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Our Guide’s best photos from 2022

A group hiking in Norway

As we gear up for the upcoming travel season in 2023, our team of skilled guides is eager to hit the road again. To get us all in the mood, we wanted to reflect on some of the most stunning moments captured in 2022, as voted on by our dedicated guides and office team.

Best Co-Guide Photo: Martin Coyle

Martin took an outstanding picture while exploring Glacier National Park with his fellow co-guides. The breathtaking scenery of the park provided ample opportunities for capturing great photos, but this one in particular stood out among the rest.

Best Picnic Photo: Megan Waldbillig

Nothing beats a picnic in a National Park after a day of biking and hiking, and our guides wholeheartedly agree! Megan went above and beyond by not only creating a delicious spread for her guests, but also capturing a photo that deserves recognition as the best picnic of the year.

Best Activity Photo: Laura Lefranc

Every trip features unique experiences and adventures that guests will remember forever. While in Norway last year, Laura took a great photo while the group was hiking to the stunning Feigefosse waterfall.

Best Group Photo: Stefano Lingua

Our trips are all about making memories and capturing the fun. One of the highlights is always the group photo! Stefano snapped a winner with this shot in the Dolomites – a real crowd-pleaser!

Best Rider Photo: Laura Lefranc

The breathtaking scenery of Provence is a photographer’s dream come true! Laura captured the magic with this amazing shot of a guest cycling through the Gorges de la Nesque.

Best North American Photo: Jonathan Hershberger

Utah’s Bryce and Zion National Park boast a one-of-a-kind landscape unique to the American Southwest. It’s no wonder why it was named the best photo in North America!

Best European Photo: Stefano Lingua

Stefano nailed it again with another amazing shot in the Dolomites. This fantastic photo was voted the best European photo by our guides!

Most Epic Photo: Nick Bouzianis

Nick got an amazing bird’s-eye view and snapped this epic aerial photo as the seasons were changing in Vermont.

Photo of the year: Giorgio Cordini

Giorgio snapped the photo of the year in the incredible setting of the Dolomites! The image perfectly captures the grandeur of the region, and shows off Giorgio’s talent for capturing such a striking image.

Your favorite Trek Travel picnic recipes from your awesome guides

picnic lunch set up on a table

Looking for some quick recipes this holiday season? Trek Travel has you covered! Our guides have been known to create beautiful picnic displays with delicious, easy, and homemade snacks that our guests cannot get enough of! Now, they want to share some of their favorite recipes with you to wow your family and friends!

Kale Salad

Kale Salad

As seen on our Yellowstone & Grand Teton trip by Claire Reierson

1 bunch of kale, stemmed and sliced into ribbons
1/3 cup dried cranberries (or cherries)
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup feta cheese
2 tbsp chopped shallots
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Dash of salt & pepper

1. Place kale in a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, combine shallots, olive oil, red wine, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk well.
3. Pour dressing over kale. Gently toss until all kale is coated. Top with cranberries, walnuts and feta cheese. Enjoy!

Very Berry Salad

Very Berry Salad

As seen on our Andalucia trip by Carlos Moreno

14 oz pack of mixed baby spring greens (spinach, arugula, lettuces, chard, radicchio)
8 oz strawberries, cored and sliced thin
8 oz blackberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
Dash of salt & pepper

1. Place spring greens in a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk well.
3. Pour dressing over greens. Gently toss with berries, almonds, and feta.

Roasted Chicken with Dates and Olives

Roasted Chicken with Dates and Olives

As seen on our Palm Springs trip by Megan Waldbillig

Boneless/skinless chicken thighs, about 6
Olive Oil
Herbs de Provence
Lemon zest
Dash of salt & pepper
1 leek
Pitted green olives, one small handful per chicken thigh
Dates, one small handful per chicken thigh
Caper berries

1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees F.
2. Use a 9×13 baking dish (glass recommended). Season boneless/skinless chicken thighs with olive oil and herbs de Provence, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Generously drizzle honey all over seasoned chicken.
3. Cook for 35 minutes or until the chicken thighs have an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
4. Meanwhile, thinly slice 1 leek set aside and then chop pitted green olives and dates.
5. When chicken is halfway done, take it out and flip thighs. Add all of your leek slices, dates, and olives.
6. Once fully cooked, sprinkle with caper berries.
7. Slice chicken thighs when cooled and serve, or refrigerate and eat chilled with salad the next day.

Grilled Veggie Quinoa Salad

Grilled Veggie Quinoa Salad

As seen on our Santa Barbara Long Weekend trip by Megan Waldbillig

1 cup quinoa
Homemade chimichurri (recipe below)
Veggies of your choice (Megan uses summer squash, bell peppers, red onion, and asparagus, or broccolini and shishito peppers)
1/2 cup – 1 cup dried fruit of choice (Megan uses a blend of dried cranberries, cherries, and blueberries)
Dash of salt & pepper

1. Make 1 cup quinoa, let cool.
2. Make homemade chimichurri in a separate bowl. Blend in a food processor: 1 full bunch curly parsley, half pack of fresh oregano, handful of cilantro stems if desired (sometimes Megan throws in a small handful of other herbs too!), 5 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup white or red wine vinegar, 1 tsp crushed red peppers, 1/2 sliced red onion, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 cup plus olive oil.
3. Grill your veggies. Let cool. Then chop. Mix with quinoa.
4. Add in 1/2 cup or more chimichurri.
5. Add dried fruit.

