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30 Sep 2022

Bonnie Beland

I had previously taken this exact itinerary on this company’s smaller barge, the Fluvius in 2017 and that experience was fabulous and inspired me to subsequently make several bike/barge trips throughout Europe. Because of the pandemic this reservation was pushed out twice in 2020 and 2021. It was originally made by a former cruise mate of mine who was unable to make it this year and because I had also had cruise reservations to other destinations also cancelled during this period I decided to assume her reservation and introduce this experience to another friend of mine. BoatBikeTours cannot be faulted for the fairly heavy rainfall our group endured, and while the crew was friendly and optimistic and did a good job with food service and maintaining the cabins, it appeared that the disparate staff were all fairly new and the guides while perhaps experienced were not as familiar with the routes and equipment and perhaps the company standards for safety that I had perceived in 2017. My specific criticism is of the encouragement and optimism for the day #1 long ride through mostly pouring rain particularly as clients have not yet become completely familiar with their rented equipment. While everyone is anxious to ride on these vacations, I feel the leaders should have prepared modifications and recommendations so that the clients are not arriving back at the barge at the end of the day truly miserable. In 2017 there was one scheduled riding day like this and it was discouraged precisely for this reason. I personally was very negatively impacted when midday our guide decided to “save time” by steering the group off road through a “shortcut” of narrow, muddy, uneven paths, clearly unsafe for the conditions. I took a spill that while not completely sidelining the rest of my European vacation impacted my mobility greatly and I returned home 2 weeks later to discover I had fractured my ankle and required immediate surgery. Our guide appeared to have no clue as to how to use the first aid kit, alternate means for transport, had little follow-up upon returning to the barge, and made no attempt to document the incident or file a report. Fortunately I was helped and advised by a fellow client who happened to be an ER physician and I take responsibility for assuming I was nursing a sprained ankle, but in hindsight a proactive X-ray should have been encouraged and might have prevented additional damage that was done. I realize we must all take responsibility for our own safety but I do question the judgement and qualifications of this guide and hope the company does have appropriate safety protocols and training for their staff. On a guided tour such as this, one does become captive to the situation and must rely on the judgement of the leader.

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