Archive for the ‘bike tours’ Category

Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine’s May and June 2013 “Train like a Local” Cycling Tours

April 9, 2013

Ever wonder how top cyclists get ready for a race? (Hint: It doesn’t always involve doping.) From May 26 to June 1 and June 16-22, Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine offers “Train Like a Local,” an immersive, six-night steroid-free bike tour exploring the foothills south of the storied Dolomites, an area widely considered to be the preferred training ground for local and race teams. Focusing on the mid-mountains – climbs ranging between 900 and 1700 meters – the tour is an ideal introduction to riding at higher elevations, preparing cyclists for more challenging ascents. The tour attracts adventurists who share a passion for cycling and culinary pursuits, pairing challenging climbs with opportunities to sample the Germanic/Hungarian-influenced cuisine of Northeastern Italy. The tour is priced $3,695 per person, based on double occupancy, and includes accommodations, all ground transportation, guide services, all breakfasts and three dinners.

Expert cyclist and mountain guide Vernon McClure – recently named one of the “Great Tour Guides in Northern Italy” by Dream of Italy magazine — and cooking instructor and chef Kathy Bechtel ( also an avid biker) lead the tours, which feature cycling routes unknown to mainstream tour companies and introduce guests to magnificent regional cuisine and local wines.

Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine is an owner-operated private guide service, creating and guiding active culinary tours in Northeastern Italy. Unique in their ability to combine active biking, skiing and hiking adventures with world-class culinary programs — including tours with James Beard award-winning chefs — Italiaoutdoors customizes vacations for groups of 4 to 12 people. Italiaoutdoors has more than 15 years of recreational programming experience in the region, plus formal culinary and wine training. For more information or to receive Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine newsletter, recipes and wine information, visit www.italiaoutdoorsfoodandwine.com or Chef Kathy Bechtel’s blog at www.chefbikeski.com.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

http://www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

                                                                               

Cyclomundo Expands Popular 3-Lake Cycling Tour of the Alps for 2013 To Appeal to All Levels

January 31, 2013

Cyclomundo has expanded its popular, visually intensive 3-Lake Cycling trip for 2013 with two options offering different trip itineraries and two daily mileage options to accommodate leisure cyclists as well as more advanced riders.

This world-class route, which lasts 5 nights and 6 days, links three major lakes in the region, namely, Lake Geneva, Lac du Bourget and Lake Annecy. One major element that makes Cyclomundo’s offerings different is that the company’s tours are now perfect for both leisure cyclists with less experience, as well as very serious riders who are interested in more challenging climbs. As a result, groups can enjoy cycling tours together even if they have different levels of expertise.

An easier version takes riders from Lake Geneva to Lac du Bourget to Lake Annecy, most done on very quiet roads and on bikeways.

A more arduous version for avid riders incorporates challenging climbs such as Le Grand Colombier.

Cyclomundo’s route includes historic villages, winemaking regions, beautiful natural scenery and river paths along the Rhone and Isere rivers. The trip starts in Geneva, where cyclists are encouraged to enjoy Switzerland’s culture and dining. Regardless of the option they select, cyclists travel through Seyssel and ultimately to Annecy, passing the Beaufortain and Bauges Mountains. As part of the package, clients stay in Annecy for one night. However, the company can book additional nights upon request.

This self-guided cycling tour is available from May through September, and it is priced at 610 euros per person sharing a room. Reservations can be made via Cyclomundo’s website at www.cyclomundo.com.

Cyclomundo was launched in 2003 by cycling enthusiast Bruno Toutain. In regards to the 3-Lake tour, Toutain states, “Through this trip, leisure cyclists can experience one of the most scenic area of the Alps without climbing hills. Plus, they can go at their own pace, allowing for a trip that is not only beautiful, but also relaxing.”

The company has also appeared in a wide variety of media outlets including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Cycling Plus. Further, Cyclomundo was awarded the “2011 Trip of the Year” award by Outside Magazine. While some supported tours are offered, the company primarily enables clients to take a self-guided approach. Rates include accommodations, daily breakfasts, and three dinners.

