Allies – Normandy to the Rhine

ALLIES - NORMANDY TO THE RHINE CYCLING TOUR OVERVIEW

Our Allies launch marks 100 years to the day since the armistice was signed to end World War I.

We start our Allies Odyssey with the tide out! Rolling across the bridge from Mont St Michel to mainland Normandy, our trail is historic and relaxed as this Odyssey takes in more forgiving terrain and less kms per day (average 55 km) giving us time to explore the epic history all around us. As we pedal through France, Belgium, Luxembourg and into Germany, we traverse through the sensational regions of Normandy, Picardy, Flanders, The Ardennes and along the Moselle, following and examining the two greatest historical conflicts of recent times - WWI and WWII.

Starting with Normandy's low rolling hills, tiny lanes and historic villages, we skirt the D-Day beach landing grounds where the boats went the other way! This was the biggest seaborne invasion ever mounted and its aim was to liberate France from Nazi occupation in WWII.

Northern France is full of amazing produce, from local cheeses Livarot, Pont l’Eveque and of course Camembert to cider and calvados apple brandy. Off the rugged cliffs and sandy beaches, fishing boats bring in the catch which is a major and magnificent part of the local cuisine.

As we head east through Rouen (once home to Richard the Lionheart!) and on to Amiens with its exceptional cathedral, we head for the sorrow which is the WWI battlefields of the Somme and into Belgium at the Ypres Salient. We are surrounded by history - military, medieval and cycling as we trace the roads of the Paris Roubaix, Tour of Flanders and Liege-Bastogne-Liege which makes this area an exceptional place to ride through.

Belgium’s stunning roads and medieval villages greet us as we roll through the lush Ardennes, rightly famed as some of Europe’s best cycling. After traversing Luxembourg in a day we strike the magnificent Moselle River. We wind its course northeast admiring its sheer vineyards which cling to the cliff-like banks which line the river - but don’t worry we enjoy the valley riding (there are x-loops for the brave!)

Our final destination is Remagen, where the Allies first crossed the Rhine and entered the heart of Germany for the Allies' final assault to end WWII.  Across the only bridge on the Rhine which the Germans failed to blow up, the Allies had won the race to the Rhine.

Outside Magazine Trips of the Year 2020

Allies makes Outside Magazine's Epic Trips 2021

We are hugely proud to feature not 1 but 2 of our Odysseys in Outside Magazines Epic Trips of 2021. Allies - Normandy to The Rhine and Othello - Marrakesh to Porto made it into this very exclusive list a year early!

ALLIES

NORMANDY TO THE RHINE

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Max Hofman Bike Tour guide
Tour Leader Max Hofman

Max is Australian-born and has guided with us for over a decade. He is the heart and soul of any tour he leads. His amazing attention to guests makes him much loved and valued by every rider who joins us on tour.

ALLIES BIKE TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
Stage 1- Mont St Michel -> Amiens -> Ypres

  • Astonishing Mont Saint-Michel which rises out of the ocean like a fairytale castle. We take a behind the scenes tour here before our departure on this historic Odyssey
  • Normandy, Picardy, all of Northern France! Beautiful countryside, tiny lanes and stunning villages such as Lyons-la-Floret, Bec-Hellouin, Gerberoy and Beuvron-en-Auge
  • History from the Norman Conquest of Britain to the WWII liberation of Europe which began on the beaches of Normandy
  • Ride the Route du Cidre through Pays d’Auge, stopping, of course, for tastings of traditional cider and Calvados paired with local Camembert and Pont-l’Evêque cheeses
  • Eat the best local food - luscious fresh seafood, local crêpes and apple tarts. Our favourite is Marmite Dieppoise - a creamy, cidery fish stew that encapsulates the flavours of the ocean and the farmland of Normandy
  • The Bayeux Tapestry - a 70 metre long tapestry from the 11th century depicting William the Conquerors feats!
  • WWII D-Day landings history with visits to Utah, Juno and Sword beaches as well as Pegasus Bridge and Arromanches, with local exceptional historian storytellers to keep you enthralled
  • Coffee in the scenic fishing port of Honfleur; painted by the the best impressionist artists Eugène Boudin & Claude Monet
  • Awe-inspiring WWI history as we ride through the Somme and sites such as Villers-Brettonneux, Pozieres, Bullecourt and Fromelles. See the simple but phenomenally moving memorial in Villers-Brettonneux painted on the school wall which simply states "Never Forget Australia"
  • Gothic Amiens, with its mighty Cathedral and lovely green spaces along the Somme river
  • Genuine cycling pedigree as we trace parts of the Paris Roubaix (with or without cobbles!) as we head north towards Belgium for mussels and waffles
  • Gentle rolling hills and flatter terrain - perfect for a historical and cultural exploration by bike
Ypres -> Cherveux -> Moselle -> The Rhine

