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Techniques for Winter Riding

If you ride all year like a growing number of people in the world, I’m sure you have experienced less than ideal riding conditions, especially during these winter months. I’d like to give you a few pointers on good riding technique to keep your ride safe and uneventful!

Eye contact: This is true in all weather conditions, but eye contact with motorists is very important. Don’t assume that people see you 100% of the time. Intersections are a place where the unexpected can happen in a heartbeat. Make sure you have eye contact with someone driving near you. It’s always better to know that someone sees you than to make assumptions.

Lights: The nights still come upon us early and riding without lights is unsafe and sometimes illegal in certain states. Not only does it help with vehicles, but it helps with fellow pedestrians on the bike path. I can’t tell you how often I barely see other riders because they don’t use a light. I can’t imagine driving without headlights, and we shouldn’t be riding without lights either. Personally, I’m a fan of multiple rear lights too–one blinking and one steady. You can never be too safe!

Avoiding Debris: While riding on the roads be careful about riding too close to the curb. That’s an area of the road that collects debris this time of year. Broken glass and a lot of miscellaneous items that can ruin your day live by the curb during the winter months. Riding just a bit further into the lane, away from these potentially dangerous items, can be a good idea to avoid a puncture or flat tire. Also keeping a straight line and riding predictably is much safer than weaving to avoid debris and keeping the cars behind you guessing your next move.
 
 
Winter cycling tips from Trek Travel Logistics Manager

Meet Our Team: Ann Christianson

Meet Ann Christianson, creative expert here at Trek Travel. Advised by her parents to avoid a career in art or computers, Ann became a graphic designer. Armed with a college degree and a handmade bicycle, she started her own business. The rest is history.

What do you do at Trek Travel?

I create marketing materials for Trek Travel, like the annual Trip Planner. I have always been artistic and always drawn to (pun intended) anything creative. My medium of choice is acrylic painting, but I also like to draw, sew, and mess around with crafting like Ukrainian Easter Eggs.

My favorite part about working at Trek Travel is the camaraderie and spirit. Put simply, it’s inspiring. I have also always been a cyclist, and I love the rolling hills of riding country roads. But I don’t limit myself to only one kind of cycling; truly, if it has two wheels and pedals, I love it.

Ann Christianson 1977 BikeTrek Travel Bucket list trip?

E’tape du Tour and Pyrenees Sea to Sea.

Favorite post-ride beverage?

  • Post-Ride: Grapefruit juice.
  • Post-Post-Ride: Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa 2009)
  • Post-Post-Post-Ride: Irish Whiskey

Tell us your story.

When I was young, my parents (mom, a talented artist and dad, a computer programer) gave me a few pieces of advice, including what do to for a living. They advised me to avoid any career in art because it doesn’t pay AND not to do anything pertaining to computers because I was sure to burn out early. Not taking my parents advice, I decided to do both and I couldn’t be happier. Let me give credit where credit is due: my father also used to say, “Do what you love and the world will come to you, or if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Nothing could be more true for me than those statements.

My interest in cycling began just like many. I was given a red Radio Flyer tricycle, with the fixie front wheel and the panel to stand on in the back. You know the kind where you have to take your feet off the pedals when you go downhill? Then, in 1976, I was given my first two-wheeler which I affectionately named my “Bicentennial Bike.” It was a special bike, handmade by my Grandpa Frank out of old lawn mower, tractor and chainsaw parts. This, I believe, is the exact moment that the beauty of bicycles and cycling entered my soul.

In high school, I bought my first bicycle after one month of working at my first job. I put money down on a Raleigh 10-Speed and it took me four payments of $50 to pay it off. Total cost was $250.

Fast forward to 1999. New to the Madison area and recent college graduate with a design degree, I accepted a job at a non-profit organization designing for their trade monthly magazine. During the day I worked on magazine layouts, and at night I worked on freelance projects. In 2001 I transitioned from a few freelance projects to starting my own design business.

