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Life of a Guide: Home on the Road

group of people smiling while holding up an American flag

Hear from our guide, Max Ackermann, as he reflects on his experiences guiding and how he found home while on the road.

It’s the first night of our 42-day trip. We’ve finished our first ride, a few guests have knocked out an afternoon nap, and the first sips of Santa Ynez chardonnay go down smooth. It’s time to enjoy dinner and get to know our group as we settle in for the trip ahead.

The question “where’s home for you?” is tossed around the table. It’s a starter for small talk, quickly left behind as the conversation deepens. When it’s my turn to answer, I catch myself in a double take.

For a long time, the answer had been simple, even automatic. Now, after moving out, packing my life into two duffel bags, and saying a series of goodbyes, the question seems complex. Do they mean where I grew up? Or where I go when I’m not guiding? Where do I consider home?

Is home where we live or work? Where we find our sense of community? Is it where we go grocery shopping, enjoy a night out with friends, or wake up with our morning routine?

I glance across the table to my co-guides. One I met three months ago. Another I met three weeks ago, just before the three of us crossed the country in a minivan finalizing the trip. The last one I met three days ago. I think back to the evening when the four of us toasted to the start of what would surely be an unforgettable adventure, biking across America.

Just imagining my days guiding that lay ahead excited me. Wake up before the sun and immediately put on a kit. Pack everything neat and tight. Don’t forget to check under the bed. Greet the guests, then fill up all the coolers with ice. Squeeze in some breakfast and coffee. Pack the luggage and double check the lobby. Ride all day. Arrive at the rest stop to set up snacks. Collect mail and packages at the next hotel. Shower, make a grocery run, and eat dinner. Moonlight bike wrenching and laughs with co-guides. Sleep.

For the next six weeks, life would be simple. Thirty-five people, all from different and distant walks of life, would embark on the same crazy adventure together.

My mind returns to the table. I look at the people seated with me who were strangers not long ago but will be coworkers, best friends, and family by the time we cross from California to South Carolina. And after far too long a pause to maintain the coolness with which the question was initially asked, I can’t hide an emerging grin. “Here,” I answer, as if I hadn’t just figured it out right then and there.

2019 Guide of the Year: Lisa Lieb

woman smiling while enjoying a hot coffee

Each year, Trek Travel honors one of our guides for his or her tremendous season, exceptional hospitality, and a downright awesome attitude. We are proud to announce our 2019 Guide of the Year, Lisa Lieb!

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. The winner can use it for themselves, a family member, or a friend.

We talked to Lisa to learn a little bit more about how she feels about winning Guide of the Year, about her experiences guiding, and about where she is headed in 2020.

Why do you guide?

“Passion and happiness. It seems that I have found a job that fills my passions, and therefore my job has become my passion. The passion to be able to experience the joy of life by bike and the ability to share that with others. The passion to see different cultures, to meet tremendous people from around the world, and to be a part of bringing smiles to people’s faces. That is very rewarding. So, when I am getting to live my passion, the result then brings me to the goal of my life: to be happy. So, happiness is a pretty good reason to guide! And of course, all the donkeys I get to meet along the way!”

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

“Having guided over 180 Trek Travel trips, it is very difficult to pick just a few of my most epic moments, favorite memories, or most unforgettable guests. There have been times over the past nine years that I truly cannot believe that this is my real life. Epic moments like meeting pro riders that I have only seen on TV riding in the Tour de France, climbing Alpe d’huez the day of the 100th anniversary of the Tour, running along side Cadel Evans on Mont Ventoux after sleeping in a vineyard on Bastille Day, and stopping to dance in the middle of climb because why not? All these and so many more epic moments come to my mind. Many guests over the years are truly unforgettable, like being a part of a guest’s confidence building moments after riding something they never thought possible, the “yes I can do this” revelations, the moment when a you see a woman be empowered just by riding a bike, those hugs and tears of joy at the top of an epic climb, the champagne toasts and jumping in the sea after crossing the Pyrenees mountains, times I am told “it just would not have been the trip of a lifetime without you,” the many notes written to me at the end of every trip, and the number of smiles I see on a daily basis are truly unforgettable. And of course some of my favorite memories are the ones I have made with my co-guides, like camping in the middle of nowhere, late night dance parties in the middle of a tiny village, and just the times of ridiculousness that makes those friendships even stronger.”

