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European Vacation for Wife/Kids and Cycling Trip for Dad? Many issues/questions.

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European Vacation for Wife/Kids and Cycling Trip for Dad? Many issues/questions.

Old 06-08-12, 12:12 PM
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European Vacation for Wife/Kids and Cycling Trip for Dad? Many issues/questions.

I already posted this in "Recreational/Family" but I figure the 41 might have some comments....

This is one year away, but I like to plan ahead...

I am an avid road cyclist. I don't race but I like to ride fairly hard.

Anyway, I have a wife and 2 daughters, age 10 and 12. We have never gone to Europe for Vacation.

What we are thinking is going to a large city (most likely Paris) for a week or 10 days. My wife and kids would spend the entire time in the metropolitan area taking in the city, culture, etc.

I would want to sneak away for a 3-4 day "cycling tour."

I am wondering about the pro's and con's of doing it myself versus doing a group tour package.

I am leaning towards doing a group tour package, but I am concerned about a few issues:

1. If I plan ahead and when we get there the weather is terrible, but will be better in 3-4 days can I postpone the tour until the weather is better?? I suspect not, while if I do the "DIY" I could be more flexible.

2. I would want to do nothing too hard-core but I like to ride reasonably hard and for several hours...what if the group I am with is too slow (or too fast) for me?

3. I am not very picky about acomodations and would want to be on a budget. What's the approximate cost??

4. I imagine the "interesting" areas are fairly far away from Paris. Do I take a bus or a train to get to the start and back to Paris? How much of a hassle is this?

5. I have an unusual body type and need my custom bike so will be taking it with me...how to plan for this??

6. I am a vegetarian (ovo-lacto), how much of a hassle is that going to be??

Any thoughts/suggestions??
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Old 06-08-12, 12:49 PM
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Italy.
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Old 06-08-12, 12:54 PM
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I was going to suggest Italy too, specifically Tuscany. There is amazing riding within 100km of Florence and you'd have no trouble with an ovo-lacto diet (margherita pizza, pasta, and gelato ).
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Old 06-08-12, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas
I already posted this in "Recreational/Family" but I figure the 41 might have some comments....

This is one year away, but I like to plan ahead...

I am an avid road cyclist. I don't race but I like to ride fairly hard.

Anyway, I have a wife and 2 daughters, age 10 and 12. We have never gone to Europe for Vacation.
Year ahead?! You could be single in a year and go to Ibiza!

Originally Posted by datlas
What we are thinking is going to a large city (most likely Paris) for a week or 10 days. My wife and kids would spend the entire time in the metropolitan area taking in the city, culture, etc.

I would want to sneak away for a 3-4 day "cycling tour."

I am wondering about the pro's and con's of doing it myself versus doing a group tour package.

Group pros: friends, help each other, good company.
Group cons: compromises.

I like to travel with one, maximum two people, or foru if it's two couples. We should be in the same ... how to say... frame of mind. Same or similar priorities (some like riding fast, some enjoy looking at the scenery etc, just a stupid example). There are a hadful of people I'd like to roadtrip on a bike.


Originally Posted by datlas
I am leaning towards doing a group tour package, but I am concerned about a few issues:

1. If I plan ahead and when we get there the weather is terrible, but will be better in 3-4 days can I postpone the tour until the weather is better?? I suspect not, while if I do the "DIY" I could be more flexible.

2. I would want to do nothing too hard-core but I like to ride reasonably hard and for several hours...what if the group I am with is too slow (or too fast) for me?

3. I am not very picky about acomodations and would want to be on a budget. What's the approximate cost??

4. I imagine the "interesting" areas are fairly far away from Paris. Do I take a bus or a train to get to the start and back to Paris? How much of a hassle is this?

5. I have an unusual body type and need my custom bike so will be taking it with me...how to plan for this??

6. I am a vegetarian (ovo-lacto), how much of a hassle is that going to be??

Any thoughts/suggestions??
You said it all: DIY is more flexible, group could be cheaper.

I'll be free to recommend the north of Italy as a (motor)cycling paradise, with some great cities, monuments etc. Food is VERY good, but not sure about vegetarian food.