  • A Merckxian post Ypres roll through Flanders covering many roads of the famed Tour de Flanders - again the scenery is spectacular!
  • WWI history in depth. The Fields of Flanders and Ypres. Listen to the eerie Last Post which has been played at the Menin gate every evening since WWI finished
  • Belgian Ardennes with rolling hills, cliff perched towns, epic monastic breweries and hard to beat roads
  • Optional cobbles! The Spring Classics are renowned for their cobbled sections. We offer the chance to ride a few of the most famous sections (or you can ride around) including Kwaremont, Koppenberg and Taaienberg.
  • Did anyone say beer? Or waffles? Or chocolate? Belgium does these staples like no other country in the world, and we test them! At Leffe and Achouffe breweries and in the ‘Capital of Chocolate’ - Flanders
  • Breathtaking riding through Belgium who has beautiful villages like no other - Rochefort, La Roche en Ardennes and Celles just to name a few
  • Cycling history as we rest in Bastogne, the turning point for the epic Ardennes Spring Classic - the Liege-Bastogne-Liege
  • We return to WWII history as we follow General Patton’s advance from the Battle of Bulge to the Rhine. We ride to Remagen made famous by WWII as the only bridge left standing when the Allies arrived
  • Historic Trier with 8 UNESCO listed monuments is the perfect place for a evening wander and dinner!
  • Our route is a little different to the tanks - we ride through the steep vine clad hillsides, picturesque wine villages and craggy castles that line the Moselle River Valley - a cyclists' paradise
  • Moselle Reisling! Wine tasting at Bernkastel-Kues and of course a glass at our Castle hotel watching life go by on the Moselle
  • Arriving at infamous Remagen, site of the Allies first breach across the Rhine into Germany and the final push to Berlin
2023 Tour Dates and Prices
Tour Essentials

Rates are based on twin share. Single supplement = €75 EUR per night.

For bike rental options please click here.

Tour Accommodation

Fittingly on this historic Odyssey, we stay in Chateau, Schloss and historic abodes.  Here are some places you will stay at on the tour:

Bourgtheroulde, Rouen
The Hotel de Bourgtheroulde and Spa is a class 15th century listed historic property in the heart of the ancient capital of Normandy, Rouen.
Chateau d'Urspelt, Clervaux
Classified as a National Monument, this castle offers you charm, elegance and serenity on your rest day in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Schloss Lieser, Moselle River
Schloss Leiser
A grand and noble fully restored 18th century castle on the banks of the Moselle.
Do you fancy a massage?
What could be better at the end of a day on the bike than a professional sports massage? When our groups reach 18, one of our Soigneurs joins the Odyssey!
Food and Wine

From lamb, seafood and dairy in Normandy, to the hearty stews and ciders of Germany, the Allies Odyssey takes you on a gastronomic whirlwind. Picardy, Wallonia, Champagne-Ardennes, Moselle and Rhineland all have their specific specialities which are amazingly diverse and delicious! You ride through these areas and see what you will be eating on the table that evening - fresh beautiful produce plucked right from the land.

Marmite Dieppose, Normandy
A classic mouthwatering Normandy dish made from fresh fish and crustaceans from the English Channel on its east side combined with its world famous dairy products from its farmlands
A classic mouthwatering Normandy dish, made from fresh fish and crustaceans from its coast combined with its world famous dairy products from its farmlands.
Chocolatiers, Belgium
Belgian Chocolate on tour
Belgium chocolates are loved worldwide, but there is nothing like choosing from piled high platters of them right where they are made!
Moselle vineyards, Germany
Moselle Valley Wines Bike Tour
Pedal through the spectacular vineyards on banks of the Moselle River, then the Rhine, working up a thirst to quench.

Read more about the Food and Wine of the regions we ride through

 

 

Food and Wine

Normandy 

Agneaux de pré salé (Meadow-salted lamb) comes from the Bay of the Mont Saint-Michel and is a great dish to start off the mouth-watering treats you will encounter in Normandy. Normandy is known for its abundant seafood on its Western edge as well as fish from the Somme River which flows through it. No matter what type of meat you eat though, it will most likely be accompanied by a luscious type of dairy;  “A la Normande” refers to a sauce, something which is usually very rich in butter or cream. Marmite Dieppoise is a must try here - a delicious seafood dish cooked in a creamy broth of butter, cider and crème fraîche. The quality of dairy farmland is the basis for such acclaimed cheeses - Pont-l’Évêque, Livarot, Neufchâtel and of course - Camembert, which needs no explanation!

As well as seafood and dairy, Normandy produces apples which are famous throughout the world. You mustn’t pass through here without trying a Tart de Pommes a la Normande (apple tart) for dessert or an apple cider to accompany your meal. Normandy is almost famous for its lack of wine production, but makes up for it by producing excellent cider, a beautifully refreshing treat after a days ride, though sometimes too easy to drink!

Picardy

Picardy is known for much more basic food, but no less delicious as so many vegetables are grown right there, like carrots, watercress, endive, rhubarb and apples. This northern region of France boasts more country dishes like Le pâté de canard (duck pâté) from Amiens and a leek pie called Flamiche.

As for dessert, you cannot go past the Macaroons d’Amiens. You will want to stuff them in your back pockets for pedalling snacks ahead! Picardy’s main wine is the Champagne; a part of Picardy’s vineyards being allowed to produce this outstanding wine. But again, this area is more famous for its great beer and cider.

Flanders

Belgium is best known for its chocolate, waffles, fries and beer. That covers all areas doesn’t it?! Mosselen-Friet (mussels and chips) is a classic Belgian dish to eat here. The most common way mussels are served in Belgium is steamed in white wine, in big black mussel pots. In addition to wine, they can also be served with shallots, parsley, butter, cream, beer, or even mustard sauce. Any which way is delicious and the fries just go so incredibly well with them! As to what to wash them down with, some of the world’s most famous beers are brewed in Flanders, including Stella Artois, Leffe and Duvel. But Flanders has so much more to offer than just its mass-produced beers - they are famed for many varieties of typical regional beers, whose popularity continues to grow,  including Geuze, Kriek (made from cherries) and Lambik, Trappist and Abbey beers. However, white cold climate wines are making a comeback here - chardonnay grapes making up 90% of their produce.

