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Great trip hampered by a large group that was prepared for the cycling.

13 Jun 2016

Dan & Rosie - Toronto, Canada

This was our second time using Boat Bike Tours for our trip. The first trip was Bruge to Amsterdam, this latest trip was Paris to Epernay. First off, a boat bike tour is really a great way to travel if you enjoy biking. You get to see a lot of the country and small towns without ever having to pack up and move hotels every day, you never have to figure out what restaurant to eat at, what part of town to stay in or deal with driving a car in a new country. You get to see so much all from the view of your bike saddle while being in the outdoors. The crew and staff on the Zwaantje were fantastic, pleasant, the boat was clean, well equipped and the meals were top notch. Martijn is an experienced and funny captain, he and his wife made everyone feel comfortable. Our chef and housekeeper were a lovely couple, friendly, great food, always ready to help with any request and just really nice people. Gert our guide was very knowledgeable about things and a very good cyclist but I felt sorry because he was constantly having to make trip adjustments and concessions so much of his time was trying to figure alternate routes. Our problem was with a large portion of our tour group itself. The tour states that the riding is somewhat challenging with hills and long rides however 16 out of the 22 people on our tour were members of a bicycle tour group in America who were not up to the challenges of the tour. Since they could not handle the hills and cycling routes our tour guide was forced to make changes to accomodate them constantly due to time constraints or because they simply would not ride. We were constantly waiting at the top of climbs for stragglers and once they arrived they demanded rest. Within 30 minutes the group would be so stretched that we would have to continually stop and wait for slow and struggling riders to catch up. There were complaints about how difficult the riding was but yet everyone demanded to ride every day. We missed out on some attractions and towns and had several day rides cut short and diverted because we were running late or the group was simply not up to the challenge. And since they were the majority their complaints over ruled the rest of the group and we were forced to go along with their reduced itinerary. Prior to the trip, my wife and I read the description very closely and were even worried about our cycling skills on the trip, we were fine, it is a bit challenging but not over difficult but I do not think anyone in the cycling group took heed in the literature and just decided since they had cycling shorts and gear that they could cycle up and down the river valleys. Also one other complaint not related to Boat Bike or it’s staff was that it was clearly stated that breakfast was at 8-9 am and early coffee at 7:30 if you wanted… We listened and adhered to this request but the cycling group was up early around 6:30 am with no respect to those that may be sleeping or having a quiet morning. They would be yelling “Good morning” to each other across the boat and in the below decks, using hair dryers before the requested time of 7:30 and generally just being loud with out any concern for others. When we arrived for breakfast at 8 (the assigned time) the breakfast choices were picked over and scraps remained and people were reaching around us and pushing in to make their lunches while we were just trying to cobble a breakfast together. Since they were all familiar with each other they saw nothing wrong with it. The captain repeatedly told them when breakfast was but that went in one ear and out the other. Their complaining and lack of cycling skill had our tour guide scrambling to find alternate routes and try to make it easy for them. We did have fun, we went on our own the last day and had a long lovely ride and lunch in a town we happened upon… the scenery was beautiful and the attractions we did get to see were appreciated although sometimes rushed since we had to begin our slow bike ride in order to make it back to the boat in time. Altogether a great staff, ride, experience… my suggestion is possibly find out if there is a large group booked on your dates because they can take over a tour with their sheer numbers and make it into their tour instead of the planned tour.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours 15 Jun 2016

Thanks for taking time to write your review. We are happy to read you were very content with the crew on board the Zwaantje. Most of the time we have a mixed group of different nationalities on board and is the atmosphere very relaxed and in good harmony. That’s also one of the nice parts of our holidays. I feel sorry for you that during your tour the group cohesion was not that what you had except. If you would like to book another time, we can inform you about the number of others guests. Please feel free to ask for more information.

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