Cyclomundo offers a diverse array of cycling vacations: guided and self-guided, pre-arranged or customized, leisurely or challenging… even some based around cyclosportive events like the Etape du Tour. Tours are suited for independent riders, families, friends, and groups of varying levels – you can choose elements “a la carte” for your trip in all regions of France as well as some regions in Spain, Italy, and Switzerland. Based in France, Cyclomundo was born out of its founder’s life-long love of cycling. The company uses local experts who passionately share their heritage with guests and adhere to the principles of sustainable development. “Cyclomundo’s goal is for clients to experience the cultural, regional, historical and gastronomical heritage of their chosen destination and, of course, to have great, healthy fun on their bicycling adventure!”

CYCLOMUNDO, 18 rue Rene Cassin, Gaillard, French Alps, France 74000, Voice: +33 4 50 87 21 09, www.cyclomundo.com.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

http://www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine introduces 5 biking/gastronomy tours in Italy’s Dolomites

January 24, 2013

Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine introduces five bike tours in the Dolomites starting this spring that showcase outdoor recreational grandeur and gastronomy of Northeastern Italy.

The new six-night tours are: “Train Like a Local” departing May 26 and September 1; “The Agony and the Ecstasy” departing June 9; and “The Classic Climbs” departing July 7 and September 8. Rates start at $3,695, per person, based on double occupancy and include accommodations, all ground transportation, guide services, all breakfasts and three dinners. A 15% discount is offered on the September 8 tour if both tours in September are booked.

Each tour invites a riding exploration of the Dolomites in Northeastern Italy and delves into the region’s rich culinary heritage, pairing opportunities to sample Marostica cherries and Bassano’s famed white asparagus with challenging climbs along routes unknown to mainstream tour companies. http://www.italiaoutdoorsfoodandwine.com/index.php/bike-tours-italy-ski-holidays-italy/dolomites-cycling-tours

“Train Like a Local” tour– May 26 – June 1; and September 1-7, 2013: Focusing on the “mid-mountains” with climbs ranging between 900 and 1700 meters, this tour explores the foothills south of the Dolomites, an area widely considered the preferred training ground for local and race teams. An ideal introduction to riding in the mountains, the “Train Like a Local” tour prepares cyclists for more challenging ascents in the upper elevations of the Dolomites and the Alps.

“The Agony and the Ecstasy” tour – June 9 – 15, 2013: Comprising the hardest climbs in northeast Italy (those rated at the 200-point difficulty level), the aptly named “Agony and Ecstasy” tour is designed for cyclists who have trained hard and are ready to embrace the most difficult climbs the Dolomites can offer. This tour takes guests on epic climbs through the regions of Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia, with stops to sample and savor local delicacies such as prosciutto, homemade gnocchi and grappa.

“The Classic Climbs” tour – July 7 – 13; and September 8-4, 2013: “The Classic Climbs” traces a path through the heart of the Dolomites, combining little-known passes with the renowned and rigorous bike climbs that have made the region a sought-after destination for cyclists. While exploring the Dolomites the way locals do, riders will have opportunities to experience the blend of Italian and Austrian/Germanic cultures that define this picturesque region.

Led by expert cyclist and mountain guide Vernon McClure, and cooking instructor and chef Kathy Bechtel, also an avid biker, Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine cycling tours introduce both new and accomplished cyclists to the spectacular Dolomites region, taking care to sample regional cuisine and discover local wines unknown beyond the area. Daily coaching and challenging climbs are interspersed with opportunities to explore off-the-beaten-path towns such as Rovereto, an ancient fortress town; Conegliano, the heart of the Prosecco DOCG zone; and Bassano del Grappa, for a grappa tasting.

Tours are tailored to provide a balance of activity, rest and relaxation. A maximum of 12 persons per group allows for daily itinerary customization and refinement, based on participants’ interests, pacing, and real-time “finds.”
For more information or to receive Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine newsletter, recipes and wine information, visit http://www.italiaoutdoorsfoodandwine.com or Chef Kathy Bechtel’s blog at http://www.chefbikeski.com.

Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine is an owner-operated private guide service, creating and guiding active culinary tours in Northeastern Italy. Unique in their ability to combine active biking, skiing and hiking adventures with world-class culinary programs — including tours with James Beard award-winning chefs — Italiaoutdoors customizes vacations for groups of 4 to 12 people. Italiaoutdoors has more than 15 years of recreational programming experience in the region, plus formal culinary and wine training. Programs also include cooking classes, wine tastings, and restaurant dining which explore the best in local regional cuisine and undiscovered wines. Itineraries are rounded out with city visits, shopping, cultural excursions or just relaxing. The owners — experts in fitness, food, and the region — personally lead each tour. http://www.italiaoutdoorsfoodandwine.com, 978-270-5774. Twitter @italiaoutdoors. Facebook http://www.facebook.com/foodandwineitaliaoutdoors.

For more travel features, visit:
http://www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin
http://www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin
travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate
‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures
Twitter: @TravelFeatures

‘Rush’ Registration for NYC’s 2013 TD Five Boro Bike Tour Begins Jan. 22; Sell Out in 24 Hours Predicted

January 3, 2013
Held annually the first Sunday in May, the TD Five Boro Bike Tour is America’s largest cycling event with a 40 mile, blissfully car-free ride through all five boroughs for 32,000 cyclists © 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Held annually the first Sunday in May, the TD Five Boro Bike Tour is America’s largest cycling event with a 40 mile, blissfully car-free ride through all five boroughs for 32,000 cyclists © 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The 2013 TD Five Boro Bike Tour regular registration will be a “rush” registration system, on January 22, beginning at noon.

The 2013 TD Five Boro Bike Tour regular registration is similar to 2011, where the Tour’s first-come, first-serve registration system – 32,000 places – sold out in less than 24 hours. Bike New York anticipates a similar sellout for the 2013 Tour, which will take place on Sunday, May 5.

Those interested in participating in the TD Five Boro Bike Tour will have the opportunity to register starting on January 22 at noon EST. Adults must register themselves individually. Youth registration will take place in conjunction with an individual adult registration. All youth registrations must maintain a one child to one adult ratio. Participants hoping to ride with friends and family will have the opportunity to link their registrations together after the event sells out.  Visit the registration page for additional details.

Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia New York City Registration

Bike New York, in partnership with the Giro d’Italia, is adding a new way to ride the TD Five Boro Bike Tour. This new VIP registration option will give riders the chance to test their limits, with a timed climb up the Verrazano Bridge. In addition, all Giro riders receive an exclusive Italian-made Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia New York City jersey to wear during the event. Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia New York City registration opens on January 22 at 12:00 p.m. EST. It is only available for riders 18 years of age and older.  Visit our registration page for additional details.

Bike Expo New York

All 2013 TD Five Boro Bike Tour participants will pick up their rider packet and Tour vest at Bike Expo New York (BE NY). Located at Basketball City on Pier 36 (along South St. at Montgomery St., Manhattan, NYC), BE NY will take place the two days before the Tour, Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4. Free and open to the public, the BE NY provides an opportunity for residents and visitors to celebrate all things bicycling against the backdrop of New York.

Drawing more than 43,000 attendees, BE NY 2012 was the most attended inaugural consumer bike expo in the country.( Companies interested in exhibiting at BE NY can email exposales@bikenewyork.org.  Visit the Bike Expo New York webpage for more information.)

“Ride for a Reason” Charity Program

Regular registration and the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia New York City are not the only ways to ride in the 2013 TD Five Boro Bike Tour. Prospective riders can also “Ride for a Reason” and champion one of Bike New York’s 43 charity partners.

Last year’s ‘Ride for a Reason’ charity program raised more than $1.1 million for partner charities! Visit the Ride for a Reason webpage for additional information and a list of charity partners!

