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Inside Guide Life

The Lac d’Annecy isn’t such a beautiful place from a windowless conference room. I was locked in with a few dozen bikes and the same fluorescent lights that make a summer day indoors as miserable in Cleveland as it is in the French Alps. The room was stuffed with hot, lathered air from hours of wrenching on bikes. I was dialing in every spoke and screw before the Etape du Tour, a 90-mile sufferfest for thousands of riders tackling the hardest stage of the Tour de France. This is not the most glamorous part of the job.

Read the real story about the life of a travel guide
DanF, my co-guide, is the Obi Wan of Trek Travel. He was delivering lunch, and found me working away in my shop apron and underwear. Guide life is textured by a range of magical moments: summer night swims in the lake, a shared bottle of wine in an alleyway bar. It’s a job (a lifestyle) that enters a dream state easily. These moments happen upon you like a tide that, before you realize it, sweeps you into a surreal world of sapphire sea views and castle-top parties.

This was not one of those moments. DanF’s lunch was a batard served with tins of greasy fish in mustard sauce: Exactly the kind of thing you want to crack open in a warm, confined room. This was an absolutely dog’s breath meal. The fish are neither liquid nor solid, rather a kind of oily gelatin that never leaves your fingers. We ate while watching an illegal broadcast of the NBA Finals on my laptop, and DanF dripped mustard sauce on the keyboard.
Behind the scenes look at the life of a Trek Travel bike tour guide
That meal lifts higher into the echelon of my favorite guiding meals despite the many moments of instagram fodder from years of guiding. Those yellow, pungent fish remind me that this was the same trip when DanF taught me the essence of guiding: how to discover spontaneity in a trip, how to unveil the nooks and crannies that hide France’s subtle delights. It was the trip when we camped on the lakeshore with a van full of Czech paragliders; when we ate troughs of pain au raisin.

Not everything about guiding is poignant or romantic. And not everything you love about travel has to be beautiful.
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Falling in love with New Mexico

If word gets out about the hidden gems of the Rio Grande Rift Valley stretching north from Santa Fe through Ojo Caliente and Abiquiu to Taos, it might just be quartered off as a National Park.
Before that happens, get here.

The spotlight this year in North American travel has been largely on National Parks like Glacier or Zion and on the newish rising-star towns of Bend, OR and Asheville, NC. Indeed, these are all fabulous places to travel, eat, drink, explore and, of course, ride bikes and I love guiding in all of these destinations. But there is a region, very appropriately known as the “Land of Enchantment”, that has recently slipped under the radar despite being a hot-bed destination for over 1,000 years. And truth be told, that is just fine by me!

Why would I say that? Because this is one national treasure you don’t have to share with the crowds. This is a land where the history doesn’t need to be recreated in taxidermy dioramas or CGI animation because it lives in the people, the architecture, the art, the landscape and the amazing cuisine. In fact, if word gets out about the hidden gems of the Rio Grande Rift Valley stretching north from Santa Fe through Ojo Caliente and Abiquiu to Taos, it might just be quartered off as a National Park. Before that happens, get here.
Trek Travel New Mexico Bike Tour in the Land of Enchantment
Truth be told I fell in love twice in the “Land of Enchantment.” The first time was with the place itself. To escape the Texas summers in college I picked up work as a counselor at a wonderful camp on the Pecos River in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Situated just outside of Santa Fe, my days off were spent cramming in as much adventure and exploration as I could. On these days there was little sleep and a lot of biking, hiking and outdoor activity in the endless playground of northern New Mexico.

