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What to know for your first bike trip

A cyclist on an ebike on an open road with rolling hills

Traveling for your first cycling vacation can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Read on for some of our most common guest questions answered from, “What do I pack?” to our top tips for traveling abroad.

“I can’t wait for my trip, but what do I pack?”
We get this question a lot. Which is why we’ve crafted a handy-dandy (and printable!) packing list tailored to what kind of trip you’re taking. Whether it be a luxury week away in Tuscany or a Ride Camp in Texas.

Pro-tip: It’s a great idea to pack your first day’s cycling clothes and riding gear in your carry-on bag so it’s easily accessible should there be any complications with your luggage.

“What safety measures are taken on trips?”
Great rides are safe rides, which is why we take safety seriously. Along with Flare-R front and rear lights included on every bike, we also make WaveCel helmets, Trek’s newest and safest innovation in helmet safety, available to guests on-trip. You can also read some of our cycling safety tips here before you go, and our guides will remind everyone about safety while on-trip.

We have also implemented enhanced standards on our trips to follow CDC guidelines related to COVID-19 safety.

“I have never been to this region before, what will the weather be like while I’m there?”
While we can’t predict all outcomes, you will find a general overview of what weather to expect on every trip page under the “Travel Details” tab.

“How do I know my bike on-trip will be a comfortable fit?”
When you book your trip, our Trip Consultants work with you to determine your size and fit. Bike sizes, measurements, and geometry can vary greatly from brand to brand, so we highly recommend stopping into your local Trek Bicycle shop for help with gathering accurate measurements. On the first day of your trip, your guides will adjust your bike to your comfort and preferences to ensure an excellent fit and are available to make adjustments throughout the week. Learn more about measuring your bike and fit here.

“I love the saddle on my bike at home, can I bring it?”
Absolutely. Although we provide men’s and women’s specific saddles on our trips, we know the most comfortable saddle out there is often the one you’re used to riding at home. Simply bring your saddle along with you and our guides will install it on your Trek Travel bike at the bike fitting before your first ride.

“How do I know where to meet my guides at the start of the trip?”
You can find all the arrival, departure, and meeting details under the “Travel Details” tab on every trip page, as well as recommendations for what to do and where to stay before and after your trip.

“What’s the support like? Do I have to ride all the miles? What happens if I get a flat?”
Your guides are there to accommodate riders of all types and abilities. With a typical Classic trip guide team consisting of one guide on their bike during the day’s route and another sweeping back and forth in the support van, you’re free to ride, sightsee, rest, or shuttle at any part of the route throughout the day. Got a flat or other mechanical issue? Guides will take care of it for you. No need to worry. Please note that support levels vary depending on trip style booked. For self-guided, ride camps, or semi-guided trips, please review your trip details for more information.

“How will I know where I’m going?”
Each bike is equipped with a Garmin Edge 1030 GPS computer pre-loaded with all the route options for the day. Once you select your route, you’ll navigate the route with the help of turn-by-turn directions. You can learn more about our Garmins here. In addition to the Garmin, you’ll have access to the routes on your phone through the Ride with GPS app.

What if I like to ride at a more leisurely pace than the rest of the group?
No need to worry. Each day of your bike tour is yours to discover and explore at your own pace based on what you want to see and do. Most of our vacations include multiple ride options each day to accommodate the different ability levels that regularly occur. Plus, if you feel like you need a boost, you can always reserve an e-bike. They’re a guest favorite and a whole lot of fun.

“Will there be laundry?”
Although laundry is available at many of the properties on our trips, we recommend confirming with your Trip Consultant for your specific trip. It’s also a great idea to pack a small amount of soap or detergent to do a quick kit wash in your room halfway through the trip.

What are your top tips for guests going abroad for the first time?
1. Make sure your passport is valid and you have the appropriate travel documentation. As a general rule, passports should have at least six months of validity when traveling internationally. This means that your passport’s expiration date should be at least six months after your final day of travel. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk with your Trip Consultant.

2. Invest in Travel Protection. Sometimes the unexpected happens. Whether it’s lost luggage, a medical emergency, or suddenly being unable to travel. Travel Protection will help mitigate financial loss in the event that things just don’t go as planned. Learn more about our offerings here.

3. Pack a power converter. Plug styles also differ from country to country, so it’s key to pack universal power adaptors and converters while traveling outside of the United States.


Have more questions?

See the Full List


Top 3 Tips When Choosing & Using Chamois Cream

Cyclists on bike path along river

This topic can be a personal or even an awkward one, but we’re going there anyway. We’re talking about chamois cream.

If any of you have experienced the dreaded chafe, you know just how important this topic is. We’ve gathered our top three tips for you and your saddle to consider when choosing and using your chamois cream.

Trek Travel partners with Zealios for the best performance products

Tip #1

First, what kind of cream do you want? Do you prefer a silky smooth formula? Or maybe a minty tingly feel? Or the thicker the better?

There are quite a few cream types out there to choose from so take your time. Read the ingredients and make sure there isn’t anything you are uncomfortable applying down there. All-natural ingredients are a safe bet when in doubt. Zealios’ Betwixt chamois cream is all-natural with organic aloe vera and suitable for both men and women, so we recommend checking it out!

Trek Travel partners with Zealios for the best performance products

Tip #2

Before you hit the road, have a travel plan. For those long rides, you might have to reapply to keep everything friction-free and happy. Is your chamois cream in a small enough container to bring along? If not, find a small canister or jar you can transfer a bit into so you’re not stuck on the side of misery road. Some brands even make great miniature-sized packs to bring along. For instance, Betwixt chamois cream comes in pocket-size packs made to toss in your jersey or bike bag.