I had made a few cyclist friends who worked at Trek Bicycle, and an opportunity arose to work on a pro-bono project for their annual Breast Cancer Awareness ride. It was a cause that was personal to me and I got a free T-shirt, socks and registration into the ride. I was happy.

At the ride I was introduced to Tania, the president of Trek Travel, who was in need of some marketing and design assistance. For me it was a ‘meant-to-be’ kind of meeting. I couldn’t have created a more perfect opportunity combining two loves: cycling and design. The cherry on top was the company’s service they provided, guided travel by bike! Though my travels were limited to driving or day trips, mainly because of my young family and limited funds, our bikes always came with us.

Based only on our initial meetings, I knew Trek Travel was what I had been looking for. They were passionate about cycling, had such enthusiasm for travel, and you just knew they did what they did because they loved it.

Tell us about your best day on a bike.

I made my way to The Netherlands in the Summer of 2012. It was a three-week long work trip that left my weekends free for exploration and adventure. I had mentioned to local colleagues that I was interested in seeing some early impressionist art, and they suggested the Kroller Muller Museum. Plan in hand and navigation set for the museum, I set out on my day adventure.

Trek Travel Graphic Designer in the Netherlands

I arrived in Otterlo, a very small town set at one of the entrances to the Stichting Het Nationale Park. Located in the center of the park is the Kroller Muller. At the park entrance, you are given the option to drive to the museum or take a bicycle provided by the park. I, of course, chose the bike option and set off with my camera and a map. My anticipation of the destination made me quicken my pace. I went about a mile and a half through a thick wooded area and reached a clearing where I could see for miles. The scenery stopped me in my tracks and I realized this was one of those moments when it is as much about the journey as it is the destination. So, in the profound words of the youth of today, I slowed my roll.

Trek Travel Graphic Designer

An hour later I arrived at the museum. This part of my perfect day was absolutely not a disappointment. It is a quaint, unassuming setting for a museum. You would not know that it is full of original paintings by some of the most admired impressionist artists, such as Renior, Seurat, Picasso, Mondriaan, and of course, Van Gogh. Unlike other museums with laser security and alarm trip wires set to keep you back, the viewing of this artwork is intimate and impactful. It’s as if you are in someone’s living room and they are showing you their personal collection.

After pausing my tour for a slice of the most amazing lemon cheese cake and cappuccino, I made my way through the sculpture garden and got back on my bike for a few more miles of adventure through the park. I stopped reading the map and just let the paths take me at will. A little over an hour later I arrive back in Otterlo. I was about to go back to my car and head home when I noticed the parking lot was barricaded and a large crowd people were walking towards the town center. I asked the park attendant if I could keep the bike and use it to go into the town. She approved and I went on my way.

As I approached the town square, I noticed all of the spectators were gathered along the street, gazing in the same direction like they were waiting for a parade or a race. Around the corner comes a group of racers in cycling skin suits and bullet helmets. They are not on bicycles, but roller blades!

Ann Christianson Netherlands Trek Travel Blog

I made my way to a café hotel with outdoor seating and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening cheering for the racers and drinking wine. I made new friends with some locals seated next to me, who spoke very little English, and were unsuccessfully trying to teach me Dutch.

When the streets opened I returned the bike to the park. On my way back to my living quarters, I thought about the day’s events and it occurred to me that everything that happened seemed to be destined for me. The landscape and the bicycle. The art and the food. The festivities and people. I will forever remember that day as one of my most perfect.

Thank you, Ann! You can view Ann’s work in Trek Travel’s catalog or visit her website!

National Bike Challenge 2014

At Trek Travel, we strive to encourage a passion for cycling. It is our mission to show people the world by bike, and for that to be possible, we need safe places to ride and people to ride with. Thankfully we aren’t the only ones with this dream. We have allies on our side helping to fight the battle.

Trek Travel joins League of American Bicyclists in National Bike Challenge

The League of American Bicyclists strives to create
 safer roads, stronger communities, and a more bicycle-friendly America. They believe that bicycling brings people together. So do we. They believe when more people ride bikes, life is better for everyone. So do we. They believe the bicycle is a simple solution to health, economic, and environmental problems. So do we.

