Frequently Asked Questions (& Answers)

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Booking your tour

How do I book my tour?

Please contact us first to confirm availability, as spaces are limited. Once we confirm availability it’s valid for the next 10 business days, during which you may use our online Booking Form to sign up.

Daily refinement

What is Daily refinement?

Unlike most conventional bike tours, we don’t work from a rigid/impersonal/cookie-cutter, predetermined itinerary which obliges you to conform to it. Every week is different and unique—crafted to fit you. We listen and observe, factor in your interests and aspirations each day—together with current local road conditions and where the wind and weather are favorable—to select a destination which is most suitable.

Browse our pages on Italy and France, whichever interests you more, to get a sense of the locations where we operate and the kinds of rides and ride destinations they offer. If you still have questions, whether about our format or other aspects of our tours, contact us: we’re happy to answer them.

Bikes and biking

Do I have to be a strong cyclist to enjoy your tours?

As long as you are familiar with a riding a multi-speed derailleur bike and are accustomed to the riding position and being in the saddle for several hours, you’ll have a great time. If we’re going somewhere with climbs that might be more than you want to take on, we’d be happy to transport you over them in our support van. We can also take you on ahead and start you closer to our day’s destination so that everyone arrives there at about the same time. We don’t always try to stay together on our bikes; however, we do make sure everyone goes the right way at turns, regroup regularly, and sweep the route to make sure everyone’s OK.

What kind of gearing do I need?

Everyone’s different. What’s right for a strong climber isn’t going to work for someone accustomed to riding only flatlands. Most of our guests will find a triple crank (usually 30x40x52) and a rear low of about 25-27 (or larger) to be helpful.

Do you have rental bikes?

We may have a limited selection of road bikes and trekking* bikes available for rental at both our French and Italian home bases, size range is 49—61 cm. Please contact us for details and pricing. (* The European equivalent of a N. American hybrid bike.)

Should I rent or bring my own bike?

This is a difficult decision to make. If you like your own bike a lot, are very particular about fit, or have special requirements, bringing your own bike may be preferable, if not the only alternative. If you’ll be doing other non-bike travel on your trip, transporting a bike with you may be rather inconvenient, as many train stations and some cities lack elevators and escalators, offering only stairs. Another consideration is airline charges for transporting bikes, which reportedly have increased significantly as of January 2007. Many folding bikes, or bikes that disassemble, fit into carrying cases which conform to the airline restrictions for regular (non-oversized) checked luggage and thus avoid surcharges for oversize luggage.

Agile Compass is proud to be Friday Friendly

We lead our tours on an Air Friday and have hosted guests riding New World Tourists.

Do you offer self-guided tours?

We don’t believe that we can give you much value for self-guided tours. By using the Internet, you can just as readily plan your own self-guided trip. What we offer is service, taking care of the extraneous details and relieving you of the stress of navigating in unfamiliar territory–so you can relax and fully enjoy your cycling and your holiday.

Getting to/from our home bases

Italy: What airlines fly to Nice Côte d’Azur?

Major international carriers are Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Delta, Finnair, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa, Northwest. Among the regional and low-fare carriers are Alpi Eagles, British Midland, easyJet, Virgin Express. The 3-letter IATA airport code for Nice is NCE.

What other international airports are near Agile Compass’ Italian home base?

Turin International Airport (TRN) is about 90 minutes away by car, Genoa (GOA) about 1 hour 45 minutes, Milan-Malpensa (MXP) more than 2 hours 30 minutes (if there are no traffic backups). Turin airport appears to have the most convenient connections by public transportation to Cuneo, about 30 minutes from Chiusa di Pesio by bus.

France: What airlines fly to Lyon-Satolas (Lyon St. Exupery) Airport?

Major international carriers are Aer Lingus, Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa. Among the regional and low-fare carriers is easyJet. The 3-letter IATA airport code for Lyon is LYS.

Can you help with booking flights?

We ourselves usually check airfare comparison sites like Kayak.com, Mobissimo.com, Sidestep.com, for fares. Unless you have unusual requirements or are planning an atypical itinerary, it’s hard to beat their prices. We strongly recommend buying trip cancellation insurance.

What train station is closest to Agile Compass’ Italian home base?

Cuneo, on a regional line between Turin (Torino) and Nice or Ventimiglia, is the closest. It’s about 30 minutes by bus (Autolinee Valle Pesio) from the Cuneo train station to the piazza where our hotel is located in Chiusa di Pesio.

What train station is closest to Agile Compass’ French home base?

Either Gare St Marcellin, about 20 minutes, or Gare TGV Valence, about 30 minutes by car from Pont en Royans.

Non-cyclists, children…

What if I’m a non-cycling companion of a cyclist?

You may choose to ride the support van in order to see and visit the places the riders go to. For this option, the price is the same as for a cyclist, since you’re receiving the same services. Alternatively, you may choose simply to share accommodations with your companion(s) (which includes joining us for breakfasts and dinners), but otherwise go your own way during the day. While both our French and Italian home-base villages are pleasant places to hang out in, you’ll likely find it more satisfying to have a rental car so that you can explore farther afield on your own to visit the many nearby sites of historical/cultural significance, as well as great natural beauty. We’d be happy to make suggestions and provide driving directions. Please contact us for pricing.

Are children welcome?

Children who can keep up with adult cyclists and be in the saddle for 3-5 hours daily are welcome to participate. Unfortunately there are no baby-sitting services available at our home-base hotels.

Website issues

This website looks terrible! Don’t you know how to design web pages properly?

This site is designed for standards-compliant modern web browsers. This means IE 7 or newer, Mozilla 4 or newer, Firefox 3+, Safari 4+, Chrome, Opera 10+ (as well as others which render CSS reasonably correctly). If you use an older browser, it will show you all the text, but its layout and the layout of graphics may not be as intended. Sorry, but you really should be using a current browser—older ones are dangerously vulnerable to attacks which may steal your identity and/or take over and enslave your computer to criminal networks.

Your Booking Form doesn’t work for me. How do I book my trip?

Please contact us. We can either send you a plain-text form by email (less error-prone), or take down your information over the phone.

Technical details:

The Booking Form makes extensive use of Javascript. While we have tested it with a variety of browsers on Windows and Mac OS X, we don’t have access to every combination and permutation possible. If you’re using another browser and/or platform (e.g., Linux), you may be encountering different behavior under its implementation of Javascript. Please contact us. We will do our best to resolve the problem.

The Booking receipt, Invoice and Waiver don’t print on separate pages. How do I do that?

We can generate a PDF version from your data (already transmitted to us by the Booking Form) to email to you upon your request via our Contact us page. The PDF file will print out the 3 parts correctly on separate pages.