Archive for the ‘cycling’ Category

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

Over the Top Travel Launches Performance Cycling Experiences

November 29, 2011

Performance road cycling ranks as the #1 choice among people pursuing an active lifestyle and seeking new travel experiences. In other words, cycling is the new golf. At the forefront of this movement is the just launched Over The Top Travel, offering world-class performance cycling experiences for people who love to ride.

What sets Over The Top apart is its focus on the cycling experience. As owner Greg Pruner, a passionate cyclist who’s ridden France’s famous Mt. Ventoux three times in one day, says, “We are the answer for avid riders looking for a cycling experience that combines fulfilling rides with the best of world-class destinations. We don’t do three-hour lunches or afternoon museum tours. We ride.” Many of Over The Top’s guides are certified coaches there to help and support cyclists with techniques to improve their riding, if they so desire.

In addition to being an experienced cyclist, Pruner is also a certified sommelier. He spent many years living in Europe sampling the best cuisine on offer, which accounts for Over The Top’s other main ingredients: “Apres Vélos” featuring Michelin-star dining and expertly selected wines.

Upcoming 2012 riding destinations include many of the classics such as the Pyrenees, the French Alps, Tour de France and a destination at the of top of every serious cyclist’s list: Mallorca. On the beautiful Mediterranean island of Mallorca, Over The Top will feature its Spoke Club series which caters to avid cyclists and their non-riding partners. It is part spring riding camp, part retreat and part culinary and cultural adventure.

Over The Top is also offering a unique Women’s Road Cycling Retreat from February 26 to March 2, 2012. Set in the gorgeous Miraval Resort in Arizona, this one-of-a-kind retreat is ideal for women cyclists looking to improve their riding skills and confidence in an open and relaxing environment.

Over The Top — the premier provider of world-class performance cycling experiences for people who love to ride — combines the best of each destination’s cuisine, culture and breath-taking landscapes, with performance cycling adventures.

Visit www.overthetoptravel.com to learn more.

For more travel features, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

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

Cervélo and Butterfield & Robinson Partner to create pro cycling trips

November 29, 2011

The Cervélo Pro Travel Experience is a travel experience like no other, designed entirely for  and with minute attention to the passionate cyclist. Two iconic Canadian companies, both uncompromising innovators in their respective fields of active travel and performance bikes, have combined forces and expertise to create a series of cycling travel packages built around the experience of pro cycling.

Both Cervélo and Butterfield & Robinson are respected for their unwavering pursuit of excellence, innovation and customer care. Performance bike manufacturer Cervélo literally, “brain bike”—set the pro cycling world afire 16 years ago when they introduced a revolutionary new design to the time trial bike market. In 2009, Cervélo became the first bike manufacturer in the modern era to have its own cycling team at the highest levels of racing. Cervélo’s partner for their travel venture are active travel experts Butterfield & Robinson, who have been operating upscale biking and walking journeys across the globe since 1966. B&R pioneered “active travel,” and their intense focus on delivering superlative experiences to their customers, combined with intimate local insights.

Trips will be offered around race events offering interaction with pro-cyclists. Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Cup, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Giro d’Italia , the Amgen Tour of California, The Tour, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec and the UCI Road World Championships. Other trips are based around iconic rides such as: the French Alps, the Pyrénées, the Cols of Provence, Santa Barbara and the Italian Alps. All riders will be provided with Cervélo gear and a custom fitted Cervélo R3 team bike. They will also have the opportunity to test ride a Cervélo S5 aero bike and enjoy soigneur services (e.g. pre and post ride massages).

Both companies believe passionately in the relentless pursuit of excellence whether on the track, on the road, or around the dinner table. These trips bring a combination of cutting-edge bicycle engineering and envelope-pushing travel artistry; delivering finely balanced and completely unique once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Visit http://www.travel.cervelo.com or http://www.butterfield.com.

For more travel features, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

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

Spain Transforms Unused Railroads into 1100 Miles of Stunning Greenway Trails for Biking, Walking

September 15, 2011

Spain's environmentally-friendly ‘Vías Verdes’ Trails take you on a spectacular journey through the countryside. Here, the Via Verde de la Sierra (Cadiz-Sevilla).