Volunteer Opportunities

Those who do not get into the 2013 TD Five Boro Bike Tour can guarantee an entry spot into the 2014 Tour by volunteering this year during Tour weekend or Bike Expo New York. Bike New York volunteer applications will be online in January.  Visit the volunteer page for more information.

Held annually the first Sunday in May, the TD Five Boro Bike Tour is America’s largest cycling event with a 40 mile, car-free ride through all five boroughs for 32,000 cyclists. The Tour is co-produced by Bike New York, the city’s premiere bicycling not-for-profit organization, and the New York City Department of Transportation, in association with multiple City of New York departments. Proceeds from the event fund Bike New York’s education programs.

For more information, e-mail info@bikenewyork.org, phone 212-870-2080 or visit http://www.bikenewyork.org.

See also:

TD Five Boro Bike Tour draws 32,000 to NYC for ‘biggest cycling event’ in US and slideshow

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

http://www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Bike Mexico’s Mayan Historical Sites on ‘End of the World’ Adventure Tour

August 15, 2012

The Mayan calendar ends this December 21, and now travelers can ride to the heart of the intrigue of this once-in-a-lifetime event and its local celebrations. Bike Mexico’s Mayan Riviera while exploring local culture, natural wonders, and ancient archaeological sites on a multi-sport adventure. © 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

Apocalypse soon? According to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar, the world will end on December 21. Travelers can ride to the heart of the intrigue—and experience once-in-a-lifetime celebrations—during the “Riviera Maya Bike Adventure: End of the World Edition,” departing December 15, 2012. Bike Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula while exploring Mayan history, local culture, and rich ecological attractions, with convenient booking and payment through BikeToursDirect.

Mayan prophecy foretells that 2012 will bring the end of the world as we know it, or perhaps the beginning of a new cycle – an era of heightened awareness. These varied interpretations will be discussed and Mayan culture explored during this special edition Mexico bike tour, adapted from the popular Riviera Maya Cycling Adventure program.

“Riviera Maya is a fantastic region to visit any time for its white-sand beaches, delicious food, archeological sites, and friendly people, but this December will be a unique time of celebration. Travelers will be able to enjoy local flavor and customs at the many festivals and ceremonies marking this long-anticipated date,” said Jim Johnson, president of BikeToursDirect.

Starting December 15, 2012, this Mexico bike tour has a multi-sport itinerary, including cycling the Yucatan Peninsula from the jungle to the thatched-roof villages of the contemporary Mayan World. Travelers will explore the prominent archaeological sites of Tulum, Coba, Chichen Itza and Muyil as each of these ancient cities’ history and mysteries are discovered.

Guided by local ecologists, guests will cycle through this tropical paradise, averaging a leisurely 30 miles per day. Beyond cycling, this multi-sport adventure also includes hiking (including a crocodile-watching night hike), kayaking, swimming and snorkeling. Travelers will explore the 1.6 million-acre Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and snorkel in the world’s second largest coral reef.

Educational evening programs will include lectures on ecology, Mayan culture and the Mayan calendar. Guests are encouraged to discuss their thoughts and interpretations of ancient Mayan beliefs and will also experience a Mayan purification ritual.

“The end of the world, or the start of a new cycle, is an opportunity to evaluate what’s most important in life. Our guides and lecturers hope to evoke this kind of reflection as guests explore the history, culture, and natural wonders of the Yucatan,” said Kenneth Johnson of Cancun-based trip operator EcoColors Tours.

Land cost starts at $1,515 and includes accommodations, most meals, cycling equipment, bilingual guides and entrance fees for all non-cycling activities. Airfare to Cancun must be booked separately. For travelers unable to join the “End of the World Edition,” additional departures of the similar Riviera Maya Bike Adventure are available, including a special edition family tour in February 2013. For more information or to book a tour, visit biketoursdirect.com or call (877) 462-2423 or (423) 756-8907.

BikeToursDirect serves as a central resource for bicycle tours around the world, representing 75 tour companies that offer more than 300 tours in 60 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North America. BikeToursDirect offers a variety of resources to help travelers search for and choose tours and handles the entire booking and payment process.

