TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor Review 

Outstanding!

Just completed the six day tour of Sonoma wine country. Can't say enough good things about the trip. The guides (Scott and Geoff) were excellent -- attentive, knowledgeable and supportive to riders of all abilities. The accommodations were world class; the food outstanding. The rides were planned, varied and beautiful. Highly recommended!

TripAdvisor May 2013

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about traveling with us.

How difficult will the riding be?

Most of our daily rides have regular route options, so you can pick the one that's right for you each day. To help you choose a ride that meets your expectations, we classify each ride into four categories: easy, moderate, challenging, and epic. See below for a description of these categories.

How should I train?

The best training advice we can give is just to go out and spend some time bicycling! The more time you spend riding, the more fit you become, which adds enjoyment to your trip. Your body needs time to get used to being on the bike. If you can't spend as much time on the bicycle as you want, any sort of aerobic activity that gets you breathing through your mouth will help. Jogging, fast walking, swimming, skating, or cross country skiing are good choices. Most gyms will have a good selection of exercise equipment: treadmills, stationary bikes, stair steppers, etc.

If you've been riding for less than a year, your confidence handling a bike in traffic may need improvement. Going on rides with more experienced cyclists is very helpful in this regard. If there are bicycle clubs in your area, consider joining one of their scheduled rides. Attending a local bicycle safety class for adults is also a very good idea—even for experienced riders.

What type of people come on your tours?

Adults of all ages join our scheduled tours, from the college student to the retired couple. Some travel as couples, some travel as solos, and some bring along their children on private, custom-designed itineraries. While many of our travelers are American and Canadian, we have folks from all over the world who travel with us. But everyone has one thing in common, a love of bicycling.

How many people are on a tour?

The maximum size is 10-14 guests on our scheduled tours, which is the largest size we can accommodate and still provide an “undiscovered country” experience. As much as possible, we prefer to stay in cozy inns and dine in tiny restaurants, which wouldn’t be possible with a larger group. We can accommodate larger groups on private and custom tours, however.

How do I reserve space on a trip?

To reserve a trip, call us toll-free at 1.866.647.4337 (outside the USA & Canada at +1.510.323.2532). You may also check availability and reserve space online by clicking the RESERVATIONS link on a tour's web page. All trip prices are listed in US dollars. A deposit of $500 is required to complete a reservation. The balance of the trip cost is due 60 days before trip departure. We accept credit cards, PayPal payments, personal checks, money orders, and cashier's checks.

Can I change my reservation to a different trip or departure date?

You may change to a different trip or departure date 91 or more days before the original trip's departure date at no charge. You may transfer to any trip that starts within 12 months of the original trip. Within 30 days of departure, no changes may be made without total forfeiture of the trip cost.

If I cancel my reservation, can I get a refund?

If you are forced to cancel a trip reservation, we may be able to refund some of your money, based on how much notice you give us. The table below describes the size of your refund:

Refunds for Trip Cancellation
Days Prior to Start Amount Forfeited Amount Refunded
91+
$100
100% less $100 fee
61-90
25%
75%
31-60
50%
50%
less than 30
100%
0%

 

Can I get a partial refund for arriving late or leaving early?

In a word, no. Each tour is a package. There are no refunds for arriving late, leaving early, electing not to use one of our bicycles, or choosing not to participate in any of the scheduled activities.

What is the minimum group size to guarantee departure?

Once a tour has at least 4 paid reservations, we guarantee the tour will run. We also offer the opportunity to guarantee a public published tour date with fewer than 4 guests for a supplemental fee—that way you can ensure your trip will run. If a trip has 2 guests, we will guarantee it for $750 more per person for a 6-day trip ($500 pp for a 4-day trip). If a trip has 3 guests, we will guarantee it for $350 more per person for a 6-day trip ($250 pp for a 4-day trip). Naturally, if we get four or more guests registered on your scheduled departure after all, we will refund you any such “small group supplement” you’ve paid.

What if you cancel a tour I’ve signed up for?

If we must cancel a trip for which you have registered and paid a deposit, we will cancel your reservation and refund your payments at least 45 days before tour departure. If you choose instead to transfer from a canceled tour to a different tour date, you will receive a $100 credit towards the cost of the new tour. We are not responsible for expenses incurred in preparation for any cancelled trip, such as airline tickets, or for costs incurred due to travel days, flight cancellations or illness.

Should I get travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a very good idea. Missing a trip is no fun, but losing the money you paid for your trip is even worse. Our cancellation policy is strict—if you are forced to cancel within 30 days of a trip departure, you will receive no refund. If you are forced to cancel due to certain covered events out of your control, travel insurance can reimburse you. Some policies even allow you to cancel for any reason. If you agree with us that travel insurance is a good idea, we recommend Travel Insured. They have very good coverage plans (including “cancel for any reason” options), their rates are very reasonable, and you can purchase directly from their web site.