Ardennes

Luxembourg's cuisine is international, due to its sandwiching between so many influential foodie nations. Probably its most popular dish is Judd mat Gaardebounen, a hefty heart-warming dish of smoked and salted pork with broad beans. Good fuel for pedaling legs, and certainly you have to have an appetite, as they are often huge helpings! Jardon de Ardennes is a cured ham which is lovely and for a snack along the way, you can’t go past their Gromperekichelcher, grated and fried veggie fritters that are scrumptious and you will find at markets and fairs everywhere. For our sweet teeth, tart aux quetsches (plum tart) or Les biscuits roses de Reims – these little pink biscuits are designed to be dipped in a glass of champagne - what better way to eat dessert!

Cider is again a favourite here, although a little more acidic than from Normandy, but just as thirst quenching. The Champagne-Ardenne region is known the world over for the quality of its vineyards and wine cellars, which cover an area greater than 30,000 hectares, and employ the talents of several thousand wine-growers. Producing more than 300 million bottles each year, the Champagne-Ardenne region has certainly proved its aptitude for making wine and of course its famous bubbly beverage!

Moselle Valley and the Rhineland

The state of Rhineland-Palatinate is more known for growing wine - two-thirds of the wine produced in Germany come from this region alone! Its food takes a back seat, but is very hearty and substantial, mainly because the recipes were developed by the physically hard-working population or in times of poverty. Nearly all meals are served with potatoes in some form - mashed, in pancakes, or balls, you won’t escape them but neither will you want to, they really do them well! Their most famous way to deliver potatoes is their Himmel und Erde (Heaven and Earth) which is mashed potatoes (from earth) with an apple sauce (from heaven). Rhineland-Palatinate is Germany's number one wine-producing region. Its mild, sunny climate and nutrient-rich soils are perfectly suited for growing grapes. The vineyards are planted along the river Rhine and its tributaries, with the oldest plantations going back to the Roman era, making for spectacular cycling along the Rhine’s banks.

When we cycle up the Moselle river, Friture de la Moselle is a must - small fish from the river, fried and eaten with one’s fingers! And of course we must not pass up the chance to imbibe the world loved Moselle wines at its source.

 

The History

The Allies Odyssey is richer with history than any of our tours before, with in-depth WWI, WWII, Medieval, Roman and cycling history! We will experience all of this accompanied by expert local guides to give us genuine insight into the history we are travelling in the footsteps of.

To summarise the history of these periods is impossible. However, we will visit some of Europe’s most significant WWI and WWII sites. For WWI we traverse the Somme, Siegfried Line and Ypres Salient visiting many of the battlefields and monuments including Villers-Brettonneux, Pozieres, Deville, Bullecourt and Fromelles. For WWII we ride along the coast where the D-Day Landings were made, visiting Utah and Juno Beaches, the Pegasus Bridge and many more sites. We also visit the site of one of the biggest and bloodiest battles of the war - The Battle of the Bulge and arrive on the Rhine where the troops first crossed into the heart of Germany. Beyond this recent history, we ride through so many spectacular medieval towns - we visit Amiens Cathedral and view the astounding 70 metre long Bayeux Tapestry, which records William the Conqueror's activities before the Battle of Hastings in 1066 when he became the first Norman king of England.

Testimonials

This was my third trip with Bike Odyssey and I would give it a perfect score. The guides (Max, Francesca, Christiana and Henrick) were absolutely superb. They worked seamlessly as a team and as individuals. The riding was completely lovely and if you like to ride extra (like I do) the guides were very flexible in working with you so you could do as much or as little as you wanted. The combination of lovely riding and amazing history is unique in my experience to Bike Odyssey. Finally even though the group was fairly large (24 people) somehow the trip was done in such a way that you felt taken care of as an individual and entirely looked after. I liked every single participant on the trip, I can’t think of a single negative thing to say. PS the picnic lunches every day were a completely unexpected highlight.

Bob Goyette, Allies 2023

A personal challenge with 5 star back up. Meeting people who (I think) share a similar approach to cycling, travel and life. Your routes were fantastic, Sam. Every day slightly different. Scenery, roads and gradients constantly varied. Great riding always. Food was beyond expectations. Glutinous breakfasts, healthy lunches and stunning dinners…even for veggos! The accommodation was luxurious. Beds regenerated tired bodies overnight. Impressive swimming pools were always a bonus too. Last, but certainly not least , were the guides. Enrico’s knowledge of the countries we rode through was enlightening. It was almost embarrassing to have such a person do room service for us when we were locked down. Dario couldn’t do enough for us and what can you say about Marjolein? She is so capable and genuine. She made every one of us feel special and gave the best massages ever. I would do future tours for the guides alone! It was great having you there Sam. Loved the history and your calm approach to the day to day, no matter what.

Sarah Rawlinson, Lionheart 2022

Experiences that leave a lasting impression for me are generally ones that are aligned with my values and create an authentic connection. Bike Odyssey NZ 2022 led by Isabel and supported by Sarah and Sean in NZ and Nicky and Sam in Australia was an absolute standout. Isabel is an outstanding leader combining Intelligence, empathy and great organisational skills. To share this experience with my son Hugh has been an absolute privilege. I can’t wait to begin my next Bike odyssey adventure with Jane and your team in 2023.

