tours where everyone rides as a group and others where some riders will be arriving at the next hotel whilst others are still having lunch. We pride ourselves on being able to successfully manage these different ride dynamics.
One of the things that facilitates the ebbs and flow of the daily ride is the recommended coffee and lunch spots. Each day we highlight coffee stops on the route – usually around mid-morning – and this often brings the group back together. The same goes for the lunch options that can vary from our own deluxe picnic setups to stops at friend’s restaurants along the way.
Another means of keeping your food and drink uptake up is the van support provided throughout the day. The van itself is key component of the rider support that we offer and will always sweep the route. It also acts as a sag wagon, mobile mechanic, kitchen and luggage transporter. In terms of refreshments the guide driving the van will have identified strategic points along the way to stop and set up the snack and drinks table. You’ll never go hungry or thirsty on tour.
Post lunch we generally offer extra riding options too. Each day there is a regular route profile programmed into the garmins as well as extra loop options that can be uploaded when required. The extra riding is set up to accommodate the stronger riders in the group who are looking to add distance to their day. Normally one of the guides on the bike would accompany the extra loopers whilst the van would remain with the main group.
The afternoons also provide opportunity enjoy cultural visits, particularly on the Local Adventures, since the bulk of the regular ride distance is usually completed by lunch time. With the Epic Adventures these activities are normally conducted post ride but there are a few during the course of the day too. These activities will range from guided city tours to wine tastings and visits to historical sites.
We aim to get everyone to the hotel in good time to enjoy the facilities that are on offer in the hotels we have selected. On the Epic Adventures it is uncommon to arrive after 4pm and with the Local Adventures the choice is yours – you’re more than welcome to stay at the hotel all day. On arrival at the hotel you’ll hand your bike to one of your guides before checking in. Post ride activities range from heading to the bar, enjoying a spa treatment or massage, or simply going for an explore of the local town/village.
Generally our first (optional) appointment is for a pre-dinner drink around 6.30- 7pm. We’ve become pretty adept at finding some very cool venues for this from Cathar fortresses to devils bridges. This is a great opportunity to recount the day, sample some of the local wines or enjoy the unofficial Ride and Seek aperitif of Aperol Spritz.
Dinner is normally served at 7.30pm and the menus we choose are designed to give you real taste of the region in which we are staying. The same goes for the local wines we select to accompany dinner. Typically dinner is a 3 course affair and you should have no issues indulging yourself as you know you’ll burn it all off tomorrow anyway. We tend to make any announcements for the following day just before the dessert is served.
Post dinner the choice is yours and depends in part on where we are staying. Some guests head straight to bed whilst others will retire to the bar or head out for a stroll to check out the local gelataria. The only certainty is that you’ll wake up the following day and do it all again…………..