Regional Train Tours, for our Training Partners
What are “Training Partners?” They are people with the sensibility of bicyclists, but without bicycles.
“Training” in this context does not actually refer to any sort of athletic preparation, but rather to the vehicle, the long box with windows, pulled by a locomotive, and with cushy seats inside.
So, are you a Training Partner? You may be, if you are described by some (or all) of the following...
- Your idea of a good time involves eating, drinking, and camaraderie.
- You enjoy the rural side of a culture. But you prefer a book in an idyllic setting to panting through the same setting with sweat in your eyes.
- You feel that “exercise” is best limited to a brisk walk, perhaps topped off by evening constitutional. If you have to breathe through your mouth, you’re working too hard, generally speaking....
- Or, you simply don’t particularly enjoy road biking.
But maybe you like small footprint travel, and don’t want to disturb the quiet of medieval villages with a puff of carbon monoxide. Or, more simply, you realize that a car is rarely the best way to intimately experience the human side of a foreign land.
Perhaps you want to feel a connection with or understanding of the place you travel: impossible if you move too fast.
In all these cases, you have everything in common with cycle tourists... except the desire to bike.
Or, perhaps you have this friend / mate. He seems to get pleasure out of eating weird food compressed into bars. She wears fluo vests normally reserved for those in the rubbish collection line. And a diaper, more or less well-disguised as a pair of shorts. He loves adding a dose of sunstroke to a layer of hypoglycemia. She feels naked without the grease mark of a bicycle chain imprinted on her calf.
Despite the eccentric behavior of your partner, the two of you would like to travel together.
Well, our “Training Partner” program may be just the thing. It allows you to explore the same towns and villages, but with the country local, train or bus, as your means of transport.
How Does Being a “Training Partner” Work?
You may travel on any of our regularly scheduled trips. But, as the name implies, you move through your trip without the benefit of a bike. Generally this happens by train. Hence our “Regional Train Tour” moniker.
Our cycle trips loosely follow country rail lines, and we give our cyclists daily information on how to jump on the train at several points along the way, lest they wish to shorten their rides.
Our daily “route sheets” thus include all the information you need to move from town to town by public transport. You use this information to travel the route each day, making stops along the way if you wish to. Your smiling Trip Coordinator will either supply you with the tickets, or buy the used tickets from you at the end of the day, whichever is easiest. Simple! (And what a maroon that Coordinator guy is, eh, buying used train tickets?)
The rides are typically short and pleasant: 30 minutes on a country local filled with the people you came to rub elbows with. As you adjust to the principle, you will learn to get fancy: a morning train to the town with the castle, lunch there with the cyclists as they pass through, an afternoon visit to the castle, and then a second train on to your destination.
The trips are best enjoyed if you enjoy walking: villages and towns are explored on foot, and opportunities for country walks often present themselves. It may be a bit of a hike from the station to the hotel... for all these reasons, the lack of a bike does not need to imply a lack of exercise.
In the evening, you are “part of the group,” as always, to the degree you want to be. You can use our advice for the visits of the towns, join the crowd for dinner at the carefully selected eatery... and you will have a heck of a lot more energy than the bikers do for the dance bar afterwards. See below for some technical details.
Technical Details, Logistics
- You may generally travel on your own schedule. Our routes are typically served by several trains / buses a day (an exception would be the Cévennes, where your travel schedule will be dictated by the schedule of the baggage movement).
- You may sign up for any of our luggage transfer services operating on your chosen trip, thus lightening your load during the day. This is especially advantageous, even essential, if you wish to make intermediate stops during your journey. We guarantee the provision of the “Daily” service from only two “Training Partners.”
- If baggage is moving via a road vehicle, and a space is available in that vehicle, you may occupy it at no additional charge.
- In the (rare) event that no public transport is available to your destination, we will provide alternate transport, via the baggage vehicle, or by taxi to / from the nearest public transport. There is no additional cost to you. However, the choice of transport in these circumstances is ours, and this may impose a precise travel schedule for the day in question (never departing your origin before 9a, or arriving at your destination after 7p, without your explicit approval).
- If the distance between bus stop / rail station and your hotel is more than 1.5 kilometers (a bit less than a mile), a transfer will be offered (taxi or local bus). If physical conditioning or handicap means that this distance is not within reach, consult us for the cost of a more “door-to-door” service.
What Does it Cost to be a Training Partner?
The usual trip price applies. Instead of a bicycle, the train / bus / boat tickets that you need to move from town to town are included in the price.
In addition, if you are travelling with a cyclist, and your trip is priced in dollars, you receive the “own bike” discount available for your trip, in this case a “no bike” discount. We nonetheless include the costs of your substitute trains!
So, kick back and enjoy the trip! This can be a wonderful way to travel maybe the bike thing is overrated....