† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $50 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.
OVERVIEW: During this 15-day bike and barge trip on the MS Zwaantje from Bruges to Paris through Flanders (Belgium) and northern France, you will cycle through beautiful areas, not yet well-travelled by tourism. This tour offers a delightful variety in landscapes with all the ingredients a good bike & barge tour needs for exploring several interesting regions. The first stage kicks off in Belgium and features highlights such as magnificent city of Bruges, a taste of history in medieval Ghent, tapestry in Oudenaarde, Vincent van Gogh’s heritage, and a quenching Belgium beer at end of your daily cycling day. Some memorable highlights in France are World War I battle fields and memorials in the Somme valley, the Chateau de Chantilly and its art gallery the Musée Condé that houses one of the finest collections of paintings in France, and – last but not least – the final destination in beautiful Paris, the “City of Lights”.
Some possible “ah ha” moments include the following: Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historical center of Bruges; Explore Ghent where several masterpieces of medieval painting are to be found, “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” by Jan van Eyck, being the most famous of all; Pass through Oudenaarde, the town of the tapestry weavers; Visit the town of Péronne with her fascinating “Grande Guerre” museum;
Admire the splendid chateau of Chantilly, a luxurious castle with an impressive art collection and horse dressage; Walk to the grave of Vincent van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise; Visit many highlights of Paris, from world class museums to checking on the restoration progress of the beloved Notre Dame.
On May 14, 2022 you check in at 2:00 PM on the boat located in the city center. You’ll meet the tour crew and will be fitted with your bike and have a chance to give it a quick test-ride. From there you will go to the barge.
At 5:00 PM, we will have our first social hour with dinner afterwards on the boat.
After dinner onboard, your tour guide will take you for an evening stroll through Bruges, which is widely regarded as the most beautiful of all Flemish cities. An interesting fact is that Bruges was once Europe’s second largest city after Paris. This historic opulence is still evident in its old city center, largely intact since the Middle Ages!
If time and money permit, consider coming early to spend time in Bruges and staying later to visit Paris. Consult your favorite guidebook to help you plan your pre and post itinerary.
For a more detailed day via day itinerary along with distance per day, contact the Ride Coordinator who will send you a pdf brochure of the tour.
RIDE RATING: This ride is rated as 1A as the route is mostly flat with some rolling hills, some days being slightly hillier than others. The average distance is 29 miles per day with Day 11 exceeding the A rating at a total distance of 37 miles. Participants may choose to stay on the boat rather than ride.
WEATHER: May temperatures average 55-70F (13-21C) in Paris and 52-64F (11-18C) in Bruges. There is likely to be some rain, so come prepared with rain gear.
LODGING: This is a fixed-base tour as we will be staying on a barge traveling through the towns to our next mooring point. Our barge, the MPS Zwaantje (“Little Swan”), is a comfort-plus class barge, very comfortable, though small, and tastefully furnished with a special saloon and a separate bar. Cabins have full, private bathrooms, air conditioning and heating, and a daily cleaning service. Two rooms will have double beds with the remaining ten rooms with twin beds. There is a large sun deck with deck chairs and an awning. You can see pictures at the website (https://boatbiketours.com/ships/zwaantje/)
BAC has reserved all 12 cabins. Other than the crew, the whole barge may be BAC exclusively. However, if not all cabins are filled with BAC members, the infill cabins will be open to the general public.
BIKES: Note that bicycle rental is not included in the BAC tour fee. Due to space limitations on this boat, Eurosail Travel requires that you rent a bike from Eurosail Travel unless you have a medical condition requiring you to use your own bike. The rental bikes are Shimano 21-speed unisex bikes with wider tires and gel seat and are suitable for the cobble stones and dirt roads on this tour. (Contact the Ride Coordinator for a more detailed description of the bikes written by Eurosail Travel.)
If you have a medical condition which requires you to bring your own bike (single or tandem), you should bring a bike with wide (at least 28 mm) tires. Although we will be riding mostly on paved roads, we will also be riding on dirt or crushed rock packed roads and cobblestones. Road bikes are not suitable for this tour. You will be responsible for the storage and transportation of your bike boxes to the destination of the tour. Please contact the ride leader to determine if there is space to bring your bike.
