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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
COVID-Related Policy Updates
In order to join a trip, all guests are required to be fully vaccinated or receive a negative PCR or antigen test within 72 hours prior to the start of the trip.
What if I am recovered from COVID-19? A medical certificate will be accepted confirming recovery from COVID-19 dated no more than 90 days before departure. In addition to a confirmation of recovery from a medical professional, you will need to have isolated for at least 10 days and be symptom and fever free.
When are you considered “fully vaccinated?” Two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine. See here for CDC vaccine guidance.
What about kids? Children too young to be vaccinated will need to receive a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours prior to trip start.
Where can I test? See here for the testing sites in the US. At-home testing options will suffice only if they include a telehealth component (video call with a doctor); over-the-counter tests will not be accepted. The Tour Operator recommends this self-administered antigen test.
What if someone has symptoms on trip? The Tour Operator has 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 person to isolate from the group and help facilitate a COVID-19 test. If the test is negative, no further action will be taken.
What if someone tests positive for COVID-19 on trip? Following the internal protocol and CDC guidance, if a member of the group tests positive, the individual and any travel partner(s) (if sharing a room) will be asked 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.
Backroads strongly urges all eligible guests to be vaccinated. Regional requirements are constantly evolving, often with very little notice, so traveling unvaccinated is likely to cause trip disruption. The Tour Operator will not offer reimbursement to those unable to join a trip or take part in certain activities due to not being vaccinated or not meeting testing requirements.
What if my trip is postponed due to travel restrictions:
For trips in international destinations where the borders aren’t open yet for American travelers, the Tour Operator will be reviewing trips at 65 days but no later than 35 days prior to departure (or closer as the situation changes) to determine if it is feasible to run the trip. In the event your trip is postponed, they will place 100% of your trip funds (including Travel Protection Plan, if applicable) on account along with an additional bonus credit per guest to be used for future travel.*
*All funds and credit must be applied to a new reservation by 12/31/23.
Travel in 2021 with more flexibility:
The Tour Operator is providing new, more flexible booking policies in order for you to plan your future travel with complete peace of mind.
Sign Up With No Risk
Your Deposit Is FULLY REFUNDABLE
- Your deposit is fully refundable up to 15 days after you book. Only applies to deposits made at least 15 days or more before your final payment is due.
- Does not apply to Special Departures, Private Trips and reservations made with deposit funds from 2020 or earlier.
Your Deposit Is FULLY TRANSFERABLE
You may transfer to another trip or place your deposit on account for a future trip prior to your final payment date. On Special Departures, Private Trips and Custom Trips, you can transfer deposits to a new trip prior to 155 days before your trip start.
Your Final Payment Is DUE LATER
- Final payment is due at 65 days (rather than 95 days) prior to your trip start for Scheduled and Private Trips up to 5/31/21. After 6/1/21 final payment is due at 95 days for Scheduled and Private Trips.
- Final payment is due at 65 days (rather than 155 days) prior to your trip start for Custom Trips and Special Departures up until 5/31/21.
- Final payment is due at 95 days (rather than 155 days) prior to your trip start for Custom Trips and Special Departures from 6/1/21 to 10/31/21 and after 11/1/21 is due at 155 days before your trip start.
As the Tour Operator has learned during this past year, what makes sense today may not make sense tomorrow. Please understand that they reserve the right to change these policies without prior notice due to this very fluid and unpredictable situation.