Trek Travel partners with Zealios for the best performance products

Tip #3

Speaking of applying, how you apply your chamois cream matters!

See, we told you it gets personal… applying your chamois cream directly to the skin versus onto your chamois is our recommendation. Applying to the skin will ensure you get proper coverage and reduce the risk of missing any spots or… cracks…

We hope these quick tips will keep you and your saddle happy because we all know a happy saddle means a happy rider. Now there’s no excuse to skip on those extra miles. Time to find your next trip!


The Ultimate Make or Break for Your Cycling Vacation: Staying Hydrated

What do long flights and long rides have in common? Both are common causes of dehydration. When you stack the two on top of each other, it becomes increasingly important to make sure that you’re topped up on your fluids.

Traveling plus long-distance exercise takes a serious toll on your body and keeping up with your hydration is a fundamental yet easy way to set your vacation up for success and hit the ground riding at your final destination.

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Airplane cabins are not the most desirable of places to spend hours of your day. They are dry, pumped with recirculated air (hello germs!), and provide very little “personal space”. Did you know that airplane cabins are so dry in fact, that they rival humidity levels of the Sahara Desert?! No wonder dehydration is such a frequent issue for long-distance travelers.

In addition to dry conditions, pressurized cabins mimic the oxygen levels of environments between 6,000-8,000 ft in altitude. If your body is accustomed to altitudes closer to sea level, these oxygen levels will feel less than comfortable when endured for long periods of time.

Staying hydrated before and during your flight is the ultimate hack for traveling. Good hydration will combat the negative effects of an abnormally dry environment while also maintaining healthy oxygen levels in your bloodstream.

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Fact: You will perform better during your ride if you are well hydrated. While riding long distances, your body is especially susceptible to the effects of dehydration. Add in a hot, sunny day and proper hydration becomes enormously important.

During long rides, our bodies produce a lot of sweat. In addition to H2O, we lose key electrolytes through that sweat. This is why an electrolyte replacement fluid is essential for rides. Electrolytes not only upkeep our basic bodily functions, but they also help our bodies to absorb the H2O we’re consuming. Excessive consumption of water without electrolytes is more likely to flush right through the system, making bathroom breaks more frequent while not even reaping the optimal benefits of the fluids we’re drinking.

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Understanding the importance of hydration for a long-distance cycling vacation is only half the battle. Knowing how to prepare for hydration success is just as important. By following these 5 travel + exercise hydration tips, you can plan to bring your best self to your next cycling trip:

Get yourself a designated cycle vacation water bottle: This water bottle will be your right-hand hydration partner through it all. Make sure to pack it in your carry on for your flight. Finish at least one full bottle before you go through security and make sure to refill as soon as you get to your gate.

Travel with Nuun Immunity: These tasty hydration tablets are a great way to manage your hydration as well as defend against any nasty air cabin germs. You simply add one to your water bottle for a boost of electrolytes and botanicals your body needs for proper hydration and immune system support before & during your flight.

Set hydration reminders on your phone: On days when you spend most of your time fairly sedentary (sitting on a flight), it is recommended that you drink half of your weight in fluid ounces. (So, if you weigh 140 lbs. the recommendation is to drink 70 oz. of fluids). For higher sweat days, you’ll need to plan for even more hydration. Plan your day out ahead of time and determine how many ounces of water you should be drinking every 1-2 hours. Set reminders on your phone for a gentle nudge to revisit your water bottle.

Double fist: Over the course of a vacation, it’s likely that you’ll enjoy a few alcoholic beverages. While alcohol IS a fluid, it does not reap the same hydration benefits and it’s often too easy to forget to drink water amidst drinking other liquids. Always match your alcohol intake with H2O intake. If it helps, double fist your beverages so you know you’re matching your alcohol/water ratio drink for drink. Alcohol can be the cause of serious dehydration. Stay ahead of it by balancing your fluids at the moment.

Pack Nuun Sport for your rides: Nuun Sport is a fantastic source of key electrolytes. It comes in a small tube of 10 tablets from which you add one to your 16 oz. bottle of water for easy and tasty hydration before your ride. Bringing 10 sports drinks on a trip across the world with you has never been easier!


We include NUUN on every one of our trips to keep you hydrated and happy.

See what else is included


Traveling To Cuba: Need To Know

So the allure of old, American-made cars, hand-rolled cigars, and back ally Cuban music streaming into the city streets has captured your sense of adventure. We couldn’t be more excited to announce our People-to-People tour to Cuba, one of the few cycling trips available that meets the US legal requirements. We are excited to explore this culturally rich nation with you during the experience of a lifetime.

Cuba is in a unique time in history, constantly changing as a growing American tourism market emerges. With regular flights departing U.S. soil bound for Cuba and regulations loosening, now is a great time to see and experience the charm of this developing country.

If you’re interested in visiting the island but unsure how it all works, below are some tips to get you started on researching your dream cycling vacation to Cuba.

Experience vintage Cuba on a Cuba bike tour

Is it legal to travel to Cuba? What does People-to-People mean?

Technically, traveling to Cuba for a leisurely beach vacation is still illegal for Americans. Your trip must fall under one of the 12 categories of permitted travel set forth by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). One of these categories is educational activities, including People-to-People interaction. What does this mean exactly and how will affect your travel to Cuba? It means you can travel to Cuba if you, “Maintain a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people…and that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba.” You won’t just pedal through Cuba. You’ll spend time with locals each day in a variety of settings, whether it is sharing experiences over coffee or a mojito, visiting a local sugar plantation, or meeting with artists and authors to hear their stories. We have taken care of designing a trip that meets the legal requirements so you can enjoy an authentic and worry-free vacation.