A recognized leader in eco-tourism and sustainable development, Spain continues its efforts to promote ‘greener’ ways to travel with the help of the Vías Verdes Program. The program, translated literally as greenways, encompasses re-purposing and redesign of unused railway lines into trails for walkers, joggers and cyclists. Similar to Manhattan’s High Line or the Illinois Prairie Path, Spain’s Vías Verdes added over 1,110 miles of trail passages to those existing in Spain naturally.

The trails, located throughout the country, vary in length, providing an option for travelers in search of an active outdoor challenge or those looking for a leisurely stroll. From the 1-mile long Paseo Itsaslur Greenway in Bizkaia that offers breathtaking views of the Basque Country shoreline, to the 46-mile long Sierra de Alcaraz Greenway in Albacete (Castilla La Mancha region,) that will take you through parts of the Don Quixote Route and the meadows of the rivers Jardín and Cubillo. The flat and even surface of Vías Verdes assures seamless travel for those on foot or a bike.

Conveniently located near major cities or in close proximity to train stations, the greenways present an opportunity to discover Spain’s hidden corners, admire the pristine beauty of its landscape as well as interact with the country’s habitat.

Recently, the Spanish Railway Foundation in collaboration with the Biodiversity Foundation and Ferrovial, one of the world’s leading developers of transport infrastructure, launched a campaign titled “Greenways, Zero CO2” to emphasize the environmentally-friendly facet of such programs as the Vías Verdes. The campaign, set to finish at the end of October, 2011, stresses the need for the development of alternative, non-motorized infrastructure options to reduce CO2 emissions, promote sustainable patterns of mobility and preserve biodiversity.

With over 80 itineraries available on the program’s website, every traveler will find a greenway to best suit their interest.

For more information on the Vías Verdes Program, please visit http://www.viasverdes.com/GreenWays. For more information or questions on travel to Spain, visit www.spain.info or contact the Tourist Office of Spain in New York at nuevayork@tourspain.es.

For more travel features, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

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

European Wine and Bike Tours Merge Best of Two Worlds

July 30, 2011

Dual interests of biking and wine tasting come together in Tuscany, Italy. Bike Tours Direct 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 © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

Europe has long been a top destination both for travelers interested in its fine wines and for bicyclists wanting to explore countries at a leisurely pace. Increasingly, travelers are merging those two interests thanks to a growing number of wine and bicycle tours. For travelers interested in experiencing the best of European wines and country roads, BikeToursDirect offers several wine and bike tours in some of the top wine-producing regions of the world.

The trips provide special access to some of the best vineyards and wine cellars and most breathtaking cycling landscapes in the world. Offering dozens of wine and bike tours in 2011, BikeToursDirect works with locally-based tour operators who can provide special access to off-the-beaten-(bike)-path vineyards and producers.

“A wine and bike tour offers both the intimacy of a bike trip and the fun of visiting a vineyard or winery,” says Robert Heiss, co-owner of teatrekker.com and a wine and food connoisseur who has participated in several wine and bike tours. “There is nothing like arriving at a vineyard on a bicycle—it makes you feel, just for a moment, as though you might really live in the village down the road and are just stopping by for your regular wine purchase.”

“Another bonus of exploring a region by bicycle: guilt-free dining,” says BikeToursDirect president Jim Johnson. “And nothing goes better with a fine meal than a fine wine!”

With a variety of terrain, food, wine and cycling options, bike tours in Tuscany are a top choice for cycle tourists interested in wine and cuisine. Every tour BikeToursDirect offers in the region spotlights vineyards, wine and food in some way, with several tours that have a more concentrated “wine and bike” focus. Two popular options include the “Tuscany Wine Classic” or “Tuscany’s Crown Jewels” tours, which wind through the enchanting Tuscan landscape, incorporate wine tastings at several vineyards and feature authentic Tuscan food.

“The connection you make with the countryside from the seat of a bicycle can never be replicated in a car,” says Dominick Cerisano, founder of Best Tuscan Tours, LLC and Chief Cycling Officer. “The sights, the smells, the way the Tuscan sun reflects through the vineyards—these are the sensations you can only feel on a bike. Also there are no fines in Italy for cycling after enjoying a few glasses of Chianti. You can’t do that in a car!”

“For cycling wine lovers we provide special access to the best producers both large and small,” says Cerisano. “Our on-staff sommelier can further assist wine connoisseurs with purchasing advice and even assist with expert packaging and shipping right to your home.”