Stephen Grover, New Zealand 2022

Great support, great organisation, great fun, great Sam, great everything!!!

Eric Dole, Tasmania 2022

Fantastic personalised service & continuous attention to the needs of a diverse group of clients.

Thomas Penny, Tasmania 2020

Great ride with great company and the best of meals. Bike Odyssey really look after me on these rides.

Bike Odyssey Berry Challenge Kay Sharon John
John Montagner, Berry Escape 2020

Very well organised, good route, excellent communication throughout and fabulous accommodation. Highly recommend Sam, Isabel and their support

Anthony B, Berry Escape 2020

Super professional as always, the route was stunning and challenging, loved the food all round especially the on road lunches provided by Issy!

biketour review
Paul Traynor, Berry 2020

We rode on the Bike Odyssey Under Downunder Tasmanian tour in February/March 2021. The tour was essentially a push-bike circumnavigation (more or less) of Tasmania over 3 weeks. It was fully supported with accommodation at some of Tasmania’s top hotels and a smattering of more modest accommodation at some more remote locations. Restaurants ranged from excellent fine dining to pubs with great food, again depending on the location.
The guides Sam and Issy and the masseuse, Sarah couldn’t do enough for us to help make our experience a fabulous one.
They were always encouraging when it came to the big hills. Always honest when they felt the weather or conditions were against us. And Sarah was always there to make sure the sore hard-working bodies stayed in good order.
Whilst by no means the cheapest bike riding experience holiday I believe that you get what you pay for and this is a perfect example of that.
I will continue to choose Bike Odyssey.

Roberta Bailey, Tasmania 2020

This was a great ride. It rained on the first morning, so we waited that out. And it rained on the departure day, which was irrelevant. Apart from that, it was cold generally and windy, but those discomforts were more than made up for by the scenery, food and wine. This was a hard ride — consistently, days had 1000 or more metres of climbing [with the option of more!] and an average of 100 km of rolling terrain — but thoroughly enjoyable.
Sam was an attentive and skilful jack-of-all trades and Isabel was an energetic and enthusiastic presence at all times. Between them, they served up a varied and wonderful smorgasbord of hotels, meals and drinks. They consistently accommodated the varied and idiosyncratic requests of the touring group.  The riding group consisted of people with varied life experiences and opinions, which made for interesting conversations over dinner.

Michael Webber, Tasmania 2020

I’ve been on several supported tours over the last few years and Sam is heads and shoulders above when it comes to attention to details and impeccable support for the rides.

Boon Yeo, Custom Snowys 2022

A really relaxing well organised and enjoyable trip. Sam and Isi were enthusiastic, supportive and very personable tour leaders. Would heartily recommend Bike Odyssey trips.

Ralph McConaghy, Tasmania 2021

Bike Tour was very well organised. Accommodation and meals were excellent. Riders were able to ride at own pace without hassles. Staff were very helpful, great fun and great people.

Phil B, Berry 2022

Sam Wood put together a most professional and fun custom tour of the NSW Snowies at short notice. We were treated to nourishing breakfasts, gourmet roadside lunches, and selected dinners, interspersed with a wonderful variety snacks and drinks during the rest breaks. On road support was amazing, with cue-laden GPS routes, and equal support and encouragement handed out to the fast riders, the relaxed riders, and everyone in between.
And, there was still time to set up and prepare lunch, clean up after the hungry horde, and be at the end-of-day accommodation with keys and any important information.
I would not hesitate to join one of the Bike Odyssey trips – either domestic or overseas. Nor would I hesitate have ask them to put together a custom trip for us again.

Mark McCorkindale, Custom Snowys 2022

Surpassed all expectations (and they were already high!). Sam seemed to be everywhere, conjuring up fabulous meals, shopping, repairing bikes, filling water bottles and all with a cheerful smile. Highly recommended.

Sally Collier, Custom Snowys 2022

Our recent Bike Odyssey tour of Tasmania from Hobart to Launceston was a magical experience. The organization by Isabella and Sam was impeccable and the expertise in cycling – Chris an inspiration! – and tour co-ordination evident and so professional. The routes chosen were ideal to challenge and offer wonderful views of the countryside at the same time. As a couple we were able to enjoy a cycling holiday together for the first time. Liz on an e-bike and Bill on his own roadbike brought from Brisbane. The accommodation venues arranged were all of a high quality and we certainly appreciated the remedial massages with Sarah!
We look forward to joining many future adventures with the amazing Bike Odyssey team!!

Liz and Bill Donelly, Tasmania 2022

First Class Cycling
Bike Odyssey just continues to deliver. Fully supported, flexible riding options that cater for all. Feel like knocking off early or missing that section – no worries. Want to ride further or detour a challenging climb – they just make it happen so seamlessly. Outstanding catering along the way, then overnight in luxurious accommodation with top class meals.
The l’Etape Escape weekend away was another great adventure delivered by Sam and Isabel.
Once you join the Bike Odyssey family you will realise this is the only way to cycle.

Dave and Karen Cunningham, Berry, 2020

Great week of riding and guide support. Well structured itinerary with some great stops along the way (winery, cheese factory, fish shop, famous pub etc). Suitable focus on “where is the next coffee” and great picnics.

Sam and Isabel do a great job of making the journey a pleasure.

Ivan Holyman, Tasmania 2020

THE way to see Tasmania!
We were blessed with two weeks of wonderful weather, but this must be the best way to see Tasmania! Riding pace to get around and fabulous food and accommodation to keep you fresh. I absolutely loved it, including the challenges like climbing kunyani/Mt Wellington and Jacob’s Ladder at Ben Lomond. Isabel and Sam were fantastic guides/hosts and the routes were well researched. Can’t wait to do another Bike Odyssey!

Daniel Webber, Tasmania 2021

Sam and Isi set up short breaks in Australia to relieve the tedium of the Corona virus restrictions and the Berry break we joined on our tandem proved that Bike Odyssey was able to match the quality of their customary European trips here at home. The riding was unexpectedly challenging, utilising mostly quiet roads, the weather was satisfyingly pleasant and the company, support, food and accommodation were outstanding. Just as we have come to expect from Bike Odyssey!

Phil and Joyce Ogden, Berry Escape 2022

Outstanding support & customer service

Tassie Down Under was my first Bike Odyssey and I couldn’t have been more thrilled with how it all went! Sam and Isabel leave nothing to chance, they are super organized and extremely accommodating to the varying needs of each person on tour. The support they gave us both on and off the bike was absolutely outstanding. The accommodation was high end and the meals were incredible. I’m already planning my next Bike Odyssey and it won’t be my last!

Karen Cunningham, Tasmania 2021

Sam provided support for our 7 day Snowy Mountains bike tour… day 1 I thought this was pretty good having morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea all sorted without thinking about it. As the days and k’s rolled on I reset my thinking to “how far to Sam” such was the fabulous support and treats each stop provided.

Choosing a supported bike tour is easy now, just select which Bike Odyssey trip to go on, simple!

John Broughton, Custom Snowys Tour 2022

A trip of a lifetime cycling through Spain, France & Italy – Pyrenees, Mediterranean, French Alps, iconic climbs, renowned wine regions, medieval villages and most importantly new friends from the Hannibal Odyssey.

Adrian Amelse, Hannibal 2022

A great trip all around; beautiful Tasmania countryside, well organized, excellent communication, helpful leaders (Cam for President), outstanding restaurants and mostly top-quality hotels. I especially appreciate Sam driving us two hours to the airport due to our leaving the trip early. Very kind of him.
I would eliminate Hawley House next time. Our room was in the back, smelled like dogs and the mattress was so soft and uncomfortable that I opted to sleep on the floor. The food there was excellent though.
Otherwise, a challenging, gratifying and memorable trip.

George Gardner, Tasmania 2019

Amazing way to see the world with a fantastic company. I would recommend this trip to everyone

Steve Ball, Lionheart 2019

Had the best guides on the best roads, the accommodation was second to none, navigation was spot on and the food was exceptional

Scott James, Lionheart 2019

I just did the Lionheart tour. The Bike Odyssey routes, accommodation, food and history talks – all amazing. But what made the trip outstanding was that Sam and his team went the extra mile (often literally!) to keep us safe, healthy and happy.

Dean Jackson, Lionheart 2019

Fantastic trip and fantastic attention to detail from the team. Bike Odyssey sweats the details so you can just enjoy the riding, eating and the views.

Ross Ditchfield, Lionheart 2019

The best in the business – sensational, organised and professional sums up the Bike Odyssey Team. The route planning is impeccable taking in the quiet roads and stunning scenery. Every day ends in another top class and unique accommodation with tasty regional food and wine. Nothing to think about once on the trip except the all important riding your bike.

Chris Jallard, Lionheart 2019

Outstanding scenery, accommodation and food. Everything is taken care of for you, just get on your bike and enjoy the amazing scenery and excellent roads with very little traffic.
Thanks Sam and everyone at Bike Odyssey for a truly memorable holiday.

Tony Rigney, Lionheart 2019

Extremely happy. Awesome route and on-road support, fantastic accommodation and food. As good as Hannibal which was my best overseas experience to date.

John Culity, Lionheart 2019

I booked this trip in late 2018 and even before we left in July 2019 I felt in professional hands. Bike Odyssey were heavily involved from that point right through to the trip itself in helping me get organised and answering any and all questions. Nothing was too much trouble and it made for a very smooth experience. The trip itself was simply brilliant. The team were outstanding in their organisation and care for us as riders and people and we had a lot of fun together. I always felt respected and cared for and very safe on the road with the support we had. Furthermore, our bikes and gear was well cared for, the food and accomodation was amazing and the riding routes extremely well scouted and thought through. Finally, we could always take some time out if required, which was vital on a long point to point journey. Overall, I would highly recommend Bike Odyssey and look forward to hopefully enjoying another adventure with them in future years.

Mich Jones, Lionheart 2019

Hands down the best holiday I have had. Great food and accommodation, unbelievable levels of support from the Bike Odyssey team and the ability to completely unplug for large stints each day made this an epic break.

I’ll definitely be back.

Adam Somerville, Lionheart 2019

If there was an option to rate 6 star, I would!

What an experience- there is nothing I would change. From start to finish, the location, the rides, the seamless transfers of my gear each day, the fantastic group of people riding, and the brilliant guides supporting us daily.

I cannot wait to book another tour. Yes it is the only bike tour I have done, however would be pretty certain it rates as one of the best.

Michelle Ball, Lionheart 2019

I did this trip on an ebike as I am not a cyclist. It was a tough ask but the organisation by Bike Odessey made life a lot easier. Everything was done for us other than having to pedal every day. Our route was plotted, our coffee was planned and the picnic lunches set us up perfectly for the afternoon. The guides were professional and motivating. The lead guide Max has a real gift with people and inspired us every day to do more. We had our bikes expertly maintained and our bodies too with a professional massage every few days. The entire team were fantastic.

We had amazing food, saw places we would never have known about, made new and special friendships and had experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. Would I travel with Bike Odessey again? I’m already planning it.

Linda Nairn, Hannibal 2019

I enjoyed my 10 days as a non-riding partner for the stage 2 on Hannibal 2019. Whilst my husband was riding through the Alps following Hannibal’s footsteps, I was hiking to a lake, enjoying a wine tasting or two and taking part in an Italian cooking lesson. We also had time to wander through local markets and enjoy the fabulous grounds of our accommodation in Castles and Villa’s in vineyards with magnificent views! The Bike Odyssey crew are welcoming, informative and friendly, they are quite flexible with the day to day plans. I have no hesitation in recommending Bike Odyssey for the non rider, although I will definitely be riding next time on an e-bike! My husband was thrilled with his ride and is already planning the next one!

Karen Cunningham, Hannibal 2019

THE trip for serious cyclists who also appreciate life après-ride.

Bike Odyssey’s Hannibal trip has it all: challenging cycling (including the most noted climbs of France and some very spiky ascents in Italy); outstanding support; fine dining; quality accommodations.

Bruce Libin, Hannibal 2019

This was a very challenging cycling trip, riding in the Pyrenees of Spain and France, the French Alps and Apennines of Italy. If you want the best cycling Europe has to offer, this is the trip to take. Bike Odyssey provided expert support and knowledge, found super accommodations and excellent cuisine(both with their picnic lunches and tremendous restaurant choices) and new friendships created made this trip an epic experience. Look forward to my next Bike Odyssey trip!

Charles Morgan, Hannibal 2019

First tour was Tassie. Had a great time. Looking forward to doing Morocco in 2021

Mark Yates, Tasmania 2019

As inexperienced cyclists we were very capably supported throughout the wonderful Che tour, an exotic, challenging and exciting experience. Wonderful arrangements, great guides and support staff, and the ability to adapt to the different needs of the riders and local situations. They were also great at helping the group gel and work well together.

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John Davison-Mowle, Che 2018

Having toured with Sam and team on Hannibal in 2017 we signed up again for 2019 for another custom tour. The quality of the whole experience was impressive, from the route choice on the most scenic and quiet roads to the exceptional accommodation and regional food. All being done in a relaxed way made us feel we were in safe hands.

biketour review
Paul Traynor, Hannibal Custom Tour

I did the “Che” tour from Lonquimqy to Bariloche. There is no better way to see these countries and especially the Andes. The cycling routes were sufficiently challenging and the time off the bike was also spectacular. Accommodation was frequently a destination in itself. Sam, Max, Manuel and Shane were excellent guides/hosts. They set up some awesome rides so we could have the experiences. How could I forget the last grossing on mountain bikes? It was tough but the rewards of the scenery made every pedal stroke worthwhile. The 80km lakeside route culminating in the climb of Volcan Osorno was awesome and as always was rewarded with a pisco sour. Every day exposed us to the beauties and cultures of Chile and Argentina. Great people, great challenges and countries that took me to places I’d never imagined! I’ll be lining up for another tour next year.

Sarah Rawlinson, Che 2018

Everything was done exceptionally well – from the amazing route and scenery, the scrumptious picnic lunches, the fantastic accommodation and first class evening meals.The relaxed, yet organized atmosphere that Sam and Cam created among all the riders was the cherry on the cake. This was my first tour with Bike Odyssey and I give them the highest of recommendations.

David Phelan, Tasmania 2019

An excellent experience from the first enquiry to the last day of the holiday. The routes, accommodations, picnics and the support on the road were all excellent throughout the trip. The routes well thought out and the bike I hired from them was excellent.

Bike tour review
Andrew Smith, Tasmania 2019

Sam and the Bike Odyssey team exceeded our expectations on every level. Each and every day of our first European cycle adventure delivered memories of people and places that will last a lifetime. A test of mind and body, but a rich and rewarding experience that has whet the appetite for more of the same. We’ll be back.

Michael and Louise Clifton, Lionheart 2018

Without a doubt your guides (and Sam is included), are the best I’ve had on any tour, and I’ve ridden more tours than I can count across the US, Europe and South America. Great personalities and extremely helpful. Also very accommodating to personal preferences (bananas and Cokes!). This is what will keep me coming back to Odyssey tours. Also extremely important – your willingness to let riders leave whenever they want in the morning and have the bikes out and ready to ride early — before breakfast. Much appreciated.

Wayne Riley, Lionheart 2018

Organising a custom tour in a foreign country where you are not fluent in the language can be intimidating as you are always trying to consider your groups individual needs and abilities, Getting to know Sam and then working with Bike Odyssey is so refreshing in that they were able to provide a very high end experience, while feeling like it was effortless on our end. The team was always working hard in the background to make sure our customised Hannibal adventure unfolded seamlessly and going by the feedback from our group and the sign up for Lionheart it’s clear they were effective.

Sam’s approach is calm and confident and the route choice as well as accommodation was memorable. I would highly recommend engaging Bike Odyssey as your choice.

Paul Traynor, Custom Tour 2017

Eastern Explorer Excellence!! We had such a fantastic two week custom tour with Bike Odyssey. 9 friends from Adelaide, of varying abilities, embarked on an epic 1,400kms from Görlitz on the German/Polish border, all through Poland, with a rest day in Gdańsk, ending in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The organisation of the trip was perfect, Max and Francesca our tour leaders could not have done more for us. Great hotels, wonderful food, and great technical help from Frannie who made us all into Hammerhead converts and experts within no time at all! No more dodgy paper maps and getting lost, Hammerheads are the way forward! Literally!

Thanks Bike Odyssey for a brilliant tour, we look forward to the next one!

Hannah Schultz, Custom Tour 2018

Well, what can I say other than brilliant! Hannibal 2017 was 16 days of brilliant riding, excellent accommodation and the guides were just second to none. Sam, Max and the team are committed to ensuring that you have the trip of a lifetime, to which I did. I would recommend bike odyssey as the best cycling company to take you on an adventure through Europe and beyond! Do it!!!…..you won’t regret a single minute. Thanks Sam and team for a wonderful trip!

Amanda Copp, Hannibal 2017

The cycling routes, guides, food, wine and accommodation were all great. Such a memorable trip. I highly recommend bike odyssey

Sarah Armstrong, Hannibal 2017

Awesome Guides, fantastic accommodation, best riding ever. If you ride a bike book a holiday with these guys, you won’t regret it.

Peter Rau, Tasmania, 2019

Thank you Max for being such an excellent guide during our Hannibal Tour. Your infectious enthusiasm was invaluable and the way you supported the whole group throughout each day was fabulous. I felt very safe with you as our tour leader during the first few days and appreciate your motivating and fun loving personality from the beginning to the end of the trip. And last but not least, your Spanish mints (with accompanying jingle) each morning were vital to a good start to the day.

Megan Rigney, Hannibal 2017

I felt that all the guides and their contributions were extraordinary all went over and above to ensure that we were in the right place, their individual and team contributions were excellent as was their personal skill sets all were able to walk the talk with no trouble.

Martyn Smith, Hannibal 2017

The guides were amazing…..excellent in fact. Particular mention has to go to Mark. He is as solid and reliable and friendly as you could ever wish for. Nothing was too much for him – even with a stinking cold towards the end, he was ever present and friendly. The image of him at the top of Col Agnel in gale force words and horizontal rain, packing bikes into the trailer will stay with me for a long time.
The other guides were all excellent and genuinely could not do enough. They made the trip very easy and all we had to do was concentrate on riding our bikes.

Pat Marshall, Hannibal 2017

I was captivated from the first by the notion of historically themed epic cycling journeys, but I had no idea about the level of real support that Sam and his team was going to provide. Our journey was certainly epic in every way; the daily distances stretched me physically and we were unlucky to cop some really wet weather during the first weeks of the tour. The support really amazed me. There were days when we arrived at our destination soaked and nearly done in, but our bikes were whisked away for clean up and we were met with enthusiastic congratulations from the team and snacks and drinks for an immediate pick-me-up. This was always followed by utter relaxation in wonderful accommodation and great food. On the ride itself, the bike guides were a revelation to me. The last part of the climb to the Gotthardt was looking a bit grim until a smiling face appeared at my side and suggested a pause for a photo opportunity might just let me catch my breath. Despite being the last rider at the col who wanted to make the cold descent in the mist, companion riders and guides all encouraged me to go for it.

Dianne Batten, Lionheart 2018

Despite having had a “one in a century event” as far as the amount of rainfall is concerned (there have been record floods in this part of the world), and precipitation for 5 out of the past 6 days, everyone is still in good spirits and, if anything, the sense of a group identity is stronger than ever. This in itself is a fine testament to both Sam’s organisation and the great team he has put together to support us. And the service in making sure all our bikes are cleaned up, re-lubed, and with gears tuned each morning – often in the rain – through these days of inclement weather has been magnificent. Through it all, Sam has remained totally unfazed and this has helped us all through. With the fantastically conceived historical nature of this trip, the brilliant route and wonderful accommodation as well – not to mention Sam’s excellent historical interpretations – it’s hard to imagine a more interesting, rewarding and challenging tour.

Doug Bruce, Lionheart 2018

As a 65 yr old with 2 metal hips, I joined Sam’s very first Hannibal tour, with some appreciable trepidation. But any misgivings I might have entertained dissipated quickly. Stunning views, friendly and ever helpful guides, scrumptious local fare and excellent accommodation more than compensated for the fading grumblings of an initially reluctant body. By the 3rd day all fatigue was forgotten as I made friends with riders from very different backgrounds, learnt some useful lingo and soaked up sights, smells and history of a most interesting part of the World.

Bob Hofman, Hannibal 2016

Sam did a faultless job running the tour from the hotels to the food, the support, the hire bikes and the incredible history of Hannibal along the way, I cannot imagine how it could have been executed any better. The guides were professional, dedicated, friendly and supportive. Their experience shone through and is their greatest asset.
I already have my next epic tour planned, and it wont be the last.

Jason Langer

The Hannibal Expedition has been the major riding highlight of my 20-year riding career. The scenery, food wine and accommodation were something I have no hesitation in recommending. For me, the greatest plus was achieving the challenge the Hannibal Expedition’s thoughtfully crafted route provides. Plenty of personal challenge, in beautiful and historic countries, with almost no traffic. What more could you ask for.

Stephen Seymour

The guides? What a team! On and off the bike the guys could not have been better. Their focus was on ensuring that everyone was safe and enjoying themselves. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble. They handled sometimes difficult situations , with grace, and good humour. And as an added bonus Mark and Dirk’s photography is simply stunning. So I’ve done 2 epic trips now, thoroughly indulged and enjoyed myself both times.

Sharon Watson

Max, Sam and Mark, what a trip! The finest food and wine from France, the best roads of Germany, Polish castles, new age Baltic states, and behind the romance of Russia. We did more than follow Napoleon’s footsteps, we opened up a new world. My life is enriched because of the 2015 Napoleon tour.

James Sulzburger

Sam, a fan​tastic tour for the adventurous with the usual epic adventure standards – well researched, great accommodation and meals and the best of guides and support. This tour has a variety of landscapes, terrain, cultures and is filled with history both ancient and modern.  There wasn’t a day when I thought I’d prefer to be somewhere else.

Kay Jacob

Sam, Max, and Mark, thanks guys, in your role as tour operators and guides your professionalism, work rate, attention to detail and commitment was second to none.

 

 

Gary Powell

Sam, your team did a magnificent job in the planning & executing of this tour – the castles, chateaux, monasteries & mansions we stayed in were amazing ( who could forget Ziggy?)!

Ruth Kerr

What an amazing holiday! You can eat and drink as much as you like and you still go home fitter and trimmer than when you left! Wait till Woman’s Weekly or Cosmo hear about this holiday! You guys’ll be booked solid till early retirement. This was undoubtedly the best long weekend of my life so far. I’ll be back next year for at the very least a full stage, if not more! My legs look forward to cashing this cheque which my hand is currently writing!

Will Wetherall

The guides on the Hannibal Expedition were excellent. They are excellent organisers, who think ahead, and are always looking to make the best possible experience for the riders, whether this be making sure the bikes are in top condition, or the picnics lunch is in “the spot”, or the evening meal is an experience to remember. The guides are happy to answer to questions on the route, and change things as weather or circumstance require. Sam’s historical knowledge and has willingness to share this knowledge really added to the trip.
I am very much looking forward to riding with them again.

Stephen Seymour

This was by far the most fun I have had on a bike. It was a pretty stern physical test for me, and thus perfect. I eyed off the van once or twice but never had to get in it. Lovely places and lovely routes that you would never find by yourself, and all fully supported.

Ted Robinson

Hannibal Barca, the wily Carthaginian General, was a fine strategist and leader. His attempt to conquer Rome by taking war elephants across the Alps was a real feat. If you wish to ride across the Alps, in fine style, without the support of war elephants, then you should sign up for this tour. They are great operators and their tour is first class.

Roddy Johnson

It is a rare thing to experience something that changes your perspective on life permanently, even more rare when that something is a choice, and not a challenge that life has forced upon you.
The Hannibal Tour did just that, it changed my perspective on life. I started the tour with very high expectations, to see the best of Europe, to make friends, to challenge myself physically. What it achieved was well beyond this. The Hannibal Tour covered some of the most extraordinary landscape I will ever see, including times when I truly was on top of the world. Meeting the physical challenge of 26 days of cycling when I have never in my life before been a cyclist has left me with an incredible belief that anything is possible in life. I have made lifelong friends from across the globe. On this tour, I felt more alive than I had since I was a kid. We all laughed hard, ate and drank like kings, and at the top of the Alps I cried with joy. And all this, from the seat of a bicycle.

Jason Langer

Sam had obviously put a lot of time and effort into researching and organising the Hannibal Epic. The detail in the planning is obvious from the start and resulted in a magnificent experience every day. The hotels, restaurants, routes, lunch stops including several picnics, coffee breaks and extras such as wine tastings and farmhouse meals were superb. An added feature of their tours is the historical aspect which was regularly explained to us in regard to our location. I feel very lucky to have found this tour and to have been able to participate as it was challenging, unforgettable and a great opportunity to meet other like minded cyclists and create new friendships. It was hard coming home after such a unique experience. Thank you Sam.

Kay Jacob

To go on a trip that has congruency with the challenge of the ride -the epic and the history, gastronomy, the culture, the landscapes and to provide such intelligent support is amazing . I loved it, felt challenged, gave myself to the whole experience and have no criticisms, just grateful for a marvellous trip.

Bernadette Redfern

The 25 days I spent on the road with Sam was the best month I have had in my life. To be able to travel through Spain, France and Italy, and to see, do, eat and enjoy so much, was a real privilege. Sam eliminates any stress that may come with such a huge undertaking. Really, all you have to do is keep pedalling and not lose control of your bike when you pinch yourself to check you are not actually dreaming.

Felix Lowe
See all our testimonials
Some Light Reading
Ryan
D-Day Ryan
Written in the 50's, this book is impossible to put down. Even with so many histories written since it still holds its own.
FitzSimons
Villers-Bretonneux recommended reading bike tour
A great storyteller, FitzSimons' account of Australia's horrific battlefront is gripping.
Spielberg
Saving Private Ryan Bike tour
With a genuine sense of chaotic realism, Saving Private Ryan won five Oscars and remains one of the best D-Day movies around.
Beevor
Beevor recommended reading bike tour
Beevor is one of our favourite historical non-fiction authors and this is another excellent account of this horrific battlefront.
Friebe
Merckx recommeded reading bike tour
We ride through many of Merckx's stomping grounds so this account is perfect reading material to get you in the mood!
Stiles
A touching and beautifully written memoir which follows the American bomber forces in Europe around D-Day.