Please take note of the Planning for your Trip section on our Cuba trip page. There is a lot more information regarding travel requirements both before and after your trip. Traveling to Cuba presents unique challenges, and we want to ensure you have the best experience possible.

Experience vintage Cuba on a Cuba bike tour

Fun and Flexible

Because Cuban tourism is just begining to develop, traveling there presents unique challenges not found in more common destinations such as Western Europe. Hotel quality can vary significantly and plans may change at the last minute. Infrastructure in Cuba is not at the same level as our other destinations and resources can be limited. We have selected the best possible hotels, which are centrally located in historic towns, instead of isolated all-inclusive resorts offered by our competitors. These allow for a more enriching cultural experience, but it means that you may forgo some of the comforts and amenities that you are used having available on other Trek Travel vacations. We are leveraging years of trip design expertise and relationships with local partners to make your trip as smooth and comfortable as possible, but we suggest bringing your sense of adventure along for this journey. After all, this is Cuba!

At Trek Travel, our internal mantra is simple: fun and flexible. It means that no matter the circumstance, our rockstar guides will handle any curveball thrown their way while always keeping our guests’ experience and safety as their main priority. On this trip, we invite you to adopt our mantra, keep an open mind, and enjoy what authentic Cuba has to offer before it is gone.

Experience vintage Cuba on a Cuba bike tour

Why go with Trek Travel to Cuba?

On our People-to-People journey to Cuba, expect to have an incredible and authentic experience while engaging with locals at every turn. Our trip designers have worked hard with local partners to ensure you get a unique view into Cuban life. You will burn plenty of energy each day as we enjoy four days of cycling between some of Cuba’s oldest colonial towns, take a walking tour in each (including the grand finale tour of La Habana Vieja), lace up your hiking boots for a day hike in the mountains, and snorkel in the warm waters of the Caribbean. Combined with educational People-to-People experiences, your vacation to Cuba is an authentic itinerary you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Allow us to take care of the logistical hassles of traveling to Cuba. Your safety and well-being is our primary concern. You will have the full resources of Trek Travel behind your trip, including our knowledgeable trip consultants who will help you prepare, two Trek Travel guides, two local guides, and a driver once you are there.

Our Cuba People-to-People itinerary is not for everyone. But for those seeking a true adventure to a burgeoning destination, it is sure to entice. The possibilities are endless for this country and its tourism infrastructure. But with that comes change, and now is the time to experience Cuba’s rich and engaging culture at its best. We hope you will join us.

Other great resources for planning your Cuba bike tour:

General travel information from our friends at Travel + Leisure.

Health information from the CDC.

Getting ready for Cuba from Cuba Explorer.

L’Etape du Tour: Part I

Two years ago Julie Farrell was a self-described “non-enthusiast” with paddle pedals and a brand-new Trek Domane. This July she completed her first L’Etape du Tour. Follow along as she recounts the journey from training to the finish line in this raw and entertaining three-part series.

Part II   |   Part III

Cycling Sacrilege and Old Testament Torture

Twenty-five years of marriage. For any of you involved in the sport of marriage, you know that like most athletic endeavors, it takes teamwork, loyalty, and a dose of luck to be successful. As with parenting, there’s no set of daily pills that one can take to ensure a smooth glide to the hallowed accomplishment of a silver anniversary. My husband and I consider ourselves fortunate.

So how to celebrate? We mulled over a number of options. As lifelong tennis players, a visit to Wimbledon was a serious consideration, as was a week in Tuscany drinking in Italian cuisine and history. Our honeymoon was in New Zealand punctuated with bungee-jumping and a ride on the Shotover speed boats, so we kept circling back to something with an element of adventure in it.

Training for the Etape du Tour Bike Race with Trek Travel

Having become cycling enthusiasts (note the choice of word there – “enthusiasts” as opposed to “avid cyclists”), we settled on a Trek Travel trip on the Normandy coast. What’s not to like? We’d get a good dose of history and culture, all the while pushing ourselves on daily cycling excursions.

We reported our decision to some friends of ours who countered with, “Great idea, but we’ve got a better one. How about you do the L’Etape du Tour Trek Travel trip with us instead?” Mason, my husband, and I discussed it, but quickly discarded the option. We hadn’t been training to that level. The L’Etape is legendary. Known for its brutal climbs and extended length, it is literally one of the stages of the famed Tour de France. The Big League. A Major. Nope, not this year, thanks.

There was a brief ceasefire in the exchange of ones and zeroes, then our friends shot back another email. “You know, this is a bucket list deal. A trip of a lifetime. One you’ll never forget. Normandy would be lovely, but this one is unforgettable. You guys can do it. Seriously.”

Had we been discussing this with just about anyone else, we would have stuck to our conviction and booked the nice, civilized Normandy trip. But our friends are both seasoned cyclists and they know our abilities and inabilities well enough to give us an honest assessment. Mason and I exchanged those same fateful expressions that we had when we agreed to bungee jump 143 feet off that bridge in New Zealand. “We’re in.”

That was May 1st. We looked up the details of what we had just committed to. Each day of riding was roughly 30-40 miles with 3500 – 4500 feet of climb. The final day, the L’Etape du Tour, was 91 miles and 10,000 feet of climb. It was a Sunday afternoon. Instead of taking a nice nap, we hopped on our bikes and did repeats on a small but steep hill near our home. After five, we called it quits. This was going to be tough.

