Posts Tagged ‘biking in Europe’

DuVine Cycling Introduces 4-Day Guided Bike Tour Itineraries to Tuscany, Burgundy, Provence

April 9, 2013

DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. has been designing and leading luxury bike tours around the world since 1996, and they’ll now be extending their expertise to include four-day European tours. They have released these shorter itineraries for guided bike tours in Tuscany, Burgundy, and Provence, making DuVine one of the only mainstream US bike tour operators currently offering four-day guided tours.

Most of DuVine’s European tours include six day, five night itineraries, but with their new product, DuVine hopes to provide another option for those who are strapped for time. “We realize that people going to Europe on business don’t always have an entire week to spend cycling,” says Andy Levine, President and Founder of DuVine. “The four-day tour is a unique offering, exclusive in the marketplace—it’s a product that doesn’t currently exist for cycling vacations,” says Levine.

The new tours are also designed for travelers looking to try out a new way to travel. For those travelers who are new to cycling and may be hesitant to spend an entire week on a bike, DuVine’s four-day tours offer a relaxed alternative. “We want all travelers to learn what we already know—that biking is the very best way to travel,” says Levine. “The four-day tours allow beginning cyclists to experience true DuVine style with no pressure or stress,” says Levine.

In Provence, travelers will cycle through fields of sunflowers and asparagus, climb winding roads to farmers markets in medieval villages, and stroll through charming rural towns and breathtaking ruins. “Our guests will taste some of the best olive oils, truffles, and wine in the world, as well as Provençal specialties prepared by some of the region’s most prominent chefs,” says Levine.

On their four-day Tuscany tour, guests are invited to explore the iconic Tuscan countryside as they ride through gentle green hills and cypress-lined byways, stopping along the way for intimate cooking classes, a wine tasting at one of Italy’s most highly-acclaimed wineries, gourmet dinners, and relaxing at some of the most stunning luxurious villas in Italy. “Our seasoned guides call on their extensive local knowledge to orchestrate engaging and authentic visits, inviting travelers to partake of the best of the best throughout the world,” says Andy. “Welcome to the ride of your life!”

Find out more about DuVine’s new four-day tours as well as their classic, family, private, and couture tours at

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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 or Chef Kathy Bechtel’s blog at

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BikeToursDirect expands bike and boat tour offerings to 60 tours in 16 countries for 2012

September 30, 2011

The magnificent scene where the Danube River turns, is one of the wonderful sights on the Danube Bike Trail, between Passau and Vienna. © 2011 Karen Rubin/

Providing unbeatable scenery on land and water, bike and boat tours have become a popular choice for couples, families and groups of friends looking for enriching vacation options in Europe and beyond. BikeToursDirect will expand its bike and boat tour offerings to more than 60 tours in 16 countries for the 2012 season to accommodate growing demand for this unique travel experience.

“Bike and boat tours have become increasingly popular, especially for cycle tourists and families who enjoy the option of rest days and experiencing the ambiance of the boat,” says Jim Johnson, president of BikeToursDirect. “Travelers who aren’t up for cycling each day can participate in a side excursion or choose to enjoy scenery from the deck of the boat. It really is the best of both worlds—and the local cuisine available on board is an added bonus.”

BikeToursDirect offers bike and boat tours in 14 European countries, Vietnam, and the islands of Seychelles, and each tour presents a unique boat experience, ranging from small vessels holding fewer than 25 people (barges, schooners, yachts or converted fishing boats) to small passenger boats holding up to 150 people.

For many, being on a small boat is the biggest appeal of a bike and boat tour because, unlike large cruise ships, they don’t have to worry about crowds or making a connection. Cycle tourists also enjoy meeting people from several countries and seeing a variety of landscapes and places: countryside, islands, mountains, villages and towns.

“Our clients really enjoy the camaraderie they develop with the boat crew and other passengers,” says Johnson. “They also enjoy having a ‘floating hotel’ to return to each evening because they don’t have to pack and unpack every day.”

Another big draw to these tours is the price: over half of the bike and boat tours offered by BikeToursDirect are under $1,200 (with most being one-week, nearly all-inclusive tours). A few of the most popular bike and boat tour destinations include:

  • · Loire Valley (France), which spotlights the most peaceful part of the Loire Valley, passing through vineyards, chateaux, quiet villages and medieval towns.
  • · Venice to Mantua (Italy), which winds along the Mincio and Po rivers through rural, pristine areas of the Italian countryside, ending in the Venetian Lagoon with a full day to explore Venice.
  • · Holland, Northern Tour, which follows the North Sea coast and several canals through marshland, picturesque villages and historic harbor towns.
  • · National Parks of Dalmatia (Croatia), which highlights romantic ruins, charming hills, countless natural phenomena, two national parks and the islands of Central Dalmatia.
  • · Danube Bike Path (Germany and Austria), which runs along well-signed, dedicated, nearly flat bike paths through vineyards and medieval towns, taking travelers from Passau, Germany, to Vienna.

BikeToursDirect Adds Four Continents in 2012 Season

Based on nearly a decade of success with European bicycle tour offerings, U.S.-based BikeToursDirect will add tours in at least 10 new countries on four continents for the 2012 season, including tours in New Zealand, South Africa, Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico and Jordan. BikeToursDirect currently represents over 50 local bicycle tour companies, primarily in Europe, and offers more than 200 tours on its website,

“Europe has long been a top destination for value-oriented bicycle tourists, but local tour companies in other regions of the world also offer unique cycling experiences for riders of varying levels and budgets,” says BikeToursDirect president Jim Johnson. “We decided to expand our tour offerings based on client input and the increasing number of tours available in some of the most exotic and breathtaking locations in the world. We started offering a few tours outside Europe in 2011, and client response has been quite positive.”

Some “test” tours offered in 2011 that will continue and expand in 2012 include “South African Cycle Safari,” which travels along the Cape peninsula through private game reserves, where cyclists can see lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and other wildlife; bicycle tours in New Zealand, which explore rainforests, glaciers, mountains, islands and more; and four tours in Vietnam, including a two-week bike and boat adventure that explores bustling cities and rural districts. Soon to be added: a Riviera Maya Bike Adventure in Mexico that takes cyclists across the Yucatan peninsula from the jungle to the Caribbean.

Some of these new tours are offered year-round, providing greater flexibility for travel planning.

Unlike many companies, BikeToursDirect doesn’t operate tours but instead represents overseas companies.

“Some of the benefits of working with locally-based tour companies include their knowledge of the local culture and unique sights, frequent tour departures, and ability to tailor tours to fit a client’s specific interests,” says Johnson. “In some developing destinations, it’s also very helpful to have as much of the tour costs stay local.”

Local tour companies 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.

The full roster of new tours for 2012 will be unveiled in November when BikeToursDirect launches a new website. Although 2012 information on existing tours won’t be added until the new site launches, BikeToursDirect already has details on many tours. If you’re eager to book a tour now—or just want to start planning—feel free to contact one of BikeToursDirect’s tour experts about 2012 tours. Visit to complete an inquiry form or call 1-877-462-2423 (toll-free) or 1-423-756-8907 (local and international).

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 Telephone: 1-877-462-2423 or 1-423-756-8907. Email:

Look for coming  features covering the Passau-Danube Bike Tour:

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 For more information or questions on travel to Spain, visit or contact the Tourist Office of Spain in New York at

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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/

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 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 Telephone: 1-877-462-2423 or 1-423-756-8907. Email:

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