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A letdown after our first BBT trip.

24 Sep 2017

David Bergmann

We first experienced a Boat Bike Tours trip last year from Bruges to Amsterdam on the Magnifique. The trip for 999 Euro included a guide for all rides and tours in the towns we docked in each night. The food was excellent and the cabins small but comfortable. The very flat rides were a joy. We booked the Bordeaux trip based on the descriptions on the BBT website. This trip is 30% more expensive and does not include guided rides unless you pay 200 euro extra per person. The rides are described as: “Cycling during this tour in the Bordeaux area can be rated easy to moderate, with daily cycling distances from 30 to 50 km. The terrain is relatively flat with some short climbs out of the river valleys onto the intervening vineyard areas and is suitable for cyclists with some (recent) practice and basic to moderate fitness levels”. We found the rides MUCH hillier than described with 4 of the days involving some very long climbs as well as short steep climbs. We are experienced cyclists and walked the bikes up many hills. The on board “guide” stated that he has told BBT for three years that the rides need to be described as moderate and not easy to moderate. He gets a lot of negative feedback about this from customers. That said, the rides were very pretty and went by many famous Chateaus. The lower cabins were smaller than on the Magnifique and the description indicates two twin beds but does not mention that they are fold down beds. When folded down, two adults can barely move in the cabin. All the guests we heard from agreed that the food on board was just “okay”. Nothing special. We had one meal that no one liked. The crew was very good and provided great service making the trip enjoyable despite the issues described. We were provided with maps and ride books. The ride books were very detailed and provided turn by turn instructions with kilometers ridden. Unfortunately the bikes do not have computers on them so you have no way to keep track of the distance ridden making the books almost useless. We were told on board that we could get a GPS for a 100 Euro deposit with the routes for each day highlighted on them. In my opinion, these made the rides doable as long as you got a GPS with a battery that held the charge long enough to get through the day. I had to turn one in and get a better one. If we had done this trip before the Bruges –Amsterdam trip I am sure it would have been a better experience. By comparison, it was a letdown, especially at the much higher price.

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