Where will you be guiding in 2020?

“In 2020 I will be guiding Mallorca Ride Camps, the Italian Dolomites bike tour, and the Mallorca Luxury bike trips. This will be my eighth season guiding in Mallorca, and it just gets better every year. Riding a bike in Mallorca is a way of life and for me. It is the place where I fell in love with road cycling. (Those of you that know, I am a mountain biker through and through, so I think that says a lot about the riding in Mallorca to turn a mountain biker into a roadie). In 2014 I guided the Giro d’Italia trip through the Dolomites, and every year I race the Granfondo Maratona dles Dolomiti. However, this is my first year guiding our Classic Climbs of the Dolomites trip, and I cannot be more thrilled. The Dolomites are a very special place on the planet, and your life will only be enhanced if you get the opportunity to experience those mountains by bike. The people, the food, those mountains – all your senses will be overtaken by the Italian and South Tirol culture. It is quite spectacular, and I am very much looking forward to guiding in the region.”

How did you feel about winning guide of the year?

“To be named Guide of the Year I feel very honored, humbled, and proud. My belief is one cannot do great alone. One must be surrounded and supported by great to accomplish great. Being named Guide of the Year is a reflection of the people around me. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with many amazing guides and am always learning so much from each and every one of them. The level of passion, professionalism, dedication, and fun in the people that guide Trek Travel trips is so high, I am blown away that I was chosen out of such a deserving group.Thank you to everyone at Trek Travel for honoring me with such an award.”

What else are you looking forward to in 2020?

“On March 15 I get the privilege to participate in one of the worlds toughest mountain bike stage races, the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa. The coolest part is, I was asked by a Trek Travel guest that I guided in Mallorca back in 2013. We have not stayed in touch nor followed each other on social media, but when this guest had received one of the coveted entries to the event, he remembered his guide in Mallorca and thought, “She would be a fun partner to race this event with, and I’m pretty sure she likes to mountain bike.” The many doors that this job opens are pretty rad.”

Twenty-five Countries and Counting: Meet Sonja Schmidt

Between guiding for nearly five years with Trek Travel and adventuring to faraway lands in the off-season, Trek Travel guide Sonja Schmidt has seen some of the best corners of the world by foot, by bike and everything in between.

Where do you call home currently?
Missoula, Montana

How many countries have you traveled to?

What inspired you to become an avid traveler?
When I was 16 my parents asked me if I wanted to do the summer study abroad in Salamanca, Spain. It was my first overseas trip and couldn’t have been more fun and eye-opening. I had an amazing host family and the city of Salamanca is spectacular (as are the all-night discos…). Since then, I’ve been insatiably inspired to see more and more of this beautiful world.

Favorite adventure you’ve had so far and why?
Tough decision! I’m going to go with the bike-packing trip Jason and I did through South Africa and Lesotho last winter. It was probably some of the most fun days we’ve had on a bike, and spending the winter months in great weather, while riding super fun bikes in remote locations was incredible.

Sonja Schmidt Trek Travel Cycling Vacations

Best road to ride?
Passo Gavia is one of the most spectacular and remote big climbs. The scenery is beyond words and the road is drenched in history, from Giro d’Italia stages, to being used as a trade route during the Middle Ages, and fought over during the WWII. It’s an incredibly special experience that I never grow tired of.

Any big trips planned for this year?
We just built a bed in our 4runner so we are going to take a little road trip down South to ride bikes, see some live music, and hang out with friends in the desert. The next big adventure is still undecided…

What has been the most unexpected experience you’ve had in your travels?
From heading to Nepal to hike the Annapurna Circuit on a whim, to Jason proposing to me at the end of a 2-month bike tour and 10–day trek at the base of the Torres del Paine in the Andes, there have been a lot of great surprises. One of my favorites was in the middle of a winter long bike tour through Patagonia. We had brought our fly rods and were chasing the legendary South American trout through Argentina and Chile when one day we are cruising down the road and hear, “Hey! Are you guys from Montana?” “What?! Yeah!” So we pulled over and met Brent, a fly fishing guide that’s also from Montana and heard there were a couple of Montanans headed south down the Carrtera Austral in Chile.

