(Serious) Bike Tours of A Lifetime
My bicycle excursions are largely limited to the Hudson Valley's very flat and nicely paved North County Trailway, with a cozy little tea shop at trail's end. So it will be no surprise that my bike has a spring-loaded comfort seat, an excess of safety reflectors, and a handlebar-mounted cup-holder for a can of, uh, Diet Pepsi. My biking attire leans more toward flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts than Spandex. Even so, I've always been impressed with those bikers I see hurtling over mountain passes and barreling along desert highways at 30 mph and more. So my interest was piqued by an upcoming series of luxury biking itineraries recently announced by Cannondale, the high-end bicycle manufacturer. Participants in the six tours offered in the inaugural season will follow the path of some of biking's most famous races in the United States and Europe, and even hang out with some of the sport's top athletes.
The tours kick off with the six-day Cycling the Alps & Dauphin tour (June 6-11; $5,495), which crosses some of the most spectacular alpine scenery in France, including the Alpe d'Huez, one of the main mountains on the Tour de France. The Italian Dolomites tour (July 1-6; $4,795) presents some of the steepest biking anywhere. The Kona Championships tour on the Big Island of Hawaii (October 10-15; $4,595) includes a private triathlon with four-time Iron Man champion Chrissie Wellington, who, I'm guessing, does not use a spring-loaded comfort seat. Other itineraries include the Colorado Pro Tour (multiple departures and lengths in August), the Tour of Spain (September 3-10), and the Giro di Toscana, in Italy (October 14-20).
Guests who sign up for one of the Cannondale Tours (operated by DuVine Adventures) don't need to bring their own wheels; each participant will be supplied with a Cannondale SuperSix for the trip's duration. Better yet, after each day's ride, guests will be treated to fine cuisine and wines, massages, and a soft bed at a luxury hotel. Ah, but do they have a cozy tea shop at trail's end?
Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure. Follow him onTwitter.