Broaden the horizons of your holiday in Gascony
Broaden the horizons of your holiday in Gascony and become part of ‘Slow Tourism’.
Adam & Bee Fitch have lived in the village of Lupiac in Le Gers since 2008, in the heart of Gascony, a truly beautiful and peaceful environment. (Lupiac is the birthplace of Charles de Batz de Castelmore, more commonly known as Alexander Dumas’ character D’Artagnan in his 1844 novel “The Three Musketeers”).
In 2021 in response to the COVID pandemic Adam & Bee founded e-Velo Gers. As they say:
“The pandemic saw a surge of local tourism and it became apparent that few of us truly know the area we live in - we just pass through.”
The remote parts of the Gascony are agricultural, the population sparse and the countryside beautiful, dotted with tiny villages, crossed with footpaths, tracks and small lanes, few of which are accessible to conventional motorized transport.
E-Velo Gers (“eVG”) was set up on the brilliant and environmentally sound principle that the business would have a number of bike-hire bases spread across Le Gers, accessible to anyone without the need to travel great distances to pick up a rental bike. it doesn’t make environmental sense (and it is very expensive) to transport electric bikes long distances in a diesel van so that people can bike short distances while on holiday.
In 2023 eVG has 7 partners offering their bikes locally and the number of agents is increasing organically as the footprint covered by the bike depots expands. Adam and Bee’s vision is that these depots will be distributed so that any would-be renter will be able to find an electric bike to hire within a few kilometres of their home or rental property.
Decarbonization has become a social (and legal) imperative. Fuel costs are rising dramatically. This is a challenge that Bee and Adam have embraced by creating a business that will provide pleasure and exercise to many people, and at the same time will help preserve the rural beauty of Gascony whilst promoting the ethos of slow tourism. Did you know that the average small family car will produce 6kg of CO2 for every 50km driven – so rent a VAE and become a sustainable tourist!
The ‘Velo Assistance Electrique’ (‘Electric Bike’) or VAE, is the key to this venture, enabling all ages and levels of fitness to explore and enjoy Gascony. Half our clients are retirees who love the opportunity to explore slowly and silently. The VAE bikes we provide are ‘low step fat bikes’, with a low centre of gravity, and some are fitted with ‘pillion seats’, allowing adolescents to sit behind their parents. Infant seats (up to 22kg) are also available.
These electric bikes are only part of the story. Throughout the 2021/22 winter period, Adam and Bee explored over 2000 km of local paths, roads and byways, mapping an extensive network of circuits that are published to the general public through the free to use applications ; Visorando (https://www.visorando.com/) and Cirkwi(https://www.cirkwi.com/). The idea here is not just to create something for e-Velo Gers customers, but also to make slow tourism by bike in Gascony appealing and available to all.
Already tested, the D’Artagnan 350, a 350km, six-night circuit of Le Gers in the footsteps of D’Artagnan will shortly be available on these applications and via E-Velo Gers website.
All our eVG bases have local circuits created to supplement this service with the network of circuits set to grow by some 800km in 2023.
What is a VAE?
A ‘velo assistance electrique’, is a bike with an electric motor to assist the rider, but only when the rider pedals. The maximum assisted speed is 25km/h with 250 watts of power assisting.
Why use a VAE?
To explore the Gascony on an ordinary bike you have to be super fit – it’s all the hills! With a VAE you will be able to climb the steepest of Gascony hills assisted by a small electric motor.
What are the benefits?
You don’t sweat (so much)!
The VAE is silent and in the silence, you catch nature unawares, creeping up on the wildlife.
The VAE is slower than a car and being slow and silent you immerse yourself in your surroundings.
You can go places and follow paths where cars cannot go
And travelling on a VAE is fun - and fun for all the family!
We know from our own experience!
We have found local sights and routes that we didn’t know existed because “we”(everyone) only ever drives through areas, without ever stopping to take a look, to hear the sounds, to smell the countryside – it’s well worth trying a VAE!
Finally, to close with a thought:
When you are driving through the countryside and you see a bicycle ahead, please slow down and leave plenty of room when passing – the cyclist is in a small bubble of their own, enjoying his or her experience, so please don’t spoil it!
Simply Gascony is proud to partner e-Velo by making their innovative and environmentally relevant service available to our guests.
You will deal directly with e-Velo – we will simply provide you with the introduction.