La Vie en Vélo can only survive with great reviews and clients telling their friends what a lovely time they've had, so I'm wholeheartedly committed to giving you a cycling trip of the very highest quality in every regard BUT Trip Advisor won't cover us - (they don't do "multi-day tours" apparently!), so below are all of the comments (I haven't weeded out the less positive ones) from the La Vie en Vélo Facebook reviews page that come in from time to time.
I suppose that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so it's great to know that for every formal review I receive I get many more informal messages and, best of all, about 80% of people that come on one of my trips have come back for another one. I hope that speaks for itself!
Here's what people have said, with the most recent reviews first:
Richard Byatt (Dordogne 2016, Alps 2017, Liege Bastogne Liege & Ventoux 2018).
“Just booked my fifth trip with La Vie en Velo after visits to the Dordogne (2016), The Alps inc Alpe d’Huez and Galibier (2017), Liege Bastogne Liege and Mont Ventoux (2018).
Angus has developed a pretty unique proposition - small groups, personal support throughout each day, good local knowledge and overland transport for bikes and baggage.
This means you maximise time riding and all you really have to think about is where shall we go tomorrow and what shall I have for breakfast?
I’ve enjoyed every trip and it’s given me the confidence to tackle destinations and routes I might not have considered.
You can make it as hard or relaxing as you like - training camp or just a stress-free break. Angus has the experience to know what works but he doesn’t impose his ideas ... and if you want to sit by the pool for a day - well why not?
Nathan Delaney (Flanders Mooiste sportive weekend and Biarritz to Barcelona, 2018).
“Angus’ organisation skills and support was amazing from the planning stage of our bespoke trip right up to dropping our bags and bikes home.
Angus’ enthusiasm is second to none and his planning throughout tough routes was just what was needed.
I’ve now been on a bespoke route and European sportive and can’t recommend Angus enough.
It’s no wonder he’s getting booked up earlier each year!
Miles Bartlett (Paris-Roubaix sportive weekend, 2018).
“Amazing cycling trip, can’t wait to book another one.
Jonathan Patterson (Mont Ventoux & Provence open long weekend, 2018).
“I found Angus' card in a sportive goodie bag a year or so ago and the decision to go on a trip to Provence was the best I have made in some time.... The organisation, company, accommodation and , of course, the riding was brilliant. The trip had four days of riding in and around Ventoux - including the Geant itself! - and it was simply brilliant.
The biggest compliment I can say is that it didnt feel like a commercial holiday...more like a family trip. More please!
Gareth Thomas (Mont Ventoux & Provence open long weekend, 2018).
“An amazing trip with brilliant organisation and great company. Many thanks
Ken Jones (Mont Ventoux & Provence open long weekend, 2018).
“End of an excellent long weekend cycling in Provence with La Vie en Vélo.
Highly recommended - very well organised with full support on the rides, excellent accommodation and food, and with great company.
Managed 3 ascents of Mont Ventoux on Saturday by the 3 different routes (Bédoin, Malaucène and Sault) for a total of 136 KM and 4,277 meters of climb.
This entitled me to be a member of the “Club de Cinglés de Mont Ventoux” - Cinglés = crazies in English! Probably true!
3 further rides in lovely surroundings on the other days completed the weekend.
Sue Moffett (Winchester to Paris, 2018).
“ I can’t recommend Angus highly enough to anyone planning a cycle trip. Everything was perfect due to his brilliant organisation and attention to detail. Thank you Angus
Paul & Jilly Oatham (Paris-Roubaix sportive weekend, 2018).
“It’s not often one finds a company with every conceivable point covered for cyclists. Well you (I) have now.
My wife and I joined a group of fellow cyclists for an amazing weekend in France to complete the Paris Roubaix sportive.
The whole weekend was truly unbelievable from start to finish.
The transfer and transportation 10/10
The hotel, with Breakfasts 10/10
The training routes supplied 10/10
The sportive (Pavé included) 10/10
Watching the pros on the Sunday 10/10
The professionalism and approach to all our needs 10/10
From start to finish it was organised with us all in mind - bonkers!
Still can’t believe the service...
Oh and he organised the weather too.
Angus. Thank you again for quite simply the perfect weekend in every aspect. You made two people very very happy..
Paul & Jilly Oatham
WE WILL BE BACK!
Richard Cottam (Paris-Roubaix sportive weekend, 2018).
“I've just returned from a long weekend away with Angus and great company to tackle the Paris Roubaix Challenge on Saturday followed by watching Peter Segan win the race from the famous Arenberg forest pave section. Amazing!
Angus arranged everything, sorted fantastic accommodation and nothing was too much trouble. I hope to go on another trip soon.
Olly Benkert (Mont Ventoux long weekend, 2017).