I investigated pueblo ruins, discovered natural springs and Ancestral Puebloan petroglyphs. I met Native American elders and artisans in places like Taos, Nambé, and Jemez Pueblo. I tested my tolerance with an array of roasted chiles from Carlito Medina at his chile shop and art gallery in Chimayó and learned that females are by far the spiciest. I found creative inspiration in conversations with the famous Taos artist Ed Sandoval and Jemez Pueblo sculptors Andrea and Bill Fragua. I roamed the 400-year-old adobe lined streets of Santa Fe, feeling as if I had been transported to another country in another time, all the while marveling at the colors, the textures, the forms, and best of all the light. After four summers there was no doubt why northern New Mexico was referred to as the “Land of Enchantment.”
Trek Travel New Mexico Bike Tour in Santa Fe and Taos
In the spring of 2011 I was back in New Mexico assigned to guide the trip I had designed for Trek Travel. My co-guide was a “rockstar” second year guide who had proved herself through all manner of trips and challenges in her first year. She was eloquent, graceful under fire, intelligent, a strong rider and a savvy problem solver. She was also incredibly photogenic. As we prepared for the first trip of the season, it became clear that this place was not simply enchanting to me, she was hooked on it too. It’s not difficult to fall in love with the New Mexican landscape, but it is actually incredibly difficult to fall in love with a co-guide with whom you spend 24 hours a day for 6 weeks straight. Despite the odds, this was the second time I fell in love in New Mexico, and nearly five years later Elizabeth and I married.

It’s not difficult to fall in love with the New Mexican landscape, but it is actually incredibly difficult to fall in love with a co-guide with whom you spend 24 hours a day for 6 weeks straight.

Over the years we have guided in many destinations both together and independently, in North, Central and South America as well as Europe. We have designed trips in various regions and it turns out we make a great design and guide team. Cycling, travel and living well are our passion and it’s how we spend our free time as well as make our living. This spring Elizabeth and I were asked to return to New Mexico to re-design the old itinerary. We were given free reign with only two parameters: 1) Make the trip comfortable for riders of both modest and avid ability and 2) Make it awesome. Naturally we jumped at the opportunity.

In the spring we made our way back to the Rio Grande Valley to begin our trip design. The blossoms were on fire and the aspens were just starting to pop their quaking neon green. The 70 degree air was crystal clear and intoxicating with the sweet smells of ponderosa pine and piñon fires from rustic kiva fireplaces. The enchantment was indeed still there if not stronger than ever. Over the course of our research it was not difficult to create quite possibly one of the most ideal cycling trips in North America.
Trek Travel New Mexico Bike Tour
Fantastic hotels in Santa Fe, Ojo Caliente and Taos as well as gourmet and homestyle Southwest cuisine are of course standard. Days are filled with quiet bike routes that can be mellow with a shuttle or fulfilling for the avid rider, linking every mile from Santa Fe to Taos. Secret hiking opportunities reveal sublime and inspiring landscapes as well as artifacts of ancient civilizations. Mineral hot springs at Ojo Caliente offer serenity and recovery from activity filled days. Personal interactions with Native Americans and 10th generation Spanish Colonial settlers add authentic exposure to unique cultures. The majesty of both the desert–that inspired generations of artists including Georgia O’Keefe–and the towering southern tip of the Rockies that soar to 13,000 feet will leave you speechless and truly enchanted. Best of all this cruise from Santa Fe to Taos offers the kind of peace and that you simply cannot find elsewhere in North America. There is no better way to experience Northern New Mexico than on bike and foot, and we are so excited for the incredible experience we have created for you in the Land of Enchantment. We hope to see you there.

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Welcome to my home in Nosara

To discover true paradise, sometimes you have to go off-road. And sometimes in a 4×4, if it’s anything like my town.

When you turn onto the unpaved road, ignore your instinct to bust a u-turn and your fear of the unknown. Instead, continue off the beaten path. Eventually you’ll pass a man and his wife selling ice-cold fresh coconuts, better known in Costa Rica as “Pipas,” before you end up in Nosara. If you trust that the machete in his hand is simply used to slice open the coconut, and you dare to engage them with your Spanglish, you’ll learn that these charming individuals are more than just “Pipa people”. They too have a story, a family, goals and dreams, morals and values, just like you and me.
Why Trek Travel guide Alyssa Sponaugle moved to Costa Rica
I first visited Nosara when my group of friends was planning a surf trip to Costa Rica and asked me to join. At the time, I was clothed head to toe in March as a snowboard instructor who had put in nearly 100 days chasing and counting my little “snow ducklings” all over Vail Mountain. I glanced at the powder below my board, then to my pretzel-ed up student stuck in waist deep snow awaiting my rescue, then back down to my snowboard, which had suddenly become a surfboard atop crystal blue waves. I thought to myself, “I need a vacation.”