All in all - visiting France and being vegetarian. AAARRRRRR! Change those bad habits, man!
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Old 06-08-12, 01:26 PM
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I would suggest not doing it at all. If you want to ride then rent a bike for a day or two and ride in the morning while the wife and kids are shopping or sleeping or tanning. It's a family vacation, do you think your wife and daughters want you to ditch them for almost half of it? What do you think they will remember when they get older? "We had a great time in Paris, saw the Louvre, the Eiffle Tower, went shopping and did had to leave for half the trip to ride his bike."
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Old 06-08-12, 01:28 PM
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Regarding question #5...have you considered adding S&S couplers to your bike? It's not cheap, but if you see this happening more in the future (bringing bike on a trip) then it will pay off in the long run. I had Bilenky Cycle Works in Philly do this to my litespeed. The pipe will pack up into a special case that is 26 x 26 x 10, ie checks as standard luggage. Otherwise, you will have to ship it in a cardboard bike box, or get a larger bike suitcase. Either will likely cost more in luggage fees...and transport in the cars will be tougher.
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Old 06-08-12, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeB14
Regarding question #5...have you considered adding S&S couplers to your bike? It's not cheap, but if you see this happening more in the future (bringing bike on a trip) then it will pay off in the long run. I had Bilenky Cycle Works in Philly do this to my litespeed. The pipe will pack up into a special case that is 26 x 26 x 10, ie checks as standard luggage. Otherwise, you will have to ship it in a cardboard bike box, or get a larger bike suitcase. Either will likely cost more in luggage fees...and transport in the cars will be tougher.
On carbon bikes? Yeah, no. I know Calfee will do this for their carbon frames, but that's a whole new bike purchase. I'll stick to my bike box and pay the fees.
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Old 06-08-12, 02:12 PM
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Thanks for the tips.

I could take my bike and sneak out for a quick 3 hour ride each morning, but not sure if there is good, safe riding in metropolitan Paris.

I also understand that Italy might be better for cycling but the spouse wants Paris.
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Old 06-08-12, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by 18hockey
I would suggest not doing it at all. If you want to ride then rent a bike for a day or two and ride in the morning while the wife and kids are shopping or sleeping or tanning. It's a family vacation, do you think your wife and daughters want you to ditch them for almost half of it? What do you think they will remember when they get older? "We had a great time in Paris, saw the Louvre, the Eiffle Tower, went shopping and did had to leave for half the trip to ride his bike."
"We met some realy nice French guys..."
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Old 06-08-12, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar
"We met some realy nice French guys..."
I knew I could count on the 41....
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Old 06-08-12, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas
but not sure if there is good, safe riding in metropolitan Paris.
They close the Champs-Elysees each Monday and Thursday at 1600 hours just so Americans in yellow jerseys can ride laps.
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Old 06-08-12, 02:46 PM
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I love Paris. And there certainly are many weeks worth of stuff to do there. But, I would suggest for a 10 and 12 year old, Paris will get boring after 5 or 6 days (or less)

So, take the family, hop a train, head toward the alps or head to the cobbles. Spend 3-4 days somewhere else. or 2 days here, 2 days there. You get a bit more time with the family. They get some time outside of the city. You have an easier time getting 3-4 hour bike ride while they lounge at the hotel or explore some small village.
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Old 06-08-12, 02:46 PM
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Old 06-08-12, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by 18hockey
I would suggest not doing it at all. If you want to ride then rent a bike for a day or two and ride in the morning while the wife and kids are shopping or sleeping or tanning. It's a family vacation, do you think your wife and daughters want you to ditch them for almost half of it? What do you think they will remember when they get older? "We had a great time in Paris, saw the Louvre, the Eiffle Tower, went shopping and did had to leave for half the trip to ride his bike."
I totally disagree with this advice. At least with my family, I can bang out 3 hours of riding before they even wake up. Furthermore, I've never liked touristy outings like zoos and aquariums. I always had my wife do those things with the kids in the mornings to give me even more time for putting in miles.
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Old 06-08-12, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas
I knew I could count on the 41....
What exactly is 41? :/
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Old 06-08-12, 03:49 PM
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Definitely do Italy instead. Paris is a craphole. It's cool to see for a day or two but not much beyond that. It's just dirty and not very impressive once you get away from the 2 miles of touristy stuff. The French countryside is far nicer. Italy is amazing though and just so much better overall.
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Old 06-08-12, 04:13 PM
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Just wondering if you asked the wife and kids what they wanted vs. your need to cycle? If they wake up late I would opt to cycle early before the daily routine started.
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Old 06-08-12, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar
What exactly is 41? :/
This place.
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Old 06-08-12, 04:55 PM
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I don't know about Italy - id love to go sometime. However, I personally was very disappointed with Paris. As someone has already mentioned, it is dirty and crowded. It's ok for a day or two, but then it's time to move on. I'd suggest the Alps or the south of France away from the city - if France is where you want to go. There are some nice camp sites in France if you want to tour. Good luck to you with your planning. I hope to take my bike the next time I go to Europe. I'll probably stick to Scotland and England though. (I have family in Scotland)
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Old 06-08-12, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas
I already posted this in "Recreational/Family" but I figure the 41 might have some comments....