“I wish Angus had been my Geography teacher! Just returned from a 1-off trip to Mt Ventoux. The ride was made easier by Angus's excellent organisation and choices of location, restaurants etc. Riding our own bikes too was probably a blessing. I can highly recommend using Angus and La Vie en Velo for other trips.
Julian Pearson (Alps long weekend, 2017).
“I have just returned from a weekend in the Alps with La Vie en Velo and Angus. What a fantastic trip. Angus took care of all of the logistical details leaving us to get on and ride.
Having flown with my bike on previous occasions I can attest to how much more convenient it is to let Angus, and his specifically designed trailer and VW Transport, do the ‘heavy lifting’.
Angus is the ultimate tour leader, and his geography teacher background becomes apparent when he needs to galvanise the team to stay on schedule. He also provides interesting geographical details when asked. Oxbow lakes seem to be a favourite.
When riding Angus is always in the right place at the right time, refilling bottles, taking on clothing or providing encouragement through the medium of Euro dance hits and a whistle.
Angus knows what his clientele need and this is reflected in the choices he makes in terms of accommodation. The hotel for our Alpine trip was perfect. Lovely food, and clean rooms. The hotel owners were well used to dealing with cyclists.. There was even a workshop and work stand available.
We managed to ride 10 Tour climbs in our four day trip, and this was only possible because Angus was able to help us easily traverse the main roads that link the main climbs.
I can’t recommend La Vie en Velo highly enough. Angus is a great guy with a great business idea, and he has the personality and organisational skills to back it up.
Keith Spencer (Alps long weekend, 2017).
“So I've known Angus a while now and was very excited when I learned he was about to venture into cycling breaks. My first trip was to mt Ventoux and it lived up to everything I hoped it would. Returned home with a mission to get another booked. Just returned from a trip to the Alps with friends and again the long weekend was epic. The hotel's dinner table view of glacial ice slipping down the mountain had me expecting some jaw dropping scenery while on the bike. Well to say it didn't disappoint is an understatement. Ticked off some monster Tour climbs that leave a real sense of accomplishment. You won't be short of a pic or two he's brilliant at grabbing a great shot of you and your bike to remember your moments. The slickness of Angus's organisation is fantastic and this shows in the ease of everything all weekend. Top job done Angus. Where's next years trip!
Steve Pollock (Mont Ventoux open long weekend, 2017).
“Just back from Provence, doing Mt Ventoux, with La Vie en Velo. What a fabulous four days - great accommodation, food and weather, and then there was the cycling. It's not just the 'hill', there was lots of fantastic riding, with fantastic scenery and opportunities for as many (or few) photos as we wanted.
On top of it, there was Angus - it seemed like he couldn't do enough for us,and always with a smile.
We'll be back
#Bikes don't fly
Lance Russell (Pyrenees 5-dayer, 2017).
“Read my post. Top bloke, super professional and super organised whilst extremely personable and great to be around.
Scott Fisher (London-Paris in 36hrs corporate charity ride, 2017).
“Angus is ace! His love and passion for the sport is evident. The quality of service and his equipment are top notch and his preparedness and resourcefulness makes the cycling the only hard bit. Would definitely do the London to Paris ride again!
Allan Brown (SFA CC Alps long weekend, 2017).
“Angus, many thanks for your outstanding package for 7 of us from San Fairy Ann CC to the Alps. We, without doubt had the time of our lives. This in my opinion was down to your fantastic organisation skills, cycling knowledge, personnel management skills and a wonderful gift of getting along with everyone.
The routes you brilliantly planned were challenging, classic, varied and every one giving us a sense of achievement.
Kevin White (Dordogne week, 2017).
“Nothing was a problem for for Angus, from route planning, providing plenty of food to refuel, support during the route and putting up with some poor examples of humour from our group! In fact, he felt part of the group! The house was spacious, routes were fantastic and I can't stop thinking about our break and the wonderful rides. I can't recommend Angus and his service enough. CHAPEAU!
Phil Fletcher (Mont Ventoux long weekend, 2017).
“As a group of 8 cyclists we took a trip with La Vie en Velo to climb the mighty mont ventoux. From start to finish the trip was 1st class in all departments. Thank you Angus looking forward to the next trip.
Jill Holliday (Dordogne week, 2017).
“My group have just returned from a week's cycling in the Dordogne with Vie en Velo. We had a fantastic time and can fully recommend Angus and the brilliant service he provides. Angus was great to work with and arranged an informal meeting with us and some of the riders a few weeks before we went to get a feel for what we were looking for. The trip itself was superbly organised with transport for us and our bikes arranged. The minibus was comfy for the trip to the Dordogne and all of the bikes arrived safely.
Our accommodation was great – a large house in the countryside with tons of routes and rides to pick from each day. Food was great. Fresh pastries for breakfast and a lovely spread for lunch when we returned from the days ride. Evening meals were fabulous and certainly enough to keep us peddling for five days.