He drew us a map to his cabin located on the Rio Simpson; a fairy tale section of river that is almost impossible to wade fish because of the big bluffs on the side. The next day we somehow made it to his cabin and quickly headed down to wet a line. As we were headed to the river, Brent says, “You know that fly you have on there? That’s Taylor’s Fat Albert, I’m Brent Taylor, I designed that fly specifically for this stretch of water.” What?!?!? Needless to say, it was one of the best days of fishing both Jason and I have ever had.

Sonja Schmidt Trek Travel Cycling Vacations

What destinations are at the top of your list and why?
India, Mongolia, Romania, Turkey, Estonia, Greece, Jordan… Some for bike-touring, some for fishing, some for hiking.

What would you say has been the most fulfilling part about traveling the globe?
Every place I’ve traveled to has left a profound impact on me. The people and the scenery tend to stick with my thoughts the longest. The kindness from locals is always something that I try to remember to perpetuate in my daily life. World travel has shown me that there are so many different cultures, traditions, foods, customs, and in the end the people are helpful, kind, and so quick to share a smile.

Tips for women travelers?
Don’t over pack or over plan, a lot of fun is in the serendipitous experiences and connections you make when you least expect it. And for packing, well, one of the best experiences is dressing like a local, weather in Nepal or Italy, it’s nice to fit-in with the area you’re visiting. Also, eat whatever is presented to you.

Sonja Schmidt Trek Travel Cycling Vacations

Meet Our Team: Ilona Kohlerova

Meet Trip designer Ilona. Originally from the Czech Republic, but now a citizen of the world and the brains behind many of our Pro Race trips. What’s her inspiration you may ask? Our guests.

Tell us a little about your previous life before Trek Travel?

I come from the Czech Republic. I studied in Prague but kept on moving to different places and traveling. I lived a couple of years in the U.S., then I moved to the south of Spain and ended up in Barcelona, which I loved. I worked at all kinds of jobs—waiting tables in Wisconsin, bartending in Spain, guiding in Prague and working in a social service specialty with the homeless.

What inspired you to become a Guide and Trip Designer?
Honestly I had no idea that such a job existed. I was working in the office in Barcelona and my colleague and friend, Ingrid, was telling me about the best job she ever had. I checked the Trek Travel website and applied for a job right away. Five years later I still love it. It’s much more than just riding a bike; it’s a lifestyle, which connects traveling, working with people, outdoors and new cultures. Trip design was just another step. I enjoy having the possibility to plan a trip based on my guiding experience and knowledge of the region. And I like working together with the guides to make improvements. What inspires me is showing our guests the best of the places they always wanted to go, to meet with their favorite pro racer or be part of the race they always watched on TV. For a few days allow them to not worry about anything and just fully enjoy their time.

Can we get a quick run-down–what it means to be a Trip Designer? What’s your design process?
I mainly design race trips, except Tour de France. Long before the official route is announced, I keep my eyes and ears open for all rumors to get information ahead of time and start planning routes and booking hotels. After the official announcement it’s two weeks of speedy work—confirming hotels, arranging all the viewings, VIP passes etc. We try to get the trip online as soon as we can because people often ask right after the race is announced. The key is to have a good hotel in a strategic place, close to famous climbs where you can watch the race. Once the guides are on the ground before the trip, they make sure all details are dialed and it’s them who take the itinerary and make it the experience of the lifetime.

Meet our team: Ilona

Tell us about your favorite trip you’ve ever designed and why.
That’s a hard question. Every newly designed trip becomes my favorite! Vuelta 2017 was an unforgettable experience. We work closely with the Trek-Segafredo Team, which makes our trips even more special and unique. Last year we met and talked to Alberto Contador the evening before the last mountain stage. The next day we climbed l’Angliru ourselves and then we watched him winning on this brutal climb in the last stage of his career. After such a hard race, he was willing to meet with Trek Travel guests and take a group selfie right below the podium. Thanks to our relationship with Trek-Segafredo we get to be a part of the race and see behind the scenes.

What’s your dream travel destination?
That’s a long list. Rwanda and Uganda would be at the top. I’m also planning a bike trip through my family roots, which will take me from Czech through Slovakia to Ukraine–Zakarpattia. Then it’s only a step from Romania and Moldova. I just want to see the whole world!

Best travel adventure of all time?
I will never forget 16 days of hiking in Himalayas. It was only my friend and I, sometimes we did not see people for days, sometimes we hung out with locals and slept in their homes. The landscape was breathtaking. It was a challenging hike and I can still remember the feeling on the top of the climb, looking at all that natural beauty around and being simply happy.

