RAY RUDDICK's TOURS
'Great Tours of London, Britain & Ireland'
Easy Bike Tours
ABOUT OUR BIKE TOURS:
These tours are for group sizes of up to 8 persons. Novices should go for the easier GREEN TOURS, which involve only two to three hours gentle riding each day; more experienced riders can take the moderately ambitious BROWN TOURS, which involve three to four hours cycling each day, and include some strenuous bits which will leave you out of breath and red in the face!
No matter which tour you choose to take - and whether you think you're experienced or not - we start with a bike handling and road-safety session before anyone gets into the saddle! Our bikes are multi-purpose modern machines with 15 or more gears, good tyres and brakes, and carefully maintained and individually checked before each day's ride. Any punctures or minor repairs along the way will be handled by you if you are capable, or if not your rider-guide will be happy to help.(Our back-up minivan/bike trailer carries all basic spares, etc.) A safety helmet is provided to each rider and we must insist that it is worn when riding. PLEASE NOTE: Bike riders are charged £15 per person per riding day for bike hire. Please also check with us regarding your travel insurance cover at the time of booking.
Difficulty level code:
1 - Very easy. Anyone, of any age who can ride a bike and is reasonably healthy can do it
2 - Easy. With occasional small hills
3 - Harder. Some hill climbing and longer distances
4 - Quite strenuous in places. Fairly good bike-riding ability required
GREEN TOUR A - Difficulty level 1:
A satisfying three-day tour of old villages, pleasant countryside, and the historic University city of Cambridge.
Day 1: 10 miles
We'll begin our trip with a two-hour drive to the attractive countryside of Cambridgeshire, and the lovely city of Ely, capital of the Fens. After visiting the famous Cathedral and Oliver Cromwell's house, bikes are mounted for a ride through the peaceful and attractive Fens countryside. The Fens are very flat and low-lying, often below sea-level, so the land is criss-crossed with drains and dykes and occasional windmills; indeed, there's a very strong resemblance to the landscape of Holland. (The windmills were used to drain the marshy Fens until steam pumps were introduced in the 19th century). An hour's gentle riding brings us to an atmospheric inn for a satisfying lunch. For the remainder of the afternoon we'll wind our way towards tonight's destination - a comfortable village guest-house - where a satisfying dinner, bed and breakfast await.
Day 2: 12 miles
A substantial breakfast will provide the essential 'energy-fuel' needed to continue our leisurely exploration of this unique countryside, with visits to ancient parish churches, yet more ancient earthworks containing stone-age flints, some delightful villages and hamlets, plus a satisfying picnic lunch at a pretty spot - when hunger calls! We'll end our day's journey at an old inn which provides dinner and accommodation tonight. A sense of achievement often leads to a little over-indulgence in the inn's offerings so you've been warned!
Day 3: (Non-riding day) It's a day of comparative rest today as we abandon two-wheels for four and take a mini-van drive with our guide into the historic and beautiful City of Cambridge. After a full tour of the city and some of the fascinating colleges of the University, we'll make our way back to London, via either the Imperial War Museum at Duxford (see the link on our Links page) or take a leisurely country pub lunch followed by a visit to the American Cemetery. Either way, we'll arrive at your departure airport hotel, by early evening.
GREEN TOUR B - Difficulty Level 2/3:
A great four-day tour of Oxfordshire, the Cotswolds, many hidden treasures and some more famous sights
Day 1: Total distance biked - 12 miles.
This trip starts with a pleasant one and a half-hour drive from London to the Oxfordshire village of Woodstock. First, you'll take an interesting tour of Blenheim Park and Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.
A coffee break is followed by a safety briefing before our bikes are mounted and ridden slowly through Blenheim Park - this gives everyone a chance to adjust to their machines; practising pedalling, steering, and braking before leaving the park and riding onto the local lanes. Woodstock village is right next door and a short stop is taken to explore/shop/take photos. Leaving the village, we follow the quiet Oxfordshire country lanes for half an hour or so, arriving at a beautiful 13th century church. We pause here for a short visit and refreshments. Appetites will be sharpened now with all this fresh air, so we're glad to hear our rider-guide reassure us that lunch is imminent! A half-hour or so later, we arrive at a 17th century manor house and gardens, where we'll enjoy a fine picnic lunch in the orchard of the property. This manor has been in the same family since the early 1600's! The lovely gardens were designed in the classical English Landscape style in the early 18th century - garden-lovers travel great distances to see them. We have plenty of time to relax after lunch - and time enough to fully explore this beautiful place, get those "must-have" photos, or just relax in the shade of an old apple tree before we head off to today's final destination.
