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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 01-03-14, 01:59 PM   #1
SeanBlader
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anyone ever ride a vacation with a touring company?

I was thinking about riding a seven day event with http://www.trektravel.com this February. Mainly because I want to get out where it's warmer and this is an excuse to be on vacation and out someplace with fellow cyclists riding someplace new. Trek Travel seems like the least expensive of these touring groups of which there are several that offer rides within driving distance of home so I wouldn't need to pack up the bike other than get it mounted on my car.

Anyone else have any experience with operations like Trek Travel, Backroads, Duvine, or VBT?
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Old 01-03-14, 03:21 PM   #2
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Some friends have ridden with Backroads several times and rave about the experience. Spendy, though. Most of those include the bike though - so don't limit yourself.
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Old 01-04-14, 08:25 AM   #3
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Did a Backroads week in Umbria. First class accommodations. My only complaint was that the trip was listed as 'moderate'. And everyday we climbed switchbacks for 4 hours straight. Would definitely go with them again though. Unique hotels, great small Etruscan villages. They handle all the details
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Old 01-04-14, 10:41 AM   #4
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I have experience with several touring companies and they all seem price competitive. I found that the company guides are 24/7. First of all, the trip is a no brainer for you. You don’t need to pick lodging or restaurants or plan your routes. Just kick back and enjoy the ride. They pick the best routes for safety and for those special Kodak moments. The support vehicle can help you with any repairs, take you in should you bonk, and take your luggage from one location to another to keep your ride light and fast. When you’re not riding, the guides have local knowledge and will often provide a casual tour of a town after an evening meal or of a local attraction during the day.

These trips are expensive but you can learn a lot from them. What did they provide that you would need to do if you did it yourself? If there was a rest day, did you bike that day or enjoy the alternative (kayaking, hiking, whitewater rafting, visit to whatever). Did you enjoy riding with others or would you rather go solo? The risk to any tour is that there may be person(s) that irritate you and others. Perhaps they’re always complaining, always demanding support or attention but I’ve been fortunate because the experience and camaraderie of others has by far outweighed any bad experiences.

Because the trips are expensive, you might find that some companies cater to mostly professional couples above middle age. I haven’t ridden with Trek but have seen them on the road. The tour members and guides appeared younger and in better shape than some of the others. So you may want to ask about the other people that have signed up—couples vs. singles, and average age. The difficulty of the ride will also dictate the kind of people that sign up for the ride as you can well imagine. I highly recommend a touring experience with a good company like Trek and many others. After that you can be your own judge. Good luck and have fun.
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Old 01-04-14, 06:56 PM   #5
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Have done several Backgrounds trips as well as Western Spirit. Backroads is probably the most expensive but its top notch (along with Trek). I have a friend who does 2 Backroads trips a year (usually one over seas and one domestic). I can't really afford them anymore but you won't be sorry... and no problem traveling alone - you will make friends on the trip - some life long. Lately I have been doing mountain biking/camping trips - cheaper for me. Sortof rustic but the crew makes great meals and cater to your every needs. Just find one you like and give it a try...
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