The cycling itself was amazing. Beautiful quiet roads over undulating countryside with plenty of challenging climbs and lovely descents. The scenery is beautiful so its easy to stop for a recover at the hill top to take another photo!
Our group is already starting to think about another trip next year.
Tim Roberts (Mont Ventoux ‘open’ long weekend, Aug '16).
“A fantastic experience with great company. And thanks for getting us organised!
"Would gladly do it all over again tomorrow.”
Dave Oxberry (Mont Ventoux ‘open’ long weekend, Aug '16).
"Great trip. It was lovely to meet you all and when the memories have faded I’ll still have the sore legs to remind me of the epic adventure."
Lee Smith (Mont Ventoux ‘open’ long weekend, Aug '16).
"I'm having a very tired week, legs still aching, missing my bike, missing the Giant of Provence, all my heroic cycling buddies, but most of all missing that view… Thanks for an epic weekend."
Duncan Walker (Mont Ventoux long weekend, July '16).
“Thanks again for our excellent trip to Ventoux and stunning surrounds. Excellent organisation, thoughtfully researched routes, genial nature and well timed pastries all much appreciated.”
Laurie Roberts (Mont Ventoux long weekend, July '16).
“Thanks for an amazing trip to Mont Ventoux. It was superbly organised and you were a fantastic guide. I very much look forward to our next adventure and will most certainly recommend you to all my cycling friends.”
Ian Chalk (Mont Ventoux long weekend, July '16).
“Great trip - thanks for all the routes, advice and support - looking forward to the next one already...”
Nicola Wignall (Ocean Lake Tri Club, Training Camp, July '16).
“Thanks Angus for ferrying us around, catering for our bizarre and varied dietary requirements and for your relaxed approach.”
Izzy Wignall (Ocean Lake Tri Club, Training Camp, July '16).
“I just wanted to say thank you for everything while we were in France. I feel like that week really helped me gain confidence on my bike and remember why I started doing triathlon in the first place. On Sunday I did my first full triathlon in over a year, and it’s probably the first time I actually enjoyed the whole bike leg! I won my age group and I think that was largely down to the improvements to my cycling from all those lovely French hills! Thank you for reminding me that cycling (especially in beautiful places) should be fun.”
Bob Dynowski (Tour de France Grand Départ long weekend in Normandy , July '16).
“Thanks for organising a great weekend. It really worked well. We forgive you for not organising the weather!”
“I hope to organise a longer trip with you sometime!”
Robert Rye (Tour de France Grand Départ long weekend in Normandy , July '16).
“A great and very enjoyable trip, organised very well, allowing us to ride good routes soaking in the sights and the TdF too. Thanks!”
Andrew Bowmer (Tour de France Grand Départ long weekend in Normandy , July '16).
“A great long weekend! Thanks for your all help and support!”
Nathan Wood (Sheppey Velo, Dordogne-Cantal, June '16).
“It was an amazing adventure, totally exceeded our expectations!”
Lee Whiting (Sheppey Velo, Dordogne-Cantal, June '16).
“ I think I speak for the guys of Sheppey Velo that we had a brilliant week. Everything we wanted and more. Fun, laughter, pain and tears!”
“We had a blast of a trip!”
Phil Fletcher (Mont Ventoux long weekend, June '16).
“What a fantastic 4 days put together and supported by your good self. The lads had a great time and all achieved the goals they set themselves. We are already planning our next trip. Thanks again and here's to the next trip.
Fantastic week end cycling the mighty Mont Ventoux care of La Vie en Velo. Many thanks for all your hard work in planning such a successful weekend. Great cycling, great food in a great place. What more do you need? Many thanks, La Vie en Velo”
Stephen Jones (Mont Ventoux long weekend, June '16).
“A big thank you for an absolutely fantastic few days cycling up and around Mont Ventoux. This is the best cycling holiday I have been on and your organisation (and flexibility) is greatly appreciated. Role on 2017 and our next trip with La Vie en Vélo.”
Paul Thomas (Mont Ventoux long weekend, June '16).
“Once again, massive thanks for the superbly organised and fantastic trip last weekend! Can't recommend La Vie en Vélo highly enough!”
Tony Richardson (Eastbourne Rovers CC's Dordogne week, June '16).
"Just wanted to say thank you for the last week. Your care and attention made for a very memorable week.
"It was a worry free week and I appreciated all your hard work in order to ensure that we had a stress free week of cycling.
"I hope you know how much we appreciated the excellent food and as predicted I appear to have put on 2 kilos in a week!
"Your knowledge of the area in the areas of cycling, geography and history made the trip even better and I'll have no hesitation in coming back again and recommending you to others."
