European Waterways is introducing an expanded biking program to its France 2020 itineraries, capitalising on the growth in popularity of electric bicycles.
The barging specialist will supplement e-bikes for its traditional bicycles that are available on all barges for guests. European Waterways will also upgrade its tailored biking maps to provide more detailed and easier-to-follow routes that include historical context for self-guided bikes tours through the towns and attractions along the barging routes. The maps are available in printed form and can be downloaded to mobile phones.
“E-bikes are an absolute pleasure to ride,” said Derek Banks, Managing Director of European Waterways. “Technology allows riders just the right amount of assistance to handle slopes on surrounding terrain with greater ease. Riders can concentrate on the view and soak in the natural beauty of the French countryside, rather than tackling that ‘daunting’ little hill or the final mile on extended treks.”
E-bikes can be pre-ordered for charter and cabin bookings for €500 (AU$815) for the first bike and €250 (AU$410) for each additional bike. The hotel barges with the e-bike option include La Belle Époque, L’Art de Vivre, and L’Impressionniste in Burgundy, Renaissance in the Upper Loire and Western Burgundy, Anjodi in the Canal du Midi, and Panache in Alsace.
Every vessel on European Waterways’ fleet carries bicycles and helmets as part of the many amenities available free to guests. With advance notice, the company can also provide children’s bicycles for family groups and even tandems.
“Barging and Biking” charters are available for the casual enthusiasts and biking groups that may desire more upgraded bikes and the opportunity to roam longer distances. “Biking Plus” options allow guests to follow researched bike routes on their own during the cruise and return to the barge where they left it or a little farther up the canal. Itineraries are arranged around guests’ biking schedules to ensure they don’t miss any planned activities or organised excursions.
For all cruises, crew members can off-load bicycles at any point for use along the tow paths and in the surrounding countryside. Since barges cruise at a speed just barely above a brisk walking pace, guests can easily explore the region for an extended period and meet up with the vessel, as desired, further up the canal. A crew member is always ready to respond to any guest who may become lost or require assistance.
“With more flexible biking options, our guests are free to roam near and far, whether on the gentle towpaths alongside our barges or the moderate and sometimes challenging slopes of the charming French countryside,” said Banks.
For further information or to pre-order e-bikes please call 1800 828 050 or visit europeanwaterways.com