If riding 60-70 miles a day in hilly terrain, carrying all your own kit, pushing yourself to the limit and camping most nights sounds like your kind of adventure, this could be the most important blog post you've read in a long time...
When we rode from Paris to Venice just over three years ago, our daily average was well over 60 miles. Many of those miles were hilly, quite a few were actually mountainous. We also carried all our kit, got cold and wet several times, and most nights we camped.
Two weeks of that kind of fun might be too much for you (but if not, get in touch and maybe we can talk about something bigger...) but how about four or five days? How about if I also helped you to prepare and get yourself fit enough to do it? And how about if we do it just a few months from now?
This won't be an easy ride, cruising along railway tracks and gentle river valleys; it will be a tough cross-country road trip (across the 'grain' of the land) that will really test you and might even make you wonder why you agreed to do it. It won't be dirt-cheap, either, although camping each night will keep expense to a minimum.
My plan is to take a small group on a four or five day trip across Brittany (in northwest France), all carrying our own kit, tackling hills and valleys and pushing ourselves to somewhere near our physical limits. Something like I did on Paris to Venice, but on a smaller scale.
I'll also help you prepare (because we won't have time for 'passengers' or anyone who has to walk up every hill) and I'll be available to encourage, advise and cajole you right up to the day we leave.
At the moment, I would expect to assemble in St Malo, from where we would head south and west into deepest Brittany - if you haven't been to Brittany, you're in for a treat, by the way. Alternatively, we could meet in Portsmouth, Poole or Weymouth (the ferry route varies) and sail to St Malo together. Foot passenger fares to St Malo are quite low, especially if you book ahead, and bicycles go free at the time of writing.
Note that I said this would be a small group. I can't imagine taking more than eight people (especially if they're very new to cycle touring) and I might decide I only want to take four or five.
This will be a perfect first tour for anyone who wants to tackle something more testing than a fully-supported jaunt along easy cycle paths and over flat countryside. Expect to be tested and to discover something about yourself in the process - including just how deep you can dig when you're tired and hungry and hoping this is the last hill you have to tackle, ever.
But at the end of each day we'll have a slap up meal and a few drinks and I think there's a good chance you'll make friends who will stay friends for the rest of your life. Adversity and teamwork tend to have that effect.
Then it will be off to your tent, to dream of the hills you've climbed and the hills to come, the views you've seen and the people you've met, until you wake next morning to do it all over again. Just for a few days and nights, that is.
But when it's done, when you're home again and slipping back into the old routine, there's a good chance you and your life will never be the quite same again. You'll probably be hungry for more...
How does that sound to you?
PS. EMAIL ME AT email@example.com
to express your interest.
PPS. I haven't decided how much you'll be paying yet, but it will probably be in the £75-£100 a day range. That includes all the advice and help with your preparation, route planning, booking campsites and so on, but not your bike, kit, ferry, food or drink. You'll probably want to take out travel insurance, too.
PPPS. The trip will probably be in early summer (before it gets too hot), next year, 2014. This may well be a one-off, so don't assume we can do it later. I might run the tour again later in the year, or in 2015, but I might not.