Pam Browne (Eastbourne Rovers CC's Dordogne week, June '16).
" Thank you for an amazing cycling holiday. You worked so hard to ensure we had every opportunity to experience cycling in the Dordogne. A beautiful place to cycle. The food was amazing, and you looked after us all so well."
Karen Waller (Eastbourne Rovers CC's Dordogne week, June '16).
"I would just like to say what a great well organized holiday I had. A big thank you to you for all the hard work you put in following us around bringing out lunch to us when needed, would defiantly recommend you to other cyclists that want a nice relaxed, good value cycling holiday."
Rob Negus (Eastbourne Rovers CC's Dordogne week, June '16).
"I'd like to thank you for a fantastic cycling holiday, this being my first time for this sort of holiday I was not quite sure what to expect, well apart from the weather it couldn't have been better, the travelling to and from was comfortable and relaxing, good accommodation, great location, fantastic food, great cycling with some tough climbs and fast descents, even when Sandra had an accident and damaged her bike you managed to locate a hire bike. Also your attention to giving a satisfying service is second to none, this is not just my own opinion as I know everyone in the group feels the same, I myself would have no hesitation in recommending your company and I have every intention of joining you on further trips. Should you have interested clients who are not quite sure about travelling with your company, you are more than welcome to give them my email.
"Kind regards from a very satisfied cyclist."
Brian Kavanagh (San Fairy Ann's Dordogne and Paris-Roubaix trip, April '16) said:
"Out of the many highlights, your appreance at the top of a hard climb with a box full of strawberry tarts will stay with me.
Angus, thanks for hosting a fantastic holiday. I hope to go on another trip "
Tony Le Vey (GS Avanti's Tour of Flanders sportive and race trip, April '16) said:
"I really enjoyed myself. Totally hassle free way to get there and back in the knowledge the bike was safe in the trailer. I cannot fault a single thing. Thanks also for your support on the big day!
I for one am thinking of Ventoux for next year. I'll post it round the club and see what happens... That said, I have as sneaking suspicion we may be meeting for Flanders 2017!
I think you have a great business going there - keep up the good work! "
Paul Fox (Ocean Lake Triathlon Training week, August 2015) said:
"Thank you for a fantastic week. Full of good humour, good training and good food"
Andy Green (Ocean Lake Triathlon Training week, August 2015) said:
"Thank you for a tremendous week. I certainly learned a lot and very much enjoyed spending time with a great group of people. The relaxed atmosphere you encouraged was a key part of the experience."
"The perfect location for cyclists of any level - wonderful rolling countryside, smooth roads and minimal traffic makes this setting a cyclist's dream"
Donna Shalders (Ocean Lake Triathlon Training week, August 2015) said:
"Just wanted to say a huge thank you for the week away. As someone who only knew one person before the trip it was a great opportunity to mix with like-minded people. I loved how the week was put together including all the little details. I thought it was fab! I will definitely be talking to my club about next year."
Mark Wright (Whitstable Wobblers Spring 2015 trip), a confirmed leisure rider, said:
"Missing the cycling already! The whole holiday surpassed my expectations and I will definitely be spreading the word.
"a beautiful, unspoilt region... great company... fantastic service... good, wholesome home cooking... comfortable house... amazing weather!... An excellent host, really helpful with the routes, picnics, drinks, etc... always enthusiastic and catered for all our needs. Loved the group bonding that went on over the beer/wine.
David Robert (Whitstable Wobblers Spring 2015 trip), a club rider, said.
"It was a sensational week - for me really fulfilled the objective of riding a lot. Enjoyed the group rides which were pretty fast going and got some extra miles on my own... a perfect combination... The formula works well... Food was really good - varied, tasty and in quantity."
You can also see David's video recommendation on the club riders' page.
David also came with me in the Autumn of 2014 with his family while I worked on the house, as the pre-trial trial, if you like, and he returned back for the Whitstable Wobblers Spring 2015 trip. This is what he said in November:
"I spent time at La Vie en Vélo during its pre-season when it wasn't up and running fully and had a great time. Angus looked after me and my family like we were royalty - house was clean, comfortable and welcoming and we were fed - well, like cyclists - healthy food in good quantities.
"The riding was breathtaking and exhilarating. Angus has a great knowledge of the local area - he's a cyclist whose been going to the family home there for many years. The rides were suitably varied - sometimes hilly, sometimes flatter. The lengths were adapted according to what I felt up to on the day. There were always stunningly beautiful and on quiet roads - and cafes and patisseries (a must for any cycling in France) were always en route.
"In short, my time felt tailor-made for my abilities with good recommendations and full support. Can't wait to go back there at Easter. The thought of returning has kept me inspired over the winter - getting out on some lovely rides and even a bit of turbo training. Want to be in good shape to enjoy the full La Vie en Vélo experience."