At the time, I couldn’t even surf. I mean, sure, I could stand up on a long board, paddle and mimic a whale-like dismount. But I hadn’t experienced “the feeling”. The feeling that one has when they finally learn how to dance on water. The feeling of floating through the air while the ocean playfully spits water back at their face. The feeling of flying with mother nature, or in layman’s terms, catching a green wave. That was a feeling I wanted to know.
Join Trek Travel guide Alyssa Sponagule in her home of Nosara, Costa Rica
It took less than a week to fall in love with Nosara’s charm: the people’s positive energy and generosity, the natural beauty and environment, and the wildlife right before your eyes. Three weeks of waking up to howler monkeys, finding my way through lush green jungle paths to an untouched, white sand beach with a stellar wave, and consuming more mangos and fresh pipas than I thought possible. For three weeks I was mesmerized day after day by how strikingly beautiful and different one sunset was from the next. So I looked at a “Casita” that was for rent in the fall, shook the hand of a Tica friend named Ane, and said, “I’ll be back in November, I’m good for my word.”

A simple, “Yes, I’m in,” from atop a snowy mountain five years ago has lead to one of the most life changing decisions I have ever made.

In the years since then, I’ve learned to love the simplicity of life here. I’ve learned that you can live a very full life once you strip away everything else. Eventually I learned to live without all the things that I once felt were a necessity, and learned to value life’s true necessities. Life becomes less complicated here. Without distractions, you enable yourself to be present and engaged in each and every moment. I feel like I am myself in my purest form in Costa Rica.
Trek Travel bike tour guide Alyssa Sponaugle in Costa Rica
What makes Costa Rica a unique travel destination?

Costa Rica boasts a higher biodiversity than the United States and Europe combined! When you think about its size–slightly smaller than West Virginia–the diversity is incredible! The wildlife and natural beauty of this country is present everywhere you look. Secondly, Costa Rica offers a bit of everything, which is why I think it is the perfect place for groups of friends or families. Everyone can get their own taste of Costa Rica: biking through cloud forests, visiting cocoa farms in the Caribbean, gazing at volcanoes, splashing around in natural hot springs, riding Central America’s best surf, and hiking through the rain forest spotting monkeys, toucans, sloths, the striking poison dart frog. There is something exciting for everyone here, and it’s welcoming to all: singles, couples, families, young and old alike.

What do you love most about Nosara?

The sunsets. There are some sunsets where the sun subtlety falls below the horizon. There are some sunsets that feel more grandiose. And then there are Nosara’s sunsets, where the sun and the colors of the sky stop an entire town at 5:45PM. During a Nosara sunset, you’ll find everyone on the beach transfixed by it’s natural beauty. Sometimes the sky brings you back to childhood memories and paints itself the colors of cotton candy. Other times it may choose to boast the brightest hues of orange and yellow imaginable. At some point you’ll find that your mind goes blank and time stands still. It’s rare to be so deep in a moment that you actually don’t think of anything. Once it sets, everyone wakes up and hustles to get home before dark. It’s a funny 15 minutes where the world just seems to be on pause, but once it sets, the play button is pushed again. For me, it has become the most anticipated part of my day.
Trek Travel Costa Rica Vacation designed by local Alyssa Sponaugle
What are you most excited for guests to experience?

Our Costa Rica trip can’t be compared to any other Trek Travel trip we offer. It’s in a category of its own. Each guest takes away their favorite moment of the trip, whether it be whitewater rafting through the rain forests, zip lining through the Cloud Forests, or enjoying coffee with our hotel owner, Agnes, while taking in views of Pelada. However, once guests arrive in Nosara, I’m undeniably excited to show it off to them! Guests stay in a quaint bed & breakfast in the hills overlooking Playa Pelada, one of my favorite fisherman beaches in the area. They have surf lessons with my friends at Agua Tibia and catch their first waves on the very same beach where I too caught my first real wave five years ago. They horseback ride at sunset to my favorite restaurant in town, infamous for it’s delicious passion fruit mojitos and breathtaking sunsets. And best of all, they get to know the community of Nosara. More than just strangers passing through a town, our guests have a key to the door behind which lies local Costa Rican life. After two days they’ve met most of my friends, and for guests who stick around after the trip, they’re treated more like friends than tourists. I find that guests really enjoy that experience, and it’s especially fun for me!
Trek Travel Costa RIca Multisport Vacation

Preparing for the Ride of Your Life

Perspective New Guide applicants eagerly ask me year after year, what is it about Trek Travel that you love the most? My answer, without a doubt: the people.