Melon With Serrano Ham

Melon With Serrano Ham

As seen on our Tuscany trip by Carlos Moreno

*A Trek Travel favorite since the beginning*

5.5 oz (150 g) serrano ham or prosciutto, thinly sliced
1/2 melon (crenshaw, galia, honeydew, cantaloupe, or other melon)
1 bouquet of parsley

1. Slice the melon in slices.
2. Wrap one slice of Serrano ham around each melon slice.
3. Sprinkle fresh parsley on top.

Avocado Goat Cheese

Avocado Goat Cheese

As seen on our Glacier National Park trip by Megan Waldbillig

Goat cheese
Dash of salt

1. Halve and slice avocados.
2. Crumble your favorite goat cheese on top of the halved avocados.
3. Add a heavy drizzle of honey on top.
4. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

Gingered Fruit Salad

Gingered Fruit Salad

As seen on our New Mexico trip by Andrea Fair

1 small watermelon, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 quart blueberries
1 quart strawberries, halved
5-7 fresh mint leaves
Crystallized ginger*
(Serves ~20 people. Adjust ratios as you see fit.)

1. In a medium-size bowl, toss together the watermelon, strawberries, and blueberries.
2. Finely chop the mint. Coarsely chop the crystallized ginger.
3. Mix the mint with the fruit and, just prior to serving, mix in the ginger! Garnish with a large bunch of fresh mint.

Note: Prepare this a day early by putting the watermelon in a bowl first, then layering the strawberries and blueberries on top. Cover and refrigerate. As per above, add the mint and ginger at the last minute.
*Crystallized ginger can usually be found by the clear, plastic container-packed bulk nuts and candy section in grocery stores. Typically near the produce department.

Banana Bombs

Banana Bombs

As seen on our Provence trip by Thomas English

Melted chocolate or Nutella

1. Spread melted chocolate or Nutella on top of one Oreo.
2. Add a slice of banana.
3. Bon appetit!

While preparing some easy and fun dishes, start cooking up your 2022 Trek Travel vacation plans with your family and friends!

Find Your Trip

2020 Guide of the Year: Zack Jones

Meet Trek Travel's legendary Cycling Guide, Zack Jones

Each year, Trek Travel celebrates one of our guides for his or her tremendous season, exceptional hospitality, and downright awesome attitude. We are proud to announce our 2020 Guide of the Year, Zack Jones!

Winning Guide of the Year is a huge honor. To be nominated for this prestigious award, guides have to earn top-notch evaluations from guests, co-guides, and the office team. The top five guides are then voted on by the Trek Travel management team to determine which guide provided best-in-class hospitality and reflected our company values. The winning guide receives a custom merino jersey with “Guide of the Year” embroidered on it as well as a $1,000 travel credit to anywhere in the world.

This year’s winner, Zack, has been guiding with Trek Travel almost as long as the company has been in existence. He is a fantastic photographer, and you’ll see photos from his adventures across our website and social media channels. We talked to him to learn a little bit more about his experience guiding, how he feels about winning Guide of the Year, and where he is headed in 2021.

Why do you guide?

“Guiding allows me to lead, share knowledge, and expose culture in stunning places with amazing people, incredible food, and luxurious accommodations, all from the seat of a bike. Those are the obvious reasons, and who wouldn’t want a job profile like that? The reality is, there are a lot of aspects to guiding that are not for everyone, and many of those I find incredibly fulfilling. Guiding is a lot of challenging work and long hours. It is not uncommon to be busy with diverse tasks from five am to ten or eleven at night, and most days, I love it! I get to be the co-captain of life-changing experiences for guests, and the spontaneous moments and reactions are always the most epic and rewarding. Guiding is very analog and occurs in the real world. Digital tools assist in being a better guide, but most of what I do as a guide feels like what my mind, body, and hands were created to do. In a world that often feels increasingly disconnected, guiding is uniquely connecting, bringing guests to new cultures, physical accomplishments, sensory experiences, and relating to each other and the world. Perhaps the biggest reason I come back year after year is the connection I get with my colleagues. There is no other way to describe the uniqueness and depth of the relationships that develop over weeks, months, and years than to call them family.”

What are some epic moments or favorite memories from your travels?

“There is not enough space to list them all, but some standouts include: Riding up to Crater Lake Rim in Oregon and hearing a loud gasp of genuine awe from my guests every single time. The pleasant surprise of beer being served to our group at a dinner in a Buddhist monastery in Japan. My WNBA-level co-guide and I getting schooled in basketball by two locals half our height in Guatemala. “Kidnapping” our guests after dinner with a Mapuché family in Chile to take them on an unexpected viewing of an erupting volcano at night. Breaking from the day’s plan to get guests and co-guides to jump into the fjord in Norway on a hot day. And persuading 16 guests from Japan to wear goatees, mustaches, and cowboy hats and sing Happy Birthday at a surprise dinner for Gary Fisher in Moab. Just to name a few.”

Where are you hoping to guide in 2021?

