I'm sorry to read of your concerns about the Cycling in the Loire Valley trip and I'm glad that you felt the accommodation and food was an enjoyable experience but obviously the rest of your issues are of concern to me.
Regarding the price of our bike rental the shop that we use in Amboise is a well respected family business and the owner, Pascal Richard, also runs the local bike club, so he does have huge expertise in the area. You are correct in saying that you can find cheaper bikes at 70EUR in Amboise however we do not specifically choose on cost, we choose on quality. We have been working with this bike shope for well over 5 years and rarely have complaints regarding the bikes which is why i am surprised. I appreciate you had difficulties with your bike and i do apologise for this but it seems that once the problem was fixed you managed to complete the tour trouble-free. We do include phone numbers within the route notes should you encounter problems and as you found out we also advertise bike shopes along the route.
With regards to the map we have used the IGN maps for the last 8 years and never had such a complaint regarding this. I do agree that the maps on the Pyrenees are clearly highlighted however here there are less minor roads and it easier to supply a larger scale map that details each day's ride. It is certainly not the case that we want our clients to think that our route is original - our main priority and concern is that our clients have an comfortable and trouble-free ride. The IGN maps are certainly not car maps and just to cover the 200km from Paris to Tours (in the Loire Valley) you would need 6 of these maps. Thank you for informing us about the Loire et Cher maps and this is something i will consider advertising within our trip notes however i do feel that our current map and route notes are sufficient.
With regards to the absence of a group leader, this is the nature of a self guide/independent trip and whilst on some trips there is a local representative to meet and give an overview of the tour. On others there are not and this in no way detracts from the quality of the tour. I strongly feel that the information we provide in advance, the route notes and maps, are always detailed enough for people to complete the tour without local assistance.
I'm sorry that the tour did not live up to your expectations and please be assured that we are looking into your concerns.
Andy Buswell (Trip Manager)