Learn more at http://www.biketoursdirect.com.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

http://www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Italiaoutdoors Offers ‘Chefs on Bikes’ Cycling Tour in Northern Italy, June 24-30

March 16, 2012

Italiaoutdoors, a provider of small-group, personalized recreational vacations in Northeastern Italy, announces their 2012 “Chefs on Bikes” tour, a guided cultural and cycling exploration of the culture, foods and wines of Northeastern Italy.

Scheduled for June 24-30, the 7-day/6-night tour invites cyclists to learn from the culinary expertise of Chef Kathy Bechtel and is priced at $3895 per person, based on double occupancy. With a route covering 20-35 miles per day, the tour travels through the Veneto at the foot of the Dolomite mountains and along the shores of the Adriatic Sea. Recognizing the different riding levels of participants, the small-group size (maximum 8) allows for daily customization, including longer rides, and an immersive culinary and cultural experience.

“Chefs on Bikes” follows one of the former trade routes that distributed spices and goods from the East throughout Western Europe, meandering through flat farmland, by 16th and 17th-century villas, around volcanic hills, and into the foothills of the Pre-Alps. Days begin with gentle, scenic bike rides, followed by a culinary exploration with cooking lessons and wine tastings led by Chef Bechtel. Accommodations are in elegant four-star villa hotels in Mira, Vicenza and Asolo. The program includes all transfers, all breakfasts and snacks, five dinners with wine, plus entry fees to museums and other venues. The program can also be scheduled as a private group trip of 4-12 cyclists.

Highlights of the trip are:

  • · A ride along the Brenta River, touring Palladian estates and the summer villas of the Venetian aristocracy
  • · A visit to Vicenza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city most closely associated with Andrea Palladio, noted Venetian architect of the 16th century
  • · Rides through the picturesque Berici Hills (Colli Berici) Wine Zone
  • · A visit to the medieval walled cities of Treviso, Castelfranco, and Cittadella
  • · Two nights in Asolo, a striking hilltop village with winding streets and a graceful piazza overlooking the valley
  • · A visit to Villa Cipriani, with a Bellini reception in the garden
  • · Six nights at opulent villas and hotels
  • · Two hands-on cooking classes, one with local chefs, and one with Chef and Italiaoutdoors Culinary Director Kathy Bechtel
  • · Daily wine tastings of Prosecco and the best of regional Veneto wines
  • · Tastings of regional culinary specialties at local trattorias featuring olive oils, risotto, polenta, Venetian frutti di mare, and spicy pasta dishes

Italiaoutdoors is an owner-operated specialty guide service, offering individualized programs for small groups seeking to explore the beauty and diverse culture of Northern Italy. Hiking, biking and skiing programs are offered in combination with a culinary and culture immersion in the area. Participants share a passion for a healthy lifestyle and an appreciation for the region’s history, beauty, culture, wines and culinary delights. Because of their small size, tours are adaptable to the fitness levels and interests of individual guests. Daily recreation is balanced with cooking lessons, wine tastings, fine meals and cultural explorations. www.italiaoutdoorsfoodandwine.com.

Programs Focus on Biking, Skiing and Hiking

Italiaoutdoors offers bike routes for the more relaxed cyclist or more challenging rides for the stronger rider wanting aggressive hill climbs and longer days in the saddle. Ski itineraries include lessons for all levels of skier or snowboarder, guided resort skiing or backcountry explorations, and alternate activities for the non-skier. Hikers can enjoy hut-to-hut treks across the spectacular Dolomites, or more leisurely day hikes with four-star accommodations. All tours include daily free time to discover and enjoy the culture and foods and wines that have made Italy a favorite destination.

For more information and reservations, visit www.italiaoutdoorsfoodandwine.com.