“Anywhere! Travel has been closed for so long that it would be a gift to guide in any destination. Having said that, my wife and I just welcomed a new tiny human into our lives in March, Astoria Lucille Jones. Now that I have achieved “Guide of the Year,” the bar is high, and the only way to top it is to work to be “Dad of the Year.” So it looks like my schedule and my skills will focus on guiding our little girl through the journey of learning to be a human. And who knows, perhaps there will be a trip or two in the fall in Europe that I can join.”

How did you feel about winning guide of the year?

“Wait… WHO??? Another “Zack” is guiding for Trek Travel? WAIT… that’s ME!” I was utterly blown away by the honor as it was so unexpected. The year 2020 has been incredibly challenging for me beyond just the pandemic. There were many moments that I felt I was working hard to be my best self and yet falling short. So when it came time to announce the winner of the Guide of the Year, I found myself mentally scanning the faces and personalities of all of my deserving colleagues/friends and picturing who it would be without ever considering it would be me. I am immensely grateful and proud to carry the torch for 2020. ”

What else are you looking forward to in 2021?

“I am really looking forward to how we rediscover connecting to each other and the world. I hope this unique time has helped us reflect on what is most important in life and filter out the noise that holds us back from a life of meaning and connection. I am looking forward to in-person conversations, noisy restaurants, group rides, hugs, high-fives, travel with my wife, going home, and introducing my little girl to family and friends.”

Zack was also featured in the 2021 Trek Summer Quarterly

Check it Out

Get to Know our Guide Team

While our guides come from different countries around the world and represent many different walks of life, each and every one of them shares a passion for showing you the world by bike.

This passion to show you an unforgettable experience drives our guides, who are consistently rated an average of 4.8 stars out of 5 by our guests. From their many home countries to their different professional backgrounds, get to know our guide team a little more before you travel with us next.

Trek travel tour guides

Do you think you would make the perfect addition to our team? Learn more about the qualities we look for in our guide.

Learn more


Life of a Guide: You Carried What!?

woman smiling with a dog in her arms

Both our guides and our staff love to ride bikes, whether they are on trip or at home. Sometimes, their adventures lead to some pretty wacky situations. Three of our team members share some of their favorite memories carrying something a little crazy by bike.

A “Beary” Big Friend

“I was on a morning ride with a guide and coworker from the Trek Travel office, doing one of my favorite loops near my house. On our way out of town, we spotted Mr. Bear for sale at a garage sale. It was starting to drizzle, but I said if he was still there on our way back, I would buy him and take him home. As we rode back up the road, sure enough, there he was. So, 14 bucks later, he was strapped to my back with my cycling jacket as we completed the final few miles (and hills) towards home. Today, Mr. Bear is loving life at the Trek Travel office as our unofficial mascot.”
– Brie

Costa Brava Cycling Vacation Bike Tour in Costa Brava, Spain Biking Costa Brava


“On the second day of our Gravel Ride Camp in 2019, we were going on a memorable picnic on the beach in Platja de l’Estartit. ‘Epicness’ is the word I would use to describe the activity! Eating bocadillos in front of Medes Islands was the perfect lunch spot for our Ride Campers. My fellow guide Miqui and I set up an awesome spot right on the sea front, and we even had a guest go for a swim (in November!). The only way to bring everything through the sand was with a bike trailer and a bit of will. We loaded all of our supplies, from food and coolers to chairs and garbage cans, onto the bike trailer. It was a ton to pull, but it ended in one of the most awesome trips ever.”

Costa Brava Cycling Vacation Bike Tour in Costa Brava, Spain Biking Costa Brava

Party Time

“There’s nothing like friends, music, and bicycles. Those were the basics when I was in college in Mexico (besides studying and getting good grades of course!). One day, a friend offered his house for a party, but we needed a bigger stereo system. Another friend said we could have an old stereo he was getting rid of. But to move it, I needed to use my bike. After carefully placing the stereo in my bike racks, I began my ride across town. People initially looked very confused when they saw a bicycle with a stereo system in the back, but there were smiles everywhere. Looking back, I wish I had a way to power it and blast some music as I rode.”

Costa Brava Cycling Vacation Bike Tour in Costa Brava, Spain Biking Costa Brava

Want to see our guides in action?

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Celebrating 15 Years at Trek Travel

drink coaster

This year marked a special milestone for three of our teammates, who celebrated 15 years with Trek Travel! Back when these three initially started with us, George W. Bush was still president, YouTube had recently been founded, American Idol was a top TV show, and Lance Armstrong was winning the Tour de France. Since then, things have changed quite a bit, and we are honored that these three incredible humans decided to grow and change with us.

Meet Penny Gatward

In her life before Trek Travel, Penny worked as a Jim Beam and Jose Cuervo promoter, a mountaineering and river rafting instructor, and even a cruise ship fitness instructor. Penny actually guided with Tania (Trek Travel’s President) in the late 90’s before Trek Travel was even born. Together, they ran 10-day Tuscany camping trips, where they were required to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner for guests and slept in a trailer. In 2005, Penny officially joined Tania once again at Trek Travel and has been with us ever since. Today, Penny lives in Spain, where she continues to guide trips and work as a trip designer. Most notably, Penny is responsible for our incredible Tour de France experiences.

