Blue Marble Travel, European Cycle Trips

Blue Marble Travel’s European Bicycle Trips. Unusual Trips for Exceptional People, since 1986. RIP

Services provided:
Bicycle Repair / Réparation de vélos
European Bicycle Tours
European Train Travel
Luggage Storage in Paris
Bicycle Rentals
& More


In these terrible times, we must remember we all live on the same and hope a modern day or will also stand up for


The outpouring of love in reaction to the untimely passing of Nicolas Clifford has been both gut-wrenching and profoundly heart-warming. Our deep, deep appreciation to everyone who has shared memories and pictures.

Many people have also reached out about sending flowers. It's a kind and beautiful thought. However, would you instead consider making a donation in Nicolas' name to one of his causes? Here they are:

In Europe: European Cyclists’ Federation:

In the US:
* The Red Cross:
* NARP (Rail Passengers Association):
* (Fighting Climate Change)
* Sierra Club Memorial Gift

Thank you!


In the late 1980s, a radical, vibrant, two-wheeling brain trust came together. Code name: Blue Marble Travel. Against many odds and for more than three decades, its membership grew and changed. There were, however, two immutable constants. First was the mission: to run bicycle trips for individualistic, curious, adventurous travelers, young in fact or young at heart. Second was the mastermind: Nicolas Clifford.

Until, on Wednesday night last week, time and change cruelly caught up with him. Despite having triumphed over cancer and COVID, Nicolas succumbed to a heart attack, leaving behind him a wife and two daughters, a dear community of close friends and a vast network of no-less-radical, just-as-vibrant, pedal-pushing Blue Marble acquaintances.

If you met Nicolas or traveled with him, you know that he was fierce -- in friendship, love, advocacy, the pursuit of truth and knowledge, the crafting and consumption of good food and wine, the defense of train efficiency and calling out of modern politics' inadequacies. And yet he was always welcomingly voluble -- a gatherer of souls, a generous host and gracious guest, an able debater and tireless conversationalist. He was also a self-described goof who (maybe) knew but certainly and somehow ingratiatingly never respected his own limits, who stepped across many others’ red lines only to safely redraw them. He was an unintentional mentor and accidental life guru. A true life changer, always so full of it (life and that other stuff). A presence. A present.

His sudden absence -- and the loss of his immutable constancy -- is indescribable.

Even in the face of this, however, motivated by a love for Nicolas and a determination to hold true to what he held dear, the Blue Marble mission continues.

If you have already registered for a trip in 2022, we are honoring your booking in the spirit of the man who made them possible. And if you are thinking of reliving the roll, taste and, bien sûr, quaff of Nicolas-inspired revelry, of carrying his memory to the bright corners of Europe that he somehow made even brighter, we will take pride in honoring those new bookings too:

Between now and whenever we cross paths next, please use this space to help us help one another. Please share stories and pictures of Nicolas -- the Blue Marble mastermind, the husband and father, son and brother, and unrepentant friend who never failed to let a room know that he was in it. We feel and hear him there still today, coffee or kir in hand, and are not prepared to let the echo fade.


A new departure of our "Swiss Cycling" trip just scheduled, on June 26th. There aren't really words for biking in Switzerland... so we'll stop there. From our 2021 departure...

Family-Friendly Trips 18/11/2021

Our “Family-Friendly” August trip in the Jura is now full (the “regular” trip departing on the same date still has space). Space is also still available on the July 2 departure (younger children) or on the Danish family trip departing July 26 (older children). Book now, and get the ankle-biters ready to put their phones away!

Family-Friendly Trips Trips for the whole family, ages 2 to 82. Bike, or don't. Haul the kids in trailers, or have them haul you. Try to get them to understand WHY they are learning French. Play mini-golf with a cultural component. Fun for all ages. Really :-)

Jura Biking 07/11/2021

We wondered why our Jura trip was suddenly so popular in 2022... Maybe there is a sense of "last call?"®ion=footer&req_id=616981373&surface=eos-more-in&variant=3_bandit-all-surfaces-time-cutoff-20

Jura Biking European bike tours for families, including prices families can afford. Includes 2-star lodging at small inns and hotels, fabulous local cuisine but with lots of options, use of a custom-built, 21-speed road touring bike and the services of a Blue Marble Trip Coordinator to find help find the swimmi...


We've decided to expand our shop offerings for 2022. Please buy all this stuff from us. Especially the Geiger Counter. And the Inflatable helmet, in case of flood.


We've spent the day culling our photo collection: part of the hydra that is to be our new web site. In 2042. Anyway... a nice dinner in the Jura from years ago... The trip is already scheduled twice in 2022!