For more travel features, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

 

BikeToursDirect Launches New Website with 300 Cycling Tours Worldwide, Added Planning Tools

March 7, 2012

Biking the Danube Bike Trail, one of the popular BikeToursDirect programs. BikeToursDirect’s new website offers custom search tools to help travelers choose and book cycling vacations based on personal preferences. The site includes extensive information on nearly 300 tours in 40 countries worldwide as well as destination details and planning tips © 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

BikeToursDirect has launched a new website designed to make it easier for clients to choose from its nearly 300 bicycle tours worldwide and to plan and book their cycling vacations.  Biketoursdirect.com helps visitors search for tours based on personal preferences such as destination, type of tour, level of difficulty, price range, date and duration. Additional filtering tools help further refine search results, which then link to detailed tour information such as tour descriptions, daily programs, dates, prices, route overviews, sample hotel lists and route maps.

“It can be daunting for clients to sort through hundreds of bicycle tours and find the right one,” says Jim Johnson, president of BikeToursDirect. “This is even more the case as we expand beyond Europe to Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas. Our new site is designed to make it easier—and fun—for clients to find their dream cycling vacations. We then provide the tools to help them plan their trips.”

The site also offers short cuts such as quick searches based on destination, interest or date and “Top 10” lists that link to top recommendations, including family-friendly tours, budget-priced tours (one-week tours start at less than $700), tours for first-time bike tourists, and bike and boat tours.

Biketoursdirect.com also offers resources to help travelers prepare for their trips, with extensive information on destinations as well as tips on training programs, transportation and recommended clothing and equipment, and a suggested packing list.

BikeToursDirect serves as a central resource for bicycle tours around the world, representing nearly 60 tour companies that offer almost 300 tours in 40 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North America. BikeToursDirect offers a variety of resources to help travelers choose tours and handles the entire booking and payment process.

For more information, visit http://www.biketoursdirect.com,  call 877-462-2423 or 423-756-8907, email: info@biketoursdirect.com.

See our stories on BikeToursDirect’s Danube Bike Trail trip:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

Eastwind Cycle Unveils Custom Bicycling Journeys in Canada, Mexico

March 7, 2012

Eastwind Cycle, Atlantic Canada’s small, but dedicated premium cycling tour company, has been operating mainly behind the scenes to support the cycling programs of large tour operators and cruise lines, since 1995. But in 2012 Eastwind has changed gears by offering their custom cycling journeys in Canada’s east coast, Quebec and Puebla, Mexico to the travelling public for the first time. To kick it off they’ve revamped their website and introduced a creative newsletter and social media plan.

“We’re excited to do more custom cycling trips in our all-time favourite places to ride,” says Peter Williams, Eastwind Cycle’s founder. “We welcome all skill sets and group sizes. All you need is a passion for the good things in life like food and wine, and the willingness to hop on a bicycle. It’s that simple, and that’s what makes cycling travel extraordinary.”

Eastwind Cycle’s team of highly skilled cyclists, there to support guests at all times along the road, specialize in journeys as small as four people to as big as 40. Through their years on the road, they’ve gained countless nuggets of first-hand knowledge of the best of each region they travel to. Eastwind Cycle takes guest’s ideas for a dream journey and combines them with the finest regional ingredients … quaint country inns, boutique hotels, phenomenal and fresh local cuisine. Williams spent his past life as a restaurateur, and great food at all levels (markets, roadside eateries, high-end restaurants) is at the heart of every Eastwind Cycle journey.

For more information, visit www.eastwindcycle.com.

For more travel features, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

BikeToursDirect Adds Mexico to Tour Roster, First North American Destination

November 2, 2011

 

BikeToursDirect

BikeToursDirect, entering its ninth season, serves as a central resource for bicycle tours in Europe, including the popular Danube Bike Trail, and is currently expanding to Asia, Africa, Australia and North America. The company has just added four tours in Mexico for 2012, its first North American destination. © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

BikeToursDirect is expanding its tour offerings to its fifth continent, adding Mexico to its tour roster, its first North American destination. Following meetings last week at the Adventure Travel World Summit in Chiapas, Mexico, BikeToursDirect reached an agreement to represent EcoColors Tours, a Cancun-based tour operator.