In her words, “The race has a life, personality and magic of its own that can only be felt up close and personal. A great hotel is nice to stay at, gourmet meals are a pleasure to eat, BUT riding and sweating up a famous Tour climb ahead of the peloton—your legs begging you to stop— and feeling the elation of making it to the top is where it’s at. A short while later, while in the comfort of the VIP zone at the finish line, you’ll watch the pro’s do the exact same thing, sweat and pain in their eyes. Be warned, it is addictive!”

Over the years, Penny has touched the lives of so many guests and co-guides with her warm personality. Our guide, Marquette, says about Penny, “Trek Travel has a few very special treasures, and Penny Gatward is one of them. Penny is a stop-you-in-your-tracks, ton of fun, beast on a bike type of girl who takes you for a ride whenever you are with her. She’s fierce, as a guide, trip designer, and most importantly as a friend and a mom. Penny is one of those rare people you’ll meet who never loses site of what’s important in life. She is truly genuine. I can honestly say, I’m always looking forward to the time we spend together and always leave a little bit happier.”

While many of our guests have not met Penny, they have still experienced her while traveling with us in Europe, as she has likely designed their trip. If you are lucky enough to have Penny as your guide on a Trek Travel trip, be prepared to: 1) have a strong drink in hand; 2) laugh a lot 3) rely on her stability and support to freely enjoy exploring a new country and having an experience of a lifetime.

Meet Mark Thomsen

Mark has always loved bicycles, since he was a kid riding a repainted red Huffy on trails by his house in Wisconsin. When the opportunity came up to supplement his “skiing problem” in Jackson Hole, WY with a summer guiding job, he jumped at it. That was over 15 years ago, and he is still having a blast at Trek Travel today. In his time, he’s seen a lot of change and has held a lot of roles, from guiding and logistics to trip design and managing marketing to his latest position building and directing our new technology department. To say he’s grown with the company would be an understatement.

Mark says, “Some of my best memories over the years are from guiding at the Tour de France with all the crazy fans and our annual company guide reunions. We have a pretty amazing company culture where even when we haven’t seen people for years, when we get together, it’s like we haven’t lost a step in the relationship.

I think the biggest change I’ve seen in my time here is the size of the business in terms of people, how many more countries we travel to, and the technology we use in the office and on trips. We have a much larger staff and guide department all over the globe, and who would have thought that our road bikes would have disc brakes and electronic shifting, not to mention the fact we can now book people online 24-hours a day. But the core sense of family and hard work still remains.”

Mark has truly been instrumental in both the guide department and the office. He is always learning and looking for ways to improve. His co-guide, Hershy, says, “Mark is the quiet thinker in the room. He is always listening and watching what is going on around him. And he is always analyzing what we are doing well, and what we can do better. Today Mark Thomsen is an integral part of Trek Travel.

In the spring of 2009, I was guiding with him for the first time. We picked up our group of cyclists, along with three tandems and made our way to the wine country outside of Santa Barbara. Mark’s exceptional planning helped this trip to begin on a high note.

By Wednesday afternoon, we were making our way to Santa Barbara for the last two nights of the trip. Upon entering the city, the sky was dark, the sun was blackened from smoke, and ash was falling like snow in winter on the van. Helicopters were flying frantically overhead; we had entered the Jesusita Fire of 2009. Upon arriving to the hotel, we were informed we would have to evacuate.

What to do? We had bikes, a van, a trailer, guests, and luggage. Thankfully, I was working with Mark, who already had plan B in the works. Before the guests were barely aware, we were on our way to Ojai for the last two nights of the trip, which ended up a massive success. This was largely in part to Mark’s quick thinking and attention to detail, which he has brought to every role he has taken on at Trek Travel in his 15-year career.”

Meet Dan Frideger (aka Danf)

Danf’s background is in teaching foreign language, which made him a natural fit for traveling the world and communicating with a wide range of people. He currently lives in Durango, Colorado and has been guiding with us for over a decade.

One of our guides, Hershy, told us a little more about Danf, saying, “In late May of 2005, I was one of 10 guides gathered together to prepare for all three weeks of the Tour de France. We were in the city of Nijmegen, Netherlands, waiting for our debrief with the two guides who had spent the last month researching our trips. As they arrived, I saw one was a young guy and the other had the appearance of an absentminded professor. What struck me most about the meeting, was how the professor was extremely methodical when it came to folding the maps. I came to learn this was none other than Dan Fridegar, known as Danf.

Over the next few years, I had the opportunity to guide with Danf both in Europe and the USA. What I learned from Danf was this simple saying, “There are no mistakes.” It was his mantra, and it became our mantra, from setting up our Normandy trip to any time thereafter. Even when we would get lost, somehow later in the week, it became a key point of our preparation. Instead of having a mindset of perfection, he helped to foster a mindset of wonder. Through wonder and realizing there are no mistakes, we never made one. And we created amazing trips for our guests.

Danf loves to have real conversations with people. When I asked him how he learned French, he said that after his first trip to France, he could not communicate at all. So, upon returning to the USA, he decided to go back to school and major in French. Danf and his wife Suzy are amazing. They met while guiding together in California. They have guided together in South America and Europe. And they have raised their two kids with the ability to communicate. They have lived in France, Spain, Mexico, and Colorado (just to name a few places). Their entire family is fluent in English, French, and Spanish, and they can flow between the languages with ease and grace.