We have a vibrant, strong and uniquely faceted team at Trek Travel. A global team that works together and supports each other like none-other; a team that I proudly call family.

Beyond our team, our guide hiring and training process is another dear passion of mine. Since 2011, this beast of a process has held a special spot in my heart. That spring, I jumped on the greatest ride of my life as a New Guide applicant. I buckled up, bared down and never looked back. Did I know anything about guiding? No. Was I a bike mechanic, picnic queen or even a logistical magician? Not yet. Did I like travel, people and bikes? Of course. Better yet, did I have a zest for life and thrive in fast-paced, ever-changing work environments? You bet! An essential building block for any applicant looking to work for Trek Travel.
Trek Travel Bike Tour Guide Hiring
The Trek Travel Guide position is unique, and not for everyone. But as veteran guide Jake Young once said, “For those that it is for, get ready for the ride of your life.” That perfectly sums up this opportunity which attracts some of the hardest working people around the world. It is a lifestyle full of unimaginable cycling, fairytale travel and some of the most kind, fascinating people on this planet. Being a Guide also means continual change and life on the road for most of the year. A road with unexpected twists and turns that requires major responsibility and quick thinking to maneuver.

I affectionately refer to the process to become a Trek Travel Guide as a “beast”. It has been known as the “World’s Toughest Hiring Process” and we certainly do everything in our power to recruit, train and prepare our New Guides for a successful career with Trek Travel. This beast is a crucial piece of the puzzle that we take very seriously and I think it shows with our team’s five year retention rate.

We believe in top-notch experiences at Trek Travel, from start to finish. This year I am excited to announce we have incorporated an online interview tool that allows candidates to complete the first step of the interview process at any time. In other words, for those traveling the world or tied up in meetings, online interviews are a great solution! No need to step into a conference room at the office or hop off your bike early from a ride to be on time for your first interview. These can be done anytime, at your convenience.

If you’re selected to advance to the first round of interviews, you will receive a notification and link via email on how it works. We ask questions that you have the opportunity to read, prepare for, and answer using video capabilities on a web and video-enabled device. Round-two of the interview process (for those chosen to advance) is a Skype video interview with a Trek Travel team member. This is the last step before being selected to attend our hiring event held in Madison, which kicks off the hiring and training series detailed online.

Learn more about the Trek Travel Guide position, an opportunity that’s been known to produce the most epic campfire stories ever told!
Trek Travel guide hiring and application process

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Top 25 Photos from Chile

Warning: pictures barely do it justice.

Our Chile bike tour introduces you to a combination of mountainous terrain and natural beauty like you’ve never seen. So when Trek Travel cycling guide and professional photographer Zack Jones had the chance to guide our first ever Chile trip, he jumped at the opportunity without a moment’s hesitation.

Over the past 15 years, Zack has continually surprised and delighted Trek Travel guests with stunning imagery and exceptional service. So we sent him down to South America with one assignment: capture all that Chile has to offer. The Araucarias UNESCO Reserve and Kütralkura Geopark. The outdoor mecca of Pucón, situated on a lake beneath the Villarrica volcano. The Seven Lakes route that leads into the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve. And the region’s finest hotels, with majestic views and celebrity pedigrees.

For your viewing pleasure, we’ve created a collection of our favorite photographs from our first season in Chile.

Join us for a Chilean adventure!

Picnic Tips and Summer Recipes

Our guides have put together amazing picnics at the foot of landmarks, in the back of our vans, by the ocean, in forests and across the world. So it’s only natural that’s how we celebrate the 4th of July weekend. Below are our guides’ top five picnic tips, as well as a few favorite summer recipes to impress your family and friends.

