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Biking

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Adventures in New Brunswick Week—Biking to Kellys Beach

Every town we pass in New Brunswick seems to be getting ready for the big 150th birthday party of Canada on July 1st, Canada Day, including the park across the street from we’re I’m currently staying in Moncton. Parks Canada is also getting in on the celebration, offering free admission to all national parks in 2017. I took full advantage of this offer to drive an hour north of Moncton today to Kouchibouguac National Park. Not nearly as well known as Fundy National Park, Kouchibouguac (pronounced Koo-she-boo-gwac) is always a highlight on my trips to New Brunswick. We rented fat-tire bikes at Ryan’s and headed out on some of the 60 km of hard-packed gravel trails, not unlike the carriage path trails in Maine’s Acadia National Park. This includes a sweet 6 km singletrack mountain biking route along Major Kollock Creek. We biked in the Acadian forest of birches, pines, and spruce trees, soon reaching the most exquisite beach in the entire province, Kellys, a six-kilometer stretch of white sand that dips down into the Gulf of St. Lawrence waters. Even on this perfect summer day, there were not more than 30 people on the entire beach! You can walk for miles on the firm sand, therapeutic to the bare foot touch, and be on the lookout for the remains of crabs chomped on by seagulls. Leaving the park and heading north to the French-speaking villages of the Acadian coast for a lunch of lobster rolls in Baie-Sainte-Anne, we were stunned to spot a porcupine ambling across the road. We stopped and waved the car behind us around as we stared at this prehistoric looking critter. That was the icing on the cake. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/27/17 at 04:00 AM
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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Self-Guided Inn-to-Inn Bike Trips in New England

For riders looking for a little inn-to-inn action this summer, it’s never been cheaper to bike in New England. Two outfitters, Bike the Whites in New Hampshire, and Country Inns Along the Trail in Vermont, are offering three days of riding for as low as $379 per person. What does that money get you? Detailed maps depending on you ability, from 20 to 80 miles a day, emergency roadside assistance, two nights lodging, two dinners, two breakfasts, and transport of your luggage from one inn to the next. Country Inns has rides in several of my favorite spots in Vermont, including Addison along Lake Champlain, where you spend the night at the Barsen House Inn. See the story I wrote on biking with Country Inns Along the Trail for The Boston Globe

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/20/17 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, June 19, 2017

Getting in Shape for that Summer Biking Trip

On a bike tour with Bike Vermont years ago, my brother and I watched as a guy, distracted by cows, flipped his bike over and broke his tooth. He said he hadn’t been on a bike in five years. Don’t make the same mistake. With many bikers heading out on summer and fall biking trips, now’s the time to get ready. Even if it’s a “No Experience Necessary” excursion, you should try the sport beforehand and be in somewhat decent shape. Don’t wait until the last minute to condition. If you plan on taking a week-long biking or walking outing, begin aerobic activity four to six weeks in advance, two to three times a week. And make sure you’re on the right trip by asking what level of fitness is required? Is this hike an obstacle course better suited for Marines, a stroll in the park, or somewhere in between? How many hours a day are we on the bike? You want to find an adventure that ideally suits your ability and prior experience in the sport. Websites are not always accurate so it’s imperative to speak to a human being.  

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/19/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, April 14, 2017

Canada Week: Biking the Confederation Trail, Prince Edward Island

Take a chunk of Vermont and plop it down in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and voila, you have Prince Edward Island. This sylvan setting lends itself well to road biking, especially in the spring when the summer crowds have yet to arrive. The Canadian Pacific railroad that once connected Prince Edward Island’s small villages last roared through the interior in 1989, leaving in its wake hundreds of kilometers of track. By 2000, the tracks were pulled and the line replaced with a surface of finely crushed gravel, creating a biking and walking thoroughfare called the Confederation Trail. Crossing the entire island, the trail starts in Tignish in the west and rolls 279 kilometers to the eastern terminus in Elmira. One of the most scenic stretches starts in Mt. Stewart in King’s County along the sinuous Hillsborough River. You’ll soon reach St. Peter’s Bay, a large inlet dotted with mussel farms and lobster traps. After crossing a bridge that rewards you with glimpses of the island’s fabled red cliffs, you’ll arrive at the rolling Greenwich Dunes, a perfect place to bring that picnic lunch. Stay at the Inn at St. Peters, a favorite stopover in PEI for our clients. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/14/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bikers and Farmers Unite at the Farm to Fork Fondo

