My husband and I just completed a weekend bike tour with UDC tours cycling thru the Wine Country of Santa Ynez Valley and we loved it. It was our first guided tour and we choose UDC because they specialize in California and all the reviews we read, had nothing but positives to say about the experience. The tour was based in Solvang at The Hadsten House; which offered very nice and comfortable lodging along with a very much appreciated outdoor hot tub and indoor pool. We met our guides, Laura & Daryl, on Saturday where we, along with the other 5 cyclists in our group, were greeted with a backpack filled with cycling related "goodies", fitted with top-notch Scott bikes, personalized water bottles, and a meticulous route map with turn by turn directions. Both Laura & Daryl rode with us the first day to make sure we were acclimated to our bikes and the area. Over the next two days, either Laura or Daryl rode with our group while the other followed in the "sag wagon" to offer support as needed or to drive ahead and set-up a nice picnic lunch. Really fabulous riding over the weekend included pedaling along beautiful backroads past vineyards and farms, all while enjoying breathtaking views in Ballard and Foxen Canyon. Yes, those views provide a scenic distraction while climbing (ascending) the canyons and a beautiful "reward" while enjoying the downward descents! Each day of very satisfying cycling ended with a stop in town at the Bulldog Cafe to regroup and swap stories followed by a really nice dinner out with the whole group at two area restaurants in Solvang: Cecco's and Mirabelle's. UDC tours takes care of just about everything while you're on the tour; and truly, seems to put a lot of thought into ensuring that each rider has a successful and enjoyable experience, which includes the little things like having an ample supply of energy snacks "just in case" (which I ended up needing the first day out). Our guides were great, knowledgeable, very warm and friendly. The quality of the bikes is top notch and scenery hard to beat! We are considering booking another trip in California next Fall and would not hesitate to recommend UDC for anyone considering a bike tour.
TripAdvisor Review November 2013
Our operation was founded with a radical notion that bike tours should emphasize great bicycling before everything else. Thousands of cyclists agreed, and our dedication to a great cycling experience has made us the leading road bike tour company in California. Our tours are very different than the standard fare offered by countless other companies, however. Here are the main features that set our tours apart:
Our first priority is always producing the best imaginable bicycle vacation for those who love road cycling. Anything that makes cycling more enjoyable, we do it. For example, a great cycling experience starts with a great bike. That's why our race-ready, feather-light carbon road bikes are the highest performance bicycles offered by any tour company.
California is our home, and we specialize on providing the absolute best cycling this state has to offer.
We prefer the backroads to the main highway, the quaint village to the busy tourist town, the small historic inn to the world famous resort. We don't see many other tour companies on our travels, and we like it that way.
Crowds are not our style, so we limit our group sizes to no more than 14 people—and frequently no more than 10! This lets us fit comfortably in the smaller inns, lodges, and restaurants off the beaten path.
We believe bike tours should be about traveling by bicycle, not shuttling in a van, so we design all of our tour routes to maximize amazing bicycle travel and minimize vehicle transfers (of course, a support vehicle is on the route should you need it).