What are you looking forward to most in 2018?
So many things! Besides doing my personal travels, tandem skydiving above Czech lands (Xmas present from my brother), I can’t wait for Giro–we will climb Mt. Zoncolan and watch the race there, and ride other beautiful parts of Dolomites.

I’ve already mentioned Vuelta. North of Spain—Asturias, Cantabria and Basque country—has some of the best riding, varied landscape, delicious cuisine and cider! Vuelta is at the end of the season so it’s more relaxed and riders are super friendly and want to meet with fans.
We also have some new trips coming up so this year I will be working on new destinations and designing other trips beside race trips, which I’m very excited about!

Meet our team: Ilona


Join Ilona at the Vuelta.

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When in Rome: Top 5 Phrases to Know in Italy

Straight from our guide Valeria in Milan, Italy—the top 5 words and phrases to know when you’re cycling the rolling landscapes of the country she calls home.

Dai! Dai!: It is like Allez! Allez! in French, but since it’s pronounced like “Die! Die!” the guests always make jokes on the climbs and remember it forever.

Buono: For the taste of food-gelato is buono, pizza is buona

Bravo!: Said when you do something well or achieve something-when on top of a climb we say to Bob, “Hey Bob, bravo! Well done!” and you Rita, “Brava!” And for a group we use the plural, “Bravi!”

Scusi, dov’è il bagno?: This is key and means, “Sorry, where is the bathroom?”

Grazie mille!: Thanks a million!


Top 5 Phrases to know in Italy


Join us in Italy.

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An Ode to Our Parks

An ode to our parks by Tony Ferlisi, Guide, Trip Designer, outdoor enthusiast and friend.

Thoreau and Muir spoke of cathedrals, refuges, sanctuaries and temples;
Home to bison, bighorn, grizzly bear and salmon;

We walk in the footsteps of Eastern Cherokee, Piegan, Blackfeet, Southern Paiute and Eastern Shoshone;
While the springtime scent of basin sagebrush, blue spruce, flowering lupines and rhododendron paint the breeze;

Our hands reach out to grasp texture: Wingate sandstone, polished granite, Madison limestone, tholeiitic basalt;
Socks removed, toes dig into Appalachian clay, plunge into glacial run-off, wriggle in the desert sun;

Read names: Grand Prismatic, Going to the Sun, Weeping Wall, Wizard Island;
These places are gifted by our ancestors and borrowed from our grandchildren;

These places are a legacy, a home, a story;
These places are cherished and celebrated;

These places: our National Parks.

Trek travel National Parks


Soak in the beauty of our national parks

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Meet Our Team: Diego Villasenor

A man of many countries who has spent his first year with Trek Travel guiding in Costa Brava as well as on L’Etape du Tour, Diego has a strong passion for exploring the world, a taste for new adventures and the travel journals to prove it.

So to start off, where are you from?

This is probably one of the hardest questions to answer. I was born in Mexico City, but grew up in Bolivia and spent a few years in Gainesville, Florida. I have three nationalities, Mexican, Bolivian and Swiss. Yes Swiss, but that is a story for when you come to one of my trips. For the last couple of years I’ve just been saying “I’m a citizen of the world.”

What did you do before you became a guide?

When I finished my degree in sustainable tourism and felt like I needed to do something more I grabbed my bicycle and started traveling to visit new towns and taste new cultures. With a group of my best friends we started to ride together and produce a radio show to promote sustainable tourism practices. Being in academia I also had the opportunity to travel around Mexico participating in rural tourism national conventions.

What has been your favorite part about guiding thus far?

Everyday is different. Each week is unique. Even if the days look the same on the website, our trips are memorable. I have the opportunity to meet amazing people from different parts of the world with incredible stories to share. And let’s not forget that we share the passion to ride the bicycle in some of the most beautiful places on earth.

What has been the biggest surprise?

Everything! Last year I had no clue what I was going to do in 2017. My closest friends kept asking, “What’s your plan?” And the only answer I kept repeating was, “I don’t know, but I will surprise myself!”

Well, here I am in Milan, Italy finishing eating the best pizza I’ve ever had while I write these few humbled words to share with you. Meanwhile I also try to imagine who might read this and then who will I have the honor to meet in person. The bonus, and one very important thing for me, is that I’m guiding bicycle trips in Europe with a fantastic group of people that I proudly call my Trek Travel family.

