My tour this July was a terrific experience. In fact, I had done a tour with them in the summer of 2013, and I loved it so much I went back this summer, 2015. The countryside is stunningly gorgeous – one lovely village (usually with a historic church) after another. And in between them are great vistas across the Cotswold hills. Each day features a couple of destinations. Some are big venues like Blenheim Palace, Hidcote Gardens, Highclere Castle, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Oxford, etc.; others are more quaint and equally wonderful (the woolen museum, Kelmscott Manor, the Old Mill in Lower Slaughter, the weavers’ cottages in Bibury, and numerous pubs and cafes for stops along the way). Be sure to have plenty of room on your phone or camera for the 100s of pictures you’ll want to take. The cycling routes between these sites and the hotels are mostly country lanes with very little traffic. The terrain is rolling hills that most cyclists can manage easily. But if you need a ride or a rest, that is totally ok; the van is always close by. The hotels are lovely – great rooms, fine dining, and beautiful gardens for happy hour and post-cycling relaxation. The guides (Ian and Geraint) are really terrific, and their professionalism and friendliness is a huge part of what makes this tour company so good. They live in the Cotswolds themselves, so they really know the area and are full of great anecdotes and information about the history of the region. The guides are keen to help make everyone’s vacation what they would like. (They worked out a detour for me on my first trip to a village that I was interested in, and everyone enjoyed the serendipity of this stop.) They manage the schedule so there’s plenty of time to see everything without being rushed. One thing I really appreciate about Pedal England is their commitment to everyone’s safety; the group stays together on the road for the most part, and the guides always aid the group in crossing the occasional busy road and in making those tricky (for U.S. folks) right hand turns that are a challenge for even the seasoned cyclist. The bikes were great as well. Finally, I found the communication with the company to be very consistent. E-mails were answered quickly, and before my first tour, I asked the owner, Will, to call me, and he did at my convenience. I described my first tour with Pedal England as the trip of a lifetime; my second tour was just as wonderful. And I’d go back again (though they might get tired of me!). Thanks guys!
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