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Help: Would I enjoy a weeklong "tour" from a tour company?(19 posts)

Help: Would I enjoy a weeklong "tour" from a tour company?PaulCL
Jan 20, 2003 7:07 AM
Tough question to answer since no one knows me. I guess I'm looking for any personal experiences.

My wife gave me the OK to take a week somewhere on my bike this summer. In the summer of '01, I did the Carpenter/Phinney bikecamp for a week. (www.bikecamp.com). Lots of miles, lots of advice, small group, mountains, sprints, challenges, great lodging. But, I've never gone on a tour. I've done the two day MS150's which I found to be very boring - a stop every 15 miles.

I don't want to do bikecamp again this summer - besides, its' gotten very expensive. So what are tours like?? I don't have the buck to fly to Europe or Majorca this year. My concern is that I would get stuck on a tour with a bunch of grandmothers or families with small children. I don't want a hammerfest for a week either, but better that than averaging 12mph!

Any suggestions? Any input? I live in Northern KY if that makes a difference. What would you do if you had the option to take a week off sometime May thru October just to ride??? I guess I'm getting overwhelmed with info searching tour company webpages. They all look alike.

Thanks. Paul
re: Help: Would I enjoy a weeklong "tour" from a tour company?MJ
Jan 20, 2003 7:16 AM
is there a reason you can't load up some panniers and take off by yourself?

then you are totally self-supporting and can go at your own pace from hammer to grandma - you could base yourself somewhere with a few local rides and leave your panniers behind - you could ride/drive up from KY and ride around one of the Great Lakes?

I've never been on an organised tour but have done plenty of small group and solo touring - paying for the group tour has never been necessary
soloPaulCL
Jan 20, 2003 9:21 AM
good idea, but not for me. I would like to avoid the panniers,etc. I guess I want to be in a group - being a social animal and all.
soloMJ
Jan 20, 2003 9:42 AM
you probably know panniers change the bike from a speed machine in to a work horse vehicle - it's not a pure road ride by any stretch of the imagination - but the self-sufficiency is a cool freedom

solo touring is definitely hard core - the worst part for me is finishing a hard days slog and not being able to discuss the trip/day/route/logistics with anyone - having said that the solo tours get burned in to my head in a different (and equally good) way - more like a dream

it's hard (for me) to describe the long open downhill, the sun, the blur of trees in a forest, the climb, that view, the smells and temperature, the changes in weather, the great food stops and all the other ephemeral things that a great ride consists of which you usually share and can never really explain - my wife usually just notes the smile when I return and lose the power of speech trying to tell her the high points of a ride
Help: Would I enjoy a weeklong from a tour compScot_Gore
Jan 20, 2003 8:19 AM
Like you I've never done one, but also like you, I've been shopping.

For me I've narrowed it down to these guys:
http://www.adventurecycling.org/

In addition to offering tours for money, they have a big cycling advocacy mission, so that's what swung me.

They have both SAGed and self supported tours. I plan on my first one being a supported ride that I don't have to carry gear on. I'm a shopper like you so use your own judgement.

Scot
So, which one are you doing?PaulCL
Jan 20, 2003 9:19 AM
Scot:

Which tour are you doing?? The price isn't too bad. My only hesitation is airfare plus the extra for the bike. I'd love to go out west.

Have you checked out these guys: http://www.gilatours.com/index.html I'm looking at their "mountain mission tour". Also: http://www.tourthepeaks.com/index.html but I don't know if I could handle that type of mileage over mountains.

Are you going alone or with a friend? That's one of my hesitations, I would end up going alone to almost any tour since I can't convince any of my ride buddies to join me. Something to do with jobs, family, money, etc....the normal compaints.
Still in the shopping phase.Scot_Gore
Jan 20, 2003 4:48 PM
Serious negoiations with "she who must be obeyed" still pending. If I go it will be alone. Nobody I ride with is up for this kind of event.

I'll check your links.

Thanks
Scot
re: Help: Would I enjoy a weeklong "tour" from a tour company?Elefantino
Jan 20, 2003 8:36 AM
There's an outfit out of Iowa called Velo Echappe (sp?) that does Europe tours, but they also do a weeklong tour of the Texas countryside during Ride for the Roses week. They are having some pros ride with them on that tour. I don't remember how much it is, but it's worth giving them a call. They do all the tour bookings for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, so they're a solid group.

FWIW,
Mike
velo echappePaulCL
Jan 20, 2003 9:33 AM
I checked them out. Actually, they were the first group I looked at. It seems that they put on a first class tour/camp program. Right now, I can't justify spending nearly $3000 for a week of cycling. Yup, VE tours are about the most expensive going.

The one I would love to is in Spain. I can't find the webpage right now. The cost is $875 per week including hotel, food, sags, etc...The only additional cost is the airfare @$1400!! Besides the cost and the jet lag (imagine riding a 100 miles the day after traveling for 10 hours!), my wife would kill me if I jetted off to Europe without her.
I'm a Veloechappe Guide!!teoteoteo
Jan 20, 2003 6:09 PM
Just FYI one of your board locals is a Veloecahppe Guide. I live in Austin and will help out with the Tdf trips as well as the Austin Camps with Frankie.

The cost is a little more and but Brian (owner) compromises nothing when it comes to service. From building your bike to toting your bags to make sure you have a the time of your life.

