Wednesday, May 07, 2008

15th annual Grand Tour

Anyone want to take a bike tour in bike paradise-land?

Velo-Quebec Tour's summer 2008 15th annual Grand Tour will let cyclists travel the excellent hills of south-eastern Quebec, including the Eastern Townships, Beauce, Megantic, even a segment in northern Maine. Translation: the hills of the northern Appalachians.

The tour will start in the deliciously-named Tingwick. Food is included. All overnight luggage is transported for you. You just ride, ride, and ride some more. The tour is limited to 2000 people, which sounds like a lot, but after 15 years, the organizers seem to know what they are doing, and are good at it. They even offer a bus shuttle from Montreal to-and-from the Start/Finish point, so your car can stay home, or you don't even need to own a car at all. (Save the car money and own a better bike!)

Seven days and six nights of beautiful Appalachian riding. If you ask us, life doesn't get any better than this. Oh, the difficulty level is 4/5 meaning not just endless flats: this ride will have hills and hill-based scenery: the best kind of scenery!

A three-day package is also available. Accommodation ranges from camping to two levels of deluxe indoor (anything indoor is deluxe if you ask us!) accommodation are available.

Here's the hype:
The 15th edition of the Grand Tour will be a real treat! On the menu: the heart of the Chaudière Valley and the land of the Beaucerons, where every swallow of air brings pure cycling delight! Between hills and valleys, a tantalizing bunch of slopeside villages will set your eyes aglow. From the lunar landscapes of Thetford Mines to the sugar bushes of the Beauce, a searing series of climbs and descents will take you to Lake Mégantic, snuggled up against the Appalachian foothills. Here, you will touch the stars! Lastly, what would you say to an appetizing dash onto the smooth roads of Maine, for even more delight. Beyond the mountains, the 2008 Grand Tour will open up mouthwatering horizons for your delectation!

August 2 to 8 2008, discounts if you sign up early.

Here are more details about what you can expect on this tour:

Marked routes
All the routes are clearly marked. Admire the countryside and follow the directions. It’s as simple as that. One less thing to worry about! A definite advantage for absent-minded, contemplative or athletic cyclists, and for those who have no sense of direction whatsoever.

Mechanical assistance
It’s obviously best to start your trip with a bicycle that it is in perfect condition and suitable for the planned activity, but for all those minor mechanical problems that can crop up, our cycling escorts will help you out. Unless a major repair is required, all basic services are free (parts extra). The relief vehicle can also come to the rescue of mechanics (or cyclists) who are too tired to go on!

Generous meals prepared with style are provided, which is truly amazing – especially since cyclists know better than anyone how a day of pedalling can whet the appetite for culinary delights! If you’re a vegetarian, please indicate your preference on the reservation form. Meatless menus, which may include fish, eggs and dairy products, will be prepared for you if necessary.

The canvas villages that the campers set up every day have plenty of amenities. Generally located on the grounds of an educational institution, they are equipped with complete washroom facilities. And the “Festi-showers” – a trailer equipped with showers supplied with hot water by a tanker truck – are back again this year. Elsewhere on the site, you will find a general store, massage therapy, Internet access, a bicycle repair shop and, of course, a bistro!

A typical day
Breakfast (between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.), lunch (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) and supper (between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.). As for the rest, it’s up to you! Take part in the various activities on offer at the village (between 1 p.m. and 10 p.m.). Take a stroll, have some fun or just relax. It’s your vacation!

The Petite Aventure, the Grand Tour include and the Île Dondaine excursion:
  • meals (excluding alcoholic beverages);
  • baggage transportation (one bag per person, 15-kg maximum);
  • support on the road;
  • mechanical assistance;
  • relief vehicles;
  • activities at the village;
  • a participant’s booklet with daily routes and tourist information.
Personal equipment (tent, bicycle, etc.) is not included.


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