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Industry Insider: Ben Coates

Meet Ben Coates. Ben is the Trek Road Product Manager – which according to his loving wife means that, “anything with curly handlebars is under his jurisdiction.” We met with Ben to learn a little more about his life, work, and travels.

Tell us your story in 140 characters or less:

Husband, father, cyclist. Living the life making great bikes, traveling the world, and having fun with my beautiful family.

photo-2-200x300What’s the most rewarding part about your job?

Getting people excited about riding bikes. There is nothing like seeing someone get a new bike, especially when you are a part of the development of that bike. You can see the excitement in their eyes – a feeling that most people know – and it is amazing to see someone else go through it.

Favorite place you’ve ever traveled and why?

I love Belgium. Kind of a funny place to love, right? Not if you are bike, beer or frites fan. I happen to be all three. I love the people there because they have tough exterior but warm hearts. They are passionate about family, friends, cycling and beer. The riding is incredible, from the scenic open roads of Flanders to the brutal climbs of Wallonia. You could spend a lifetime riding there and never get bored.

If you were a trip designer at Trek Travel, where would you design a trip?

I would plan a trip somewhere I have never been but have always wanted to go. I could see planning a trip to a number of places like Patagonia, South Africa, and Mongolia. The list would go on and on. If I had to choose a place to start, I would go with Japan. I have always wanted to see the rice patties and climb from the coast to the highest peaks. There is something mystical about Japan. That is where I would start.

Favorite hotel you’ve ever stayed in and why?

Sundance Resort in Utah. It has an authentic quality and is aligned with nature in a rustic, modern way. I also got married there in 2008.

If you could only bring one unnecessary item on a trip, what would it be?

An iPad. I can see my family, read a book, scroll through a magazine, catch up on news, and watch a movie. Definitely the best travel item I own.

What is one thing you never fly without?

My Passport. I left it at home once and had to take a last minute flight to Australia. It was a disaster; I never leave home without it now.

photo-1-219x300Tell us about your best day on a bicycle.

I have had so many, but all of my rides can be traced back to one.  A good friend of mine convinced me to get a mountain bike as my college bike, instead of the normal cruiser.  My parents were not so happy that I spent double what they expected, but that bike took me on my first ride.  It was a ride up Apex Trail in Golden, CO.  I remember that it took me almost 2 hours to climb to the top – a climb that takes less than 30 minutes today. I crashed twice and almost threw up once.  The way down was equally as eventful.  I crashed over the side of the trail and slid down into a creek.  After three hours, huge frustrations, and a lot of blood, I was officially a cyclist.

What’s your favorite type of beverage?

If it was only one drink I would pick San Pellegrino.  If it was only one alcoholic drink it would be Bourbon on the rocks – Angel’s Envy or Beer Barrel Bourbon to be exact.

What and where was the best meal you’ve ever enjoyed?

My Mom’s homemade green chile at my parents’ house. If I was going to choose a restaurant, it would be Café Diva in Steamboat Springs, CO. There is something about a small mountain town with a great restaurant that is hard to beat. 

What is your personal motto or mantra?

I got this from my wonderful wife. She probably doesn’t know this but I think about it every day.  Here are the five things that will make me successful and happy in life:
1. Up Early
2. Win
3. Help Others
4. Exercise
5. Disengage

Outside of your family, who inspires you the most?

Historically, I am pretty fascinated by Abraham Lincoln because of the strength of his character.  Integrity is something that I think about all the time and I think that he is the most prominent person in history that truly had integrity. Without his integrity and sense of purpose, the entire world would be a different place today. A living person that inspires me outside of my family is a little harder. I could go the easy route here and say my boss or the president or something like that, which are true but not really insightful or particularly interesting. So, with that in mind, I am going to go with Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. After all these years, he has stayed true to his heart. Making great products that help people enjoy the outdoors and doing so in the most sustainable and economical way possible, while not losing site of the fact that the products have to be awesome if they are going to make a difference. His philosophy on people, the work place, and the world are close to home.


Renee Krysko asks, Is it all about the bike?

In the past nine years we’ve advised thousands of guests and prospective guests about the finer points of selecting the right cycling trip AND the right bike tour company for them! Our main objective is to infect people with a passion for biking. So whether you ride with us, or another company we want you to have a fantastic ride. With this objective in mind, we are dedicating part of our blog, Out for a Spin, to educate you on the finer aspects of selecting the right experience and company for you! Watch for our first edition; Is it all about the bike?

Is it all about the bike?

No, it is not! But the wrong bike could ruin your vacation. When we ask our guests why they choose Trek Travel, the number one response is the bike! It doesn’t really matter which type of rider they are, avid or beginner, when they get on a bike that is lightweight, shifts well, fits them properly and has the ride they want, it just feels right; everything becomes effortless and the cycling vacation begins.

So how do you pick the right bike for your bike tour? The first tip is, decide what type of ride you want and make your selection from there. Are you looking for a comfortable commute or a more athletic ride? Here is the scoop on bikes for cycling holidays.

Generally bike tour companies offer one or two styles of bikes, either a hybrid or a road bike.

Trek Hybrid Bikes

A hybrid has an upright position and is great for people who are new to cycling or are interested in leisurely riding. It’s heavier than a road bike, but it has a lower gear ratio, meaning that it is easier to pedal up the hill (phew!). The thicker tires also give you a softer ride, so that even beginners feel confident. Trek Travel has a new fleet of hybrid bikes in North America, Trek’s 7.7 FX. It is one of the lightest hybrids on the market, but so comfortable it’s like riding a Cadillac.

Trek Road Bikes

A road bike is appropriate for people who have experience with cycling or mountain biking, or for those who lead an active lifestyle. The weight of a road bike is dependent upon the materials used to make it. Currently carbon fiber is the most lightweight yet durable material on the market and is the material of choice for most race bikes. The weight difference between a hybrid and a road bike is significant. The geometry of the frame maximizes the performance of the bike and the narrow tires decrease road resistance allowing you to roll faster with less energy output. In short, it’s fast! Our guests LOVE the new 5.2 Madone road bike. It’s super light, responsive and climbs like a mountain goat! I clocked myself going up Ventoux last year and improved my time by 4 minutes. Trust me, it was all due to the bike!

In our day of mass choices, the question is, do two bike styles fit all? Actually some companies believe ONE bike can fit all. Some will take the same bike frame and simply change out the handlebars between flat bars (similar to those on a hybrid) and road bars to accommodate the different styles of riding. While this option can work, the downside is that it does not give you the true fit, comfort or sense of security of a hybrid, nor does it give you the performance position of a race bike.

Here at Trek Travel, we find that 85% of our guests are happy with either a hybrid or road bike, however the 15% feel differently need something else. Some need a little extra boost to get up the mountains, others need a power surge to keep up with their more avid partner, and a few are recovering from an injury but still want to ride. These individuals are well suited to Trek’s Ride+ electric assist bike. You still get a workout but with a little help. For avid riders or those seeking to experience the frame used by the pros, they prefer a snappy ultra-lightweight race bike. Trek Travel offers the same bike used by Team Radio Shack and LEOPARD TREK—Trek’s 6.5 Carbon Fiber Madone. They can even trick out the bike with Bontrager’s XXX Carbon Clincher Wheel sets.

At the end of the day, you want to pick the bike that will allow you to see the world in the style that is right for you. A bike tour is not all about the bike, but given that it is a cycling vacation, you are better off enjoying the smoothest ride possible. In an upcoming blog, “The Proper Fit” we’ll review the importance of a proper bike fit. Good luck picking your bike and see you out on the road.


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