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Biking

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bike the Texas Hill Country with Sojourn

Many of the people I meet who founded their active travel company have a genuine passion for the sport. Tom Hale spent over 5,000 miles on a bike the summer of 1979 prior to opening Backroads. When Susan Rand was in college, she would load her panniers witch camping gear and clothes and hit the road. Then she became athletic director at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, and worked for four years at Vermont Bicycle Tours prior to starting her own company, Sojourn, in 1995. Her fall foliage trips along the shores of Lake Champlain in her native Vermont are still the most popular weeklong jaunts. Yet, it’s the itineraries I don’t normally see in a catalog that I find most intriguing. In the summer, Sojourn heads to the Columbia River Gorge to bike between glorious Mount Hood and Mount Adams. In late fall and mid-winter, Rand takes riders to the Sonoran Desert outside Tucson to bike, hike in Saguaro National Park, and horseback ride in John Wayne country at the Rancho De La Osa Guest Ranch. New this spring is a trip to Texas Hill Country, an overlooked biking region outside of San Antonio that I’ve written about for National Geographic Adventure. Rand personally tries all of the trips she designs and this has quickly become one of her favorites. You’ll be biking under tall cypress trees on lonely backcountry roads past large cattle ranches and fields of bluebonnets that are in bloom in early spring. You’ll also visit the Alamo and LBJ Ranch. So saddle up and get out there on your next sojourn.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/16/11 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Biking in Calgary

With a mind-boggling 286 miles of bike trails, Calgary lays claim to the most extensive biking network on the continent. If you want to see the city sites, stick to the Bow River Corridor. This popular 12-mile (one-way) route passes the Calgary Zoo, Fort Calgary, built to stop Americans from trading whisky with Blackfoot, Chinatown, and Prince’s Island Park. The island is a popular venue for outdoor concerts and Shakespeare in the Park in the summer months. It’s also home to the top-tier River Café, featuring regional food for lunch and dinner like rainbow trout or an Alberta sirloin steak. Work off your meal on the Douglas Fir Hiking Trail in nearby Lawry Park. The shaded fir forest hides many vibrant wildlflowers in the summer months, like violet and dogwood.  Before you turn around at Edworthy Park, think about going on an exhilarating guided raft ride down the river. Bikers and joggers who want to get away from it all can visit Fish Creek Provincial Park in the southern part of Calgary, the only national park found in a metro area in Canada. 
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/20/11 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Oh Canada!

The favorable exchange rate for the American dollar not only extends to Europe. If you haven’t looked lately, $1 US will now fetch $1.25 in Canada. I haven’t seen an exchange rate like that since I was at an Expos game. If the exorbitant flights to Europe limit your options to the continent, especially if you want to travel as a family, head north. I’m already planning to go to Nova Scotia in early June and Montreal and the Eastern Townships in October. I’m also heading to the Canada Media Marketplace next week in New York, where I’ll be learning about all the new travel opportunities in the country. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively around Canada, biking around Niagara-on-the-Lake and Prince Edward Island, hiking in Cape Breton and the glorious Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland, savoring the charming town of St. Andrews in New Brunswick and the resplendent beauty of Salt Spring Island in BC, going on such memorable adventures as whitewater rafting down the Klinaklini River in BC, a multi-sport vacation with the family in the Canadian Rockies, or canoeing through Ontario’s remote Wabakimi Wilderness, and loving my time in the cities while vintage shopping in Toronto and eating my way though Vancouver. If you need me to point you in the right direction, I’m happy to help! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/15/15 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, August 31, 2015

Bike to Madaket Beach on Nantucket

Next week, I’m excited to be reporting live from Acadia National Park to help promote their 100th birthday in 2016. This week, I want to describe some of my favorite adventures along the New England coast. The week before Labor Day, crowds tend to thin out as many kids are headed back to school. Take advantage of this opportunity to bike, hike, and sea kayak with far less people. First stop is Nantucket. 

 
Bike trails on Nantucket branch off in every direction, like the spokes on a wheel. My favorite ride, especially in the late afternoon when it cools down a bit, is the 6-mile jaunt from town to Madaket Beach. Grab your loved one, a bottle of wine and some picnic fare and head out on Cliff Road. You’ll quickly meet up with the Cliff Trail as you pass the rolling meadows and red-winged blackbirds at Tupancy Links conservation land. Merge with the Madaket Trail and you might be greeted by flittering goldfinches and osprey peering out from their oversized nests. When the trail becomes sandy and you can hear the pounding surf, you know you’re getting close. On the westernmost part of the island, the beach slopes down to the crashing waves. All around you is water, as if you’re stepping off land into the great abyss. Drink your wine and relax. If you don’t have the energy to do the return trip, the Wave bus runs until 11:20 pm and has a front rack for two bikes. 
 