This is one year away, but I like to plan ahead...

I am an avid road cyclist. I don't race but I like to ride fairly hard.


Anyway, I have a wife and 2 daughters, age 10 and 12. We have never gone to Europe for Vacation.

What we are thinking is going to a large city (most likely Paris) for a week or 10 days. My wife and kids would spend the entire time in the metropolitan area taking in the city, culture, etc.

I would want to sneak away for a 3-4 day "cycling tour."

I am wondering about the pro's and con's of doing it myself versus doing a group tour package.

I am leaning towards doing a group tour package, but I am concerned about a few issues:

1. If I plan ahead and when we get there the weather is terrible, but will be better in 3-4 days can I postpone the tour until the weather is better?? I suspect not, while if I do the "DIY" I could be more flexible.

2. I would want to do nothing too hard-core but I like to ride reasonably hard and for several hours...what if the group I am with is too slow (or too fast) for me?

3. I am not very picky about acomodations and would want to be on a budget. What's the approximate cost??

4. I imagine the "interesting" areas are fairly far away from Paris. Do I take a bus or a train to get to the start and back to Paris? How much of a hassle is this?

5. I have an unusual body type and need my custom bike so will be taking it with me...how to plan for this??

6. I am a vegetarian (ovo-lacto), how much of a hassle is that going to be??

Any thoughts/suggestions??
Seems you are pretty set on Paris due to family preferences, so I would have to say, having visited Paris before, that you are not going to do any cycling there realistically. Not without traveling away from the city. Also, bringing your own bike, which won't be the big hassle, and a case will add some "PITA" factor to your stay. I went to Europe with the wife and kids for the first time last year and chose Italy instead. Road my bike every day pretty much, but the only time we stayed in larger cities like rome or Milan were the first and last day. The rest of the time, we rented a car and drove from smaller town to smaller city. Not your case here.

Since you have never been there before, I would suggest you leave the bike behind and concentrate on enjoying your trip with the family. There is so much to see in Paris that even when you are not in the tourist places like the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre you can spend the entire day doing something else. As a matter of fact, spend a couple of days outside the tourist places just walking around, visiting cafes, walking in parks, drinking wine and cheeses and other foods you'll never try here in a picnic in a public park, etc. Having said that, your family will have completely different ideas of what the trip is about and what the itinerary is going to be.

BTW, doing a tour will always be far more expensive and restrictive than doing this on your own unless you ar done of those people that NEED the hand holding, guidance, and organization a tour provides. Also, as a vegetarian (I am as well) you are going to suffer with the french food like you haven't in ages. Trust me on this one. French food is centered around meat with anything else simply as a garnish. Hope you like cheese, bread, and wine because you are going to be eating lots of it and at a very overpriced cost too LOL.....

Originally Posted by Stickney
I love Paris. And there certainly are many weeks worth of stuff to do there. But, I would suggest for a 10 and 12 year old, Paris will get boring after 5 or 6 days (or less)

So, take the family, hop a train, head toward the alps or head to the cobbles. Spend 3-4 days somewhere else. or 2 days here, 2 days there. You get a bit more time with the family. They get some time outside of the city. You have an easier time getting 3-4 hour bike ride while they lounge at the hotel or explore some small village.
This is actually very good advice. Personally, I would not spend more than 5 days in Paris even if it was the first time. One entire at the Louvre (if your kids can take it as most kids will be dead in 30 min), one day to walk around, see a few public churches and monuments with a long picnic in a nice public park, one day to take a train out to Versailles (right outside of Paris), one day for the Eiffel tower and some shopping/walking some more, and a day to chill or spend it doing whatever else. Beyond that, it would not be much more attractive for ME PERSONALLY. If you bring your bike, you can take a train from Paris to just anywhere and be there is a few hrs. Take your pick.