Picnic Tips   |   Summer Recipes

Trek Travel Guide Picnic Tips

1. Shopping

Shopping for your picnic is a twofold task: first deciding what to buy, then going to the store. When creating the menu for your picnic, don’t forget to include regional specialties! Small items such as cheese in Vermont, jamón ibérico in Spain, or wine in France can bring a picnic to life when accompanied by stories of the farmer or vineyard. And secondly, to save yourself time, be sure to organize your menu into a shopping list by departments of a grocery store: produce, dry goods, condiments, bread, diary and deli.

2. Prep

Picnics can be stressful, especially when hungry guests are waiting to eat. Make it easier on yourself by prepping as much as you can in advance! This will save you LOTS of time later on. Veggies can be chopped, pasta can be cooked, and lettuce can be washed. If you do chop lettuce or other veggies in advance, be sure to put a napkin in the plastic bag to absorb moisture and keep things fresh.

3. Elevate

When it comes time to assemble your picnic, the display is nearly as important as the food on your table. Place cardboard Ziploc boxes, empty berry containers, or upside-down bowls under your tablecloth. Then set a bowl or platter of food on top, and a flat table will be instantly transformed into a bountiful multi-level display. Tilting the food toward guests will allow for easy viewing and serving.
Trek Travel guide Picnic Tips

4. Garnish

The second key to elegant presentation is garnish. Use fresh leafy vegetables – parsley, kale, collard greens, and romaine lettuce – to line bowls and fill empty spaces. Buy carrots, beets or radishes with the tops on. Bell peppers, lemons and limes can add zest and color to the display. Scatter pistachios, chocolates or uncooked pasta to add texture to the table.

5. Feast

Over and over, guests are ‘wowed’ by their guides’ ability to provide a feast. F.E.A.S.T. is actually a mnemonic device our guides use to help remember the five most important principles of creating a killer picnic: Full, Elegant, Appetizing, Selection, and Timely.
Trek Travel guide picnic tips

Meet Our Team: Marcel Peeperkorn

Marcel Peeperkorn has always embraced a transient lifestyle. From Johannesburg to Shanghai, London to Boston, Marcel has lived and worked in many regions around the world. But no matter his location, the bicycle has always remained a constant. And it was his search for simplicity in this ever-changing world that led him to Trek Travel.

Tell us your story. How did you end up at Trek Travel?
After many years working professionally as an architect, completing an MBA, and working in consulting, interior design and property development, I was searching for a different way of living and existing. I was determined to find a way to earn money in a world that demands so, while sharing in something I care about greatly–the bicycle. The bicycle has always been in the background, it is my meditation where I can forget about everything going on, and a place where I can reflect and consider life. It is both simple and complex, a tool for exploring mentally and physically.

Tell us about your favorite ride.
It is impossible to answer in a singular, as each ride is different and gives something different. From dark stormy mornings to beautiful sunny days and midnight commutes through the city, each ride offers something special in different quantities to mind, body and soul.

A ride that I’ll always remember was my first Cape Argus Cycle Tour, one of the first races I ever entered. It stands out more for completing than anything else. Hitting a car in training the week before, and battling wind gusts of 100km/h that sent fences and portaloos flying, let alone the riders! Completing that day was rewarding enough!
Trek Travel guide Marcel Peeperkorn rides Cape Argus Cycle Tour
What is the best view you’ve seen from the seat of a bike?
Most likely the next one, wherever that may be! If I had to answer the question, I’d say the most impressive view to date was riding through the Chinese New Year fireworks in Shanghai.

When you’re not guiding, what are you doing?
If I’m not on the bike I will be exploring new places/food/drink and always reading, topics that interest me specifically are Philosophy, Economics, Psychology, and Sociology. I do enjoy the finer things in life but to be happy simply. I don’t need more than good company, bread, cheese, wine or beer, coffee with a book, and a bike to explore the world. I live life by a simple philosophy of “better,” inward and outward, for myself and to the world.

What excites you most about the opportunity to show people the world from the seat of a bike?
To show people where their body can take them, and what they discover about themselves while moving under their own mental and physical strength.

What is one thing people should know, but don’t, about being a Trek Travel guide?
We are all very different with different approaches, outlooks and philosophies toward life but share a love for the bicycle and the variety of things that it shows and teaches us.
Meet Trek Travel guide Marcel Peeperkorn

Join Marcel in Ireland this summer!

