To a pack of pedal pushers, a bike trip is the ride of a lifetime
Once you learn to ride a bicycle you never forget how. Equally unforgettable, riders say, is a biking vacation. This sampling of trips, all of them six days long, might give you an idea why.
Mosel Magic from Euro-Bike & Walking Tours takes cyclists along the looping, bending Mosel River to explore Germany's wine-growing region. Roman statues and the Cochem Castle are among the historic sights participants will peddle past. Departures are May 31 for $1,575, and July 5 and Aug. 9 for $1,970. All Euro tours (and there are a lot) include accommodations, dinners with wine, breakfasts, a guide and bike mechanic on call, roadside assistance, luggage transfers, taxes, and most tips, but, as with other trips mentioned here, not airfare. Rental of 27-speed bikes is optional.
Visit eurobike.com or call 800-321-6060.
"A bike tour is simply the best way to see the countryside," writes DuVine Adventures in its catalog, and it is difficult to disagree. DuVine's Bordeaux tour, for instance, passes groves of fruit trees, stone churches, and cottages in France's countryside. There are May-July and September-October departures for $3,695. The August trip is $3,495. Included in all DuVine trips are accommodations; breakfasts, two lunches, and four dinners with wine; at least two bilingual guides; a support vehicle; wine tastings; entrance fees; 27-speed aluminum bicycles; transportation from rendezvous to dropoff; and most tips. Self-guided tours are also available.
Visit duvine.com or call 888-396-5383.
If you like the ups and downs of New England, POMG Bike Tours of Vermont (Peace of Mind Guaranteed) has several trips in the Green Mountain State, including its Cycle Vermont Bed & Breakfast Tours, in which tour leaders take cyclists from Burlington to the Lake Champlain islands to the Northeast Kingdom, almost to Canada. The trip is rated moderate to difficult, depending upon which options you choose. Five dinners and three breakfasts are included along with stays in five B&Bs. Departure dates are June 8-13 for $1,195; July 13-18 and Aug. 3-8 for $1,275; and, for the foliage, Sept. 14-19 and 21-26 for $1,335.
Visit pomgbike.com or call 888-635-BIKE (2453).
Boston-based Bike Riders limits its tours to 16 cyclists and has trips in New England, Canada, and Europe. For those who love Italy, there is a Wonders of Puglia tour. Almond orchards, bougainvillea, olive and pomegranate trees are among nature's niceties en route. The cost is $3,860 with guides, most meals, and a bicycle included; departures in June, September, and October. An eight-day, food-oriented Guest Chef program costs $5,180, with departures in May, September, and October.
Visit bikeriderstours.com or call 800-473-7040.
Idaho might seem outside the gearbox, but consider that it has two acclaimed car-free pathways, plus riding trails along marshlands, lakes, meadows, and forests. Adventure Cycling's Idaho Relaxed features camping and catered meals and is suitable for beginners, with full guide support and distances averaging 17 miles a day. The June 13-18 tour is $799.
Visit adventurecycling.org or call 800-755-2453, ext. 3, or 617-723-2354.
Looking for a way to spend those tax rebates designed to boost the economy? The Economic Stimulus Package at the High Pointe Inn in West Barnstable features two nights in an ocean-view suite, plus a full country breakfast each morning, served on the deck (weather permitting). Also included is a whale-watch sail and dinner for two at a Cape Cod restaurant. The package is available mid-May through mid-October for $600, or $650 for a premium suite with wood-burning fireplace.
Visit thehighpointeinn.com, then click on packages and the photo of the whale's tail, or call 888-362-4441.
And next ski season . . .
Three New England ski destinations, Loon Mountain in New Hampshire and Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine, will be accessible with one season pass for the 2008-9 season. The New England Pass, now on sale, also offers $50 bonus savings to current Threedom and Maine Pass holders and free spring skiing to new season-pass purchasers starting March 23. The New England Pass prices start at $349 during the sale and offer access to 305 trails, 1,644 acres, 13 terrain parks, and five super/halfpipes - all served by 45 lifts. Current pass holders at Loon, Sunday River, and Sugarloaf who upgrade or maintain an unrestricted pass (Gold or Anytime) or certain restricted passes (Silver or Limited) will save an extra $50 when they buy a New England Pass during the spring sale, which goes through April 30.
Santa Fe guide
Few people, including me, have left Santa Fe without being impressed. The city's 92-page guide for 2008 lists accommodations, restaurants, events, museums, and galleries, along with maps to get you to those places.
For the free guide, visit santafe.org or call 800-777-2489.
Ghana bright and dark
Spector Travel of Boston, which specializes in Africa trips, has a seven-day tour of Ghana. The trip will trace several centuries of the West African country's history at some infamous forts, castles, and slave dungeons and explore the Ashanti Kingdom. There will also be sightseeing in Accra, the capital, with visits to the W.E.B Dubois Memorial Center. Dates are Aug. 2-9 and the cost is $2,319, including round-trip airfare from New York to Accra, first-class hotels, breakfast daily, sightseeing, transfers, and service charges.
Call 617-351-0111 or visit spectortravel.com.
When not included, hotel taxes, airport fees, and port charges can add significantly to the price of a trip. Most prices quoted are for double occupancy; solo travelers will usually pay more. Offers are subject to availability and there may be blackout dates. Richard P. Carpenter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.