Spend the night at the Century House on Cliff Road and they’ll have a bike from Nantucket Bike Shop waiting for you. They will also direct you on other routes to Brant Point and Sankaty Head lighthouses. Rooms, including full breakfast, start at $175 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/31/15 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Acadia National Park Week: Biking Schoodic Peninsula

If they call the western half of Mount Desert Island the Quiet Side, they should call Schoodic Peninsula the Secret Side. Still part of Acadia National Park, Schoodic is a good hour drive from Bar Harbor, so few people outside of Mainers in the know head here. Do yourself a favor and follow their cue. You’ll thank me. On a day when two large cruise ships dropped off over 4,000 people into Bar Harbor, we took a ferry smaller than a tugboat, The Quoddy Bay, and took off to Winter Harbor, the gateway to the Schoodic Peninsula. There’s no longer any need to drive to Schoodic, especially if you want to bike the 10 to 12-mile loop. You can get here on a scenic hour-long boat ride ($39 round-trip, including bicycle), mesmerized by the views of pine-studded islands, the mountainous shoreline, and the granite cliffs. 

Acadia National Park has made it easy for bikers to access the Schoodic Peninsula. The paved road Park Loop is one way with two lanes, so cars can easily pass you. Secondly, this summer they just created 8 miles of carriage path trails, hard-packed gravel routes only available to bikers and hikers. After taking the Park Loop, we would return via the carriage path trails, crossing the entirety of the peninsula past the new national park campground that opened last Wednesday. Most importantly, there’s very little traffic here. This is a very serene part of the national park that few venture to. 
 
We biked along the rocky shoreline, stopping to walk atop a breakwater and watch the tide rush out to sea. All around you is the Atlantic with another memorable seascape to savor, be it a lone sailboat gliding through the open water, an unchartered island just offshore, or pink granite ledges that form one of the highlights, Schoodic Point. People pull over anywhere along the loop to picnic, swim, or take short walks like the East Trail, which climbs a half-mile to 440-foot high Schoodic Head. 
 
Near Schoodic Point is another worthwhile stopover, the Schoodic Education and Research Center, housed in a stone and brick building John D. Rockefeller, Jr., created for the US Navy in 1935. Recently renovated, the building is now home to the nonprofit Schoodic Institute, an educational and research group dedicated to conservation and ecology. Head inside to see exhibitions on the local wildlife and the Navy’s history of monitoring encrypted messages inside this building. There are many surprises on Schoodic Peninsula, so don’t hesitate to make the extra effort to get here. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/08/15 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, October 05, 2015

My Top 5 Bike Rides in America During Fall Foliage, Addison Valley, Vermont

Any avid road biker will tell you that Addison Valley, Vermont, is easily one of the top five biking destinations in North America. The backcountry roads have very little car traffic, great uphill climbs and downhill runs, and around every bend is another dairy farm, massive red barn, white church steeple, and glorious vistas of Green Mountains and Adirondack Mountains separated by the waters of Lake Champlain. Head there within the next two weeks and those views will be even more breathtaking when rural roads radiate with colors comparable to Monet’s finest Impressionist works. If you want a local to design your route based on mileage, go on a self-guided bike tour with Country Inns Along the Trail. Depending on your ability, they will design itineraries from 15 to 60 miles a day, with most bikers averaging 25 to 30 miles. You simply leave your car at the first inn and they will transport your luggage to the next night’s lodging, extending the trip as long as you like. Price starts at $155 a night per person, including lodging, dinner, breakfast, and transport of luggage. They also design hiking inn-to-inn routes. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/05/15 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Top 5 Bike Rides in America During Fall Foliage, Asheville, North Carolina

If you think fall foliage is only relegated to the northeast, you haven’t been to Asheville, North Carolina in late October and early November. Leaves on the dogwoods, sweetgums, mountain ash, red maples, poplars, and birches all change color. Locals avoid biking on the famed Blue Ridge Parkway this time of year, unless you like weaving in and out of the leaf peeper congestion. The folks at Liberty Bicycles will provide bikes and steer you away from the traffic, leading you to nearby Burnsville for a favorite local ride. Park your car at an old gas station on Highway 19 just past the turn off to Highway 19E. Then head west on 19 and get ready for a great rural ride, North Carolina-style. On this 37-mile loop, you’ll bike alongside the Cane and North Toe Rivers and over suspension bridges past old tobacco farms, country stores, and small churches. Except for one steep hill in the beginning, the ride is relatively flat. Be on the lookout for deer, and if you do the loop on Sunday, make sure to bag a lunch in Asheville, because most stores are closed.  

