Discover France Guides – Best of the Best
At Discover France Adventures, we specialize in bicycle tours throughout France as well as multisport tours, custom tours, and specialty travel. We offer unique opportunities to discover the French culture and lifestyle. In addition to our pioneering self-guided tour offers, we operate a significant number of custom guided trips for groups of all sizes and abilities. Our guides are the most qualified and certified professionals available, and for us that makes them the best in the business. All of our guides go through intense training, unlike guides in other countries or ‘trip leaders’ that come to France to lead tours. Our guides and experience really stands out, and so we really want to brag about their knowledge and the in depth training they go through before we hire them!
First, all of our guides have their Brevet d’Etat, short for Brevet d’Etat d’Educateur Sportif Activité du Cyclisme, or BEESAC. In English it’s called a Diploma (State Certificate) of Educator in Sport Specialized in Cycling Sports Activity. To achieve their Brevet d’Etat riders must take a two part course. First, they must complete 300 classroom hours during a six week time period to acquire knowledge in a variety of fields including biological sciences, psychology, pedagogy (teaching), communications, legal, nutrition, and organization. They must then prove their knowledge by taking a two hour written exam and two challenging oral tests.
The second part involves 380 hours of education specific to the sport of cycling. Students must first take a qualifying test to determine if they are eligible for entry into training. They then receive 60 hours of pre-training followed by an examination. Once that’s complete, the final training is given in three units, as follows:
- UF1 : Takes approximately 120 hours and involves initiation and perfection of various cycling activities
- UF2 : Part 1 – Improving Practice; Part 2 – Teaching the practice of cycling (about 100 hours total)
- UF3 : Takes approximately 100 hours and covers the cycling environment and safety topics
Students must then complete about 100 hours of hands-on training, at least 40 hours of which is in a federal structure.
To put it into perspective it typically takes about two years for a guide to complete the required coursework and graduate. Seems like a lot of work so far, doesn’t it? But there’s more. Cycling Guides as riders are also given a three day test which entails the following:
- A discipline (road, MTB, BMX Track and Cyclo-Cross) cycling chosen for a performance and calibrated on a professional cyclist in the discipline
- Randomly selected and calibrated for a performance on a professional cyclist in the discipline
- Orientation in the outdoors with map and compass
- Educational/teaching test in a situation with a group
- Written teaching test on a subject drawn at random with 4 hours to write an essay
- Oral test – technical knowledge
Riders must declare their diploma to the National Youth and Sport for the right to work in the industry as a licensed professional.
In addition to technical and formal training, guides must also know a great deal of practical information such as how to disassemble and reassemble a bike, how to problem solve and keep their group safe, nutrition and food to bring on rides, and each must also pass an exam with Firefighter Certificate of Training in First Aid (AFD).
Discover France is very selective when hiring guides – we only want the best for our clients! Our guides are all highly educated and have attended a university where they received degrees in various fields, from engineering to sports tourism management. We hire only those who have top level experience in the sport of cycling, have extensive knowledge of nature and heritage, exhibit great interpersonal skills (to make rides fun and exciting) and are multilingual. Most of all, we look for guides that are passionate about cycling and showing others how amazing it can be.