Leaving the Manor around three in the afternoon, we head off on our last leg of today's journey. It's a truly satisfying ride in gently undulating countryside, where sheep and cattle graze contentedly; through old villages built of light-coloured lime-stone whose churches, cottages and village inns all offer great photo-subjects. (Incidentally, apart from our drinks, cameras and wet-weather gear (all supplied) we carry nothing else when riding; our luggage is waiting for us at today's destination). Finally around four-thirty in the afternoon, we arrive at a charming old village, with many thatched cottages, hundreds of years old. A 15th century atmospheric village inn is our comfortable base for the night.
Day 2: 16 or 20 miles dependant on the route*
After a good breakfast we continue onward to tackle one or two real hills - because we're entering the Cotswolds Hills region now, and good pedal power will be needed! (Don't worry about the hills though - we'll always wait for those who prefer to ride down but walk up the hills!). (However, it's only fair to warn you that it's not unknown for the family/group member who holds the rest of us up longest by walking up-hill to be asked to pay a forfeit at the tavern later. You've been warned!). Just under an hour brings us to a Bronze-age monolithic circle, third only in importance to Stonehenge and Avebury, so a short visit and refreshment break is taken.
We continue with a further hour's riding which brings us to a historic 17th century Cotswold Manor House, which is in the care of the National Trust. It has a fascinating interior to explore, plus pretty gardens in an idyllic setting. It also provides a welcome late lunch/early afternoon tea location for us. At this point a group decision* is made whether to continue to our final destination by bike (four miles away) or to end the active part of the day here, and be picked up by our back-up mini-van. Our base for the next two nights, either Stow on the Wold, or Moreton on the Marsh are both charming Cotswolds market towns. The budget conscious will be booked into the Youth Hostel, travelers with a little more slack in the purse will be enjoying one of the town's charming old Inns, or Guest Houses. For 'high-enders' both villages offer fine Country House Hotels with first-class dining and a touch of luxury.
A friendly warning: 'first-timers' to these adventures are advised that this is a "dangerous" time. You've just completed two days riding and probably taken more pollution-free oxygen on-board than for many a day; for some people, this leads to a mildly euphoric feeling which in turn leads to a real sense of achievement, demanding nothing less than a full-blooded celebration. English villages inns and taverns are seductively friendly places which provide perfect places for such merriment; needless to say, our rider-guides are often amused to meet a very subdued group the 'morning-after'!
Day 3: Distance flexible - dependant on the wishes of the group
It's a day of gentle meanderings today, exploring some gorgeous Cotswolds villages, the Swells, the Slaughters, ending at Bourton-on-the-Water where the shoppers can spend, the weary can rest, and the countless tea shops will tempt us to try the Afternoon Cream Teas. Whether you choose to do a short hour and a half ride or three hours, today, this is our destination. We get a van-ride back to Stow on the Wold from here.
Day 4: (Non-riding day)
Take it easy and after breakfast, enjoy a driver-guided van ride to either:
(a) Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick Castle
(b) The Southern Cotswolds with Bath and beautiful Longleat House
(c) Cadbury World, a Chocolate factory, and great place for chocaholics and kids, plus a Vintage Motor Musem for the boys
(d) A morning horse ride - for a different kind of saddle experience! (The fishermen in the group can fish the lakes at a local Trout farm, or golfers enjoy a round of 18 holes at a nearby course).
Whatever your choice, it's a final satisfying day which ends in London, or at your on-going hotel/airport, by mid-evening.
BROWN TOUR A - Difficulty level - 3/4
A lovely 3-day tour of the Countryside, Gardens, Castles and Sea shores of Sussex and Kent's '1066 Country'
BROWN TOUR B - Difficulty level - 4
A fabulous tour of Yorkshire's Wolds, Moors and Dales, plus Castle Howard and historic York City
PRICES: You pay just £450 per day, to cover the cost of your back-up Minivan, your rider-guide and all miles ridden/driven. The fee also includes the rider-guides hotel/subsistence expenses, but not your own. We can arrange bed and breakfast/guest house/inn/hotel accommodations from £70 per twin or double room, £90 a family room per night including breakfast. You can see that this is the best way to go for a group on a budget, as the cost of the vehicle and guide is shared by your group (which can be up to 6 persons), and you pay what you wish to pay for accommodations and meals.
Please note that meals, entry fees to the sites visited and gratuities (discretionary) are not included.
Total luggage handling throughout. IMPORTANT! If you wish to book this tour please check availability with us first BEFORE paying your deposit.