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/06/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, October 09, 2015

Top 5 Bike Rides in America During Fall Foliage, Sedona, Arizona

Who needs red leaves when you have red rocks? Looking at Sedona’s blend of twisted monoliths, mesas, and hoodoos will get you motivated to ride, especially during the cooler days of autumn. Twenty-six miles of rarely used dirt trails wind through the heart of Red Rock Country from Boynton Canyon Road, opposite the Enchantment Resort. Once you tire of these, try the Old Stagecoach Road, an abandoned route that ventures north to Flagstaff. For a breather, hop off your bike and meditate at one of Sedona's renowned vortices, spiritual sites that attract thousands of visitors each year. Absolute Bikes offers rentals and will work with you to map out an itinerary for the day.

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/09/15 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, December 14, 2015

Top 5 Adventures in Florida, Biking the Shark Valley Loop, Everglades National Park

If you happen to be in Miami and crave an authentic outdoor experience away from the trendy restaurants and clubs in South Beach, take an hour-long drive on the Tamiami Trail (Route 41) to Shark Valley Visitor Center in Everglades National Park. Try to get here on the early side (before 11 am), because the parking lot fills up quick, and bring water and sandwiches for lunch. Then rent a bike and head out on the 15-mile paved Shark Valley route. Far from the deafening noise of a propeller boat, a tourist magnet in these parts, you get to bike at your own pace along canals teeming with alligators, turtles, and an extraordinary amount of large birds. It took my family of four almost an hour to bike one mile because we had to stop every 50 yards to get a photo of that gator basking in the sun next to the bike trail. Don’t worry. They could care less about you and no one’s ever been attacked on the route. Usually near the alligator was an anhinga drying its wings on a branch, and wood storks and white whooping cranes standing tall in the shallow water. There was every type of heron imaginable, from the stocky black-crowned night heron to the long-legged great blue heron. Another highlight was the pink roseate spoonbills resting in the dense sagebrush along the canal. Stop midway at the observation deck to get a good overview of the Everglades topography, a mix of sinuous waterways and tall swaying grass. This is also a good spot to have that sandwich or snack you brought before heading back. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/14/15 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, February 08, 2016

5 Adventures on a Shoestring, Biking in Brittany

There’s no longer a need to deplete your life savings when selecting a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. You simply have to look beyond the convenience of contacting big name American outfitters who charge exorbitant prices for their worldwide trips (often in excess of $1,000 per day, excluding airfare). Instead, book your journey with highly reputable local outfitters whose sole specialty is their native country.  This way, you eliminate the middleman and pocket the huge savings. All five of the outfitters I’ll blog about this week will give you a far more in-depth look at their homeland than any American guide could possibly do, at a fraction of the cost. First stop, Brittany.

 
Kate and Geoff Husband were two British teachers who spent most of their holidays biking in northern France. Eventually, their vacations became their profession when they opened Breton Bikes Cycling Holidays in 1989 in the small town of Pontivy. Based smack in the middle of Brittany, the northwestern section of France that juts out into the Atlantic, Breton Bikes offer one and two-week self-guided tours to some of the Husband’s favorite haunts. With small rural towns, exquisite coastline views, and very few tough climbs (the highest point in Brittany is just over 1,000 feet), this region of France is ideal for biking. Price of one-week tours including rooms at small B&Bs, breakfast, routes, bikes, and full backup in case you get a flat starts at a mere 685 Euros. If you prefer to camp, the cost plummets to 285 Euros (excluding food). The Husbands supply all equipment necessary. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/08/16 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, March 14, 2016

Top 5 Wine Regions for Bicyclists, Niagara-on-the-Lake

There’s nothing quite like the combination of biking through wine country. It’s not merely the lonely backcountry roads that lead to the wineries, but the chance to dine on a sublime meal at a winery after a day of biking. This week I plan to focus on some of my favorite regions to bike and visit wineries. Yes, I’ll include the obvious choices like Napa and Sonoma, along with the Stellenbosch region in South Africa, the Bordeaux Valley of France, and the exceptional pinot noirs of Oregon wine country, But I’ll start with a destination that may come as a bit of a surprise, Canada. 