Danf has been with Trek Travel for over 15 years, and if you have the opportunity to be on one of his trips, come with an open mind and be ready to ride your bike, enjoy great meals, and learn that there are no mistakes.”

Life of a Guide: How Things Have Changed

Person riding their bike on a paved road

When you’ve been guiding with Trek Travel for over a decade, you’re bound to have seen quite a few changes, experienced incredible destinations, and made enough memories to last a lifetime. To get firsthand knowledge of how things have evolved for guides over the years, we chatted with Hershy, who has been with us since 2005. Here’s what he had to say…

What was your first trip like?

My first trip was the Tour de France in 2005. Our team was working all three weeks of the tour, and each trip was sold out. We had a massive tour bus with a trailer, two Trek Travel vans, and four guides on the trip. I think our guest count was around 30 guests per trip. The first week we started in Brittany and finished in the Loire Valley. Our second week was in the Alps, and our third week started in the Pyrenees and finished in Paris. The first stage ended on the island of Noirmoutier, where we were standing on the finish line of the Time Trial. Due to the road closure, we took a boat back to our hotel, toasting the start of a glorious Tour. Just like the Tour de France, our trip finished in Paris. On the last day of the Tour, we awoke just before sunrise, and rode our bikes around the quiet Parisian streets. We did laps around the Arc de Triomphe and Longchamps before making our way to the Eiffel Tower, with our final route taking us along the famed cobblestones of the Champs-Elysees. Later in the day, we watched the pros finish their epic race, rushing past at lightning speeds on the cobblestones. Every day was spectacular during the Tour, riding the routes before the pros, seeing and being part of the spectacle, and finishing the month with amazing new friends, and memories that will last a lifetime.

Nowadays, we are running more race trips all over the globe. We truly keep improving on all our years of history, experience, and research.

How has guiding changed over the years?

Back in 2005, our main business happened during the Tour de France. We had trip offerings across the USA and Europe, yet the bulk of our business revolved around the Tour. At the time, guides were based in the Netherlands. Over the years, we moved our EU operations from the Netherlands to Provence, and then eventually to Girona where our EU operations are based today. Housing an influx of guides was always challenging, and given the amount of trips we would run for the Tour, we were always in need of finding enough space. One year, we rented little bungalows on a beach in the Netherlands. Another year, we rented a hotel in the Alps, and yet another year, we were all based in the city of Lourdes, France.

Back then, whenever we would leave the Netherlands to start a trip in another country, we would always make a special stop for beer in Belgium. Why you may ask? They have the world’s best beer of course. I can remember leaving Paris one year after the Tour de France with a group of guides. After being on the road for three weeks, we were all half asleep. The drivers ensured we would stop in Belgium to purchase beer. In those days, we did not have a GPS. We relied on maps and a Road Atlas (and the hope that our navigator could use them). In essence, we all had to be excellent map readers & navigators. At times, this made for some unique conversations, especially when we would miss an exit or a needed turn. On this particular trip, after picking up some good Belgium beer, we got back on the autoroute. Unfortunately, before we knew it, our four-hour drive became an eight-hour drive because our driver did not realize that we entered the highway heading in the wrong direction. Thanks to traffic, the inability to turn around right away, and tolls, it made for an even longer drive. But hey, at least we had good beer to share with everyone when we finally reached our destination.

Thankfully today, our guides do not need to plan drives so far in advance because we can simply turn on our GPS, and it will guide us (or reroute us) to our destination.

Technology has definitely changed over the years, and in some ways made the guides life easier. It used to be quite a task finding a phone line to dial up an international modem to connect with the office for information or updates. Now, we just connect to WiFi, and we have access to get information, make phone calls, and check email on the go. Cell phones in general have changed greatly in terms of capabilities, and having the ability to stay on one SIM card to travel around Europe is hugely beneficial. We used to have a little bag with our multiple SIM cards. At one point in time, I had a SIM card for the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, The UK, Ireland, and the USA. Whenever we crossed from one country to the next, I would have to remove the old SIM card and insert a new one. Today, our phones are far more powerful than even our computers used to be. From built in apps like WAZE for driving, to RIDE with GPS for cycling, and maps for finding a specific restaurant, our lives have been enhanced. But truth be told, having a good old Michelin Map, that highlights in Green a section of beautiful road to cycle upon in France, is definitely missed. As is having a good navigator to help plan the drive, figure out where to get gas, and decide where to stay for the night.

What makes Trek Travel a unique place to work?

Trek Travel being a small and privately owned company has allowed us to make changes rather quickly. From the beginning, guides all knew each other, and we would encourage each other to always improve. I feel like we all helped each other to continually grow and reach for excellence in all areas. From learning about the history of an area, to learning to use technology, or how to became a better athlete, guide, and coach, we all encouraged each other to be the best we could be. This is probably one of the most valuable qualities that Trek Travel instilled in the guide team back when I was hired in 2005 and continues to instill today. And as Trek Travel has hired more people over the years, I would say that we have experience and wisdom from older guides, and have infused that with the energy and creativity of the new guides to continually provide better trips for our guests. The camaraderie inspired by our leadership in the office, combined with the teamwork and passion of the guides in the field has helped to make Trek Travel what it is today. It is also the reason why so many of us have been here since the beginning.