“I’m very impressed with EcoColors’ professionalism and commitment to the environment and to local communities,” said BikeToursDirect president Jim Johnson. “Their focus is as much on ecosystems, history and culture as it is on recreation, and their guides are also biologists or naturalists.”

“We recognize our responsibility to the people and places we visit,” says EcoColors president Kenneth Johnson. “Our philosophy is ensuring that our clients’ holidays have a positive impact on the places they visit.”

Tours will be priced starting at about $1,500, including one week of lodging, dinners, professional guides, van support, transfers, sightseeing tours, admissions and other services. Partial proceeds from each tour go to local Mayan communities.

BikeToursDirect will offer four tours, which spotlight the archaeological history, biodiversity and natural wonders of Mexico:

  •  Riviera Maya Bike Adventure, which takes cyclists across the Yucatan peninsula from the jungle to the Caribbean and explores Mayan archaeological sites and natural wonders hidden in Mexico’s second largest national park, the Sian ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Tour dates: January 7, March 18 and November 4.
  •  Yucatan Bike Adventure, which winds along the Yucatan Peninsula and spotlights contemporary Mayan villages, ancient pyramids, archaeological sites and Mexico’s second largest national park, the Sian ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Tour dates: February 19, April 8 and October 7.
  • Oaxaca Bike Adventure, which winds through villages with colonial-era structures and explores archaeological and historic sites, including Monte Alban, Santo Domingo Church, El Tule tree and petrified waterfalls in the mountains. Tour date: September 2.
  • Chiapas Bike Adventure, a journey through the tropical rainforest of Chiapas, the most biodiverse state of Mexico, which features unique waterfalls, lagoons, canyons and mountains, as well as the amazing archaeological sites of the Olmec (first prehistoric culture) and the Maya: Palenque and Comalcalco. Tour dates: April 22 and September 23.

Each tour also features authentic Mexican cuisine and offers a variety of side excursions, including guided naturalist hikes, kayaking, boat tours and snorkeling on the world’s second longest coral reef—all geared at providing an opportunity to explore the unique and diverse ecosystems of Mexico.

“The primary mission of EcoColors is preservation: to protect and preserve the unique ecosystems in Mexico and combine this with ecotourism. Our goal is to amaze our travelers while giving them the opportunity to explore the ecosystems in an informed and safe manner,” says Kenneth Johnson.

The two Johnsons (no relation) met and spent time together during the annual Adventure Travel World Summit last week in Chiapas, Mexico. “Kenneth took me on a boat tour through the Sumidero Canyon, part of the Chiapas Bicycle Adventure,” says Jim Johnson, who shot a short video of the adventure. “I was impressed by his knowledge and passion for the region.”

Entering its ninth season, BikeToursDirect represents over 50 tour companies worldwide and offers more than 200 bicycle tours in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North America. Unlike many companies, BikeToursDirect doesn’t operate tours but instead represents overseas companies that can keep their tour prices down due to the lower cost of doing business close to home and to spreading their expenses over a large client base. Clients book tours and make all payments through BikeToursDirect, usually at the same prices charged by the tour companies.

BikeToursDirect will add the Mexico tours to its new website in early December. Interested travelers can contact BikeToursDirect to be alerted when the new tours are online.

BikeToursDirect, entering its ninth season, serves as a central resource for bicycle tours in Europe, representing more than 50 tour companies that offer more than 200 tours in 35 European countries, and is currently expanding to Asia, Africa, Australia and North America. BikeToursDirect offers a variety of resources to help travelers choose tours and handles the entire booking and payment process. Learn more at www.biketoursdirect.com. Telephone: 1-877-462-2423 or 1-423-756-8907. Email: info@biketoursdirect.com.

 For more travel features, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate                                                                                       www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

Top Winter Bicycle Tour Destinations feature Southern Europe, South Africa, New Zealand

October 14, 2011

Biking the Danube Bike Trail, one of BikeToursDirect's most popular offerings. No need to wait to next summer for a bike trip: BikeToursDirect offers 25 with December-February departures in southern Europe, South Africa, New Zealand, Egypt, Vietnam, Thailand and the Islands of Seychelles © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Although a winter chill will cover much of Europe by December, there are still several options for travelers interested in overseas bicycle touring during the winter months. BikeToursDirect offers 25 tours with December-February departures in southern Europe, South Africa, New Zealand, Egypt, Vietnam, Thailand and the Islands of Seychelles.