How did you come up with the travel journal idea?

Ever since I was 5 years old I have been traveling by plane alone. Back then, traveling was just a means to get to the final destination. Now I travel to enjoy every single part of the trip.

Since 2016 I started drawing a line and writing the names of the states I was crossing while we were on a road trip from Florida to Washington D.C. And that is the first official drawing in my journal. Now, each detail that happens during the trip I try to put it inside my notebook. I even ask people I meet randomly during my travels to sign their name or write a message. It’s a way to remember where I’ve been and what I’ve done.

Favorite trip to guide?

This year I have been guiding Costa Brava in Spain and during the Tour de France I had the opportunity to guide L’Etape du Tour. I love mountains, they are my favorite place to be. Riding in the French Alps was the most fantastic combination of challenging riding and amazing views.

Costa Brava on the other hand, is just the perfect combination of beautiful roads, rich culture and amazing places to visit. An all around great trip that gives us a new gift every week. Bright red poppy flowers at the beginning of spring or shining yellow sunflower fields towards the end of summer. And let’s not forget that every day we get the opportunity to dip our feet in the Mediterranean Sea.

Trip you’d love to guide soon?

I am very excited for our new trips in South America! I grew up in national parks in Bolivia and when I heard that Trek Travel is introducing Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands to the itinerary my explorer soul jumps from emotion.

And the biggie…favorite ride of all time?

Again a hard question!! I have two in mind. The 385km trip around the biggest lake in Mexico with really good friends. We had never done this together and we tackled every challenge we had on the road. It was the moment I knew I wanted to do multiple day trips by bicycle.

The second all time favorite is when my ex-partner and I gave away all our belongings and started a bicycle trip with our two dogs. We traveled with our bicycles visiting places that we never knew existed, also met wonderful people that open their homes to us so we could sleep in order to continue our trip.

Like I said before, now traveling for me is not only about the final destination. It’s all about the small details along the way.


Catch up with Diego in Costa Brava

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Spring Cycling Gear Picks from the Bike Tour Experts

Our guides are experts in riding bikes around the world. Just ask them what gear they go-to for any situation and they’ll tell you their favorites. So we gathered together a list of their go-tos for riding, from what they love to wear on their feet to tools they swear by. Here are their top spring and summer gear picks of 2017.

Bontrager Lithos Mountain Bike Helmet and Ion700 light
Justin Schnittker, Trek Travel Guide

Lithos MTB Helmet

“I really enjoy my Bontrager Lithos MIPS mountain bike helmet! Super comfy, good coverage in the back, great ventilation and cool colors that are quite visible for trail safety. Even better my Ion 700 light or a GoPro attaches directly to the top of it on a quick release system if I end up riding in the dark. Not to mention that rechargeable Bontrager Ion 700 light is like daylight riding!”

Bontrager Spector Windshell Vest
Pavel Drastik, Trek Travel Bike Tour Guide

Specter Windshell Vest

“Outside is my office and bike clothes are my uniform. Since I can’t regulate the outside temperature I have to be prepared in terms of clothes I’m wearing. Unless you want to carry a backpack with multiple items, I can’t praise enough the Bontrager Specter Windshell Vest wich easily fits in your back pocket and will help you stay comfortable most of the time! Priceless.”

Bontrager Classique cycling shoes and Race 5" socks
Jessica Singerman, Trek Travel Bike Tour Guide

Classique Road Shoes

“I love my Classique shoes and how breathable these are with all the strategically placed vents. The laces allow for a great fit that is infinitely adjustable, and plus they have that cool retro look. I’ll pair these with the Bontrager Race cycling sock. They are comfortable and wicking. They hug the foot just right and they feel supportive around the arch of the foot. Plus they come in high viz yellow and tomato orange!”

Bontrager MTB Shoe
Zeb King, Trek Travel Bike Tour Guide

XXX Mountain Bike Shoe

“Fashion and performance collide in the Bontrager XXX Shoe! Looking so good has never given you such a performance advantage while still allowing comfort! These have become my go-to shoes for guiding, both on the road and in the dirt. I’m the biggest believer in the Boa system for getting a perfect fit while also allowing for micro adjustments mid-ride. The stiffness of the carbon sole (rated 14 out of 14!) allows me to waste no energy transfer as I push the pedals hard into the hills of Tuscany or the singletrack of Bend, Oregon. The variety of colors, amazing durability and unending performance are just a few reasons that the Bontrager XXX shoe has become a favorite of many of the Trek Travel guides.”