Fine wine is plentiful in France, another top choice, with tours in the Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire Valley and Provence regions that include visits to some of the best-known wine producers in the world. Bike tours in Provence are especially popular because of the unique regional wines, historic medieval architecture and landscape that inspired artists like Van Gogh, Picasso and Matisse.

Other popular choices include tours along the Mosel, Rhine and Main River Bike Paths in Germany, which feature vineyards at almost every turn.

Hungary, a country not as well known for its fine wines as other countries—due to lower exports rather than lower quality—features “Wine and Bike in Hungary’s Balaton Uplands,” which includes two or more wine-tastings and vineyard visits every day and unlimited wine with dinner!

To help cycle tourists find wine and bike tours that fit their interests, BikeToursDirect offers a “Wine and Bike” page that spotlights several popular tours. BikeToursDirect also has a TourFinder that provides a detailed search of more than 200 tours offered on its website. With just a few quick clicks, a cycle tourist can create a list of tours based on key parameters (such as a wine and bike focus, country and level of difficulty) to help narrow down the search for the perfect wine and bike vacation.

About BikeToursDirect

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

Extended Ski Season, Cycling Events, Memorial Weekend Festivities and Spring Deals at Tahoe’s Granlibakken

April 26, 2011

Apr. 25, 2011 (Tahoe City, Calif.) –

Ever see a Viking on a sled? How about a bike? Or perhaps a pair of skis? As Tahoe area resorts celebrate the arrival of spring with pond skimming, live music and snow volleyball, Granlibakken (www.Granlibakken.com) is tapping into its Norwegian roots to unleash a series of events and offers with their Vikings leading the charge.

Local Granlibakken spokes-Viking, Bjorn t’Party will rile up the masses as a special guest at a variety of spring events from Amgen Tour of California, the largest cycling race in North America, to the official West Shore Summer Opening party. But before Bjorn can usher in the warmer months of summer, skiers and snowboarders will have a chance to sneak in springtime turns on the slopes of several North Shore resorts that have extended the season beyond April into May.

At Squaw Valley USA, snow sport enthusiasts will carve and slide all the way into Memorial Weekend. In celebration of the longer season, Granlibakken has a two day Squaw Package at $97 per person, per night including lift tickets to the nearby resort, lodging and breakfast valid anytime through the resort’s closing day. A two day package is also available for Alpine Meadows for $102 per person, per night through May 15. The Granlibakken one-day interchangeable ticket is $114 per person and is valid at Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and Mt. Rose through May.

In anticipation of the Amgen Tour of California Stage 1 Start, Finish and Stage 2 Start at Lake Tahoe, cycling enthusiasts and spectators gain easy access to race-related events during the week of May 6 – 16 with lodging rates at Granlibakken from $99 per night including breakfast.

Also during the cycling extravaganza, the resort will partner with Tahoe Tree Company to host an Amgen Street Fair, May 15. The event will feature live music, food from Uncommon Kitchen and Granlibakken, bike demonstrations by CyclePaths, a climbing wall, face painting, beer, wine, hot drinks, ice cream, games and more. Spectators at the intersection of Highway 89 and Granlibakken Road will have a front row seat to cheer the peloton as riders whiz by at approximately 11:45 a.m. and 2:25 p.m. en route to the Stage 1 finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe (www.TahoeAmgenTourofCalifornia).

Memorial Weekend, May 27 – 29, is the official Summer Opening for West Shore Lake Tahoe and is jam packed with entertainment for the entire family. Visitors can take advantage of an exclusive lodging package: stay one night, get the second night free, starting at $143 per night. Details: www.Granlibakken.com.

Obexer’s Marina will serve as host venue for the Fly-In Splash Down on Monday, May 30, where spectators can watch as seaplanes from Northern Nevada and California execute impressive water landings and glide into marina slips for the afternoon. Annual deck and pier opening parties at several West Shore restaurants include Sunnyside, Chambers Landing, the West Shore Café and The Bridgetender.

Additional options at Granlibakken during the spring and summer months include hiking or mountain biking along resort accessible trails, as well as tennis, swimming, ropes course, stand up paddleboarding, sailing, river rafting and shopping in nearby Tahoe City

Located just one half mile from the shores of Lake Tahoe, Granlibakken serves as a central home base for a long list of warm weather activities. For information about Granlibakken’s resort amenities, events, nearby activities and more, visit www.Granlibakken.com, or get updates and the latest deals on Facebook and Twitter.