First and foremost, all tour participants must be able to competently ride a bike. The bikes you will be riding are 21 speed hybrid/touring bikes and it is beneficial if you are familiar with how to shift gears. See the "Practical Information" page of the website where you can see a photo and get the specs for the bikes you'll be riding on your tour. If you are unfamiliar with shifting gears, don't worry. I'll explain how to properly shift gears (I promise, you won't be my first customers who are unfamiliar with shifting gears on a bike and you'll get the hang of it soon enough). For a tutorial on properly shifting gears click on the following link (or you can google search if you still need further assistance):
For all of French Mystique Tours full day countryside tours (where we meet in Paris and take bikes on trains to do tours in the countryside) there are physical/cycling requirements required of tour participants. Before I accept to do any specific tour I need to know about the cycling capabilities and level of physical fitness of all tour participants. My tours vary in length and difficulty and there are tours I would not recommend to folks who aren't regular/experienced cyclists. For all my tours (except for The Marne River Tour, the 3 Hour Marne River and Bois de Vincennes Tour and the 3 Hour Custom Paris Tour) it is necessary that all tour participants are able to maintain a minimum cycling speed of 15km per hour (about 10mph), while riding on flat terrain, for the duration of the tour. The tours are timed with train arrival and departure times and thus have time limits. The tour time includes time to buy and eat a picnic lunch, a few stops where I'll recount some history and one or two stops for a café/bathroom break so it's not all non-stop cycling. The tours are meant to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace and the tour distances/times and minimum required cycling speed have all been taken into consideration to ensure that your touring experience with French Mystique Tours will be memorable. If you are unsure of your cycling speed as we're riding along, don't worry, I have a speedometer on my bike. If you see me getting ahead of you I'm not trying to outpace you, it means you need to ride faster to maintain the minimum cycling speed.
What if I don't cycle much and/or can't maintain the minimum required cycling speed?
For folks who don't cycle much (or only infrequently, or for short distances on very flat terrain) it is my experience after doing tours for 9 years that they will tire quickly and need to get off the bike and walk. And folks who don't cycle much aren't prepared for the sore butt they'll have after spending an hour on a bike seat. Even if you are fit person who exercises regularly, and perhaps you also do spin cycling, you are going to be using different muscles and have an overall different exercise experience than what you are accustomed to. And I'll remind you again, if you don't cycle much you are definitely going to have a sore butt after spending an hour on a bike seat.
The most important thing to me is that my customers are enjoying themselves on my tours. If people have chosen a tour beyond their ability they will get tired and fatigued (and have a sore butt) and will not be enjoying themselves. Thus, I try to be sure that people have selected a tour well suited to the abilities of their group members as cyclists.
If you aren't confident in your level of physical fitness/cycling ability then don't panic. Tours that are well suited to folks who don't cycle much are the ''3 Hour Marne River and Bois de Vincennes Tour'', the ''3 Hour Custom Paris Tour'' and the ''Marne River Tour''. For the ''3 Hour Marne River and Bois de Vincennes Tour'' and the ''3 Hour Custom Paris Tour'' there is no required minimum cycling speed since these are timed tours with flexible itineraries so you'll cycle at whatever pace you are comfortable with and cover as much or as little distance as you are capable of handling.
For the ''Marne River Tour'' there is a time limit of 4-1/2 hours to complete this tour but with the exception of one hill (which is not that steep) this tour is almost on completely flat terrain and a minimum cycling speed of 10km per hour (6 miles per hour) will be sufficient.
If you aren't interested in the above cited tours but aren't confident that you can maintain the minimum required cycling speed for the specific tour that interests you then for some tours (not all tours) it is possible to add additional touring time beyond the allotted tour time noted in the tour descriptions, for a supplemental fee. Just submit your inquiry and customizing tours to your physical/cycling abilities can be discussed.
Tours For Children Under The Age 14
I don't recommend most tours for kids under the age of 14 due to the physical/cycling/time constraints cited above. However, this is not a strict rule. Over the years I have done tours with kids under the age of 14 but I was first assured by their parents that their kids were experienced cyclists who would have no problem adhering to the physical/cycling/time constraints of whichever tour interested them. Also as noted above, just submit your inquiry and customizing tours (i.e. adding additional cycling time to allow you to complete any specific tour at your own cycling pace) to the physical/cycling abilities of your group members can be discussed.