 
Only a half-hour drive from the thunderous roar of Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake is the antithesis of its commercialized neighbor. This charming Victorian town rests in the heart of Ontario wine country, where close to 100 vineyards produce the sweet icewine, Riesling, and Pinot Noir. At night, rest your weary legs while watching a play at the renowned Shaw Festival, specializing in the works of Bernard Shaw. I was fortunate to tour the region with the highly reputable outfitter, Butterfield and Robinson, and it resulted in this story for The Boston Globe
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/14/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top 5 Wine Regions for Bicyclists, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Sitting at the southernmost tip of South Africa, Capetown can certainly match Sydney and San Francisco as the most beautiful city in the world. Table Mountain, often draped in its tablecloth of clouds, forms a spectacular backdrop. A nice little warm up ride will bring you from the city to the exquisite beach of Camps Bay and the mountains rising behind Hout Bay. Serious bikers can then continue on to the Cape Peninsula and the Cape of Good Hope, where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean. Just be on the lookout for baboons that often cross the road. Once you’ve properly explored Capetown, drive one hour to the west and start your tour of Stellenbosch and its award-winning wineries. Bikes N’ Wines offers a 2-day guided bike ride through the region, where you learn about the rich heritage of the area and most importantly, taste the wares. The two day tour includes breakfast, a light braai lunch on one of the days and accommodation at on one of the wine estates. Cost of the 2-day jaunt is $1950 Rand or $127 US. By all means, continue your tour of the region on the famous Garden Route, a drive amidst forest, lagoons, and coastal towns, including the surfing mecca of Plettenberg Bay, another stunning locale to bike along the Western Cape or mountain bike the forests of Knysna. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/15/16 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Top 5 Wine Regions for Bicyclists, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Oregon Wine Country is less than an hour drive southeast of Portland off Route 99W. Download a winery map and off you go on rural roads to sample a handful of the 200 wineries. Pedal Bike Tours in Portland offers a guided day ride to Willamette if you want to go on a group tour. If you find yourself in Salem, do yourself a favor and stop at a personal favorite, Cristom Vineyards. Many of the Oregon pinots are bright, redolent of fruit, have a fine nose, but on his small plot, winemaker Steve Doerner has managed to bring layers of complexity to his wine. The Jessie, for example, named for the owner’s grandmother, has hints of black cherries, tangy plum, and cinnamon, with a smooth finish that will have you reaching for your credit card to order a case, the exact move my brother and I made. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/16/16 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Lexus Gran Fondo Coming to the Chatham Bars Inn

After months of preparation, the Chatham Bars Inn has just announced that it will be holding a 3-day weekend of biking and fine dining over Memorial Day Weekend. Partnering with Lexus, the three-day event includes the Lexus Gran Fondo, a 100-mile race along with professional cyclists George Hincapie and Christian Vande Velde from Boston to Chatham, and 25-mile and 50-mile routes around Cape Cod for us mere mortals. Your biking efforts will be rewarded with a slew of culinary events like a barbecue hosted by one of my favorite chefs in Texas, Dean Fearing, paired with the latest releases of saison from the Blackberry Farm Brewery. A celebratory dinner Saturday night will feature the talents of Chatham Bars chefs Anthony Cole and Justin Urso, chef Carlo Mirarchi (Roberta’s and Blanca, NYC) and sommelier Carlton McCoy (The Little Nell, Aspen, CO). The event will end Sunday with a clambake on the shore at the Chatham Bars Beach House. Expect to dine on freshly shucked oysters, littlenecks, a whole Chatham lobster, shrimp, mussels and more. On Monday, Lexus will provide courtesy transportation for all cyclists and up to two guests back to Boston. Several packages are available for guests looking to stay at Chatham Bars Inn and participate in the festivities. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/20/16 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, July 07, 2016

Seeing the Cape on Two Wheels

The small strip of pavement forms a straight line into the horizon like an express route to freedom. Astride my bike, I zip over bridges and through tunnels, past large ponds, salt marshes and cranberry bogs, all while breathing in the sweet smell of spring wildflowers and the far more potent brine of the sea. The hum of traffic is gone, replaced by the call of the yellow warbler. The only obstacles before me are runners, clumsy rollerbladers, and other leisurely bikers. In the Cape Cod town of Orleans, I hop off my bike for a few minutes and take in that quintessential New England snapshot of fishing boats bobbing in the harbor. 

