Hybrid bikes at our Cycling Center

January 22, 2015 by · Comments Off on Hybrid bikes at our Cycling Center
Filed under: France, Lot Cycling holidays 

What are Hybrid bikes?

Here at Lot Cycling Holidays we use hybrid bikes for our tours. We keep a range of sizes and styles so that we can cater for the differing weights and heights of our guests. Why do we use hybrid bikes? Hybrids are a cross between road bikes, touring bikes and mountain bikes. As such they offer the best package of ease of use, comfort and stability to provide the optimum riding experience for our guests and to cope with the demands of the riding conditions found on our tours.

The hybrid bikes we use have these characteristics: * The straight adjustable handlebars and upright riding position associated with mountain bikes, to provide a stress free ride. * A light weight, medium size wheels (between road and mountain bike sizes) and smooth tyres for road use, which is the best combination for casual road use. * A set of gears that falls between the high gearing and close ratios of road bikes aimed at keeping up maximum speeds, and the low gearing of mountain bikes that allows for steep climbs and difficult conditions. This means our guests can have the pleasure of cruising the quiet country lanes at reasonable speeds and cope easily with the occasional gentle incline. *

Hybrids allow for the fitting of our carriers – front with transparent waterproof map sections and rear carriers with detachable bags for snacks, cameras, locks, tools, and any other personal items needed on the tour. * Our bikes also have quick release wheels and fully adjustable gel saddles.

Giant Hybrid Bikes

Giant Hybrid Bike

 

Before our guests venture out on their first tour we spend time with each rider and their chosen bike to ensure:

* All the necessary adjustments are made to the saddle and the handlebar and brake lever and gear change control positions to suit the rider and their riding style

* Guests are familiar with the operation of the controls, especially the gears and brakes. This is particularly important for the brakes, as in the UK the right lever controls the front brake (and left the rear) and in Europe the right controls the rear brake (and left the front)

For more about Hybrid Bikes:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_bicycle

Hybrid bikes

Google our Biking Holidays in France

October 5, 2014 by · Comments Off on Google our Biking Holidays in France
Filed under: France, Lot Cycling holidays 

Google our biking holidays in France

We started our biking holidays seven years ago last September after a first year of renovation and preparation.

At the beginning it was obviously difficult to have our brand new website on page one of Google so we went down the Adwords route. Paying to have our site listed above the normal search results. This can be a very expensive way of attracting bikers! For instance the phrase “cycling holidays in France” can cost about 6€ a click. That means every time someone clicks on our advert it costs 6€, even if they only spend a few seconds on our site. Twenty clicks and that’s 120€ gone.

So with my previous experience as an IT lecturer I thought I could get us on page one organically.

At first I was quite successful but recently the competition has really got intense with some of our bigger competitors having staff full time working on this aim.

Google of course keep changing the goal posts so that no one really knows how they list your site anymore.

There are now so many factors involved it’s become a minefield.

We ended up paying a company to help us with our SEO ‘Search Engine Optimisation) but had no success at all with them.

So it’s back to just me. I spend at least three hours a day trying to make our site relevant and up to date, continually changing content.

Of course now it also involves social media.

So update our website regularly.

Here are our social media sites that Google think we should be using and updating mostly on a daily basis:

 

Twitter

twitter about our biking centre in France

 

Facebook

facebook page about our bikingholidays in France

 

 

 

googleplus

Find us on Google+

 

Youtube

youtube videos of our biking center in France

 

Pinterest 

pins of The Lot Valley and our center

 

This blog

Blog about us

 

 

Then of course there’s LinkedInn where we have a presence but don’t really use it that much.

We also have individual Google+ sites for our tours plus I run a Cycling in France Google+ Community page.

All the SEO “experts” say we must  blog at least twice a week and upload videos to Youtube on a weekly basis.

So when cycling guests say “what do you do in your time off” I usually reply work harder than when we are running our tours!

Of course gradually we are getting more and more returning guests and are receiving personally recommended cyclists.

 

PS we are still not on page one of Google so I have a another challenging winter of SEOing.