In 2012, the League of American Bicyclists first presented the National Bike Challenge as a way to unite current bicyclists and encourage new riders. It’s a free and easy competition designed to get people to ride their bike. The challenge rewards those who ride most consistently, not necessarily the greatest distance. Riders receive 20 points for every day they ride a bike, and one point for every mile they ride. Fast forward three years and the National Bike Challenge united 47,000 people to ride 23 million miles in just five months. Wisconsin, our home state, came in first nationally.

Trek Travel has participated in the challenge for the last two years. Last year we accumulated nearly 30,000 points. This year: 50,000. Together, 17 of us rode nearly 20,000 miles, burnt over 1 million calories, and saved nearly $10,000. We rode in sun and rain…and even tornado warnings. We rode in soaking-wet humidity and bone-chilling cold. We rode in the early morning and late evening, saw sunrises and sunsets. We rode in new places, near and far. Next year we plan to up the ante again, and we encourage you to join us. Start a team or join an existing one. Get your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors to ride with you. Log your miles. Challenge yourself. And most importantly, enjoy the ride.

 

Sunshine-NBC High-Viz-NBC Rainy-Day-NBC Ben-and-Mark-NBC

Photos from the road during the 2014 National Bike Challenge

Industry Insider: Jenn Dice

Meet Jenn Dice. A rockstar both on and off the bike, Jenn is the Vice President of Government Relations at the People for Bikes Coalition. A mountain bike extraordinaire, you’ll find Jenn crushing the Leadville 100 or screaming down Mount Kilimanjaro whenever she’s not working hard to make bicycling more accessible.

Tell us your story in 140 characters or less:

I work at PeopleForBikes, a national movement w/ 845,000 members to make bicycling better in America. I organize the Business Network to help build political clout.

What’s the most rewarding part about your job?

Working with passionate people every day. We work to change the world through bikes.

Favorite place you’ve ever traveled and why?

Tourmalet, France. On the Trek Travel Etape de Tour trip a few years ago we got to climb the Col du Tourmalet and spend a week in France (including Paris on the final day of the Tour de France). It was mind blowing and life changing all at once. So much fun, so challenging and so gorgeous. Being a female riding a road bike in a male oriented ride was also fun. I got a lot of cheering and support.

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

Jenn Dice BlogArgentina – I just got married and we are planning to honeymoon there this fall. Can I just pay Trek Travel to organize our honeymoon?

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

My French press.

What is one thing you never fly without?

Smartwool socks. Planes are freezing and I love Smartwool socks.  Makes you feel all warm and cozy like slippers.

Tell us about your best day on a bicycle.

As part of a WorldServe fundraiser, I got to hike up and mountain bike down Mt. Kilimanjaro. The amazing people of Africa and 13,000 feet of downhill will change your life.

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

Another hard one, you people ask tough questions. I’m a foodie and read lots of foodie blogs and magazines. I seek out hot new places in cities when traveling (which is a lot). My work takes me to Washington DC, regularly and my favorite is Little Serow. Two years ago it won a bunch of awards and it’s Thai and prix fixe. The chef brings out many dishes throughout the night which is always a great surprise. I love it when a meal is interesting, spicy, adventuresome and extraordinary.

Favorite hotel you’ve ever stayed in?

21C Museum Hotel in Bentonville, Arkansas. I am obsessed with modern art and design and you are surrounded by it in this creative, boutique hotel. That combined with world-class mountain bike trails right out the backdoor makes it pretty much my nirvana.

What is the best advice you’ve never followed?

Sleep more.

Outside of your family, who inspires you the most?

Mark McKinnon – I would love to be 1/10 as smart as Mark someday. His ability to listen, learn, interpret, strategize and communicate on any topic and issue is mind-blowing. And, his love for his amazing wife Annie. I want to be them when I grow up.

*Mark is a political advisor and Global Vice-Chairman of an international communications consultancy. 

What is your personal motto or mantra?

“Be an agent for change.”  That and … “Get s*&$ done.”

