Do you provide advice on what flights I should book to get to/from a tour?
Whilst we specifically don’t operate as a flight-booking agent, we can provide some general advice as to the timings of flights that will co-ordinate well with the arrival & departure logistics at either end of your trip. Drop us a line if you have a specific enquiry or if you’d like to check that your proposed flight itinerary ‘works’ before you book it.
When is a single supplement payable?
A Single Supplement is a fee added to the trip price which secures a private room with no room-mate for guests who prefer to room alone. If you would like your own room, please make sure you communicate your request clearly on your booking form. The price of the Single Supplement will vary from trip to trip, but typically equates to around 25% of the advertised trip price. If you are a solo traveller and do not opt for Single Supplement then you will be paired with a room-mate of the same gender.
What standard of accommodation do we stay in?
For our trips touring in the Pyrenees, French Alps or Northern Italy we primarily stay in 3-star hotels selected for their rider-friendliness and proximity to the best riding routes. In some of the more remote mountain village locations, if a 3-star hotel is not available then we will have chosen the best of the 2-star options available. For our Mont Ventoux, Ardennes Classics and Southern Spain trips, riders stay in private villa accommodation, with Mountain High staff providing in-house hospitality & meals. If you would like more details of any of our hotels/lodgings then please just drop us a line to ask.
Do I need to take out travel insurance?
Yes. You are not eligible to ride on any of our trips unless you are covered by an adequate travel insurance policy. As a minimum, that policy should provide extensive health/accident/hospitalisation cover AND substantial provision to cover your personal liability in the event that you are deemed to be at fault in any accident. We will ask to see a copy of your policy document (electronic copies will suffice) before you commence riding. Most policies of this type will have some cover to protect you in the event that you need to cancel your holiday e.g. in the event of sickness, so we recommend that you take out the cover as soon as you book the trip, not just as a ‘last minute’ action immediately prior to travel.
What training should I do for the trip?
Again, it is somewhat difficult to give a generic ‘fits-all-riders’ answer. The more demanding Summer tours require greater fitness and endurance than e.g. the Spring season holidays & training camps (which, by their nature, are about building early-season fitness). For an ‘average’ rider signing up to a 7-day Summer tour with 600km+ of riding and 10,000m+ of elevation gain ahead of them, we’d suggest that you aim to be riding 3-4 times per week (indoor training ‘counts’ on this scorecard) in the 3 months leading up to the trip. The cumulative duration of those rides should build up to at least 10 hours per week in the last 4-6 weeks of preparation. And you should be building in some intervals or ‘efforts’ of 15-30 minutes duration to 2-3 of your weekly rides. Give attention to your descending skills as well as to your ‘base fitness’ and climbing ability. It is very valuable on any of our trips to be able to descend safely and confidently. If you’d like any more personalised advice on training & preparation then drop us a line and we’ll be happy to discuss your own circumstances in more detail.
What gearing do you recommend I ride on the big climbs?
Inevitably, the answer to this one is going to be entirely down to your strengths as a rider. Stronger/lighter riders may well be content to ride a standard 53/39-tooth or ‘semi-compact’ 52/36-tooth chainset – usually couple with a rear cassette ranging from 11-25 or 11-28. Those of you who find the climbs that bit tougher or prefer to ‘spin’ a gear will find a compact 50/34-tooth chainset more suitable and may opt to match that with an 11-32 cassette to give yourselves a true ‘bale out’ option that will keep you pedalling on even the steepest sections. If you’re still not sure what will be most suitable for your specific trip and riding style, drop us a line and we’ll be happy to advise.
How do you manage groups to cater for a wide variation in rider experience & riding speed?
We have over 100 tours-worth of experience in getting this aspect of a trip to work well. A key ‘success factor’ in enabling this to happen is that we need all riders in the group to take an efficient approach to all of our rest breaks, meal/café stops and col-summit regroupings. Your ‘job’ during a break period (as well as relaxing, eating, drinking, taking your photos & celebrating your successes) is to make sure you are properly prepared to move on when we ask you to.
Along with some start-of-day ‘headstarts’ for the steadier riders in the group, we will also encourage those riders to set off a few minutes before the faster participants after each refreshment stop or col-summit regrouping. The composition of the ‘lead group’ may vary from day to day (if fatigue starts to play a part) or even on individual sections of the ride depending on terrain (some steadier climbers may be excellent descenders or very strong on flatter / rolling roads). The real key to the success of this approach is collaboration within the group – the faster riders showing some patience in allowing a headstart to accumulate and the steadier folks being sufficiently well organised to get ahead when we ask them to.