Thanks to Australia’s antipodean timezone, it is well past midnight while I prop my eyelids open and watch Stage 14 of the one hundredth Tour de France. My consciousness drifts between Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett‘s dulcet tones and my dreams of riding the same regions the peloton passes through. If you share the same waking dream, Boutique Cycle Tours can make it a reality.
I asked Paul Fuge, Team BCT’s directeur sportif, to tell me what to expect: “Boutique Cycle Tours aim to give every cyclist the opportunity to see and ride the most famous and the most unknown rides in the world. We primarily target experienced cyclists but have no set criteria as to how fit or experienced you need to be to come along. That said, we do offer training advice and can forecast what to expect and this would allow a client enough time and opportunity to get in reasonable condition.
“One of the most asked questions is “what if I come last and can’t keep up with the group?” The usual answer is: “Someone has to be last. That is a fact of life.” However, we have many options. We can drive you ahead of the group so you are constantly ahead. You can take a break in the sag wagon. You can take all day to climb the Passo de Stelvio if you wish and we will support you and wait for you. We have one goal and that is to help you tick the box that you set out to complete.
“Generally speaking, everyone is so enthused with what they have achieved that a real bond develops between the riders and a union evolves that is rarely seen in other activities. It is common to see very strong and fit cyclists helping the weaker ones by way of verbal support.
“We stay at very comfortable hotels and B&Bs and have a great rapport with the owners. The food is always raved about, we sleep in and usually set off around 9.30am. We go out of the way and do a little sightseeing, or point out particular interests.
For example, on the last trip I took the group along Lake Geneva and showed them the Grand Hotel where ‘Smoke on the Water’ was written when the hotel was burned to the ground. We had a few music junkies on board and they loved this, as well as the Freddy Mercury statue and tribute.
“We offer support vehicles to transport the weary, carry spare wheels and bike parts, nutrition and your spare warm and wet clothing as required. We also have experienced photographers, massage therapists and bike mechanics on every tour for your total experience.”
You can browse the schedule of Boutique Cycle Tours and make your booking via the website. Special thanks to Paul Fuge for the words and images.