When former professional cyclist Tyler Wren wanted to create an event that combines his love of biking with farming and exquisite scenery, he was inspired by the Italian “fondos,” celebratory rides where locals and farmers bike first, feast afterwards. He pulled it off last year in Vermont to great success. In the summer of 2017, Wren is offering a full slate of Farm to Fork Fondos, including stops in the Hudson River Valley, Vermont, Finger Lakes, the Berkshires, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and the Maine coast. These one-day rambles are geared to the public, not professional bikers. Wren creates loops of 8-10, 25-35, 45-50, and 75-100 miles based on your abilities, escorted and with police presence to cut off road traffic. Simply choose your ride and get ready to stop at local farms along the way for a feast of fresh produce. Most of the proceeds go to local charities. You can even sign up for dinners the night before where farmers talk about the satisfaction and challenges of their livelihood. But you better sign up soon because Outside Magazine just wrote about the Farm to Fork Fondo in the April issue. So I expect these rides to sell out quickly. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/30/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Arizona Week—Biking Tucson

Once a kayaking guide on Lake Powell, Jimmy Bultman exchanged paddles for pedals and followed his sweetheart to the southern part of Arizona to open Tucson Bike Tours. The compact size and level terrain of the city lends itself well to biking and Jimmy, a history buff, is the ideal guide to give you an overview on a 2-hour ride. We cruised past the restaurants and bars on 4th Avenue to the University of Arizona campus, where Jimmy pointed out the new memorial dedicated to the men who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Arizona. We biked across Rattlesnake Bridge, a bridge that looks like a rattler, and then made our way to Hotel Congress, the hotel where bank robber, John Dillinger, was captured in 1934. There was a jazz festival going on so after the ride, we strolled back to the hotel’s excellent restaurant, Cup Café, to grab lunch and listen to live music. Jimmy next led us to the colorful houses of the historic neighborhood of the Presidio, past Tucson Museum of Art and near the last standing wall of an 18th-century fort built by the Spanish. Outside the home of Lalo Guerrero, the Chicano music legend, Jimmy used a small speaker to play Lalo’s well-known song about the old neighborhood, “Barrio Viejo.” He’s a guide who goes the extra mile to share his passion about the city. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/26/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, January 06, 2017

Top 5 Dream Days in 2016, Biking with Wayne Curtis in New Orleans

Wayne Curtis is best known as author of “And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails” (Crown, 2006) and as cocktail columnist for Atlantic Monthly. But my friendship with Wayne goes back at least a decade prior when we were both moaning about the egregious book contracts Frommer’s publisher forced upon us. Thankfully, those days are far behind us. I caught up with Wayne in 2008, when he had just moved to New Orleans. He brought my brother Jim and me to his favorite bars and bartenders and it resulted in this story for The Boston Globe. But I know that Wayne has a passion beyond cocktails, including architecture, urban renewal, jazz, and biking. All figured prominently in a 5-hour tour he designed for my family on our trip to Nola this past April.