How has your role changed over the years at Trek Travel?

From 2005 to 2011 I was full-time seasonally with Trek Travel, working in the spring, summer, and fall. My schedule typically consisted of starting and finishing my season in Napa & Sonoma, with my summer spent in France at the Tour. Some years I was at the Giro d’Italia, and on the rare occasion, I was able to lead a few other trips in Europe. Starting in 2012, I went full time with Trek Travel and found myself mainly guiding in Europe through 2016. Over this time, I became a trip expert for various regions, and often I would help to set up and design new trips. Now, I am a part-time guide and am ready to jump in and help when needed.

Do you have any awesome guests who have traveled with you time and time again?

What I love most about our Trek Travel guests is that so many of them travel with us again and again. Many of the guests who have traveled with me in the past remain in contact with me today. When we are together again, we are able to recount the memories and stories of the past. For me to speak specifically about one guest over the years would do a disservice to them all. All of my pasts guests have left indelible impressions that make me smile. A few memories that come to mind include cycling the last few kilometers of Alp d’Huez on a closed road before the pros at the Tour de France, boat rides on the Adriatic sea, spinning through Napa Valley, and riding through the red rocks of Zion National Park. Besides spending time together on the bike, there is nothing better than hearty dinners sharing stories and getting to know the guests personally. What I appreciate and love is how many of these guests continue to be part of my life today.

Life of a Guide: A Day on Trip with Diego

group of people smiling and laughing

“It’s hard to tell you what a typical day of a Trek Travel guide might be, since some days we find ourselves driving a van through roads full of gendarmerie⁠—French police—during the Tour de France and other days we’re rushing to sneak in a speedy shower to be impeccably clean for a Michelin dinner.”
-Diego, Trek Travel Guide

In this post I will try to share with you some of the behind the scenes of what the guides do in order to provide world class service and hospitality to our guests. One day seems to have way more than 24 hours once you dissect it.

Early Morning

I love to wake up early and run to breakfast before anyone else. Everyone who has shared some time with me will know that I need to drink at least one double espresso in the morning in order to wake up and function properly. As disappointing as this will be to all my Italian friends, I love to sit down and sip that coffee with some chocolate pastry, preferably a delicious brownie or a pain au chocolat.

Out of the many breakfasts I’ve had in different hotels and countries around the world, my favorite breakfast locations on trips would be:
• Grabbing coffee and fresh toast with butter and sitting outside on the patio at Hotel Edelweiss in La Grave during our Classic Climbs of the Tour trip. As soon as you sit down and look up to the mountains, the glacier La Meije is visible and it just takes your breath away with its magnitude.

• All hotels on the Cinque Terre trip offer unforgettable ways to start the morning. At one hotel, you sit down looking at vineyards and olive tree plantations; in the second hotel, you sit around Carrara Marble sculptures while you enjoy freshly squeezed juices and something delicious off the menu; and in our last hotel you fuel up for the day in a charming courtyard where there is a little sculpture engraved with a date earlier than even Christopher Columbus landing in the Americas.

• Of course, an honorable mention for breakfasts goes to Italy because, in general, they know how to make a delicious cup of espresso.


After the well deserved first meal of the day and a brief moment of calm, the guides get to work on a couple of key tasks.

First, we must make sure that all bikes have fully charged front flares, rear flares, and Garmins. We’ll do a mechanic check on every bicycle to ensure all tires have the proper pressure, break systems are working, battery levels for Di2 are good, and many other details to assure that our bikes are ready to ride. We’ll also gather everything we need to set up our signature snack table, where our riders can find unique local sweets and snacks or satisfy their annual intake of Vitamin M (AKA the almighty peanut M&M’s).

After greeting the group, we lead a logistics talk, which includes all the highlights of our planned route and what to expect during our fantastic rides. Some days we have to think of ingenious ways to cheer each other up because the sky is darkening with the promise of rain. “Skin is waterproof!” and “No need to have sun to have fun!” is what I hear most often from the British guides when we have dark clouds covering our start location.

Rain and shine, as soon as the group is prepared for the ride, we set off to explore beautiful countryside, tackle some epic climbs, or soak in views of the coast.


The next part of a guide’s job is crucial. We must check on everyone as they make their way to our delicious lunch stop or to one of our exclusive experiences. If I am riding my bike with the guests, I also have to make sure to snap a few pictures of them, so they can relax and focus on enjoying their day knowing we’ll take care of the little details like photos.

At this point, there really is no typical afternoon on a Trek Travel trip. Every day is different and local life brings a factor of unexpected surprises. We keep our eyes open for any street markets, festivities, farmland seasonal activities, or any other local attractive thing that can make a good addition to our ride. This is probably why we often surpass guest expectations when coming to our trips! Our guides don’t just lead you by bike from point A to point B with our heads down, oh no! We take you on a cycling vacation of a lifetime.

After a hearty and delicious lunch of local specialties, we continue riding in the warm afternoon, which brings a whole new set of adventures. Someone got a flat? Missed a turn? Decided to stop and chat with the locals? Drank a few too many glasses of that delicious Italian wine? No problem, we are there to fix the bike or give you a boost in the van to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the day.