A regular bike rents for 170 Euros while an E-bike rents for 370 Euros. Included in the rental price are a helmet, water bottle, and detachable pannier. It is advisable to bring your own helmet. There are only five e-bikes available for rent. If more E-bikes are requested, Eurosail Travel will attempt to reserve bikes from outside vendors, and that price has not yet been determined.
BAC and the Ride Coordinator do not warrant the safety and reliability of rental bikes. A sign-up sheet for rental of bikes will be available on a cloud server, which will be downloaded by Eurosail Travel near the beginning of the tour. The Ride Coordinator’s sole role in the bike rental is limited to transferring the bike rental payment as part of your fees and will not advise on the reliability and safety of the bike.
GPS DEVICES AND ROUTES: GPS tracks will be provided for all routes, but it is up to you to know how to use your GPS device before the trip begins. Ride With GPS links will also be provided for all routes.
You need not ride with a group and you may self-guide your way to the next destination. However, two guides will lead two different groups and will narrate and describe the stops on the route.
COST AND ADMINISTRATION: The price of this cruise is $3,500, plus an additional $100 BAC a non-refundable registration and international insurance fee. The cost is based upon an exchange rate of $1.25 per Euro, and it may change due to currency fluctuations. The $3500 covers 15 days/14 nights of lodging, all breakfasts, 13 dinners, packed lunches, and coffee and tea on board, happy hour, and tips for the crew. You will be allowed one free drink from the bar during happy hours, and you may choose to have another at your espense. Your cabin will be cleaned daily. You will receive daily fully guided cycling tours, and some short walking tours. For your bike tours, you will receive maps, gpx tracks, and a water bottle and helmet. The bike is not included in the price. Other exclusions and inclusions are listed in the brochure.
Besides the $2,827 in fees paid to Eurosail Travel, the per-rider cost of $3500 includes $150.00 for happy hours, $100 for tips, $134.00 in leadership costs $184.00 contingency and $105.00 (about three percent of total charges) in credit card fees.
Since we are chartering the whole boat, we are asking that the whole payment of $3500 be paid initially which represents your share of the price of chartering all 24 spots on the boat. By requesting full payment at the outset, this protects you and all others from an increase in the share of payment should there be a cancellation and no replacement.
LOGISTICS - ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE:You are responsible for your own travel to Bruges and from Paris. In Bruges, the barge Zwaantje will be moored in the center of town, and we will inform you of the exact location prior to the start of the cruise. The nearest airport to Bruges is Brussels International Airport and you can take a train from the airport to Bruges. If you decide to land at the Paris International Airport, please visit one of the following websites for timetables, tickets or more information www.goeuro.co.uk or www.trainline.eu.
SINGLES & SOLOS POLICY: There are no solo rooms on this tour. We strongly recommend that singles try to find their own roommates before registering for this tour. If you are a single, the Ride Coordinator will match you with other singles who have applied. Both of you would need to make a commitment to sign the Release of Liability and pay the deposit within seven days.
CANCELLATION POLICY: The BAC ride registration fee and payment processing fee is not refundable unless the entire tour is cancelled. Refunds of tour payments will depend upon whether a replacement rider signs up, and on costs that can be recouped. The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations. If the cancelling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time. If the cancelling participant can not be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and a final expense report has been completed. BAC strongly recommends members to purchase trip insurance, or coverage for any and all costs resulting from the cancellation and interruption of their trip.
RIDE PARTICIPANT RESPONSIBILITY: Please remember that BAC Ride Coordinators are volunteers and that successful tours depend on participants providing much of their own support. Participants are expected to come to the ride well trained, in good health and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well maintained bicycles. All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour. We encourage you to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from the Ride Coordinator. While on the ride, support your Ride Coordinator with offers to help with various tasks such as happy hour preparation and clean-up. Please do not interfere with the ride by inviting non-participants onto any portion of the ride or tour. Please keep the Ride Coordinator informed of any special request you may have and respect the Ride Coordinator’s decisions.
SIGN-UP: To submit a request to join this ride use the "links" displayed above this Ride Description. When you are accepted, the Ride Coordinator will move you from the Waitlist to the Pending List. At this time, you will receive an email notification to login to the BAC website to sign the release of liability form and pay the non-refundable BAC ride registration fee and the tour deposit of $3500 by credit card. As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List. To contact the Ride Coordinator, "click" the name at the top of this Ride Description.
Bicycle Adventure Club
PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510 firstname.lastname@example.org