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Meet Our Team: Grace Heimsness

A new guide for Trek Travel, Grace Heimsness is saying yes to the life she’s always dreamed of. Leaving the comfort of the familiar for the allure of something new is never easy. “I keep waiting for someone to jump out from behind a tree or from the bottom of a slot canyon, punch me in the back of the head, and shout, ‘Gotcha! Go home.'” But there’s beauty in the possibility of finding a new home.

Tell us your story. How did you end up at Trek Travel?
A few years ago, I was a wrench at a local mom ‘n pop bike shop in my hometown when one day our sales rep dropped off a few Trek Travel brochures. I picked it up, thought “Wow, that would be my dream job,” and put it in my back pocket–literally as well as figuratively. It was around the same time that I typed the sentence, “Home is whom you hang your thoughts on.” It was a nice thought, but just that. I wasn’t yet ready to live it, to leave the safety of that familiar hook on which I hung my jersey, to ride without the company of Jerry and Jens and Greenie and the rest of them.

Two years later, I was working as an arts nonprofit administrator and aching to be outside discovering the world instead of hearing about it from a desk. I applied, but didn’t expect to make it to the interview stage, forget receiving a job offer. I was that kid who cried on the first day of summer camp. I was also that kid who cried on the last day of summer camp. Deep and quick attachment is my forte and my fault, and I’ve done my best to live a life that leans least on the discomfort of personal—and personnel—changes. But over the last six months, I have fallen hard for the truth that has for so long been fighting to burn in me. I am ready to live that sentence, ready to hang my jersey on a new hook each night, to burn my legs up on climbs that leave you breathless, to work harder than I’ve ever done in my life in order to give people experiences they’ll never forget.
Trek Travel Bryce and Zion Utah Bike Tour
As a kid, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
I was absolutely certain I was going to be a writer. I started writing stories in the fourth grade and just never stopped. I still write when I can–my blog and personal essays, mostly. Now well into my 20s, I can say with that same certainty that I want to be a writer in some capacity, regardless of how grown up I am.

When you’re not guiding, what are you doing?
Sleeping! Really though, I like to update my blog when I have a chance, read, maybe catch a re-run of Seinfeld or work on my Netflix queue. I love making dinner with my co-guides at the guide house and starting random dance/karaoke parties, usually simultaneously. Dancing and cooking go well together.

What is one thing people should know, but don’t, about being a Trek Travel guide?
How much you trust and depend on your co-guide for almost everything–not only on-trip, but also in your non-guiding life. This goes far beyond the logistical or practical; being out in the field and away from home for so long throws you into a sort of alternate universe, and your co-guide is the one person who understands completely the unique challenges this situation can introduce to your relationships and lifestyle. It’s a powerful bond and can teach you a lot about communication, commitment, and trust. This immediate bond with my co-guides has been probably the loveliest surprise, for me.
Meet Trek Travel new guide Grace Heimsness
Tell us about your favorite ride.
That’s a tough one. I’d have to say the last day of our Bryce & Zion trip, a simple out-and-back up the canyon of Zion National Park to the Temple of Sinawava. It’s stunning–six or so miles of the Virgin River wend alongside the park road as you make your way up-canyon, the morning is calm and cool, and there’s this incredible morning light shining onto peaks like the Court of the Patriarchs. With 800 feet of climbing, it’s just enough to take the itch out of your legs and give you a great start to the day. And if you’re ever looking for some perspective on life, staring up at 2,000 vertical feet of petrified sand dunes that have existed for 200 million years is one way to find it.

What is your favorite view from the seat of a bike?
I love seeing my hometown from the seat of my bike. I’ve seen a few incredible places by bike and I’d love to see a whole bunch more, but there’s something about cruising down Main Street at dusk, waving at old friends and “checking in on the neighborhood,” that makes me sublimely happy.

What excites you most about the opportunity to show people the world from the seat of a bike?
I’m really stoked every time we roll into a place that I know will make our guests Ooh and Ah. It’s so satisfying to be the person who introduces someone to an entirely new setting, one beyond what they even imagined, and to watch them react. A lot of guests become kids again, in a way—sometimes you can see, if you really look, what they might have been like as an 8-year-old. It brings you back to when you saw this place for the first time, and it’s awesome to think about the fact that our guests will remember their first moments in this place forever, and that you were the one who got to share that with them.
Trek Travel Bryce and Zion National Parks Bike Tour

Join Grace in Crater Lake this summer!