What if I am traveling solo?

Our tour prices are based on two people sharing a room. If you are traveling solo and would like a private room, we will reserve your own room and add an additional single occupancy fee to your trip cost. If you would like to share a room, we will make every effort to pair you up with a roommate of the same gender. However, if you ask for a roommate and we can't find you one, you will need to pay the full single occupancy fee.

What are the activity levels?

We have classified our rides into four different categories, based on the distance and amount of climbing. If you have any questions about what level may be appropriate for you, please contact us. We're happy to advise you.

Activity Levels for a Ride
Level Miles Length of Climbs
(miles)
Ride Time
(hours)
1
10-20
N/A
1-3
2
20-30
0-2
2-4
3
30-40
2-3
3-5
4
40-60
3-5
4-6
5
60-120
5-22
5-7+

 

Level 1: An average of 20 miles per day or less. Terrain is mostly flat or rolling, and climbs—if there are any—are short in distance. At any time during the ride, you may choose to ride in the support van. On any day, you may also choose not to ride at all.

Level 2: An average of 20-30 miles per day. Terrain may have a few climbs up to 2 miles in length. On substantial climbs, the support van will be available to carry riders to the top.

Level 3: An average of 30-40 miles per day. There may be one or more climbs of 2-3 miles in length.

Level 4: An average of 40-60 miles per day. There may be multiple climbs of up to 5 miles in length.

Level 5: An average of 60 miles per day or more. Terrain is often mountainous and travels over high mountain passes. Climbs may be up to 22 miles in length—with some that rival the most difficult climbs of the Tour de France. These are truly epic days and a challenge for even the most fit rider.

Some tours show a range of activity levels. Why is that?

On many days, we offer an easier and a harder option for the day’s ride. You can choose the level that suits you on that day. On any day, we can also customize a route for you if you wish to increase or decrease the daily mileage. The van is always there to shorten the ride distance, also.

What are the age requirements?

All of our scheduled tour dates are for adults only—18 years of age or older. If members of your party are under the age of 18, we recommend creating a private date or custom itinerary for you and your group.

What about bicycle safety?

For your safety, we require the use of a bicycle helmet. You should be able to ride comfortably on the road with vehicles and other riders, and be able to follow the rules of the road. If you are unsure of your bicycle handling skills, we can recommend attending a bicycle safety/skills class in your area.

Can I rent a bicycle?

We will provide a high-quality carbon road bike or hybrid for you at no additional cost. That said, some of our guests are active cyclists who have a special connection to their bicycles. If you are attached to your own bike, you are welcome to bring it.

  Cannondale Road Bike

Do your bikes have racks, handlebar bags, panniers, etc?

Absolutely not. Our bikes are premium, ultra-lightweight carbon fiber road bikes. It would be a shame to weigh down such a fine bicycle with racks or large bags. Moreover, it's impossible to mount a rack on one of our bikes. If you want to carry extra gear, we encourage you to take advantage of the support vehicle. You may consider renting a hybrid bicycle for your tour if interested in a more comfortable, leisurely experience. We can offer hybrids to those interested by special request.

At what pace do the cyclists ride?

Everyone is encouraged to ride at whatever pace is comfortable for him or her.

Does everyone ride together in a pack?

Usually not. Since everyone is encouraged to ride at whatever pace is comfortable, cyclists tend to spread out on the course.

Can I ship my bicycle to you?

We recommend you use one of our bikes on tour, but yes, shipping your bike to us before your tour is possible and can be less expensive than flying with a bicycle. You can ship it to us, and we will deliver it to the start of the tour. For an extra fee of approximately $75-100, we will unpack, assemble, and test ride your bicycle for you. At the end of the trip, for an extra fee of $75-100 plus shipping cost, we can package and ship the bike back to you.

How long have you been hosting bike tours?

Our very first tour was in 2003. We have grown our offerings every year and currently have several different itineraries, including custom and private tours. We offer more California bicycle vacations than any other.

Your prices seem to be lower than other companies, why?

Our operation was founded in the belief that commercial bike tours could be made more affordable, without compromising quality. By controlling our overhead costs, we pass our savings along to our guests. We don't spend money on lavish color brochures, magazine advertising, or spacious offices, since none of these things impact the trip experience. We never compromise on the things that make a tour great— lodging, meals, bicycles, and top notch professional tour staff focused on service. We remain committed to producing tours of the highest quality, while keeping prices as affordable as possible.

Do you ever make changes to trips?

Trip changes are always a possibility to ensure the best experience on every tour. In such cases, we reserve the right to make modifications without notice and to make alterations and substitutions as necessary to deal with logistical changes or challenges, in order to improve the trip quality or to accommodate group size or the comfort, convenience and well being of our travelers. We strive to offer each and every guest the best possible cycling experience on every trip. We will always substitute an equal or better option when possible.