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Ride Rating System

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Ride Info

Ride Overview

Headwaters of the Rhône to the Mediterranean

  • Arrival
  • 6/1/2023
  • Departure
  • 6/18/2023
  • Ride Director
  • Warner Griswold
  • Ride Co-Director
  • Lori Henley
  • Driver
  • Wayne Lumsden
  • Starting Location
  • Zurich Switzerland
  • Finishing Location
  • Fos-sur-Mer/Marseille
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $3350
  • Deposit
  • $1800
  • Number of Riders
  • 24 (min. 20 /max. 24)
  • Space Available
  • 0
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 0

Ride Rating

2B  Warning - Read the Description Carefully

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† 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.

Ride Director Comments

For those looking to rent bikes, check out • Supposedly (1) has great bikes and reliable pick up / drop off service (2) has reduced daily rental rate for groups of 6 or more (3) has rental locations in Italy & France & possibly elsewhere (4) will reimburse for any bike shop repairs with a receipt

Ride Description

Headwaters of the Rhône to the Mediterranean

The Rhône River flows from its glacial source near Oberwald in the Swiss Alps to the Mediterranean Sea just west of Marseille, France. It has been a major commerce route for centuries and goes through regions rich in both culture and nature. You will pass by numerous cathedrals, see relicts from the Roman era, and view Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. Your senses will be delighted breathing in the fragrant lavender fields, gazing at the endless sunflower fields and orchards, and enjoying superb wines and culinary treasures.

Our tour follows a well-established network of mostly paved cycle paths. In Switzerland there are signs for the Rhône-Route along pathways and quiet rural roads which at times meander away from the river into alpine forest then loop back to cross it. Our route will stay south of Lake Geneva, taking us out of Switzerland and into France for a day then returning to Switzerland before arriving in Geneva. Shortly after Geneva we’ll enter France for the remainder of the tour.

In France the route follows the well-marked Via Rhône cycle track for over 500 kilometers.  From south of Geneva, it passes through Lyon with the wonderful aroma of French cuisine, Valence which is home of the St-Apollinaire Cathedral and the popular Valence Museum, then to lively Avignon with its rich history, and finally onto the Mediterranean near Port-St Louis-du-Rhône.

See for additional information on the France portion of this tour. Click on the flag in the upper right to select the Union Jack for the English translation.  

RIDE RATING: This ride is rated 2B with an average daily mileage of 41 miles and average daily climbing of 1400 feet on mandatory riding days. Please note the riding days vary greatly in difficulty and the average may not fully depict the challenge. For day #7 Geneva to Chanaz 2,736’ exceeds the Level 2 rating, and day #3 includes an out and back option to climb from Andermatt to the Oberalppass that divides the Rhone and Rhine Rivers 2,040’ before turning around and heading down to Brig, Switzerland.  This option exceeds the 2B levels for both distance and elevation gain. Three days exceed the 50-mile rating (Day #3-57 miles, Day #6-51 miles & Day #14-56 miles). Riders are expected to be comfortable riding on a multitude of surfaces (including cobblestone, Slate, compact dirt, and bike paths) along with riding in city traffic.  

ROUTING EXPECTATIONS: Daily RWGPS route maps will be provided online shortly before the tour.  All participants must have the RWGPS app, and should know how to download RWPGS route maps and /or Garmin GPX files to their smart phones and/or Garmin devices.  Downloaded RWGPS maps will include turn by turn voice cues (voice navigation) and printable cue sheets and route maps.  Participants will require only the free RWGPS’ app to access the routes. Printed route sheets will not be provided.

Many of the 2018, 2019 & 2021 Europe riders enjoyed using their smartphones to navigate.  The smart phone screen provides a better view of where you are on the route, and can also give visual display of points of interest, pertinent cafes, rest stops, bike shops and hotel addresses & phone numbers.  Participants should have good map reading and directional skills.  

This route is a modern, well documented, well signed, and widely used cycle route. This tour follows the Cicerone Guide Book Rhône Cycle Route, the recommended “best of best” route written by the author who has ridden the entire route two times and is available through Amazon for ~$31.  Scouting will be limited.

WEATHER: Riders should plan for cooler morning and evening temperatures along with rain days. Temperatures can range from lows of 37F-50F in Andermatt in early June to highs of 59F-80F in Avignon near the Mediterranean. Bring suitable clothing for all temperatures and precipitation! 

LOGISTICS: Fly into Zurich airport (ZRH) Thursday June 1, 2023. Our hotel is Novotel Zurich Airport which has a shuttle service.  We will meet at the hotel bar at 5:30p.m. for happy hour and our first meeting. The tour completion and departure day is Sunday June 18, 2023. We will spend two nights at the end of the ride at the Ariane Hotel in Fos-sur-Mer, France.  The best departure option is flying home from Marseille France, which is a short train ride from the last night's hotel.  Your bike boxes and large luggage will be available at the end of the tour.  

ACCOMMODATIONS:  Please note that due to the advanced planning for this ride, all hotel reservations have not been confirmed.     

VAN SUPPORT: The luggage van will transport the luggage and any bike boxes to the final hotel destination. Participants are expected to cycle the entire route and will be transported only in the case of injury or illness. Participants should be able to handle their own bike repairs and at a minimum know how to change a tire.  If you have a major equipment failure, we will assist transporting you to the nearest town with a bike shop.  