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Meet Our Team: Trevor Pickard

An air traffic controller, professional wedding photographer, motorcycle aficionado, and Ironman triathlete, Trevor Pickard isn’t just a Trek Travel guide. He’s proof that you can make a living while making a life, that you can turn your passion into your profession, and that it’s better to go all in than wonder what might have been.

Tell us your story. How did you end up at Trek Travel?
That’s quite a question to answer. I graduated from the aeronautic Air Traffic Control program at Middle Tennessee State in 2011 at the age of 21, but couldn’t hold a federal aircraft dispatch license until the age of 23 due to federal regulations. So I pursued my passion for photography and focused my attention on further establishing myself as a wedding photographer in the Southeast region. After saving up for a couple of years working odd-end jobs, I backpacked throughout Europe during the summer of 2013. Visiting 9 counties and 21 cities gave me exposure to many cultures and environments that ignited my interest in further engaging with the people and places that surround me. Coming back to the States and working full-time aviation jobs in Southern California, and later Northern Florida, I knew I needed life experiences outside of the corporate grind. And this is where Trek found me!

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Simple. I thought I’d be one of two things: roller coaster designer or test car driver for an automobile magazine.

Tell us about your favorite ride.
My love for two wheels started with motorcycles. Even though I have a fully custom Harley, which I built from the ground up, my first love is a 1996 Honda Rebel 250cc that I bought after saving up money working as a lifeguard during the summer after high school. She’s a two-tone red and white beauty that runs like a sewing machine down the road. I’ve put 25,000 miles on her and she isn’t worth much more than beer allowance during spring break, but nothing puts a bigger smile on my face and for that, I’ll never get rid of her.
Trek Travel guide Trevor Pickard
When you’re not guiding, what are you doing?
Simplicity is key for me. Traveling on my Harley with a pair of running shoes and a camera wrapped around my neck would boil down my logic. I enjoy training for Ironman triathlons, trail-running, anything on two wheels, and good conversation over a few fingers of bourbon and a good cigar.

What is one thing people should know, but don’t, about being a Trek Travel guide?
What an intimate setting Trek Travel offers. Not only on the bike but the moment you step off the pedals as well. From the amazing backgrounds of guests to the passionate guides in the field, it truly is an experience of a lifetime.
Trek Travel guide Trevor Pickard in Grand Teton National Park
What is your favorite view from the seat of a bike?
The brand new bike path connecting Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Teton Village and Grand Teton National Park. I worked in Jackson during a summer in college but never experienced the Yellowstone environment quite like I have now: one pedal stroke at a time.

What excites you most about the opportunity to show people the world from the seat of a bike?
The allure of traveling and being engaged with my surroundings is terribly exciting. Everything else falls into place from there.
Trek Travel Guide Trevor Pickard

Join Trevor on our Cross Country USA trip!

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Guide Takeover: Puglia

Guides Jason Harding and Sonja Schmidt recently took over the Trek Travel Instagram account to share their perspective of Puglia, Italy. “Puglia is such an incredible place to visit. Sonja and I were able to dive into the region a bit more this spring and can’t believe that it’s already over. Looking back on the last month and a half makes us want to find ourselves back here in the fall,” said Jason.

Follow their adventures on Instagram @jasonhardingmt and @sonjaschmidt.