 

A Closer Look at the Trek Domane

We talk about our bikes all the time. You hear us say how excellence comes standard on all of our trips, with our first class Trek Bikes included in the price. We brag about the Trek Domane 5.9 with Shimano Di2 Electronic Shifting. But for those of us who aren’t racers, who don’t spend free time reading gear reviews, and can’t understand the technical jargon, we find ourselves wondering what it all means.

So I’m here to break it down for you – to put into layman’s terms what makes the Trek Domane the best bike for you. It’s a top of the line road bike, but it is perfect for riders of all abilities. If you’re used to riding a hybrid, the switch to a Domane is nothing to lose sleep over. If you’re an experienced rider, the Domane will be something to write home about.

First, the Trek Domane is equipped with Di2 electronic shifting. While this may sound intimidating, Di2 stands for ‘Digital Integrated Intelligence’. The shifters will look the same as those on your road bike at home, but they will function better. 13domane-300Instead of having to move the lever to switch gears, the Di2 system allows you to change gears with simply the ‘click-of-a-mouse-button’. This makes it easier for people with small hands. It makes shifting effortless. It allows you to focus on enjoying the ride rather than worrying about gear malfunctions.

Secondly, the Trek Domane is an endurance fit road bike. You’ll hear shop guys and techies talk about the relaxed geometry and higher head tube. But to break it down, endurance fit simply means the Domane is a smoother ride. Rather than being stretched out and bent over, the Domane allows you to sit more upright if you wish. It is the perfect solution for long rides or multiple days in the saddle.

Lastly, the smooth ride provided by the Domane will keep you coming back for more. The Domane is equipped with an IsoSpeed decoupler. Never heard of a decoupler? Neither had I. It’s a fancy term that means the seat tube is isolated from the rest of the frame. What you really need to know is that it absorbs a lot of the road vibrations. Combined with padded handlebars, every road is instantly transformed into brand new blacktop.

Ultimately, if you’ve always wanted to try a road bike but are nervous about making the switch, this is the bike for you! Its tires are just as wide as the tires on our hybrid bike, so you don’t have to worry about stability. And I think we’ve established that its smoothness is unparalleled. Without sounding too cliché, riding the Trek Domane is as easy as riding a bike!

As for the racers who are reading this, the Domane is Roubaix-tested and race-ready. Fabian Cancellara rides the Domane and has been on the podium in his last 12 monuments. It has even been in yellow at that famous race in France during the month of July. I assure you this bike will make you feel like a champion.

And just in case you fall in love with riding this bike on one of our trips (after all, you wouldn’t be the first one), you will receive $300 off a 5 or 6 series Trek Domane or Madone, or Project One purchased at your local Trek retailer.

A Six-Month Experiment

Trek Travel guide Jordan Landolt is an athlete through and through. As if ‘professional hockey player’ wasn’t accomplishment enough, he can now add Canadian Provincial Champion to the list. In his own humble and humorous words, below he shares the story of how his newest title came to be.

“‘Dude, you’re not supposed to do that!’

I had just finished (and won) my first ever race. Okay, maybe not as glorious as it sounds, as it was only 50km in the “C” group consisting of Cat4 and beginner riders only. But I was definitely basking in my own little glory when the breathless voice from behind me continued: ‘You’re not supposed to ride at the front the whole race, lead out the sprint then WIN the sprint altogether!’

So the experiment began. The goal: to transform this ex-hockey pro turned bike tour guide into a competitive cyclist. I set out on this journey to challenge my physical and mental boundaries, test my limitations as an athlete and win a few bike races along the way.
 
Meet Trek Travel Copy Editor Jordan Sher
 
Just three months after my first ever race with the Cat4’s, I now stood at the start line of the Pro 1/2 BC Provincial Time Trial Championships. The hardest part of racing for me so far has undoubtedly been putting on my new skin suit. Starting with trying to squeeze my knees through the legs, defying the laws of physics and resulting in the red on my kit to seem light pink due to the amount it has to stretch. Getting the upper body all zipped up is no walk in the park either, and hearing the pins of my race number pop off like a button on your pants after a big meal, as I zip all the way up, is hardly comforting. So, with the hardest part of the race clearly over, I stood there at the start line with nothing to lose. I had the reigning Canadian National Time Trial Champion starting two minutes behind, and top contender on the Cyclocross Elite World circuit due to push off one minute after me. As they stood behind me in anticipation of the start, I could totally hear them thinking: ‘How the hell did he get into that skin suit!?’.