Our son Cooper is an avid cyclist and participates on the CU Boulder Triathlon team. In addition, he had the good fortune to be a Trek Travel intern on the L’Etape a few years back. We texted him to see what he thought our chances were, and to lay-out a training schedule for us.

The good news is he thought we could do it. The bad news is that we needed to work our tails off. Cooper recommended 30 miles a days, with big rides (50-70 miles) on the weekends. Oh, and make sure you’ve got lots of climb in there too. Mason hadn’t been on a bike in three months, and though I’d been riding, it was no where near this level of intensity.

My husband works full time in the world of finance, but has the luxury of working remotely some of the week. I work as a consultant, and thus have some flexibility in my daily schedule. We began each day with working out whether or not we could ride together that day. Usually, we do our own thing during the week. It’s easier that way. This new goal, however, had us looking out for each other’s progress. We were partners in crime – doing our best to be flexible so that we could ride together and gradually extend and increase the intensity of our rides. The unexpected by-product was long stints of time together uninterrupted by phones, texts, emails, and other distractions. We talked about life, the future, and how it’s going to be when our youngest child is off to college in a year.

About three weeks into our training, our friends invited us to ride up a big climb in Santa Barbara– Gibraltar. I was unable to go, but Mason went. Gibraltar was the final climb in the Amgen Tour of California. It is not for the faint of heart. The day was hot, but Mason managed to stay with our pals, and had a newfound sense of confidence in his stamina. I, on the other hand, felt nervous. Though I’d packed in more miles than Mason during the year, I’d not yet faced a serious climbing challenge.

The next morning, Mason was off to work in LA, and I decided to assault the first portion of a steep climb called Figueroa Mountain in the Santa Ynez Valley. Our son confirmed that if I could make it to the gravel portion, it would provide solid climbing training for me. I was off. I had to stop several times, but I was feeling pretty good. The scenery was beautiful, and smells of sage and blooming wild flowers distracted me. I reached the gravel portion, and decided to push on. To my astonishment, I felt really good – I decided to continue. The Figueroa Mountain loop begins with a protracted steep climb, then shifts to an undulating gravel road, then to a steep paved descent. This is followed by a long, slow grind at about 4-5% climb before reaching another steep ascent. When I hit the long, slow grind, I began to wonder if I had made a rather stupid decision to do this alone.

It began to feel as if I’d somehow passed through a wormhole into some barren Old Testament locale. The temperature had climbed rapidly, and nasty horseflies were swarming my dripping, salty face. I realized that if I looked down, the flies were a bit less pernicious, but the trade-off was drops of stinging, sunscreen-infused liquid running into my eyes. As I looked down through my burning vision, I noticed several earwigs on my handlebars and top tube. How in the heck did they climb onto my moving bike?! I know I’m going slowly, but not that slowly. It was then that I wondered if the wrath of God was truly upon me. The other flying insects were in fact earwigs. They fly. I drank water. I was beginning to wonder if the heat was getting to me. I half expected to see a burning bush nearby or snakes of fire slithering across the asphalt. As I finally managed to make my way out of the shadow of the valley of death, I saw the summit before me. My trial was over, and my confidence boosted.

Training for the Etape du Tour Bike Race with Trek Travel

Our friends had recommended getting in one big ride during our training. A 70 or 80 miler with a good 6000-7000 feet of climb. Mason and I finally found a weekend day when we could dedicate six or eight hours to cycling. We took off for Jalama – a ride through Santa Ynez’s Pinot Noir growing hills in the Santa Rita Hills area and on to the majesty of the Pacific Ocean at Jalama Beach. The ride went well, though it was challenging. From about the 50-60 mile mark, Mason began to bonk. Though a seasoned athlete, he was not accustomed to the fueling and hydrating required to sufficiently manage oneself on extended cycling trips. At mile 60 we stopped and contemplated whether or not we would continue, or call our boys to pick us up. We decided to press on for another five miles and then make the decision. It was strange for me. I’m a relatively athletic female. Not great, but coordinated, and able to play most sports. But my husband has always been the strong one. And I was now actually worried about him. I mounted my bike, and he his – at least I thought so, until I heard the clash of metal meeting pavement, and Mason exclaim, “I broke my f&%^ing finger.”

Training for the Etape du Tour Bike Race with Trek Travel

I looked over, and as he disentangled himself from the bike, he raised his hand. There, at a nauseating angle, was his right ring finger. Instead of straight up, it pointed 45° right. He couldn’t ride, as he needed his right hand to apply the brakes, so we called 911. We called our boys to bring the truck, and meet us at the Lompoc Emergency Room. True to our family ethos, when they arrived, we all had a good laugh. Fortunately, the finger was just dislocated not broken. The trip would go on. And Dad was no longer infallible.

I’ve left out one little, teeny, tiny detail. I don’t clip in. This is cycling sacrilege. It’s like playing tennis with a wood racket, or playing baseball with one of those old Charlie Brown mitts, or using a wooden driver in golf. You’re handicapping yourself. You lose efficiency and power with each revolution of the crank. But here’s the deal. I hate being clipped in. I’ve had four knee surgeries, and it scares the tar out of me to be trapped in my pedals. And yes, I did ride clipped in for about two years – so I’ve tried it. I’ve managed to fall three times. All at slow speed – as in 5 mph or less, and it still hurts. So I decided to eliminate all that angst, and just ride in my golf shoes. Yup, my golf shoes. Not the kind with spikes, but the ones with nice little plastic nubs that grip my sweet mountain bike pedals. Voila. I can hop off any time I like.