Puglia Olive Trees from Trek Travel Guide Jason Harding

“Sometime between 2,000 and 2,500 years ago, Roman legions sowed these quadrants of lantern oil producing olive trees. Without irrigation and infrequent precipitation, they decided 60 Roman feet was the ideal separation for these hearty trees. Today they stand at Masseria Brancati outside of modern day Ostuni and produce the most premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil in all of Puglia. I guess those Romans knew what they were doing…” – JASON

Adriatic coast on Trek Travel's Puglia, Italy Cycling Vacation

“From trulli and olive groves to the rugged Adriatic coastline, this Trek Travel Puglia trip is off the chain! Jason Harding and I have been making some sweet changes to our already amazing trip. This is a little slice of heaven on our fourth day ride!” – SONJA

Learn about trulli on Trek Travel's Puglia Bike Tour

“A view from our second day ride to the hilltop town of Alberobello. These dwellings are called ‘trulli’ and this entire town is filled with them! These were cleverly built without the use of mortar to evade taxes because the structures were not permanent. Crafty Pugliese!” – SONJA

Discover Moorish palaces on Trek Travel's Puglia, Italy Bike Tour

“Our final ride on the Puglia trip takes you down to the heel of Italy’s boot; where the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet. This ride has epic coastal views and it also displays a major change in architecture. These Moorish palaces line the coast and this one, Palazzo Sticchi, has to be the most beautiful.” – SONJA

Stay at La Sommita Relais on Trek Travel's Puglia Bike Tour

“For 2016 we have a refreshed itinerary that includes a new hotel. La Sommita Relais is nestled within the polished limestone slab streets of Ostuni, The White City. After our Day 3 ride meanders through countless hectares of olive orchard, we begin a short climb up to this picturesque town who’s history of inhabitants can be traced back to the Stone Age.” – SONJA

Discovering Ostuni on Trek Travel's Puglia, Italy bike Tour

“Out exploring the White City, Ostuni, with Sonja Schmidt. After tasting the best olive oil in Puglia at Masseria Brancati we rode our bikes up to the historical center of this hill top town, where our five-star hotel, La Sommita Relais shares a property line with the cathedral.” – JASON

Puglia's coastal roads on Trek Travel's Italy bike tour

“We were on the hunt today for some new gems for the 5th and final ride of our upcoming Puglia trips. The approach to this one was a bit too dicey to make the cut, but it sure was an interesting part of the day!” – JASON

The World's Most Romantic Restaurant in Puglia, Italy

“A beautiful little spin scoping out some new terrain today. Sonja Schmidt wanted to check out the setting for Travel + Leisure’s ‘World’s Most Romantic Restaurant’. Ristorante Grotta Palazzese sits in a cavern, mid-cliff, right underneath where Sonja is sitting.” – JASON

Soaking in the sights of Matera on Trek Travel's Puglia, Italy bike tour

“Framed by this cliff side limestone archway, Sonja Schmidt soaks in the sights of modern day Matera. Opposite the canyon from this beautiful city lies the oldest known human settlement in Italy. Inside each cave, the intricate hand dug channels and water retaining reservoirs tell the story of early human ingenuity and our quest for comfort and survival.” – JASON

Discovering Polignano a Mare on Trek Travel's Puglia Bike Tour

“Puglia has so many gems and this little town, Polignano a Mare, is certainly one of them. Beaches, jagged cliffs, and Travel + Leisure’s most romantic restaurant winner.” – SONJA

Local cyclists on Trek Travel's Puglia, Italy cycling vacation

“Puglia seems to have more local cycling clubs/teams than anywhere I’ve seen. We definitely saw at least 100 people on our ride today, all locals super excited to see the Trek Travel van. These gents stopped to chat and then wanted to take a selfie. When they yelled ‘cheese’ I yelled ‘mozzarella!’ and they yelled back ‘BURRATA!’ and then we all laughed.” – SONJA

See Castel Del Monte on Trek Travel's Puglia Cycling Vacation

“Amazing things around every corner down here in Puglia. The geometric, octagonal prism shape of Castel Del Monte, built by Frederick II, makes for one of the most beautiful castles I’ve ever come upon.” – SONJA

Riding from Otranto to Santa Maria de Leuca on Trek Travel's Puglia Bike Tour

“Coastline as far as the eye can see. Our Trek Travel week of cycling through Puglia certainly finishes with a bang on this flowing dream ride from Otranto to Santa Maria de Leuca!” – JASON

Eat fresh muscles on Trek Travel's Puglia, Italy Bike Tour

“Salento: the sun, the wind, and the sea. We weren’t going anywhere until we shared some muscles with this sweet dude. Come join us this fall to start your ride with a muscle shooter!” – SONJA

Experience Puglia firsthand this fall!

Learn More


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