The facility for one camp is the very same one used by USPS.
will you e-mail me atdmoller
Jan 21, 2003 10:38 AM
dmoller@idi.com? I've got some questions about your vocation. I'd love to scrap this desk job where half the time I'm fighting the urge to fall asleep on my keyboard for something in the great outdoors. Thanks
How about Oregon?rockbender
Jan 20, 2003 10:02 AM
I havn't checked out the tour route for this year, but take a look at http://www.cycleoregon.com/

I rode this a few years back and had a wonderful time. You are essentially camping, but they pack your bags to the next stop, there is great food, and a beer garden and stage with entertainment every evening.

There are definately a lot of choices out there - good luck!
re: Help: Would I enjoy a weeklong "tour" from a tour company?abelson
Jan 20, 2003 11:06 AM
Check out cycleamerica.
www.cycleamerica.com -- they have some nice rides
and if you are interested in riding in Canada check out cyclecanada.com (no relation to cycle america)-- I did their cross canada ride in 1997 but they also have a bunch of weeklong rides now and good prices
re: Help: Would I enjoy a weeklong "tour" from a tour company?msmootsiemartin
Jan 20, 2003 1:50 PM
You may want to check out some rides like Ride the Rockies, sponsored by The Denver Post. I have done it several times and it is always well organized and lots of fun. There are about 2000 cyclists, the only downside is that it is a lottery to get in. I think it is about $500 which includes camping and baggage transfer. You can arrange your own hotels if wanted. There is also the grand-daddy of all the cross state rides...RAGBRAI. Good luck, let us know what you decide.
re: Help: Would I enjoy a weeklong "tour" from a tour company?crewman
Jan 20, 2003 2:46 PM
I am in the exact same condition, only i have booked off the 9th to the 23rd of June. I have been to a ton of tour sites only to find them too expensive.

The wife and I are going to Europe in the fall and I have enough time and money for a one week tour somewhere in North America. I live in Ontario Canada, (Hamilton home of the 2003 Worlds, YES).

There has been a few message boards where guy's have been posting the same question. Maybe we should just make up our own tour, and just all get together.

Harold
OK, where and when do we go??PaulCL
Jan 21, 2003 7:03 AM
Here's a webpage for you: http://www.adventures.com/gasnet/66-6.htm

I found this company last night. A tour thru the Canadian Rockies. Info via email from the director: group of 10-15 riders, avg. age 25-45, skill level: intermediate to advanced. Avg miles daily: +/- 65 Terrain: painful

Not too expensive either...from all hotel @$900 US to all camping $600 US. All meals,sag, etc included..you pay the airfare.

I might do this one. Paul

...unless you want to meet in the middle for a self guided tour??
OK, where and when do we go??crewman
Jan 22, 2003 10:59 AM
Paul
That sounds about what I wanted to do, but they don't really give you a date when they are going. Price is alright as well.

E-mail me at crewman@sympatico.ca and we can talk further.
Organisation + Quality Support + Good Accommodation = $$$GeoCyclist
Jan 20, 2003 5:47 PM
My wife and I did a four day cycle tour of the San Juan Islands with Bicycle Adventures this last July. The tour group was very small (8 people) and of mixed ability, and cycling goals. We took our tandem and did some high speed single bike touring. The tour support was great and the riding routes could be varied to suit each rider. It was a great experience for us, as we did not want to carry our stuff; however, you pay for this luxury. The better organised the support and the accommodation, the more you are going to pay!!!. You should also note, by going alone you will be subject to a singles supplemt price at most of the large tour companies, unless you are willing to share accommodation with a stranger. If you want to ride with a group of like minded cyclists, and put in some miles (without stopping every 15 min.), you had better make sure the tour you sign up for is catered to this type of activity. My wife and I have already started looking at doing another cycle tour next summer; possibly the Colombia river gourge. The most important thing is to get a guide that will give you good information and the flexibility to change the daily riding schedule to suit the miles you want to ride. This is (and should be) a possibility when you are paying big bucks for a tour. Bicycle Adventures added plenty of extra milage to the routes when we wanted it. I would recommend this company for luxury touring.

Best of luck with your search.

Ride On!
A couple more bits of inputRay Sachs
Jan 21, 2003 6:20 AM
Depends on what you want and how much you want to spend. I've done solo camping tours, solo credit card tours, supported group tours with inn/hotel accomodation, and supported group tours with camping.

You already ruled out the solo tours. Of the group tours, I've found that MOST of the inn/hotel tours are small groups and tend toward easier riding (both mileage, terrain, speed of the group). I've taken my daughter on these and it's fun, but I'd go crazy on one by myself. The groups seem to consist mostly of couples so there's only so much hanging out and riding together, so you'd be spending a lot of riding time solo anyway. The ones I've been on are for decidely beginner - intermediate riders so 12 mph is probably as fast as a group would average. I'm sure there are exceptions, but this is the rule I've observed.

The week long camping tours (Adventure Cycling, state crossing events) are bigger events and so there's a LOT more variety in riders. You'll always find people to ride with on these trips - in fact it can be tough to avoid. When you're feeling strong, there are plenty of hammerheads to hang with and when your butt is whipped, there are plenty of people who will still be waaaay slower than you and plenty in between, so you can be as social as you want.

I really like these trips for the variety and I've found that I don't mind camping at all if I don't have to carry all of my gear in panniers (I sometimes even like that, but its a very different type of riding). If this appeals to you but you don't want to camp, there are usually hotel options and there are some tours that stay in college dorms (Pedal-PA is a good tough cross-state ride with indoor accomodations). I mostly camp but usually go for one or two nights in hotels on these trips to give myself a bit of a break.

-Ray