 

Google at our Biking Centre

The Lot Valley South West France

February 10, 2014 by · Comments Off on The Lot Valley South West France
Filed under: France, Lot Cycling holidays 

The Lot Valley in the Lot Department

The Lot Valley actually runs across five department of south west France. From its source in Lozère through Cantal, Aveyron, the Lot and ends around Fumel in the Lot-et-Garonne. The river itself continues onwards where it joins the river Garonne and on to Bordeaux and the Atlantic. In all about 500kms in length.
These departments have joined forces to promote the Lot valley as a whole but to my mind the best part of the valley is actually in the Lot department (probably because I know this section best).

Lot Valley Map

There is a velo route (bike route) from Cahors in the east to Fumel in the west, a section of this from Cahors to Puy L’Eveque. This was the old site of the Cahors Bishops Palace.  This bike route has been named the Cahors Wine Trail as it passes through the main Cahors vineyards which straddle the river Lot. These vineyards were originally planted by the Romans and despite various diseases and hard frosts still remain, although extensive replanting has taken place. There used to be vines all over the Lot department but now they are mostly along the Lot Valley where the majority is of the Malbec variety. In order to be a Cahors wine they must be at least 70% Malbec (if not 100%) and then only Merlot and Tannat grapes varieties added.

From Cahors east there is an old tourist railway complete with tracks that were last used in 2005 after which it was moth balled until in 2010 a final decision was made to close permanently. Our Lot Valley Vistas and Villages bike route follows alongside this from Vers in the west to St Cirque Lapopie in the east. St Cirque Lapopie was voted the most beautiful village in France by the French in 2012. It is an ancient hilltop village with magnificent views along the Lot Valley in both directions. It’s a shame that the old railway line has not been converted to a bike route; it would be a fabulous route and a real tourist attraction in itself. There is always talk of it but no progress so far.

Velo Route in the Lot Valley

 

More detailed velo route maps online

Again our bike routes follow these, one of them ends at Douelle an old port on the river and another starts at Luzech and ends at Puy L’Eveque. Both of these cycle routes with us include wine tasting at the end of the day.

This probably why I prefer this section of the valley as it includes the vineyards.

Official website of the Lot

The Americans are discovering the Dordogne at last.

February 23, 2011 by · Comments Off on The Americans are discovering the Dordogne at last.
Filed under: Lot and Dordogne, France, Lot Cycling holidays 

Extract from The Toronto Star by Tom Fortin

It’s a lovely late spring morning and Fortin is guiding a visitor down the gentle waters of the Dordogne River. He’s pointing out old buildings that were used to cure tobacco and the crumbly cliffs along the riverbank and the nearby farms and villages dotted with magnolias and crape myrtle and fields of dreamy, bright-red/orange poppies against a background of sweeping green grass.
As we paddle, or rather let the minimal current sweep us slowly downstream, I look up and see tidy, perfect villages carved into the rock and several centuries-old, faded gold-coloured castles perched high on hilltops towering over the river.
The Dordogne isn’t a name that rolls off the tongue of North Americans like the French Riviera or Bordeaux or Burgundy. But the rich food and the small towns and wide rivers and historic castles that seemingly pop up every 10 minutes might just be the essence of what many visitors would want from a European or French vacation.

(Our cycling tours visit Roque Gageac and Sarlat)

Read the full article

We’re in the Guardian!

February 6, 2010 by · Comments Off on We’re in the Guardian!
Filed under: Cahors Malbec Black wine, Lot Cycling holidays 

It was a windy, stormy night in the Lot last night and this morning is grey and rainy… However it’s all sunny skies here at Mas de Flory because – woo hoo – we are in the Guardian newspaper today!!!
The Travel section has an article on Adventure – Sit Back and Enjoy the Ride with profiles of a series of chauffeured tours. Grape Escape France outlines our wine tours and specifically our ‘Malbec Days’ wine tour in May: www.winetoursfrance.net

We're in the Guardian!

This has cheered us up no end and we may just have to have a couple of glasses of the red (or black!) stuff in celebration!

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