EpicQuest puts cycling tours on sale

Cycling Tours Are On Sale!With the 2011 Tour de France now underway, adventure travel company EpicQuest has announced that they have put their cycling tours to Sun Valley and Europe on sale. Travelers looking for an active escape this summer or fall will save as much as 50% on some of the more popular offerings.

With tours designed to appeal to the hardcore rider and the leisure cyclist alike, EpicQuest has created unique and exciting options for active travelers. European destinations include Switzerland, Italy, and of course France. Each of these options include daily rides through beautiful countrysides, mixed with gourmet meals, wine tastings, and luxury accommodations.

One of the more popular EQ offerings is their road tour of Tuscany. The seven day ride perfectly combines art, culture, food and physical activity in the best ways possible. Riders will explore Italy’s Chianti region, rolling through the spectacular hill country, while stopping at local wineries. The tour includes all food and beverages, seven nights stay at the villa Montecastelli, and even a private cooking class.

Alternatively, mountain bikers looking for a more adrenaline fueled ride will want to consider the EpicQuest tour to Sun Valley, Idaho where they’ll find a 160-acre Bike Ranch that combines BMX style riding with cross country trails. Located in the Sawtooth Mountains, visitors will stay at the Idaho Smokey Mountain Lodge while they can learn to master the basic skills of riding, while enjoying natural hot springs, an outdoor sauna, and other amenities. This tour comes in three and six day itineraries and is an excellent choice for anyone looking to hone their skills.

EpicQuest has a number of other great cycling tours as well, so if you’re feeling inspired by the events taking place in France at the moment, perhaps you’ll want to hop on a bike and experience your own cycling adventure.

Tour Belgium breweries by bike

A new Belgium bike tour will take you to the country's best breweriesCycling tours continue to grow in popularity as active travelers discover the joys of exploring a destination in a slower, yet very immersive fashion. Riders have the opportunity to take in more scenery, commune with nature, and interact more directly with locals, as they pedal their way through a variety of countries all over the world. But a company called ExperiencePlus! is putting their own spin on the cycling tour, offering travelers a chance to visit the best breweries in Belgium by bike.

Beginning and ending in Brussels, the 8-day tour will feature daily rides of 30 to 45 miles. The route will take the riders into the Flanders region in the first few days, before winding through the French-speaking Wallonia area near the end. Along the way, they’ll sample a number of popular beers in Bruges and visit historic breweries run by Trappist monks in the idyllic countryside. The tour will also pass through historic World War II battlefields as well, giving visitors a chance to experience history of a completely different kind.

Joining the riders will be Jeff Lebesch, founder and former owner of New Belgium Brewing, makers of the popular Fat Tire beers. Lebesch is himself a master beer brewer, and he’ll help introduce the riders to the wide variety of beers they’ll be sampling on the tour.

ExperiencePlus! says that this tour doesn’t require any special cycling skills nor do riders need to be in great shape. The terrain is described as “gentle,” which opens this particular tour up to just about anyone who would like to experience Belgium, and its beer, in a unique way.

I think this sounds like an incredibly fun tour and it sounds like it will appeal to a wide variety of travelers. After all, who doesn’t like bikes and beer? Lets just hope that they give you plenty of time to enjoy the latter before climbing back aboard the former. Make sure you have your travel insurance paid up before setting off on this one folks!

For more on this bikes and beers tour, click here.

[Photo credit: Brosen via WikiMedia Commons]

National Geographic Traveler announces 2011 Tours of a Lifetime

National Geograpic Travelers Tours of a LifetimeNational Geographic Traveler magazine has announced its annual list of their picks for Tours of a Lifetime, selecting 50 fantastic journeys to the far flung corners of the globe. For each of the past six years, Traveler has examined thousands of tours in a variety of categories, including volunteer vacations, family friendly trips, small-ship voyages, and adventure travel. From all of those itineraries, they’ve narrow down their choices to this select group, which represent the absolute best in travel, offering amazing cultural experiences, unique activities, and a commitment to sustainability.

On their website, Traveler has broken down the selected tours into six regions of the world, including Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, North America, and Oceania. By clicking on one of those options, readers are presented with the magazine’s recommendations for the very best tours operating in that area, complete with a brief description, links to the tour operator’s website, and price, which can vary wildly depending on the destination and options.

