It is time to start planning your summer cycling vacation out west. No need to go to Europe. You can find first rate cycling tours here in the U.S.
You will want a company that gives you custom-designed and self-guided trips, supplies a range of bikes and offers a variety of accommodations and dining. And most of all, you will want a company that can personalize your trip.
Check out LifeCycle Adventures – a custom cycling vacation company that plans trips in Napa Valley, California, Oregon and on Hawaii's Big Island.
About the company
Beginning in Napa in 2006, LifeCycle Adventures expanded to Oregon in 2011 and Hawaii in 2012. The trips are all custom designed and are led in a private or group tour or self-guided. LifeCycle Adventures allows its clients to determine their preferred routes, lodging accommodations, and dining options.
Vacationers are given background information on the area, routes, sights as well as safety and mechanical tips. And they will transport your luggage along the way.
There are plenty of custom-type bike tour companies but LifeCycle Adventures offers a uniqueness that other companies don’t, said LifeCycle Adventures owner Tony Blakey. “We are an owner-operated company – our owners live and guide in the areas where we provide tours. So you are looked after by real locals.”
“Our objective is to give you the vacation you want. When you’re on one of our trips, nothing is too much trouble,” said Blakey.
We build the trip around what you want, said Blakey. “Routes are tailored to your level of riding ability, accommodations are made according to your tastes (from basic to top resorts).”
“We also will carry your wine if you decide to stop at a winery or will pick you up if you get tired on a route. And if you want a massage, we will arrange it.”
Last year, LifeCycle Adventures hosted 375 guests and 290 were during their peak season between May and October. A 10 percent discount is offered to return guests.
Typically, the availability of accommodation is the limiting factor, said Blakey. “We can comfortably manage up to twenty guests at a time per area.”
Over 80 percent of our trips are self-guided, said Blakey. “After that, guided private tours are the next largest category. The majority of our business is couples. And then, family trips or friends and reunions are the next largest group.”
LifeCycle Adventures vacations are less than top-end guided tours but are more than the basic tours. “We offer more personal service than other self-guided operators,” said Blakey.
They offer three bike styles: hybrids, road bikes and premium road bikes. The premium road bikes are custom made in France by custom frame builder Cyfac.
Training for a trip
According to Blakey, preparation depends on your current fitness level and what kind of riding you want to do on your trip.
“For Beginners & Intermediate Riders: The minimum daily mileage is around 20 miles. When ridden with three or four breaks, any reasonably active person can easily achieve this. If you have the opportunity to do a few training rides before you travel, you’ll be able to do some longer detours. If not, we find that novice riders get fitter and more confident as they get into their trip.”
“For Advanced and Intermediate Riders: If you plan to do some more aggressive rides, you will need to be in better shape. If you’re coming from relatively flat terrain, know many of our longer rides include extended climbing. The better shape you’re in the more you’ll enjoy these rides.”
“We do have coach-managed training plans to help riders train for their trip – but training is by no means necessary,” said Blakey.
If you choose not to ride because of bad weather or for any reason, LifeCycle Adventures will provide transportation to the next destination. They will also organize non-cycling activities for you.
• Balloon Flights
• Cooking Demonstrations & Cooking Classes
• Horse Riding
• Spa Treatments
• Whitewater Rafting
• Wine Tours & Reserve Tastings
• Zip Lining
For the avid cyclist who is used to riding 200+ miles a week, Blakey recommends trips with longer rides with plenty of climbing, which are available in all the areas.
• The Mayacamas mountains and Coastal Range in Sonoma
• Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon
• The Big Island, Hawaii.
• complementary helmets
• routes for GPS device owners
Most regular riders will typically bring their own shoes and pedals – and, often, their own saddle, said Blakey.
“Our routes are mostly on quiet back roads,” said Blakey. “If we need to use busier roads we use ones with large shoulders. Taking one of our trips carries risks similar to cycling on open roads anywhere. To date, we have had no serious injuries or deaths.”
LifeCycle Adventures plans to open tours in the following areas:
• Maine and the San Juan
• European destinations – France, Italy, Spain and Slovenia