One of the activities the two of us enthusiastically agreed to participate in was bike tours.
Our bike tour in Paris took place at night and included such highlights as a stop for Berthillon ice cream (my favorite in the city and only available in Paris), riding our bikes around the empty Louvre courtyard and getting to meet some of our fellow tourists while cruising down the Seine with lots of wine in tow. I have to admit, we lucked out with an empty Louvre courtyard. It was around 9:30 pm on a cold and rainy Sunday night so there were maybe 2 or 3 people walking by- if that. We had access to the whole area and could ride around the famous glass pyramid while our fearless bike leader did tricks and everyone took photos. Amazing! It is nearly impossible to describe how much fun it was and how special it felt to have that space to ourselves (it's never that empty- trust me!).
PARIS: Fat Tire Bike Tours - Night Tour
In Amsterdam we took the country tour which led us through the city, to the Amstel River and down through part of the countryside just outside of the city limits. We saw a windmill and visited a cheese farm (no you can't farm cheese) where the farmer also makes clogs. That farmer was crazy! He had obviously been drinking and immediately started picking on a couple of the girls in our tour in a playfully funny, although somewhat sexist and racist, way. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves though and quite a few of us were drinking too.
Full disclosure- there was an accident during our ride. Someone in our group (I'll never tell...) ran into a parked car on a sharp turn off the "Skinny Bridge." The company is insured for accidents like this and luckily the person was in better shape than the car. We had to stop and wait for a representative from the bike company to meet with the car owner and while we waited our tour leader had a cigarette with the man. It was very funny seeing them both instantly relax once they had a firestick in their hands. Right before we left to continue the tour, the owner of the car came over and told the unlucky soul who ran into his car not to worry and to have a great rest of their trip. It was very nice of him and we had a great ride after all of that!
AMSTERDAM: Mike's Bike's - Country Tour
A big thanks to our awesome tour leaders! I had so much fun on both of these tours that I'm going to take another one when I get to Barcelona. Viva la bicicleta!!!