Opinion | Ciao, Alitalia 17/10/2021

Italy's "flag" airline, Alitalia, ceased operation on October 15th, a victim of a host of factors, but primarily the decimation of its domestic market by high-speed trains.

In a spirit of tribute, we join to this the NYT obituary for "the Pope's airline."

Opinion | Ciao, Alitalia A satirical goodbye is bid to Alitalia, airline to the popes.


Our second "post-Covid" trip, in June of this year, was "Swiss Cycling," at a time when Switzerland was not yet allowing foreign travellers into the country. Well, not officially. But if you know the right border crossings...


Waiting for the train in Obidos...


Our season closes with a marvelous trip in Portugal! Sunset over the Atlantic, in Nazaré (thanks to Howard B. for the photo)...

We were so happy to re-discover our country roads this year! May they always be there to host our two-wheeled magic carpets...


After dinner fado bar in Porto...


A bucolic bike path in the Minho valley.

Photos from Blue Marble Travel, European Cycle Trips's post 27/09/2021

90% chance of rain all day. This is what we got. All day. And so it always is on our trips!

Photos from Blue Marble Travel, European Cycle Trips's post 20/09/2021

Our last trip of the year, "Portuguese Explorer," sets sail in just one week! Two spaces still available, and (exceptionally) you can do just the second half if you wish (so, starting in 2 weeks).

It has been a wonderful year to cycle in Europe: Covid is gone, but the bus tourists haven't thronged back... this is your chance! A unique way to see the old world! And (hopefully, despite the increased intimacy with the lands we travel) the only time it will be quite like this...

Photos from Blue Marble Travel, European Cycle Trips's post 19/09/2021

Our Bay of Biscaye trip ends with a hightlight, literal and figurative: the Picos de Europa, birthplace of Spain! A wonderful trip, with good friends of long standing...


We suddenly need a Baggage Master in Portugal... in 10 days! Yikes! Anyone know anyone? Paid a minimum of 1,000€, 2 weeks' work, hotels & food covered... but you have to be able to get to Oviedo, Spain, by Sept 26 (train from Madrid or Barcelona covered). 4 "full days" of work, 6 "half days", 1 "huge" day (drive from Portugal to Paris), 2 days off to do what you please... done on Oct 9, in Paris.


Asturias, birthplace of Spain.

Photos from Blue Marble Travel, European Cycle Trips's post 13/09/2021

Today, we concentrate on collecting Spanish stereotypes.


Cantabria. The cyclist on the right has just been raptured, as you can see. And the cyclist on the left seems surprisingly unconcerned. It's an unusual trip.


Supper in Santialla del Mar.


Our second-to-last trip of the season starts tomorrow (Portugal will be the last): "Biscaye Biking," to Cantabria, Asturias, & the Picos de Europa. The thrill of departure, ever renewed!


Bike Party at the Paris office! 😊

Bike Trips in Portugal 03/09/2021

LATE-SEASON TRIPS. We had initially thought to schedule an October departure of one of our French trips. But with the world either on fire or flooding, the Delta variant jumping out of closets and yelling BOO!, the European Union making sententious announcements... it didn't seem like the moment. Our trips are running normally (and you are "allowed in" to join them), the weather is fine, the road is open and people are smiling again... but it's hard to grasp all of that if you are hiding behind your couch.

For those still eager to travel this year, but who can't spare the full two weeks of "Portuguese Explorer" (departing September 27), we are offering the trip in two halves: Vigo (Spain) to Coimbra on September 27, and Luso to Lisbon, on October 2.

Come join! If you're vaccinated, you can travel, and it will cheer you up! The flood clean-up can wait. Just air the place out before you head for the trip, to avoid mold.

Bike Trips in Portugal Bicycle trips in Portugal

Jura Biking 01/09/2021

Fancy spruce forests, babbling streams, mountain vistas, and great cheeses? The French / Swiss "Chocolate Box Jura" just entered our schedule for August, 2022...

Jura Biking European bike tours for families, including prices families can afford. Includes 2-star lodging at small inns and hotels, fabulous local cuisine but with lots of options, use of a custom-built, 21-speed road touring bike and the services of a Blue Marble Trip Coordinator to find help find the swimmi...


Our first “family-friendly” departure is officially scheduled for the 2022 season: “Danish Biking,” on July 26th. Beautiful bike paths, ocean vistas, and Tivoli! Focusing on teenage kids, if they can put their phones down. Ever hear of anyone who didn't have a good time in Denmark? Well, except for Hamlet...

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Fado at the Café Santa Cruz, Coimbra


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