Bontrager Classique cycling gloves
Scott Heather, Trek Travel Bike Tour Guide

Classique Cycling Gloves

“The Classique gloves are awesome. They are made of nice soft leather and last for years. The classiques also have that cool motorcycle look.”

Bontrager cycling cap
Mark Thomsen, Marketing Manager and former Trek Travel guide

Cycling Cap

“The Bontrager cycling cap a great addition to spring riding wardrobe because it’s so universal. The added layer on your head helps on those cold mornings keep things warm. Plus the visor keeps the sun out of your eyes in the early light when sunglasses are just too dark still but the sun is coming up.”

Bontrager Lithos Stormshell Jacket
Grant Chaffin, Trek Travel Bike Tour Guide

Lithos Stormshell Jacket

The Bontrager Lithos Stormshell jacket is a piece of equipment that I never leave home without. Always keep in mind there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad equipment. This jacket will keep you up to your eyes in adventure, even when it is pouring rain. The hood fits great over a helmet if your riding, the vents are great if your doing a strenuous uphill hike and want to stay dry and not get too hot, and the pockets are big enough to protect plenty of items from the down pour. I wear the jacket guiding in the narrows on cold mornings with a nice down base layer, as a wind layer when it is extremely cold, and of course when its raining and I’m on my bike. This is a super versatile piece of apparel that I would recommend to anyone.”
*This product is not currently offered online.

Bontrager Flash Charger floor pump
Tony Ferlisi, Trek Travel Bike Tour Guide and Trip Designer

Flash Charger Floor Pump

“Try seating a tubeless mountain bike tire at the trailhead without access to an air compressor and only a standard bike pump. Likely, you’ll end up with tire sealant all over your feet, a tire that won’t inflate and no more daylight. I love the Flash Charger floor pump. Flip the red lever to the “up” position on the Flash, pump the canister up to about 150 psi, attach the nozzle to the valve on your tire, flip the red lever to the “down” position and ffffump! A fully pressurized, sealed tire (even a Bontrager SE5)! This is simply the best bike pump I’ve ever owned. It makes seating tubeless tires a breeze. It’s become my everyday floor pump.”

Welcome Home to Yellowstone

“There are few spots in the western mountain lands about which there hangs so much frontier romance.”
– William Maillie-Grohman, English Mountaineer 1882

No foothills. Steep coniferous forest. Solitary sub-alpine meadows bursting with wildflowers: paintbrush, lupine, sticky geranium, forget-me-not. Above it all, bare granite pinnacles. Moran, Buck, Middle, South, Owen, Teewinot. The Grand. Below, the braided channels of the Snake River. Banks carpeted by sagebrush, gatherings of aspen and cottonwood. Native Snake River cutthroat, beaver, geese, elk, moose, deer, pronghorn antelope and bison are here. Your flight makes its final approach from the north to the only commercial airport in the US located within a National Park. If you find yourself seated on the left side of the plane, gaze down at Blacktail Butte, the Gros Ventre River, Sleeping Indian, Flat Creek, Jackson Peak and the National Elk Refuge. On the right: Leigh Lake, Jenny Lake, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. And towering above (even your plane), the Tetons.
See wildlife on Trek Travel's Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park Bike Tour in Wyoming
Summer, 1871. Hot. Humid. Sweating and anxious, Ferdinand Hayden walked the streets of Washington D.C. He scrambled in and out of government office buildings. Up and down stairs. On and off street cars. He met with everyone who gave him a minute. Senators, Congressmen, Department of Interior officials. He schlepped large-format photographs taken by his friend William Henry Jackson, small oil paintings and sketches by Thomas Moran, and a giant report that bore his name: “The Hayden Geological Survey.” On December 18th of that same year, thanks to Hayden’s gargantuan efforts, a bill was simultaneously introduced to both the US Senate and the House of Representatives calling for the creation of a public park at the headwaters of the Yellowstone River, “…For all to enjoy.” On March 1st of 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Act of Dedication into law, effectively creating the world’s first National Park. It was named “Yellowstone.”