We rented bikes at Michael’s on Frenchman Street and off we went to our first stop, Crescent Park, a brand new green space that hugs the Mississippi River for over a mile. Then we biked the streets of Bywater, one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city especially for young hipsters, where Wayne pointed out a massive church and convent that will soon open as a hotel. We pedaled through Louis Armstrong Park in the Tremé neighborhood and then ventured on the latest bike trail in town, the 2.6-mile Lafitte Greenway. We stopped at Parkway for the requisite roast beef and shrimp po’boys (please see my story on New Orleans dining in Virtuoso Traveler) before biking through the Tulane campus, glorious Audubon Park and its exquisite moss-covered Spanish oak trees, and past the homes of Sandra Bullock, John Goodman, and Archie Manning in the Garden District. A quick ride through the crowds in the French Quarter and we arrived back at our bike rental store 15 miles later. A perfect ride, especially since we ended with a set of live music and a beer across the street at The Spotted Cat
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/06/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

DuVine Cycling Expands Chef on Wheels Trips in 2017

Luxury tour operator, Duvine Cycling + Adventure Co, just announced their 2017 line-up and it incudes their expansion of their popular Chefs on Wheels itineraries. Acclaimed New York chef and restaurateur, Seamus Mullen, will lead a trip to Sicily in late May, as well as a challenging weeklong ride through Tuscany from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean October 2017. Talented Boston chef, Jody Adams, will lead a more relaxed vacation to Spain’s Costa Brava in late June. DuVine is also offering trips to three new locales next year: a tantalizing Greek Island yacht and bike trip with stops in Rhodes and Kos, a loop around Corsica with layovers at Relais & Chateaux properties, and the rare chance to pedal through traditional Peruvian villages on the way to Machu Picchu. There’s also a women’s only trip to Sonoma in May with Skratch Labs resident chef Lentine Alexis. Bikers will be treated to delicious meals and experience some of Lentine’s favorite Sonoma spots along the way.

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/30/16 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, October 17, 2016

A Perfect Fall Foliage Ride with DuVine Cycling

Saturday morning was a bit nippy when we met Andy Levine, founder of DuVine Cycling, along with the marketing department of Deena Giancotti and Gwen Kidera at the clock tower in Wellesley Hills. A table was laden with fresh croissants and coffee from a South End bakery, along with printouts of the 30-mile route Andy had designed for a dozen members of ActiveTravels. We soon warmed up on the hills out of Wellesley into Weston under sunny skies. Andy was zipping back and forth between the faster riders in the front and slower riders to make sure we didn’t get lost. Soon he was called into action when one member of the group had a flat. The foliage was abundant as we cruised by DeCordova Museum in Lincoln and turned left on Baker Bridge Road past the minimalist Gropius House. At the edge of a vast field, tall maples were ablaze in crimson and orange colors. We turned right past Walden Pond and stopped for a snack at the Old Manse in Concord, best known as the house where Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote the book, “Nature.” We were treated to the history of the house, where Hawthorne also lived, by a docent who worked there as we dined on another spread complements of DuVine that consisted of shrimp, an assortment of local cheeses, freshly made blueberry pie and other goodies. Then we made the return trip back, invigorated by the route, scenery, and conversation. 
 
Lisa and I want to thank Andy, Deena, and Gwen for throwing this together for our clientele, a small taste of what DuVine does on their trips to Tuscany, Bordeaux, Napa, and many other locales. Celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2016, they continue to be one of the best in the business. Just ask the father and son we sent to the French Alps this summer who did stages of the Tour de France before watching the best bikers in the world cycle the exact same route. An exhilarating vacation they won't soon forget. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/17/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Favorite Fall Outings in New England, Biking Around the Basin Harbor Club, Vermont

The two weeks prior to Columbus Day is one of my favorite times of the year to be in New England. The temperatures are still reasonably warm, in the 60s during the day, and the leaves have changed color. Anywhere in Vermont will do nicely, thank you. But I love Addison Valley, known for its web of backroads ideally suited for road biking. The network of roads that branch off from the Basin Harbor Club are particularly enticing. Head south on Button Bay Road to Arnold Bay Road and you get exquisite vistas of Lake Champlain, with the Adirondacks standing tall in the backdrop. Venture onto Basin Harbor Road, turning right on Jersey Street, and the smell of manure is wafting in the air as you pass numerous dairy farms, eventually arriving at the Panton General Store. Continue on Panton Road and you see the backbone of the Green Mountains. This fertile valley was meant to be seen on two wheels at a reduced speed, especially during fall foliage. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/04/16 at 06:00 AM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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