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The Price of Pedaling

August 25, 1996

Regarding David Lamb's article ("Independent Spokespersons," Aug. 4), we agree that $1,800 per person ($257 per day) is a bargain relative to the prices of upscale American bicycle tours. However, for the cost-conscious, adventuresome bicycle tourist, we recommend do-it-yourself touring.

As an "older" couple, we have bicycled all over Europe for $75 a person per day, staying in comfortable hotels and bed and breakfasts. We have found places to stay without reservations. We avoid traveling during the high tourist months, July and August. Forget language problems. A smiling bicycle tourist is always welcome!

This type of travel requires planning, guidebooks, detailed maps, a minimum of clothing and personal items . . . and a spirit of adventure. We have been on upscale bicycle trips but find we are overfed, over-wined, get delusions of grandeur and spend all our time with other Americans.

HUGO AND DIANA SCHMIDT

Laguna Beach

Lamb is right, some bike trips are prohibitively priced. However, there is no need for him to organize his own trip. An English company, Susi Madron's Cycling for Softies, has been arranging bike trips all over France for the past 20 years. The cost is under $100 a person per day, including hotels, gourmet dinners, breakfasts, the use of a bicycle, pickup from and delivery to airports, and support services at a base hotel. The company's address is 2 & 4 Birch Polygon, Manchester, England M14 5HX; telephone 011-44-161-248-8282, fax 011-44-161-248-5140.

BRIGID MILLS

Pacific Palisades

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