Training for the Etape du Tour Bike Race with Trek Travel

On that note, I can tell you that for a brief period of time, there was a somewhat subversive campaign to coerce me into clipping in. Our friends told Mason, “You realize she will be the only rider on the L’Etape who is not clipped in, right?” Mason conveyed this to me. I said I wouldn’t rule it out. Then Mason and I did the Figueroa loop together the following weekend. I passed through a barely running creek overflow and yelped to be careful because it was slippery. Slick moss lay just below the surface. My sure-footed husband was once again embroiled in a slow-speed crash. Fortunately, he fell left, keeping his newly located right ring finger safe. Nope. I am going to continue to wear my golf shoes. If he can fall while clipped in, I’m sure to fall.

All in, I managed to put in 41 days of training in that two months leading up to our departure – about 1200+ miles and 94,000+ feet of climb. Mason had several business trips in his schedule and was thus unable to log as many miles. We had prepared as much as we could given our circumstances, and relished the private time together. Now D-Day was upon us.
Training for the Etape du Tour Bike Race with Trek Travel

Ride L’Etape du Tour

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Why I Ride: Michele Joslyn

My earliest memory of riding a bike was pedaling my younger brother around on the back of my trike somewhere around the age of 3. I look back at pictures of us and smile. We were having fun. Although I’m older now, 51 to be exact, having fun with the people I love is still the best thing about biking.

Words by Michele Joslyn, Trek Travel Guest
Trek Travel Guest Michele in Puglia, Italy

I am married to an avid cyclist. He will bike anywhere, anytime, any season, rain or shine. It’s his passion. I am not that kind of cyclist. I am a recreational rider who prefers mild, sunny days to cold, wet ones. Long, winding trails beat busy roads any day. I ride my Trek Hybrid FX, which I’ve owned for the past 10 years. It has served me well although I am contemplating upgrading to a road bike in the future. I’ve lived in Madison, Wisconsin for the past 18 years. The bike trails are endless and riding can be a leisurely outing or a more challenging adventure, depending on my mood. The best rides always include family, friends, great conversation, and time for stops along the way.

A four day Vermont bike trip back in 1992 was my first official cycling vacation. The brochures promised dairy farms, green pastures, and rolling hills, with a stop at Ben and Jerry’s. I grew up in Louisiana and moved to Chicago after college–both very flat. Vermont has hills. Big hills. Let me say that I truly enjoy hiking. I love a good climb in my boots, my feet firmly on the ground. I’ve hiked mountains out east, out west, and even in Patagonia. However, Vermont taught me that hiking uphill and riding uphill are two very different activities. I didn’t like climbing on a bike. It was hard. Coasting down was a different story, my reward after reaching the top. Biking and hiking have one thing in common though–you are right there in the middle of your surroundings with nothing blocking your view. I loved riding past cows, old barns, farms and green pastures, and the ice cream wasn’t bad either. That was the beginning.

I’ve enjoyed several Trek Travel trips over the years that have motivated me to live a healthier lifestyle and become a stronger rider. The San Juan Islands was the first adventure (kids and grandparents included). I’ve also been to Southern France and Puglia, Italy. All three destinations allowed me to explore beautiful parts of the world, meet amazing new friends, and learn more about myself with each journey.
Trek Travel Guest Michele on our San Juan Islands Family Vacation
My San Juan experience taught me that I love active family vacations, particularly ones that I don’t have to organize. Just show up with all family members accounted for and the rest is taken care of. The guides are awesome–patient, encouraging, supportive, fun, and they plan every detail! France helped me realize I didn’t have to be a cycling enthusiast to wear the gear. Those padded shorts actually make riding more comfortable. Somewhere on that trip I heard that clip-in pedals help with hills. That was something for me to consider. Upon returning home I decided I was ready for official bike shorts and clip-in shoes. The first time out I fell and broke my arm, but I didn’t give up. I biked home with my broken arm, one handed as the sun was setting, confirming I’m resilient. And I haven’t broken anything since.
Trek Travel Guest Michele in Puglia, Italy
I was excited about Puglia. I had never been to Italy and I did my research. I knew there would be hills but also olive groves, ancient stone walls along quiet country roads, and a coastline like no other. I trained with my clip-ins. Italy would be my first bike trip riding with them. The trip was in April which meant preparing during a Wisconsin winter. I rode outside on my own several times a week. The cold weather combined with disc issues in my lower back made biking uncomfortable. I needed to find a solution because Puglia and the beautiful Adriatic coast were calling. I had a professional bike fitting at Trek (which I highly recommend) and wore appropriate winter gear. Riding became more enjoyable so I trained more. I made it up those hills in Puglia. Not first or second, but at my own pace, and I loved every spectacular sight along the way.

I came home from Italy more excited about being on two wheels than ever before. I now ride regularly with a group of friends in Madison. We explore different trails and quiet roads while solving the world’s problems, encouraging each other, and laughing a lot along the way. For me cycling isn’t about being first to the finish or pushing myself to achieve some extreme goal. It’s about pedaling through life with the people I love, riding fast enough not to tip over, and slow enough to enjoy the journey. It works for me.
Trek Travel Puglia, Italy Cycling Vacation

From 0 to 100

My name is Sharon Roper from Taylorsville, Utah. Trek Travel asked me if I would be willing to write a blog about my experience leading up to and including the California Wine Country Long Weekend trip. While I wondered why anyone would be interested in a 62 year old woman’s bicycling experience, after talking with them I realized the interesting part was not just the trip itself, but how I got there.