 
The 25-mile long Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT) was once a corridor used to ship cranberries from the Cape to Boston aboard the Old Colony Railroad. Today, the relatively level rail trail is a placid retreat that has quickly become one of the most popular destinations in the Northeast for biking. The Cape Cod Rail Trail might receive the most fanfare but the entirety of Cape Cod is blessed with an abundance of paved bike trails, from the Cape Cod Canal Bikeway that snakes under the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges to the topsy-turvy Provincelands Bike Trail on the outskirts of Provincetown. 
 
To read more of my story on Cape Cod biking that appeared in the June issue of the Alaska Airways inflight magazine, click here and turn to page 50. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/07/16 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, July 18, 2016

Biking the Shoreline of Lac-Saint-Jean

Three hours north of Quebec City, the mountainous ridges and anonymous lakes give way to a sylvan valley surrounding the massive inland sea they call Lac-Saint-Jean. Bright yellow fields of canola mix with the rolling green hillside, tall silos, and rolled hay that gives this terrain the unmistakable French countryside feel. Everywhere you look are cyclists biking on the celebrated Véloroute des Bleuets, a 256-kilometer bike trail that circumnavigates Lac-Saint-Jean, or fat-wheeling on mountain bike trails, even biking through sand on one of the 15 public beaches found around the lake. 

 
We chose to spend the first day and night at Parc national de la Pointe-Taillon, a peninsula that juts into the lake and offers its own 45 km circuit. We parked in the lot, grabbed sheets, blankets, bikes, and a small mini-trailer to carry all our belongings and off we went on a short ride to our lodging for the night, a Huttopia tent. Available in 17 of Quebec’s 24 national parks, these canvas tents are equipped with four beds, heating, and everything you need to cook a meal. We dropped our belongings and continued to bike along the peninsula looking at desolate beaches, large beaver dams, and a thicket of tall birch trees. This is prime moose country but we wouldn’t find the big fella this first night. After our ride, we dined on picnic tables overlooking the water, washed down with a local Riverbend pale ale. A perfect start to our week of adventure in the Lac-Saint-Jean, Saguenay, and Charlevoix sections of Quebec. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/18/16 at 05:30 AM
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Friday, July 22, 2016

Biking Isle-aux-Coudres

To reach Isle-aux-Coudres, you take a free 15-minute ferry from the mainland. Once there, it feels as if all the woes of modernity are washed away, replaced by the salty air of the St. Lawrence and a serene island from yesteryear. If you were looking for a good workout, you could speed around the 23-km circumference of Isle-aux-Coudres in little over an hour. But then you would miss the stone houses and their carefully manicured potted plants in the windows, the rocky shoreline that creeps into the vast river at low tide, and the ski trails of Le Massif that slice down the mountainside on the opposite shores. If you don’t take your time, you won’t stop to snap photos of the small chapels not much larger than doll houses, tour a working windmill and watermill from the 1820s, and sample the hard apple cider and tasty apple and pear mistelle from Verger Pedneault. Most importantly, if you don’t slow down and appreciate the island on two wheels, you won’t meet the wonderful people, like Patricia Deslauriers, owner of Motel L’Islet, a professional jazz bassist who now owns a lodging on a peninsula that juts out of the southernmost part of the island. She wakes up every morning to a sunrise and goes to bed after a glorious sunset. She also brings world class musicians to the island every Sunday for concerts that often attract over 1,000 people. Then there’s the maitre’d at Hôtel Cap-aux-Pierres, who spends his winters at Langkawi, the cluster of islands off Malaysia in the Andaman Sea. Or the world champion kitesurfer who now teaches her sport to others at her kitesurfing and yoga studio on the island. Isle-aux-Coudres is a magical island, one where you foolishly spend one day and soon realize you should have spent a week.
 
I’m off to Quebec City for a little more biking on my last day. I’ll be back on Monday to talk about the lodging and food on my trip. I want to thank Cynthia Lacasse at Tourisme Quebec for helping to design a perfect week of multisport adventure in Lac-Saint-Jean, Saguenay, and Charlevoix. Next time, you come to Quebec City, make sure you extend your trip by at least 3 days to see this spectacular region of the province. Have a great weekend and keep active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/22/16 at 05:30 AM
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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Get in Shape for that Fall 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 fall foliage biking trips in the next month or two, 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. Brochures are not always accurate so it’s imperative to speak to a human being. If you’re looking for a particular destination or recommended outfitter, ActiveTravels is here to help. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/10/16 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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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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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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