I don’t remember too much about the actual race other than trying to stay calm and repeatedly asking myself ‘does this hurt enough?’ By the time I hit the 10km to go mark, I had so much sweat and drool on my Garmin I had no idea how fast I was going or how much power I was pushing. I figured that was a good sign. And I suppose it was, as I upset the current National Time Trail champ by 25 seconds to take the Provincial Championship. With that accomplishment under my belt, I have begun a tough week and a half block of intense training, all ramping up towards the Canadian Nationals in Quebec, where I will look forward to competing against some of Canada’s finest elite cyclists.

I am very thankful towards everyone at Trek Travel who has helped keep my ‘tires pumped’ along the way! Many of the people I have met (both guides and guests) have helped give me the confidence to follow my dreams and demonstrated the work ethic it takes to succeed in whatever you wish to do in life!”

Trek Factory Racing Launch Event

Erin Berard, our Race Trip and Hospitality Manager, walks us through a very successful Trek Factory Racing team launch event.

As Trek Factory Racing’s Official Hospitality Partner, Trek Travel was in Belgium last month to help the team kick-off its global launch with a 68 kilometer Fan Club ride along the hallowed Tour de Flanders route. Starting at the famous Tour of Flanders Visitor’s Center and Museum in Oudenaarde, the ride drew 200 participants including fans, dealers, team sponsors, and professionals including Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt, Stijn Devolder (Belgian National Champion), Jasper Stuyven, as well as the team’s Director Sportif Dirk Demol.

Trek Travel rest stop at Trek Factory Racing event

Our Trek Travel team supported the Fan Club ride by hosting a Trek Travel signature rest stop a little over half way along the course, driving follow-vans on-course for rider support, and providing team VIPs with Trek Domane bicycles complete with a Spring Classics’ set-up of extra bar tape and tubeless tires in preparation for the cobbles! The day before the ride, while pre-driving the course, the rain was pouring down and wind was gusting sideways. Splashing through the mud puddles along the famous Oude Kwaremont, Patenberg, and Koppenberg cobbled sections of road, we all looked at each other with fright, happy we were in the heated van.

Still remaining on our to do list: 1. Pick-up 300 fresh liege waffles, 2. Coordinate 80 Liters of hot water for our portable thermoses, and 3. Stop by the Trek Factory Racing service headquarters to equip our vans with the required Belgian road safety signage.

The morning of the ride, to our disbelief and great joy, it was sunny in Belgium in January. In true Trek Travel fashion, we unveiled a delicious spread of liege waffles with Nutella, bananas, hot coffee and hot chocolate. The waffles solicited a great reaction from riders and pros a like and became the center of many fan photos. Jasper Stuyven’s family showed up to see him, Stijn Devolder, a national celebrity, barely had time to get a coffee with all the fans around him. Jens Voigt and Fabian Cancellara both posed with the Nutella although Fabian later complained to us, jokingly, that the waffles were cold. And that reminded us to share an important lesson learned – never serve Nutella in cold weather!

Fabian Cancellara of Trek Factory Racing team rides with Trek Travel

This ride marked the start of a full day of celebrations, followed by a Press Conference and then the Team Presentation in the new Roubaix Velodrome, where Trek Factory Racing unveiled its management team, 28 riders, team kits, bike line-up, and sponsors. We wish the team great luck this season and we hope to see you soon on a Trek Travel Race Trip with Trek Factory Racing.

 

For more photos of the event, visit http://www.trekfactoryracing.com/multimedia/fan-club-ride-tour-flanders

Private

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.

Luxury:

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.

Explorer:

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

Combined:

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.

Self-Guided

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