Words by Sharon Roper, Trek Travel Guest
Trek Travel California Wine Country BIke Tour

It all started with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law Mike and Mary Pat McCurdie. They are serious bicycle enthusiasts. They have been on many Trek Travel trips and always spoke highly of their experiences. They invited me, my husband Bill (Mary Pat’s brother), and other friends and relatives to go on the California Wine Country trip. I hadn’t been on a bike for 15 years, but I knew my husband well enough to know that he would be reluctant to go on the trip, and spend the money, unless I wanted to go too. So I told my husband the trip sounded great. After all, there would be great friends, good food, wine tasting, beautiful scenery and luxury hotels. To me, the bike riding was just a side activity to be enjoyed by others. I figured I could ride in the van and entertain myself with a good book. Bill, on the other hand, rides quite a bit, so the bike riding really appealed to him. We decided we would love to go, and told them to sign me up as a non-rider.

While looking at the Trek Travel website, I realized that non-riders paid the same as riders. I also saw that they offered electric-assist bikes. What did I have to lose? I called and changed my reservation to an electric-assist bike. After all, the van would still be there when I got tired. So out to the garage I went, to dust off my ancient 40 pound, 5-speed auto-shift bike and take it to the bike shop. After the service man stopped laughing at my bike, he took it to the back for a tune up.

My training began in April. I started training with the simple goal of not embarrassing myself. It was relaxing to ride around the neighborhood, and Bill would take me on bike trails on the weekends. He encouraged me. I knew I slowed him down a lot, but he continued to ride with me. I slowly worked up to seven miles. Ultimately, Bill convinced me that my antiquated bike was slowing me down. I think he just wanted to occasionally feel the wind in his face, so I upgraded to a 21-speed hybrid bike with an expensive, comfortable seat. Learning to shift was the first hurdle, but it only took a couple of rides to feel confident.
Trek Travel California Wine Country Cycling Vacation
By now it was July, and I was slowly but surely starting to ride further. Bill had to switch from his slower mountain bike to his road bike as I got better and faster. One day we made it 30 miles. If you had told me back in April that I would be able to ride 30 miles in one day, I wouldn’t have believed you. But my confidence grew. I decided I wanted to make it 100 miles on our Trek Travel trip in September, and started to wonder if the electric-assist bike was the best choice for me. I called Trek Travel and switched to a hybrid bike. During the conversation they asked, “Weren’t you originally a non-rider?” Yep, that was me.

It’s now August. I know I have to be able to ride 30 miles per day for three days, and I would leave the final 10 miles for the last day. Bill and I started going out three days in a row. The first time we tried this we went 30, 20 and 30 miles. My butt started to hurt and for the first time I complained to Bill. He employed the obvious solution and bought me two biking outfits with padded shorts which stopped most of the butt ache. We did this three day ritual quite a few more times, and I now had a concrete plan to reach 100 miles.

We met up with the other riders at Point Reyes, California for the start of our Trek Travel trip. The guides, Devin and Justin, were extremely friendly and helped take care of everything so all we had to do was ride. There were 20 of us on the trip–all of them younger than me–but surely I can keep up with someone.

The first day’s ride took us from Point Reyes National Seashore to Bodega Bay. The short trip is 19.6 miles and the long option was 33.5 miles. This ride was hard! There were a lot more hills than I was used to. I saw much younger riders on electric-assist bikes and I started to question my decision. I could only make it 19.6 miles on that first ride, and I was discouraged. I talked with the guides and told them of my foolish goal to accomplish 100 miles. They were very encouraging and explained that today was the toughest day. Tomorrow would be much flatter and I could make up at least part of the 10 miles I was behind.
Trek Travel Rest Stops
The second day’s ride went from Bodega Bay to Hotel Healdsburg. That would get me 45.1 miles if I made all the way. I thought, “The short trip is 25.5 miles, so I can always go back to my original goal of not embarrassing myself and bail out at Armstrong Woods.”

Again, the guides were great, always keeping my water bottle full and providing encouragement. They were probably hoping they wouldn’t have to perform CPR. Before the first snack stop I was the last rider, as was my usual position. One of guides came back and rode with me, and I asked him if I was last. He told me no, “I am behind you, and therefore I am last.” We stopped for lunch in the beautiful redwood forest at Armstrong Woods Park, which left me refreshed and ready to ride. Several times that day I had to walk my bike up a hill, but I was making the rules and walking definitely counted.

One time the van drove by as I was walking. They pulled over to check on me, and at that point determination roared inside me. I waved them on. My hundred mile goal was now back in play! I not only completed the 45.1 miles, but an accidental turnaround gave me extra distance. I rode 47.5 miles on Day 2. Game on!

The third day’s plan was to ride 29.6 miles, with many fun stops at vineyards along the route. The day went great and I made it all the way. That night I was talking with one of the other guests and I told her of my goal. She told to me, “I want to be you at 62.” Wow, did that make me feel good. If you are counting, I was now at 96.6 miles.

The last day I told my brother-in-law, Mike, that I only had to ride three miles to reach my goal. Once again I assumed my normal position of last in the line of riders. Riding along I saw Bill on the side of the road. He told me I made it to 100 miles, and he took my picture. I had done it! I kept riding and told the “don’t embarrass myself” voice to shut up. As soon as I rounded the next bend I saw all of the other riders standing on the side of the road cheering for me. So what did I do? I pumped my fist and yelled, “See ya!” That picture made it onto the WOW moments page on Trek Travel’s website. I continued on and finished the trip with a total of 107 miles.

So I didn’t embarrass myself after all. In fact, I made myself proud.
Trek Travel California Wine Country Long Weekend Cycling Vacation
Trek Travel California Wine Country Cycling Vacation
Trek Travel California Wine Country Long Weekend Bike Tour

Benefits of Using a Travel Agent

Group of three people enjoying beers.