We return to the hotel after a spectacular afternoon of riding and exploring. Is the day over at this point? Not at all! We still have dinner planned. After locking bikes and securing other gear, the guides go to our room and charging all the electronic devices. The lights glowing in the charging cases sometimes give me the sensation we have special astronauts equipment in our hotel room. Ah! We have dinner plans right? No worries! We have 10 minutes to shower, change to formal attire, and upload the pictures we took during the day to the computer. We are guides, we got this.

Depending on the trip, some nights we attend dinner with the group at a Michelin Star restaurant with course after course of exciting food, while other nights we head to a hidden gem like a small family-run restaurant in a medieval town. We take part in a wonderful evening full of unique conversations that might take us on paths never imagined before, but we have a few hot topics. Pets are always present in our conversations as are incredible bicycle rides around the world.

Sometimes we are lucky enough to get invited to post-dinner drinks, while other times the weather is so nice that we choose to have an evening stroll (to help get the food belly down so we can go to sleep).

Rest and Repeat

Finally, we make it back to our rooms and collapse into bed for the night. And guess what? We’ll do that all over again tomorrow!

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Life of a Guide: Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Our guide, Dan Frideger, shares how wonderful things came from a change of plans when mother nature threw a curveball on his Chile bike tour.

It’s 7:00 AM in the Southern Hemisphere, just a few days past the “summer solstice” in early January. For the past three days, sun has graced our route. Glittering mountain lakes ringed by deep, lush woods—with names like coihue, lingue, araucaria, alerce—slumber beneath snowcapped volcanoes. Well paved, lightly trafficked roads wind their way along rushing streams and past small family farms with scurrying chickens, a few shaggy sheep, pealing paint, and the ever-present Chilean “guard dog.” Though the breeds vary, all seem to share a good-natured lethargy. The effort required to get them up from their sun-soaked patch of dust often seems like a bigger task than they can even contemplate. This might mean a cyclist or a passing truck has to change course to go around them.

Days well spent in the company of new friends, with sore muscles and sore bottoms after the early season efforts, are followed by fantastic dinners and Chilean wines sipped late into the night. In short, the ideal cycling vacation thus far. However, the sound of pounding rain, and the grey leaden clouds that fills the sky from horizon to horizon are going to add a new element to our days of bliss.

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While a day of rain is a small matter in the grand scheme of things, it does put a damper on anyone’s cycling vacation. From a guide’s perspective, rain impacts both the logistics and morale. The mood can be read in the faces of the guests for whom that first morning cup of coffee is just not quite as satisfying, the orange juice a bit too tart, the croissant a shade shy of desired crunch. One can almost see the mental math calculating what percentage of the total riding will be missed as the rain splatters the windows. Consequently, a cheery pep talk regarding the hidden virtues of riding in the rain is a must. And so, with a “hope for the best” attitude and an hour and a half shuttle south before a decision to ride has to be made, we load up the vans and head out.

Trek Travel Chile Lakes and Volcano Bike Tour

As we drive, the ambiance is atypically subdued, with more introspection than conversation. Passages of dry weather and distant patches of blue sky give hope to the optimistic and seem a cruel tease to the unconvinced. When we arrive at our ride start, a usually stunning “mirador” above Lago Ranco, its azure waters dotted with alluring islands, we are met by a veil of thick mist mixed with a light rain and stiff wind. Plan B, of heading another 20 kilometers to our lunch stop first to see what the afternoon brings is quickly and unanimously adopted. A typically hearty Chilean meal with choices of fresh fish, lamb, beef, pork, steaming mashed potatoes, rice, and flan convinces many that their riding day is over, while others feel fueled up for whatever weather the afternoon throws at them. With a quick change into layers of brightly colored rain gear and a second cup of coffee for the road, the group splits up into the committed and the confounded.

Though cycling guides would not be in this profession were it not for the riding, there are times when the comfort of a fine, country-style hotel with a full spa, indoor-outdoor pool, sauna, and massage appointments holds a certain appeal. Though riding in the rain is almost always better than one thinks it will be, even a seasoned guide can be seduced by the alternative of a hot shower. After a quick game of rock, paper, scissors to see which of the guides would win the golden ticket of helping deliver luggage, one van whisks guests directly to the hotel while the other supports the riders along the route.

Trek Travel Chile Lakes and Volcano Bike Tour

By the time the group comes back together for cocktails by a warming fire and nestles into plush couches, the general mood of the group is in stark contrast to that at the breakfast table. Those who braved the afternoon rain have epic stories of overcoming torrential downpours, struggling through piercing headwinds, and finding new depths of inner strength, all in a 30 kilometer ride! The guests who came directly to Parque Futangue, a 33,000 acre private reserve in the heart of the Los Rios region of Chile, do not seem to regret their choice either. The afternoon was a mixture of activities, alternating between the covered pool and sauna, getting massages, doing yoga, enjoying the workout room, or the rarest of activities on a Trek Travel trip, taking an afternoon nap. Despite the good humor all around, the weather report for the following day has still not improved. Rather than have a night of uncertainty on what the morning might bring, the guides suggest that we postpone our early morning departure and instead take advantage of what the property has to offer. For those still intent on getting some exercise, two of the guides will be in the lobby at 8:30 AM for a morning hike, while the third will offer a yoga class.

