Many thanks for organizing such a brilliant week for us all. Your organization and support simply left nothing to be desired. Sounds a bit over the top but when you ask for comments on areas that you can improve, I just can't think of any.
We were approached by this group of 20 cyclists looking for a bespoke holiday in the Autumn of 2017. They wanted a notable challenge but also route options so that some in the group could take it a bit easier if they wanted. We decided that the mighty Mont Ventoux fitted the bill perfectly. Given that they were travelling so far, they wanted to extend our Ventoux Club des Cinglés Challenge to make 6 days of riding. With our knowledge of the area, we put together a ride taking in the stunning Gorge de Verdon, the Montagne de Lure and the beautiful lavender fields of Provence. Our Ventoux & Verdon Gorge cycling holiday was born!
We tailored every part of this holiday to the desires of the clients. This included airport transfers, hotel choices, meal choices and we even managed a kitty for cafe stops and drinks in the evening.
The group also wanted us to take some drone footage of their holiday so we made this short video of their ride.
The following year an extended group came back and enjoyed our Dolomites & Stelvio holiday.
We were contacted back in 2014 to see in we could organise a bespoke trip for this group of 6-8 cyclists from Singapore. There were not enough of them to make it cost-effective to have a private trip, so they joined one of or scheduled Pyrenean Classics trips (where we take about 20 riders).
When clients travel from so far away, they generally travel out a day or two early. We helped them organise extra accommodation and airport transfers. We even came up with fun things to do with their extra time!
In effect, we tailored the trip to suit their requirements.
Since then, we’ve organised the following cycling holidays in the mountains of Europe for this group:
Dolomites & Stelvio, Picos & L’Angliru, Ventoux & Verdon Gorge, Classic Cols of Corsica & Catalonian Classics.
The John Lewis Partners Property and Development department do a charity challenge every year and in 2019, they asked us to put on an adapted 4-day version of our Ventoux Club des Cinglés Challenge trip.
We naturally obliged and they had a great experience, plus they raised lots of money for the City of London YMCA (to support homeless young Londoners).
Doug came on a Marmot Tours Raid Pyrenean by himself back in 2012. He had a great time with the other cyclists on the trip and the following year, a few of them booked to do the Raid Corsica and Alpine Classics. With every holiday, this bunch of fun-loving cyclists grew – their final night awards ceremonies are always a highlight!
They now do a holiday with us every year. Doug decides where he wants to go, sends out an email and we take it from there. Many in the group don’t have any other contact during the year, but there’s always a lot of laughter when they get together.
The Marmot cycling holidays they’ve done to date are:
Raid Pyrenean, Raid Corsica, Alpine Classic Cols, Raid Alpine (Geneva – Nice), Picos & L’Angliru, Raid Sardinia, Dolomites & Stelvio, Catalonian Classics, Raid Massif Central.
In 2016, The Hedge Funds Care Ventoux Cycling Challenge raised over £61,000 for Help For Children, a charity with aims of preventing and treating child abuse.
This amazing sum was raised by 34 riders taking on the mighty Mont Ventoux (1911m). Many of the group were not really cyclists so did amazingly well to get to the summit once, whilst many took on the Ventoux Club des Cinglés Challenge (all three ascents of Ventoux in one day).
Marmot Tours took care of the entire process from booking their place, reserving accommodation, supporting the challenge and delivering them safely back to the airport
The Rucksack Club is a longstanding mountaineering club based in the North West of England. They are primarily walkers, mountaineers and rock climbers but many of their members like to ride a road bike – who doesn’t? Since 2010 we’ve been organising their club cycling holidays in the mountains of Europe. There are a few hard core members that have now done a staggering 13 holidays with us, with other riders coming and going as the years have passed.
We agree on a destination about 18 months before the holiday and then they put it out to the club members. We then give them first refusal over the places, but the tours are also available for anyone else to join. This means that there is no pressure for the Rucksack Club to fill the places and we can offer them a competitively priced holiday, without us having to put the price up if they don’t get enough interest from within their club. Given that not all the club members know each other anyway, this formula of mixing club members and other cyclists works very well, both on and off the road.
The list of Rucksack Club cycling holidays we’ve run to date is quite long… Raids: Pyrenean, Corsica, Alpine (Geneva – Nice), Massif Central, Sardinia & Dolomites. Classic Cols: Alps, Pyrenees, Picos & L’Angliru, Gran Canaria, Catalonia & Southern Alps.
Quote from the Marlow Riders website: “Marlow Riders is the home of social road cycling in the Chilterns. We are an inclusive club, with something for most levels of cyclist, and about a third of our members are female. Our ethos is Cycling for All, no-one gets left behind on our rides, and there’s usually a coffee and cake stop, or a beer at the end!”
This makes them the perfect match for Marmot Tours and in particular our Classic Cols style holidays. They tend to book about 10 places on one of our scheduled departures and then put it out to the club members to sign up on a first come first served basis. We take care of all the bookings, so the ‘organiser’ does not have to spend hours chasing payments and travel plans – they can just turn up and have a great holiday.
The sociable nature of our holidays means that groups mix well with the others on the holiday, whether they are individuals or couples. The list of Marlow Riders’ cycling adventures so far is: Raid Corsica, Picos & L’Angliru, Ventoux Club des Cinglés Challenge, Raid Dolomites, Tour of Tenerife & El Teide, Tour of Gran Canaria.
PS: They also organise the excellent Marlow Red Kite Sportive (50, 80 & 100 miles) sportive every August!
Steeple Aston is a beautiful village in Oxfordshire. After some ‘down the pub’ conversations, it turned out that quite a few of the villagers were into cycling. This lead to some informal ‘meet at the village green at 08:00 on Sunday’ rides to explore the beautiful countryside.
Like many cyclists, they wanted to ride some of the TDF climbs, so contacted Marmot Tours. This was back in 2013 and they’ve since been on five holidays with us (Raid Pyrenean, Dolomites & Stelvio, Picos & L’Angliru, Sardinia Classics & Classic Cols of Corsica)
Our Classic Cols style holidays work very well for this group as they have a wide range of cycling aspirations and fitness. Whatever they achieve during the day (and cider tasting has been on the list), they get together in the evening and enjoy some good banter.
The John Lewis Venture Club was created to bring together all staff (partners) from different areas of the retail group, who have a love of the outdoors. Seeing the team-building value in this, the company now even contributes to the cost of the experience.
Like many of our cyclists, they first wanted to do the 100 hr Raid Pyrenean cycling challenge. This was back in 2010 and they’ve since been back on the following trips:
The nature of their group, spanning the breadth of John Lewis services, means that we take a slightly larger group than normal: 25 clients. We liaise closely with their group organiser, invoicing through the corporate system, and matching our transport logistics to suit the group.
This 20 strong group of South Africans wanted to come over and do the Raid Pyrenean with Marmot support. They were fit cyclists who do an annual holiday together and loved the idea of taking on the traverse of the Pyrenees in 100 hours.
We sent them logos for their trip jerseys, arranged transport for their group, sorted out visa letters and worked closely with their group leader to ensure we had everyone organised in advance of their holiday.
Our Raid Cycling Challenge trips suit this group very well as they’re all regular cyclists that ride at about the same pace.