I was a travel agent for six years prior to working for Trek Travel, so I am undeniably biased when it comes to discussing the advantages of booking through a travel agent. Though not every trip requires the guidance of a travel professional, your two week European excursion to numerous cities using multiple forms of transportation will run much more smoothly with the knowledge and support of a travel agent. Below are my picks for the top five benefits of using a travel agent when planning your next vacation, whether it be domestic or abroad:

1. Cut Through the Noise
When researching your next vacation, the internet can be both wonderful and overwhelming. An experienced travel agent will weed out the mediocrity and focus your attention on top personal recommendations.

2. Completely Customized
Travel agents have all the tools to seamlessly piece together the exact trip you are looking for, which can be challenging and time consuming to do on your own. They have an ever-expanding list of trusted contacts and suppliers, from private drivers to luxury VIP experiences.

3. Feel Like a Celebrity
Some travel professionals have connections with top tourist destinations due to their high volume of sales. On occasion, travel agents can organize VIP experiences such as private after-hours tours of normally crowded exhibits, exclusive access to areas closed to the public, or highly-sought after event tickets that sell out quickly.

4. Service from Start to Finish
Just like at Trek Travel, travel agents see your trip through from your first consultation until the time you land back home. Agencies will typically offer a 24-hour emergency line in case you run into any unexpected delays or issues while traveling. They can even quickly assist you in the case of widespread delays such as airline strikes or major storms. Long hold times with airlines can mean all the good alternative flights are taken by the time you speak to a representative. One quick call to your travel agent, on the other hand, can provide peace of mind while they take care of getting you on the best possible flight.

5. More Money For Souvenirs
Travel agents not only save you time, but they can also save you money. Agencies who belong to larger networks, such as Virtuoso, can land you deals like special pricing on hotels and airfare that you can’t access on your own. They are also sometimes able to offer special bonuses like complimentary room upgrades, spa discounts and more. Most travel professionals will charge a nominal fee for their services and expertise, but it often pays for itself with these extra perks.

Travel Tips: European Trains

Your first time traveling by train can be nerve-wracking. The bustling stations, indiscernible platforms, convoluted schedule, and absent signage can be intimidating. Add to that a foreign language and you might as well write off any hope of getting to your final destination.

A guide to traveling by train in Europe
But rail travel is a big part of the European experience, and there’s a reason most people opt to take the train. Driving on narrow foreign roads can be daunting, and traveling by train allows your to sit back in a remarkably large, comfortable seat and let someone else do the driving. No turbulence. No claustrophobic middle seat. Just uninterrupted time for productivity, sight-seeing, or a much-need nap.

In order to ease any concerns, we’ve put together a few tips on how to book, what to expect, and how to travel safely:

Planning Your Trip

Unlike air travel, train schedules remain fairly consistent throughout the year. Although train schedules are not typically more than 30 days in advance, you can check tentative schedules at any time. Visit the Rail Europe website, plug in your cities, and choose a date on the same day of the week that you will be traveling. This will allow you to see sample itineraries, prices and train durations. These schedules may change slightly, but can be a valuable tool for those who like to plan their vacation well in advance.

Booking Trains

Some European trains on longer routes, or high speed trains such as the TGV in France, require advance reservations. These reservations can be made through Rail Europe up to 90 days before your departure date. Rail Europe is a U.S. company that charges a nominal fee in exchange for a user-friendly booking portal. Trust me when I say that it is much easier to navigate than individual national rail sites.

During peak travel times, trains can sell out. Reservations give you security and peace of mind by allowing you to select a specific train time and receive a seat assignment seat. It can also save you money on certain routes with special fares for advance purchase.

Most journeys are e-tickets, which gives you the option to print your ticket at home or pick up your ticket at the station. While I recommend printing your ticket at home, you may pick up your ticket at a self-service kiosk using an e-ticket code, or from a train attendant at a ticket window.

Some slower, regional trains do not require reservations in advance. These trains have open seating, meaning you can sit anywhere you’d like within your ticket’s class of service. For trains that do not offer online booking, please allow time at the station to purchase your ticket.

Please Note: most kiosks will only accept credit cards with chip technology, but tend to have much shorter lines than the ticket windows.
How to travel by train in Europe

Classes of Service

Most trains offer a choice between 2nd class (Economy) or 1st class (Comfort or Premier). Economy offers the cheapest fares, but is generally more crowded and does not offer reclining seats. First class tends to be less crowded, and offers more amenities such as outlets, reclining seats and other small perks.

At the Station

Plan to arrive at the station 30-45 minutes prior to your scheduled departure. If you have a reserved seat on a specific train, check the boards for the train number. Some routes have multiple trains departing around the same time, and you’ll want to be sure you’re on the correct platform for your train number. Be ready to board your train 15 minutes prior to departure.

If you have purchased a regional ticket with no specific departure time or train number, your ticket is valid for any of the trains that day. Most of these tickets require validation, meaning you must stamp your ticket at boxes located by the platforms before boarding. Not always is your end destination the train’s end destination, so pay attention to all cities on the route instead of just the final destination.

If you have any questions, find a uniformed train attendant, as most can speak English and are happy to assist.