Amongst the selections for this year’s Tours of a Lifetime are Serengeti bush treks, whitewater paddling in Siberia, and a journey deep into the interior of Guyana. There is a journey along the Inca Trail on horseback and cycling tours of Italy and France, as well an expedition to the South Pole on skis. In short, there is a little something for everyone, depending on their interests and budget.

Since all of these trips are researched and vetted by National Geographic, you can rest assured that all of the tour operators are not only legitimate, but also top tier. These trips were specifically selected because they offer something that is a little out of the norm. Something unique that you can’t generally get anywhere else. I’m pretty sure, even if you think you’ve been everywhere and done everything, you’ll still find something to appeal to you on this list.

[Photo credit: Christian Heeb, laif/Redux]

Are you ready for a once in a lifetime cycling holiday?

Enjoy a once in a lifetime cycling holiday in 2012Pedalers Pub and Grille may sound like a place where you’d stop for some grub after a long day riding your bike, but in actually, its an adventure travel company that specializes in cycling holidays to some of the best destinations on the planet. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, the company has just announced a new tour that will take riders on an eight month, six continent odyssey that will truly be a once in a lifetime experience.

The trip will begin with a “get acquainted” ride through Vermont, which will give everyone who signs up for the tour a chance to get to know one another before the real excitement begins. That shakedown cruise will also give travelers an opportunity to work out the bugs of the trip, such as learning what to carry with them on their daily rides, how to pack and unpack the bikes, and how to endure the rigors of the open road.

From there, the route will take cyclists across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, South America, and Central America, before eventually returning to the United States. In all, they will ride will through nearly 30 countries, including Ireland, France, Italy, Egypt, Kenya, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Peru, Costa Rica, and more. They’ll average anywhere form 45-60 miles (80-100km) per day on mostly paved roads with the occasional dirt track as well.

The Once In A Lifetime Tour won’t get underway until June of 2012, which gives you plenty of time to save your pennies. With a price tag of $95,000 the trip doesn’t come cheap, but that price does include all accommodations, most meals, all transportation costs, guides, tours, and even a custom built bike.

If you happen to have $100k and 8 months of free time coming your way, you may want to consider joining this trip. If nothing else, it sure seems like it’ll live up to its name and truly be a once in a lifetime experience.

[Photo credit: Pedalers Pub and Grille]

Take a cycling tour of Europe on an electric bike

Austin-Lehman Adventures now offers the option to use an electric bike on their cycling tours. Cycling tours continue to grow in popularity as active travelers look for new options for exploring the destinations of their choice. It is now possible to travel by bike in nearly every region in the world, and companies like Austin-Lehman Adventures offer fantastic cycling trips on nearly every continent. But peddling across the countryside isn’t for everyone, which is why the company has recently announced that it now offers the option to ride electric bikes on all of their European tours.

While many hardcore cyclists are likely to dismiss the use of e-bikes out of hand, the option does open up some intriguing new possibilities for travelers. Not only do they allow someone the opportunity to enjoy a cycling tour that may not have had the chance before, they also let riders of differing skill levels and conditioning ride together as well. The e-bikes level the playing field to a degree, allowing stronger riders to peddle their traditional bikes while the less seasoned can keep up through the use of their electrically assisted machines.

Austin-Lehman Adventures has announced that they are using a new model of e-bike from a company called Diamant. The aluminum framed bike comes equipped with a small motor that is powered by a lithium ion battery. When that motor is engaged, it allows a rider to pedal faster and further than they could normally. It also comes in handy when climbing hills as well, offering four varying levels of assistance on the slopes. At the end of the day, the batteries are pulled out of the motors and recharged overnight for the following day’s ride.

With e-bike options now available on their fantastic cycling journeys throughout Italy, France, Switzerland, and the rest of Europe, Austin-Lehman is promising to bring the same option to the U.S. in the near future. So if you’ve ever dreamed of rolling through the countryside on a bike tour, but feared you weren’t physically able, perhaps this is the option that you’ve been waiting for.

[Image credit: Austin-Lehman Adventures]