1. Why a villa instead of a hotel?
2. What about non-cycling partners and friends?
3. Why do I have to organize my own group?
4. Why is Ensemble Cycling better than an organized hotel-based bike trip?
5. Where do you offer cycling stays?
6. How much does it cost?
7. My partner only wants to ride, I want to do more Off-The-Bike sighseeing. Can this possibly work?
Privacy for one. In a hotel you are just a few of many other hotel guests. In a private Ensemble Cycling villa, not only are you not bothered by anyone else, but you don't have to worry about bothering them. Whoop it up! No one will mind.
Plus, there's something satisfying about coming home after a long day on the road, and instead of having to deal with hotel staff, you can feel at home. Grab a beer or glass of rose out of the fridge and relax on your private terrace. Still in your cycling gear if you want. No one cares.
But you don't give up luxuries or hotel-style services. Most of our villas are like boutique private hotels. (Just without the other guests, or the receptionist.) Most villas have all en suite bedrooms so that every couple has their own bathroom.
This is probably our greatest strength. On traditional bike trips non-cycling partners are generally an afterthought. For 25 years we have specialized in non-cycling villa vacations and so at Ensemble Cycling Off The Bike time is as important as On.
In fact our Local Leader's primary focus is on your itinerary and activities when you are not riding.
For the moment our cycling trips only work for private groups, family or friends who already know each other. That allows you the flexibility of choosing any week you want for your trip.
A group can be as small as four people (and as large as 24). But most of our villas work best for groups of six to 14 people.
Soon, we will be adding scheduled cycling stays where individuals or couples can join an existing cycling week with other participants.
1. Unpack only once.
On most hotel based bike trips, even if you don't have to carry your bags, you do have to pack and unpack every other day at least. With Ensemble Cycling, because of our home base loop rides, once you've settled in, that's it until your departure day. Now that's a holiday!
2. Choose your own dates.
Getting a group of friends to agree on a vacation dates is like herding cats. So, rather than work to a fixed schedule of departure dates, you can choose any week of the year for your Ensemble Cycling vacation.
3. Customize your bike trip.
Most cycling trips only come in two flavors: A) DIY Self-Guided or B) fully support with no flexibility. With Ensemble Cycling you can customize anything in between. Maybe a Ride Leader for just the first two days, until you get your bearings. Choose to have breakfasts prepared or do them yourselves. Maybe a support van would be nice for just a that tough Mont Ventoux day.
4. Choose your own traveling companions.
Sometimes it's nice to meet new people. But most of us spend too little time with our good friends already. Ensemble Cycling is a great way to reconnect with your true friends.
5. Good value.
With an Ensemble Cycling stay you get comfort and services like a luxury fully supported trip but at the same cost as a Do-It-Yourself Self-Guided trip and about 50% of a comparable guided hotel-based bike trip.
France, Italy and Spain.
In France, in Provence, Burgundy, the Southwest (Dordogne and St. Emilion). In Italy, Tuscany and Umbria. In Spain, in Catalonia, around Girona (home base to many professional cyclists).
See our CYCLING REGIONS section to understand that differences each region offers.
Each Ensemble Cycling week is customized and can be tailored to your precise preferences and budget. If you add extra services like a support van and Ride Leaders, the cost is higher. If you are OK preparing your own breakfasts, the cost is lower. Does your group have Champagne tastes or do you want to try the (wonderful and very inexpensive) local wines? And the accommodation component (i.e. the villa) in July and August is more expensive than in May and October.
But in general, the cost of a cycling week starts at about $2,000 per person (excluding food, drink, airfare, train, rental cars.) Typical the All-In "ground" cost for a mid-season group of eight on a Classic cycling week would be: approx $2,500 to $3,500 per person, including meals, transfers or rental cars, groceries, drinks, tips, etc.
Absolutely. Our Local Leader team on the ground in Europe are dedicated to making the off-the-bike portion of a week as memorable as the rides. When you are not with your Local Leader, our 100-page Villa Tripbooks outline everything there is to do in terms of markets, town visits, artisans, restaurants and wine tastings, and much much more.