LUGGAGE LIMITATIONS:  Luggage is restricted to TWO AIRPLANE CARRY ON PIECES OF LUGGAGE with a maximum weight of 25 lbs each!  If you opt to bring your bike and one large piece of luggage, plan on bringing TWO LIGHT-WEIGHT DUFFLE BAGS - CARRY-ON SIZE so you won’t need to use your large overweight piece of luggage during the ride. Since this ride is not a loop route, all luggage and bike boxes will be transported to the final destination of the route.  The cargo van (think of a Amazon delivery van) has limited space; therefore, riders are asked to transport their bikes in cardboard bike boxes in order to save space. If you bring a large piece of luggage, it will be secured in the van along with your bike box and available when we reach our final hotel in Med-Fos sur Mer, France.

BICYCLES:  You should definitely have tires that are 28mm or wider in size.  Smaller size tires are not acceptable due to the surfaces you will be cycling on – everything from smooth paved bike paths to cobblestone, slate, compact dirt paths, and farm roads to busy city streets. Tandems and e-bikes are welcome, but e-bike cyclists should have experience riding their e-bikes prior to the trip and know the rules of the road.  Please let the ride leader know if you plan to use a tandem. The ride leader is not aware of any locations in Zurich which rent appropriate high-quality bicycles.  If you do want to rent a bike and find a rental shop, be sure they can pick your bike up at the end of the trip.

MEALS: Lodging will vary from family-owned hotels to 3 and 4-star hotels. Most breakfasts are included in the cost of the tour. Happy hours will be at the hotel bar, which will include a glass of house wine or a local beer before each nightly dinner.  

COST & ADMINISTRATION: The cost estimate is $3,350, which includes 17 days lodging, most breakfasts, two dinners, happy hour drinks, GPX files and RWGPS daily route maps (which come with voice navigation features to download to your GPS devices or phones). This estimated cost is based on an exchange rate of €1 = $1.25 USD. The initial deposit is due upon acceptance to the ride.The second payment of $1,000 is due January 15, 2023, and the third payment of $550 is due April 30, 2023.  Once rooms are reserved; and other costs are tied down, and whether the ride is full, the third payment will be adjusted accordingly. The ride cost does not include transportation to and from any airports, and attractions such as museums, trains, trams or gondola rides. 

SINGLE RIDERS:  Singles are a great addition to a ride, and they are most welcome to join.   However, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that singles find their own roommate prior to signing up and the Ride Leader will assist in matching them up with other singles who apply for the ride.  If a single rider applies for the ride and there is space available and the rider is accepted by the Ride Leader, they will be moved from the Waitlist to the Pending list and instructed to disregard BAC’s automated payment requests.  The Ride Leader will then reserve a spot for the single rider for 30 days or until February 1, 2023, whichever comes first.  If a single roommate is not found in this time frame, the single rider will be moved from the Pending list back to the Waitlist.   

Please Note:  If a single roommate is not found in the time and the single rider has mistakenly paid the ride deposit, the single rider will be moved from the participant list to the waitlist and will receive a full refund less the BAC fee and credit card fees.  If a roommate is found, both single riders will then be put on the Pending list and their deposits will be required at that time. 

SINGLE LODGING:  Due to limited hotel capacities, this ride is not accepting solo riders who wish to room alone.

CANCELLATION POLICY: The BAC ride registration fee and payment processing fee is not refundable unless the entire tour is cancelled due to registration falling below stated minimum requirements. 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. However, if the cancelling participant can't be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report is completed, and the cancelling rider will be liable for the costs incurred as a result of their cancellation. BAC encourages members to purchase trip interruption and cancellation insurance. 

MEDICAL COVERAGE: Before participating in any BAC tour, members should review their medical coverage and assess whether what you have is sufficient. If it isn’t, you should purchase additional travel medical coverage. The 2020 version of the BAC insurance policy  provided coverage for expenses related to medical emergencies and returning home when members are on tours outside the US and their home country. The policy ceases to be applicable if a member makes a personal deviation (e.g., makes a side trip not related to the planned BAC tour).  It also has limits on expenses covered for family members and only applies for 45 days following their initial departure from home. That policy maintained by BAC did not cover costs associated with self-quarantines that may be government mandated. If there are any changes to an updated policy, you will be informed.  Members should also ensure that vaccinations are up to date (e.g., COVID, annual influenza, tetanus, etc.). If travelling outside their home country members may wish to consult with a travel physician or nurse to ensure that the appropriate vaccinations are up to date. 

COVID STATEMENT:  All participants must be fully vaccinated including booster shots if applicable and be prepared to present vaccination documentation to the Ride Leader if requested. 

If we still have a Covid 19 risk or Covid variant risks, we will follow all the necessary rules, and change activities as need to remain Covid compliant, and can keep the tour as safe as possible.  You may be asked to wear PPE in public, maintain social distance in public and limit social gatherings in public according to the country, province or city's mandate.

RIDE PARTICIPANT RESPONSIBILITY: Please be aware that BAC Ride Leaders are volunteers, and that successful tours depend on participants being responsible for much of their own support. Participants are expected to come to the ride in good health and in physical shape to accomplish the required daily cycles on well-maintained bicycles. All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour. You are encouraged to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from the Ride Leader. While on the ride, please support the Ride Leader by offering to help with various tasks and respect the Ride Leader’s decisions.  Do not invite non-participants onto any portion of the ride or tour, and please keep the Ride Leader informed of any special request you might have.  

SIGN-UP: To register for this ride, use the sign-up links above the Ride Description. When your registration is accepted, the Ride Leader 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 initial tour deposit of $1,800. As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List. If you have additional questions you can contact the Ride Leader by "clicking" the name at the top of this Ride Description.


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PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510

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