One evening in April 2020, I was sitting in my favourite chair on the balcony soaking up the clean air and the unbelievable silence reigning during that first lockdown.
My idea had been to start working as a freelance consultant for campsites since I have just quit my job. I had successfully led an ambitious renovation project of our local municipal campsite. It seemed the obvious thing to do. That’s without counting on the lockdown effect.
That April evening, the thought struck me that I could also choose to set up a business doing something that I truly love. I asked myself if it could be a business centred on cycling ? At first sight no, because I have no qualifications as a guide or bike mechanic. But I do spend all my holidays on a bike.
My first cycling trip took me to the Mont Ventoux, a large circular tent sitting on top of two touring bags. My setup weighed 15 kilos and I was hooked. Next I crossed the Alps along the Via Claudia Augusta with 11 kilos, without a sleeping system but with money to spend on hotels. I was recovering from an exhausting summer managing the local campsite. Today I still think back on those 3 weeks crossing the Alps as one of my best holidays ever. More recently, I have experimented with winter rides, sleeping wild and proper bikepacking adventures. I have reduced my luggage to a 6 or 8 kilo setup. Funnily enough it still feels heavy.
I’ve worked in tourism for years, so the combination of cycling and holidays seems quite natural. The first outline for the cycling agency was soon drawn up and relying on taxis to transport the client’s luggage. Looking back on that idea, the use of thermal vehicles to enable the client to cycle light seemed to be missing the point.
Luckily my registration as a travel agent was delayed by bureaucracy. The extra time allowed me to develop the agency’s concept further. Bike Tours Vosges and its proposal to transport luggage for its clients by electric cargo bike and trailer won an investment grant in the “France Relance” program. I have no photos yet, but the agency’s cargo bike will be arriving at the end of March.
This last year I have cycled over 5000 km exploring and testing rides. I have gained an understanding of the geography and of the importance of valleys linking the destinations. In total, 2500 kilometers have been mapped for the bike tours for you to explore. It has been an intense and very exciting year and I can’t wait for the first clients to arrive.