Also, save yourself some misery and forget about actually buying anything. It is a very expensive city to be in to begin with and everything is very expensive comparatively speaking. There is nothing there you won't find here and you won't have to carry it from there to here.
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Old 06-08-12, 05:16 PM
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Unlikely you can postpone a tour since the tour operator is booking accommodations for you. If you don't mind possibly riding by yourself, self-guided tours are usually much more reasonably priced, they book your overnights, give you cue sheets, etc., just about everything but a ride leader. There are a number of companies in France that do that and a shorter tour is probably available. Being vegetarian shouldn't be a problem. I know getting around France by train is pretty easy, but don't have any knowledge about doing that with a bike.
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Old 06-08-12, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by hochflynn
Unlikely you can postpone a tour since the tour operator is booking accommodations for you. If you don't mind possibly riding by yourself, self-guided tours are usually much more reasonably priced, they book your overnights, give you cue sheets, etc., just about everything but a ride leader. There are a number of companies in France that do that and a shorter tour is probably available. Being vegetarian shouldn't be a problem. I know getting around France by train is pretty easy, but don't have any knowledge about doing that with a bike.
Doing it on your own is far easier than most people think it is. I went to France by myself 2 years ago. No reservations, no itinerary, no tour, no guidance, no arrangements. Just me and my bike. I landed in Milan, rented a car, and drove up to Como for the night. Stopped at the first hotel I found near city center and asked for a room. Price was reasonable, so I stayed. Next day I was going to ride, but instead I drove to a few places I saw on a map. In the afternoon, I drove west to the french alps. ended up going through the tunnel in Mt Blanc and staying in a sky town in the other side. Rode there for a couple of days in Col de Aravis and Col de la Colombiere. Spent the next 2 weeks riding and driving south. Would ride in the morning and drive to the next destination in the afternoons. When I got to the coast, I spent the last day or two in coastal towns in the riviera and finally drove to Milan the night before my departure where I stayed overnight only by the airport. Left in the morning after returning the car at the airport. Had a blast all by myself, never spoke a word of french (don't know any), and never had a single issue other than the food sucked everywhere due to me being a vegetarian. However, after the first couple of days, I would stop in supermarkets and get a few things including wine and snacks to make it more palatable. Never for a second did I wished I had taken a tour, and I spent far less despite the car rental and fuel in 2 weeks than I would have had I taken an organized 1 week cycling tour.
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Old 06-08-12, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by dgasmd
Doing it on your own is far easier than most people think it is. I went to France by myself 2 years ago. No reservations, no itinerary, no tour, no guidance, no arrangements. Just me and my bike. I landed in Milan, rented a car, and drove up to Como for the night. Stopped at the first hotel I found near city center and asked for a room. Price was reasonable, so I stayed. Next day I was going to ride, but instead I drove to a few places I saw on a map. In the afternoon, I drove west to the french alps. ended up going through the tunnel in Mt Blanc and staying in a sky town in the other side. Rode there for a couple of days in Col de Aravis and Col de la Colombiere. Spent the next 2 weeks riding and driving south. Would ride in the morning and drive to the next destination in the afternoons. When I got to the coast, I spent the last day or two in coastal towns in the riviera and finally drove to Milan the night before my departure where I stayed overnight only by the airport. Left in the morning after returning the car at the airport. Had a blast all by myself, never spoke a word of french (don't know any), and never had a single issue other than the food sucked everywhere due to me being a vegetarian. However, after the first couple of days, I would stop in supermarkets and get a few things including wine and snacks to make it more palatable. Never for a second did I wished I had taken a tour, and I spent far less despite the car rental and fuel in 2 weeks than I would have had I taken an organized 1 week cycling tour.
I don't disagree with you, but everyone has a different sensibility about things. Particularly in a foreign country. Some need a lot of hand holding, some none, and most are in between. Just throwing out a much less expensive option than a guided tour, albeit not as inexpensive as on your own.
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Old 06-08-12, 08:03 PM
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The riding in and around Pairs is not top bad... you can even ride the Rivoli and Champs Elysees... though don't as I did try to stop on the Arc de Triomphe...


This was near the out side of the roundabout.

I have riden around Rome not as much fun, Munich great safe riding, and a few other places. I use a Ritchey BreakAway to travel. I has been great having a wife with a job that has international meetings. What ever you decide to do have fun and enjoy your time with the wife and kids.
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Old 06-09-12, 01:13 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by datlas
This place.

Why is it called 41?
Some old "internal" joke?
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