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Martinborough company takes a cycle tour to France

September 23, 2019 September 2019 No Comments

Biking beside the canal de la Garronne.

The Martinborough based business Green Jersey Explorer tours recently supported a group of fourteen people to cycle tour across south west France from Bordeaux city on the Atlantic coast, to the city of Sète on the Mediterranean coast, over 15 days. The group had an amazing experience, immersed in French countryside, culture and history as they cycled from village to village along purpose-built cycle ways or canal pathways on the Canal de la Garonne and Canal du Midi, covering about 50 to 60 kilometres a day and 850 kilometres all up on the tour.

All meals and accommodation were pre-booked and prepaid in the tour and the groups baggage was transferred forward each day by a van. Four of the fourteen people had electric assist bikes, the rest used normal hybrid bikes supplied by a French company.

Di Anderson of Eketahuna said that most of the group were “on the sunny side of 60” with no previous international cycling experience.  Whilst we all did a bit of training riding most of us would admit that we could have done more! However, we all coped and were fitter at the end than we were at the start. All we had to do was jump on our bikes each day, cycle the pre-planned route following the leader and take in the scenery”.

Green Jersey co-owner Joe Howells then went on to bike on most of the well know cycle tour paths in France for the next 3 months. His wife Pam joined him for the last 7 weeks. Joe said “I think cycle touring is the ideal way to get to know a country. The pace is slowed down, you have to interact with the locals, and you notice small things that you might not see otherwise. 

For example, in a moment that was very poignant for me, I stopped at a small memorial near Col de la Croix Haute (pass of the high cross). It was marking the grave of two young French Resistance boys killed by the Gestapo in 1944. My generation are quite remote from this history in New Zealand and it was suddenly made very real to me. I would have been likely to have driven past it in a car or bus trip. 

There were a lot of experiences like that, such as discovering what we think of as ornamental garden flower plants and fruits growing wild on the steppes in Vercors National Park, or visiting a ruined abbey where the monks helped invent wine production.”

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