Segways and Electric bicycles in the Rhone Valley
The latest fad to sweep vineyard tours seems to be Segways. I had seen another blogger on a Segway in South Africa recently and thought, how cool, but will that ever get to the Old World? Well, the answer is yes! And it’s been going on for a few years – I really need to get out more often.
We were invited as guests of Terres de Syrah to tour the vineyards of St Joseph by Segway. At first it’s a bit unsettling stepping on them because you think you’re going to fall over but after about 5 minutes of zooming around the parking lot, we were off into the hills of St.Joseph.
They are quite steep and I was a bit concerned about going too fast on the way down but they are so easy to control that it’s almost like the machine can read your mind – freaky! Afterwards we had a small tasting with Benedicte of Terres de Syrah. The company specializes in wine tastings and offers Segways, electric bicycles and walking tours as well as various other activities.
Besides Segway-ing through the vineyards of St. Joseph, one can also cruise up and down the hills of the world famous, Hermitage vineyards in Tain-L’Hermitage by bicycle. I was at first sceptical that I would be able to make it up the hills without having to get off my bicycle and push it up the hill BUT then I read the small print and it turned out that we were going to be using electric bicycles.
I found this amusing because on the flight over I had been reading about the latest models and thinking to myself, ‘I’d really like to try one of them…’ The Southern France people must have been reading my mind. But anyway… I loved the electric bicycles, riding is one there is not much difference until you kick it into electric gear. The bikes don’t exactly take off like rockets but you definitely feel the extra boost. I was able to make it all the way to the top without having to get off and push – a win as far as I was concerned.
Sadly we were behind schedule so we were only able to admire the view from the top of Hermitage before having to coast back down to the bike/wine shop. We rented our bicycles and the affable owner of Balades Viticoles, Fabien Louis was our guide for the morning.