Keeping Safe

In the front or back of most trains there will be an area to store your larger luggage. Keep all valuable personal items, especially your passport, with you at your seat. There will be a train attendant who comes through the coaches to check tickets and passports, so keep them handy at all times. If you plan to take a nap on your journey, make sure your passport and personal items are secure. Money belts might not be fashionable, but they are a great way to safely hide money, credit cards and your passport while in transit.
How to travel by train in Europe

Helpful Links

Already abroad? Here are the most popular regional train websites:

How to navigate the European train system

FAQs: Global Entry

Have you ever been stuck in a full maze at security and wished you could skip the line? Or maybe you’ve missed a connection because it took too long to get through customs. Global Entry is the solution to these travel woes, but the process can be intimidating for some and perceived as futile by others. Here’s what you need to know before you start the process:

The Global Entry program allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers expedited entry into the U.S. through automatic kiosks. No need to fill out blue customs forms on the plane or wait in line after a long international flight. Additionally, Global Entry members are eligible for TSA PreCheck, which expedites traveler screening through security checkpoints on domestic flights. No need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts or jackets. Ultimately, Global Entry will minimize the amount of time you spend standing in line or stressing about time on both domestic and international vacations.
Pro Tip: You can apply for TSA PreCheck on its own, but at the cost of $85 per traveler, you might as well spend $100 for Global Entry.

In order to apply for Global Entry, you must be a U.S. citizens or lawful permanent resident. You also cannot have been convicted of any criminal offense or been found in violation of any customs or immigration laws. (See full eligibility requirements here.) Once you’ve deemed yourself as eligible, the application process is easy:
1. Create a Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account.
2. Log in to your GOES account and complete the application. The application includes a series of straightforward questions, including your employment history and a list of every country you’ve visited in the last five years.
3. Pay the $100 non-refundable fee.
4. Schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. Be sure to bring a valid passport or permanent resident card, and one other form on identification (such as a drivers license).
5. Complete your 15-minute interview. Most international airports have a Global Entry office, so for convenience you could schedule the interview during a long layover or get to the airport early before your next vacation. Be sure to leave yourself enough time, however, as the appointments often run behind schedule.

If you are approved for Global Entry, you will receive a physical card in the mail roughly two weeks later. This card is not actually required while flying, but you will need your Known Traveler Number (found on the back of the card in the upper left-hand corner). To take advantage of TSA PreCheck, you will need to enter your Known Traveler Number when making airline reservations so that your boarding pass is marked appropriately. To take advantage of Global Entry, head directly toward signs for Global Entry kiosks upon landing in the U.S. after an international flight. At the kiosk, you will scan your passport, answer the customs questions, take your photo, and scan your fingerprints. You will receive a receipt that you hand to the customs agent on your way out. It is important to know that travel companions (even children or your spouse) cannot come through the Global Entry kiosk with you.
Pro Tip: Add your Known Traveler Number to your frequent flyer profile to make it easier for future reservations.

Sample boarding pass for Global Entry Members


If a date is marked as Private, it is reserved for a private group.

Looking to travel with a small group or looking for a custom date?
Call our trip consultants at 866-464-8735

What is the Difference?

Ultimate Luxury:

Savor some of the most spectacular, 5-star properties in the world. Exuding luxury and elegance, these one-of-a-kind accommodations offer the chance to rejuvenate at award-winning spas, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants, and more.


Enjoy luxurious accommodations handpicked for a refined experience. From signature spa treatments to delicious local cuisine, you’ll be more than provided for; you’ll be pampered.


These handpicked hotels provide relaxation and fun in a casual and comfortable environment. Delicious cuisine and great service mix perfectly for a memorable stay.


On select cycling vacations, you’ll stay at a mix of Explorer and Luxury hotels. Rest assured, no matter which hotel level you’re at, our trip designers carefully select every accommodation.

Activity Level

Level 1:

Road: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 25 mi (40 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Gravel: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 20 mi (35 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 1-3 hours of hiking. Up to 5 mi (8 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Level 2:

Road: 2-4 hours of riding. 20-35 mi (35-60 km). Up to 2,500 ft (750 m).

Gravel: 2-4 hours of riding. 15-30 mi (25-45 km). Up to 2,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 2-4 hours of hiking. 4-8 mi (6-12 km). Up to 1,500 ft (450 m).

Level 3:

Road: 3-5 hours of riding. 25-55 mi (40-85 km). Up to 4,500 ft (1,500 m).

Gravel: 3-5 hours of riding. 20-40 mi (35-60 km). Up to 3,000 ft (900 m).

Hiking: 3-5 hours of hiking. 6-10 mi (9-16 km). Up to 2,000 ft (600 m).

Level 4:

Road: 4+ hours of riding. 40-70 mi (60-110 km). Up to 8,000 ft (2,400 m).

Gravel: 4+ hours of riding. 30-50 mi (45-80 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

Hiking: 4+ hours of hiking. 7-15 mi (11-24 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

What are your trip styles?

Classic - Reserve:

Savor the finer things as you relax in luxurious 5-star accommodations and wine, dine, and ride in some of the most unforgettable destinations around the world.

Classic - Signature:

Explore beautiful destinations by bike, enjoy extra inclusions, savor delicious local cuisine, and enjoy the perfect mix of accommodations.

Classic - Discover:

Enjoy a casual cycling vacation with fantastic routes and comfortable accommodations.

Ride Camp:

Train like the pros in some of their favorite riding destinations.

Pro Race:

See the pros in action at the biggest cycling events of the year.

Cross Country:

Tackle an epic adventure that takes you point-to-point across mountains, countryside, and more.


Enjoy a bike tour on your schedule with just your chosen travel companions.

Single Occupancy

Sometimes it’s more convenient and comfortable to have your own room while on vacation. We understand and that’s why we offer a Single Occupancy option. The additional price guarantees a private room all to yourself