“In southern Europe, many bicycle tours operate year-round, with Spain being one of the most popular winter destinations,” says BikeToursDirect president Jim Johnson. “As we have expanded our tour offerings to four continents, we’ve added many new tours with year-round departures and some that are primarily available during the winter months.”

Offering fourteen bicycle tours in southern Europe with winter departures, BikeToursDirect provides cycle tourists with a variety of destinations to choose from in France, Italy and Spain. Eleven tours are available in Spain, which spotlight the pristine Andalusia mountains, the medieval villages and Mediterranean coast of Catalonia, the dramatic volcanic landscape of the Canary Islands, the castles and vineyards of Catalan and the island of Majorca.

“Catalonia has a cool but mostly dry winter that is perfect for cycling,” says Daniel Herzberg, Director of Cycling and Walking Holidays, Creative Catalonia, a BikeToursDirect tour partner. “The days are often sunny with daytime temperatures in the 60s that are ideal for cycling. Our Medieval Villages cycling tour is very popular as it encompasses such a fantastic variety of sights along the route that range from exploring the beautiful medieval city of Girona, the stunning coastal bays of the Costa Brava, as well as cycling through the timeless medieval villages of the region.”

For advanced cyclists, Hertzberg adds that Girona’s Best Road Riding Tours (both point to point as well as based in one hotel with daily loop tours) are popular for cyclists who don’t want to lose form on the bike over the cold winter back home.

While North Americans and many Europeans are enduring the winter, south-of-the-equator destinations are in full-blown summer. BikeToursDirect offers several bicycle tours in South Africa with year-round departures, including the “South African Cycle Safari” and “Cape Town and Winelands” tours, which are operated by locally-based Bike & Saddle, one of BikeToursDirect’s new tour partners.

“South Africa offers amazing opportunities for cycling year-round,” says Ben Sanders, Director of Business Development for Bike & Saddle. “We offer exclusive Cycle Safaris on private game reserves with a ranger guide showcasing the sights and sounds of the bush. We run authentic township tours through South Africa’s informal settlements and tailor-made wine tours through the various Cape Winelands. We run a Culinary Cycle Tour, themed on gourmet food and wine, and we are involved in various conservation initiatives, including a cheetah rehabilitation program.”

Heading a little deeper into the Southern Hemisphere, BikeToursDirect offers four bicycle tours in New Zealand, which feature rainforests, glaciers, mountains, national parks, geothermal spas, islands, caves and volcanoes.

“New Zealand is the perfect winter vacation location because November through March is our summer and the scenery is outstanding, ranging from superb beaches to permanently snow capped mountains, forests to open sheep country—all in an area the same size as Colorado,” says Richard Oddy, Chief Spoke of Pedaltours, a BikeToursDirect tour partner that has operated tours in New Zealand since 1985. “Our most popular tour is our Southern Alps 10-day tour from Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city, with a population of 360,000, to Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world.”

Other winter tour options include the Islands of Seychelles in the Indian Ocean; the Nile River Valley in Egypt; the ancient Chiang Mai region of Thailand; and the bustling cities and rural districts of Vietnam. BikeToursDirect will unveil additional winter destination tours for 2012 when it launches a new website this fall.

BikeToursDirect, now in its eighth season, serves as a central resource for bicycle tours in Europe, representing more than 50 tour companies that offer more than 200 tours in 35 European countries and is currently expanding to Asia, Africa and Australia. BikeToursDirect offers a variety of resources to help travelers choose tours and handles the entire booking and payment process. Learn more at www.biketoursdirect.com. Telephone: 1-877-462-2423 or 1-423-756-8907. Email: info@biketoursdirect.com.

For more travel features, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin