Something Different…. Fat Tire Bike Tours

A few years ago I became obsessed with the idea of riding a bicycle in France.  I think somewhere along the way, the posters that are mass produced in America of photos from the 1950s Tour de France, or the classic one of the child on the back of bicycle holding a baguette, with a sullen, er, French look on his face, got stuck on repeat in my head.  I knew I was going to be in Paris that spring, and after a quick trip through the jungles of the internet, I discovered Fat Tire Bike Tours.

I’m so very happy that I did.

I didn’t know what to expect.  I do ride occasionally when I’m home, but I tend to move more at the speed of Jessica Fletcher tooling around her New England town, than an Olympic racer.  I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to keep up or even go the distance.  Due to my schedule, I decided on a night tour, and what followed was the single best thing I have ever done in Europe.  Seriously.

Fat Tire in Paris offers a variety of tours, on bicycle and Segway, and they’ve grown to operate not only in Paris, but also London, Barcelona, and Berlin.  The tour I took met under the Eiffel Tower in the evening and then walked to their office, just a few short blocks away.  No reservation was needed.  I paid and picked out a bike, and shortly thereafter our group was off.  The groups are small, and each one has a tour guide.  My concerns about my abilities were quickly forgotten.   As we rode through the streets of the city, the sun was setting, and I was overcome by Paris’ beauty, despite having been there several times before.  It’s a totally different take on the city when you’re cruising along on two wheels, and the wind’s in your face, rather than being trapped in a car or on the sidewalk.  I saw the street lights come on, the silhouettes of the crowds in the cafes, and the neon signs glowing around me.  We rode up to the Louvre, when the masses were gone, and rode around the fountains and the pyramids.  We moved together as a group, at a speedy, but not uncomfortable pace, and we stopped regularly for photo opportunities, and even history lessons along the way, provided by our very enthusiastic tour guide.

After roughly an hour and half of riding around the city, letting it all soak in, and remembering why I fell in love with Europe so many years ago, we made our way to river.  The evening bike tour includes an illumination boat ride down the Seine, and our guide even provided us all with wine for the trip!  It is an incredible experience, and one that I have repeated several times now.  Each time I’ve been to Paris over the last six years, I’ve taken one of their tours, and I’ll do it again.  It’s worth every dollar, er, Euro.


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Categories: Europe


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