CIA (Cycling in America)*

Champagne Tour

Useful info on our tour
from Julie

1. Bike insurance is optional and is 21Ä each. If you purchased trip insurance, it will NOT cover loss or damage to the bike. I requested that Tripsite add the insurance onto my bill for final payment.

2. The final bill will be sent via email on April 14. That day's exchange rate is used to give a final payment amount in US$. Final payment is due 10 days later and can be made by check or credit card. Important note: Tripsite charges an additional 4% fee to use a credit card.

3. The cabins are small, so soft luggage is recommended but not necessary.

4. There are no hair dryers in the cabins.

5. There is no SAG vehicle when we are cycling, but there will be a tour guide who will ride with us, staying with the back of the group and available for any tire changes or repairs. We are welcome to ride ahead but then we might miss out on the information that the tour guide shares.

6. At breakfast, there will also be a spread of items from which we can pack a lunch. We carry on own lunch in the panniers on our bike.

7. We can bring our own clip pedals and cycling shoes. I recall Fulton* saying he will bring the necessary tool to change out pedals. Question: I prefer to pack light and not bring an extra pair of shoes. Is anyone else just going to use regular shoes and the provided pedals? 

If you have not done anything yet about trip insurance, Dick and I opted for an annual trip insurance policy which was less expensive than insuring this trip and future trips separately We purchased it through Allianz Global Assistance.

*Yes, he will.

On tipping our barge crew
from Kevin
It is customarily to tip our crew, but there is no set amount. Tipping is based on how helpful the crew has been. The crews are very small usually the captain, the mate, the chef, and the guide.

Often there are two different tips -- one for the guide as that person who spends most of the time with us; and one for the barge team.  Some guides are, frankly, much better than others. I have usually tipped the guide 20-50 euros.  I think that a similar tip for the crew, which they split among themselves, is good.

I have been asked in the past, as representative of the group, to lead this process.  What I've done is out an envelope, and people would put in it whatever they wanted -- and no one knew. You can also choose to give tips individually as well.

Protecting your documents
from Fulton
Itís always wise to have quick access to copies of key documents you might need in case the originals get lost or stolen while youíre traveling.  Because hardcopies can get lost, dirty, wet or compromised in a cycling environment, perhaps you may want to scan your documents and put them somewhere secure ó on a thumbdrive or in an e-mail to yourself.

Such documents might include:  passport; credit cards (front and back); copies of flight reservations; emergency contact numbers for the tour and back home.