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Brittany & Normandy Family Bike Tour
Brittany and Normandy will make an impression on you. From D-Day beaches to bountiful orchards, windswept plateaus and storybook villages. Iconic settings will stir your emotions, while the sheer beauty of your surroundings will spark your family's joie de vivre. Brittany and Normandy are a rare blend of history and natural splendor.
- CategoryCultural & Historical
- TypeFully Guided
- Duration6 days
- Culture LevelFamiliar
- Skill Level2 - Novice
- Activity Level2 - Moderate
- Elevation2 - Moderate
- Distance46 miles
- Avg. Daily Distance9.3 miles
Where does the tour start and end?
On the first day of the trip, meet your Trip Leaders (the folks in Backroads T-shirts) at 11 a.m. at the main entrance of the Saint-Malo train station in Saint-Malo, France. Please arrive dressed in your biking clothes (or have them handy so you can change before the ride) and bring your luggage and a daypack with your rain gear and anything else you may want for today's ride (your luggage will be transported to our first night's accommodations).On the last day of the trip, Backroads provides transportation to the Caen train station, arriving at approximately 12:30 p.m., in time to catch an afternoon train to Paris or other destinations.
How long is the tour? How many days cycling?
The tour is 6 days long with 5 days being cycling days.
What's the tour like?
The terrain you'll encounter on this trip ranges from rolling and level inland to constantly rolling along the coast. In Brittany there are many short steep climbs, usually less than a half-mile in length. And parts of the coastal routes are on narrow roads without a shoulder, where you can expect some car traffic.
Remember, take your time and go at your own pace—you're on vacation! Your Trip Leaders are there to provide the support you need when you're ready for a snack, a cool drink, or a lift back if you're done for the day. Most days you'll have a choice of mileage options, so you can decide how active you want to be—it's always up to you.
Can you tell me about the trip leaders?
Each of your Trip Leaders plays many roles during your vacation: guide, host, caretaker, naturalist, chef, historian, troubleshooter, interpreter. These remarkable individuals have highly developed instincts for making people comfortable, for seamlessly handling the logistics of travel and for successfully navigating a wide range of unexpected situations.
They're passionately committed to ensuring you enjoy an exceptional vacation—smooth, flexible and tailored to your needs. With their knowledge, professionalism, enthusiasm and service ethic, they're the number-one reason people return to travel with the tour operator again and again.
Are tips included?
Gratuities for most services during your trip are included in the price. While the tour operator has thought about including a Trip Leader tip as part of the overall trip cost, they acknowledge that gratuities are often customary as a way to recognize excellent service on a more personal level. They offer specific Trip Leader tip recommendations because guests have consistently asked for them.
The recommended gratuity for this trip is $190 per guest. While cash gratuities are always preferred, checks (on UStrips only; payable to a Trip Leader) or PayPal are also available options. At the beginning of the trip you'll receive a contact list with your leaders' email addresses, which also serve as their PayPal IDs. Regardless of the number of leaders on your trip, you can pay the full amount to any one of them. All gratuities are then divided among your leaders.
Can you tell me about food and drinks on tour?
Food is an important part of the tour experience. For lunch, the tour operator looks for the best way to capture the essence of the region. It may be a Grand Picnic, where your Trip Leaders prepare the freshest and healthiest local fare at a carefully chosen setting along the day's route; a boxed lunch; a packed lunch; a meal together at a favorite restaurant; or the opportunity to have lunch on your own.On many nights, the gourmet restaurants where we dine offer specially prepared limited menus featuring a delicious selection of authentic regional cuisine.
All breakfasts, five lunches and four dinners are included in the trip price. One dinner is on your own.
What's the weather like?
Brittany and Normandy enjoy a mild maritime climate, moderated by the Atlantic wind. Slightly cooler, misty weather with some rain is possible along the coast—the
cooler temperatures make it perfect riding weather! On most days you'll be comfortable biking in a short-sleeved jersey or T-shirt. (When you head out in the morning you might want to wear a lightweight jacket or vest, arm warmers and knee/leg warmers.) Rain showers are always possible—don't forget to bring waterproof, breathable rain gear with you. Be prepared for all types of weather to ensure that your trip is enjoyable.
Are bikes included?
Yes, you can choose from 3 different types of bike.
If you'd prefer to have your own pedals, helmet or seat, feel free to bring these along. Your own gear can help to make your time on the bike as comfortable as possible, especially if you're someone who likes to log a lot of miles. Your leaders will be happy to put on your pedals and seat for you at the beginning of the trip.
The following items are included with all titanium bikes. Trip Leaders also have full tool kits on hand and are available to do mechanical repairs.