The night is full of lashing rain and occasional lighting, which lights up the lush, dense forests and steep volcanic slopes that ring the property. By morning, the conditions improve greatly with a light rain seeming a reprieve from the night’s battering. Eight of the 15 guests are ready to hike. Three have chosen yoga and four are sleeping in. The disappointment at not being on bikes does not seem to be an issue as we stride along a dirt track through the verdant pastures of the reserve’s cattle operation.

Trek Travel Chile Lakes and Volcano Bike Tour

Almost on cue, the rain turns to light mist and then beams of brilliant sunshine begin to pierce the clouds. Steam rises from the moist earth only to dissipate in silence. The loud and raucous cries of the ever-present Bandurias with their long curved beaks and the darting Queltehues, break the tranquil silence. This seems to give flocks of parrots the go-ahead to swoop from their hidden roosts and fill the sky with their squawking chatter. Within a half hour, we arrive at a wooden overlook thick with moss above the dancing waters of a mountain stream, lined with bright red fuscias. Slowly, the steep slopes of the surrounding mountains begin to pierce the layer of clouds. The general feeling is one awe and appreciation. Though we have been riding through similar landscapes for several days, our pace and focus has been such that we had missed these smaller details and gentle contours of the terrain. The rain we had cursed the day before has forced us to alter our routine, slow our pace, look more closely, appreciate more fully. None of this was planned, nor could it have been foreseen. Lemons turned to lemonade.

As a result of that memorable morning, we now do that hike on all of our trips, taking a break from the bike to experience Chile in another way. While the magic of that first stroll may never again be repeated, every time we discover something new, the appreciation deepens.

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Life of a Guide: Riding in the Alps


“Out of all the Trek Travel Trips that I have guided, the French Alps have a special place in my heart. Climbing throughout the Alps is a surreal experience where cycling in this mountainous region is as mind-blowing as the scenery.”
-Thomas English, Trek Travel Guide

Having lived in the French Alps for the past four years, I fell in love with the area and guiding trips here. One of my favorites is the Trek Travel Classic Climbs of the Alps trip because of not only the incredible riding but also the cultural experience.

While riding in one of the most cycling-friendly areas in the world, with unforgettable views, it’s hard to miss the strong French alpine culture and cuisine. With herds of cows or sheep crossing the road, the smell of freshly baked baguettes as we cruise by the local boulangerie, the blueberries growing on the side of the road, to the amazing cheese and charcuterie platters with local wines awaiting that day, you will grasp how generous and friendly this French region is. Entering the home of all cheeses and you will quickly learn the various ways in which cheese can be prepared. According to the French, there are as many cheeses as there are days in the year. Even though local cheese is a crowd favorite, one of my simple pleasures on a warm summer day is reaching the freshwater fountain in the village square to top off my water bottle. Simply pure and refreshing, straight out of the spring. In the town square, the locals might invite you for a long talk or, even better, to try some fresh produce. With all of our snacking, we are fueled for the epic climbs we will encounter!

The trip starts in Annecy, also known as the “Venice of the Alps,” the heart of the Haute-Savoie region, on the banks of the emerald lake so blue you can’t stop drinking it in with your eyes. We start our bike fit the proper way—with a French coffee and croissant in hand. Before you know it, we’re cycling right on the waterfront for about 12 kilometers before going deeper into the mountains on the smoothest cycling path. It’s breathtaking!

We then head to La Clusaz, staying in the most amazing chalet-style hotel. This is not a bad place to be after tackling two climbs featured in the 2018 Tour de France. Even though the roads are absolute silk, tiredness in the legs starts to sink in. The next two days, we explore my favorite mountain village, traversing picturesque passes along the Aravis mountain range, overlooking Mont Blanc. Upon departing this village, a feeling of humbleness settles in as you reflect on the grand scale of nature that our world presents. I like to refer to a climb as a journey, a challenging conspiracy between perception, imagination, and physical constraint. Life becomes simple; no directions, no thinking, only trending up or down as you enjoy the scenery. The alpine climate keeps the air cooler on the summits, where the colors of the rock and vegetation contrast the blue sky.

Halfway through the week, we head further south towards the Isère region, a mecca for cycling and mountaineering pursuits. We start from La Chambre to climb Col du Glandon, my favorite ride on the trip. Amidst this 21-kilometer climb, the raw essence of the French Alps is truly felt. As we ride as a group, it’s fascinating to witness the commitment of everyone as the grades get harder. Remoteness and breathtaking views from the top of the pass are rewarding as we all have different motivations bringing us up to this peak. On the way back down, we reach the heart of the Romanche valley that links Alpe d’Huez with Les Deux Alpes using a secret junction balcony road, where the steep views leave me gobsmacked every single time. The following day, we tackle the one, the only: Alpe d’Huez. From one switchback to the next, picture yourself in a shoulder wide path surrounded by fans during the Tour de France. The battles that have been experienced on this climb before push you to hang on too. You inhale a large breath, soaking up the views and, all of the sudden, you forget about struggle, every pedal stroke becomes effortless, because whatever it takes, you know you’re nearly at the top.

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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