It was the spring of 2003. I took a break from college in Florida and got a job working on a guest ranch a few miles down the road from Allenspark, Colorado. During that time on the ranch, I learned most of the basic, Florida-boy-in-the-mountains lessons: horses are heavy, lightning above tree-line is scary, it can (and will) snow in July, bears can smell you cooking, wet cotton pants are cold, etc. etc. I made fantastic friends, cleaned horse stalls, slept outside, worked long hours and ultimately made my first journey north to Jackson, Wyoming and Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. My fate was sealed.

I returned that fall to Gainesville, Florida to complete my senior year. Surfing magazine posters and neon beer signs were replaced on my walls with photos by Ansel Adams, Bradford Washburn, Galen Rowel and Tom Mangelsen. I bought my first “Sibley Guide to Birds” and “Plants of the Rocky Mountains.” I read John McPhee’s Rising from the Plains, Annie Proulx’s Close Range, Owen Wister’s The Virginian, and Gretel Erlich’s The Solace of Open Spaces. I sent out resumes by the dozen. I was in love.
Visit Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Trek Travel's Yellowstone and Grand Tetons Bike Tour
After finishing my last exam and turning in the final “Blue Book” of my college days, I packed my truck and headed west again. My destination this time: a tiny basement bedroom on Millward St. in downtown Jackson. The 20 million-acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the Jackson Hole Valley had called me back, and corny as it sounds, I was home. Fast forward to today, over 12 years later: I’m still in Wyoming. Weekend explorations of the canyons and ridgelines of the Tetons have kept me here. Floating and fishing the Snake River Canyon has kept me here. Riding bikes on lonesome ranch roads and dark timber-lined singletrack has kept me here. Pizza and beer with friends on the deck at Dornan’s has kept me here. Skiing quiet winter glades has kept me here. The bear and elk and moose and antelope have kept me here. This fantastic, eternal landscape has kept me here.

I now live in a town just a few hours southeast of Jackson, on the east side of the Wind River Mountains, but every time I crest the top of Togwotee Pass on Highway 26, heading north, and catch that first glimpse of the Tetons…the hair still stands up on the back of my neck. I’m not joking. Staring up from the road, sometimes I cross the yellow line. Rumble strips snap me back to reality. The fantastical mountains and steep canyons, sweeping valleys and winding rivers of Grand Teton National Park; the bubbling mud-pots and steaming geysers, ghost-like lodgepole pine stands and sweeping grasslands of Yellowstone National Park; they belong to us all. Go see them. Take a deep breath of sulfury air in Norris Geyser Basin, pause and listen to the leaves of a quaking aspen stand on Signal Mountain. Watch wolves lope across Lamar Valley and eagles perched in a dead snag above Jenny Lake. Catch the sunrise over Sleeping Indian. Feel the nip on a cool summer evening in Teton Village. Just scratch the surface. You’re home.
Trek Travel Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park Vacation

Yellowstone and
Grand Tetons National Parks

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Guide Favorite: Piedmont

These words are written next to a fireplace in Girona – our European base – where I am now spending my days. The writing began when I opened a bottle of Barbera, a gift from my lovely co-guide Terra, that I have been carefully saving for many months. Naturally the memories travel with the wine, and I’m now anxious to find myself back on Trek Travel’s most undiscovered Italian vacation.

Trek Travel Piedmont Italy Bike Tour
This year I fell in love again.

Last August I was assigned to work in Piedmont. If you are trying to find that on a map, look towards the foothills of the Italian Alps, just east of the French Alps. And if you’re worried about the hills, don’t be. Its location in the foothills provides a perfect combination of flat riding and alpine views.

But what, in all my years of guiding, makes Piedmont stand out? Picture waking up our one and only hotel for the week with big windows overlooking the valley below Monforte d’Alba. The vineyards of Barolo, king of Italian reds, spread as far as the eye can see. On the horizon you can see clearly the white tips of the proud Alps reflecting every ray of sun. At sunrise the peaks are colored with shades of purple, pink and orange until the sky finally turns blue and we are off to explore this new playground by bike.

We might be off to a tasting of the best Italian wines, out to watch the hazelnut harvest take place, or on a truffle hunt discovering the white gold that grows in the Piedmontese land. Every day is an adventure, and every night is a celebration filled with playful jazz sounds and full glasses of vino. Che dolce è la vita!

In retrospect, how could I not fall in love with this place?
Trek Travel Piedmont, Italy Cycling Vacation


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