• bike helmet
• two water bottles
• safety triangle
• lock and cable
• tube and patch kit with tire levers
• pedals (with toe clips/straps, if requested)
• rear rack and reflective trunk bag
• map case
• wide range of gears
• GPS device
Can I bring my own bike?
Yes. If you plan to bring your own bike, it should be tuned and in excellent mechanical condition and ready to ride before the trip starts. Otherwise, you are welcome to use the tour operator's bikes.
If your bike is new, ride it at least 50 miles (to break it in) and then have it adjusted by a professional mechanic. Please bring only one bike per person.The following items on your bike should be properly adjusted and in good condition: brakes and brake pads; the headset, pedals, cranks and hubs; gears; derailleurs; handlebars; tires and tubes; brake and derailleur cables; and the chain. Make sure the bike is well lubricated, the wheels are true, and the seat, seat post and handlebars are adjusted and tight.
If you are bringing your own bike and are comfortable doing minor on-the-road adjustments, you may want to bring a multi-tool. If your bike is highly specialized, bring any tools—and extra spokes and tubes!—that are specific to your bike. Use the list on the previous FAQ as a guide for recommended equipment if you are bringing your own bike.
Please read here for a message from the tour operator regarding COVID-19
PREPARING FOR YOUR BACKROADS TRIP
Packing for Precaution
The nature of the pandemic has increased the frequency of changes to flights and to regional entry requirements. We advise building “cushion” time into your flight schedules for any delays, bringing an additional 2-week supply of prescription medications and packing trip necessities in carry-on luggage (or even traveling exclusively with carry-on).
As of October 1, 2022, Backroads recommends vaccination and/or testing but no longer requires guests to show proof to join a trip. Many regions (especially international destinations), as well as our ship trips, have requirements and/or documents needed for entry.
What if I test positive for COVID-19 right before my trip?
If you test positive for COVID-19 just before your trip, you can join the trip as long as your symptoms have improved, you are fever-free and have isolated for 5 full days since your symptoms began (or since you tested positive, if asymptomatic). You will be required to wear a mask around others indoors until 10 full days after your positive test. This policy is based on CDC isolation guidance and ensures the safety of our leaders and the other guests on the trip.
Backroads strongly urges all eligible guests to be vaccinated and boosted.
Regional requirements are constantly evolving, often with very little notice, so traveling unvaccinated may cause trip disruption. Backroads will not offer reimbursement to those unable to join
a trip or take part in certain activities because they are not meeting requirements.
What if someone has symptoms on trip?
We have a robust internal protocol in place to safely address any COVID-19 related situations. If someone experiences symptoms on trip, they are asked to let the Trip Leaders know immediately. The Trip Leaders will ask the symptomatic to isolate from the group and they will help facilitate a COVID-19 test if deemed appropriate. If the test is negative, no further action will be taken.
What if someone tests positive for COVID-19 on trip?
Following our internal protocol and CDC guidance, if a member of the group tests positive, we will ask the individual to exit the trip and follow CDC isolation guidelines. Any individual who tests positive for COVID-19 will not be able to participate in any further group activities, meals or transportation. We may also ask any travel partner(s) (if sharing a room) to exit the trip for the well-being of the greater group. Trip Leaders will help facilitate this as well as share next steps with the other members of the group who may have had close contact with the positive individual. We will try our best to accommodate our guests’ continued use of their hotel rooms to isolate, if desired.
Following CDC guidance, wearing masks will be recommended but not required in Backroads vans and shuttles. Masks will be optional for all other Backroads activities. Please carry a mask with you, as local regulations or vendors may require them in certain settings; these local requirements will supersede Backroads policy on our travels. Should there be a known exposure to COVID-19 on your trip, your leaders will request that you wear masks in Backroads vans/shuttles, as per CDC guidance.
Social or On Your Own–Your Choice
Group activities, including cultural events, will be as optional as ever this season, with no pressure to join but with every precaution taken should you choose to participate. As much as possible, we will ensure you have the flexibility to dine as you wish—together as a group or on your own. Leaders can help arrange outdoor dining when possible.
Parents are responsible for ensuring their children adhere to COVID-19 precautions, including any local regulations while on Backroads trips.
Trip Interruption Due to COVID-19
Travelers who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate from the group and may also be subject to local travel restrictions or isolation rules. Backroads does not cover expenses related to illness or trip interruption (i.e. medical expenses, testing fees, quarantine/isolation delays, evacuation expenses, added transport or hotel expenses, etc.).
We encourage guests to save all receipts related to costs incurred due to COVID-19. Most Travel Protection Plans require proof of a validated positive test to file a claim. A validated test is one
that comes from a third party, like a COVID-19 testing site, clinic, pharmacy, urgent care, etc. At-home tests with a telehealth component (a video call with a doctor) are also accepted. Regular at-
home tests without a note from a physician are not accepted.