Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Choose Cycle of Life Adventures?
We describe Cycle of Life Adventures as a boutique style bicycle and active vacation company.
- We are a very personal business- we are not the giants of the industry. Most of our tours will be priced at least $100 per day lower than the large tour operators. At Cycle of Life Adventures we have a singular goal of creating exceptional trips for all of our guests at an uncomparable value.
- We focus on excellent service to small intimate groups.
- It’s us on the other end of the phone that you are talking to in the off season. It’s us laughing with you at dinner. It’s us on the roads in the off season in search of the best road conditions, bonding with local inn keepers, and sampling the local food and attractions. We do not sub contract to other tour companies.
- Our lodging and dining options are among the finest that an area has to offer.
- One of our owners will always be on a tour with you. Additional guides are mature, experienced guides and mechanics. We have participated in hundreds of cycling adventures, both as guests and as guides. We have led trips across the breadth and depth of North America. Our passion for sharing these fabulous trips with others of similar interests is what led us to develop our own company.
- We are committed to providing challenging, memorable and original trips in extraordinary, beautiful parts of the country for all levels of riders.
To see for yourself, the VALUE of our trips, view our page about Current Specials & Discounts.
What’s included in the price? Practically everything you need, and other things you didn’t think of.
- Two or More Mature, Qualified and Experienced Guides.
If your group is larger than 12, the adventure gets logistically challenging, we will add additional guides. You will be assured of personalized superior service and attention throughout your adventure.
Each and every night, we will stay at 3 star or better accommodations or the best available in rural areas when crossing the country. The lodging varies from national park lodges to chain hotels to local B&Bs. Your lodging will begin on the evening before we start riding and will conclude on the evening before our final ride.
All breakfasts, some lunches and all dinners are included with your adventure. If a lunch stop is not available, a picnic lunch is available.
- Social Hour
On the evening before we start our adventure, we gather to get everyone acquainted.
- Snacks and Drinks
We keep a familiar, stocked buffet of energy foods and drinks for hydration. Not just sweets, “junk food” and recovery drinks.
We support you both on and off the bike. One guide will always be in a support van, while the other is on a bike with you. There is always a guide qualified and experienced to handle most common bicycle repairs. Throughout the country, we have partnered with local bicycle shops for emergency repairs and parts. Our support van always has an extra bike on board as well as a variety of the most commonly used parts. We fix your flats, repair breakdowns, fill your water bottles, make massage appointments or any service you may need.
Each day of your adventure, we provide you with detailed cue sheets of the ride and specific directions and phone numbers for our night’s lodging. Many of our daily rides will also be available on ride with GPS.
- Entry Fees
Fees to enter all the national parks, state parks and highlighted tours that are listed as part of our adventure are included.
- Transportation and Luggage Transfer
We greet you at the airport, move your luggage from inn to inn throughout the trip, and get you back to the airport or our starting hotel at the conclusion of your adventure.
- Souvenir and Extras
All riders will receive our water bottles and a cycling jersey. We share photos at the conclusion of the trip. Use of a Go-Pro helmet cam on select day.
What’s “Not” Included?
- Your airfare.
- A 12% gratuity for guides, mechanics, volunteers and tour staff is not included, but greatly appreciated.
- Rental bikes.
- Single room supplement, unless a roommate is not available.
- Personal purchases.
- Trip Insurance
Question: Are meals included in the price?
Answer: Yes! Tour meals included are breakfast, lunch (picnic, if no restaurant options are available), and dinner each riding day of the tour, unless otherwise specified. Guests are open to order as much or as little as they think is necessary. Wonderful appetizers and delectable desserts are always acceptable. Alcoholic beverages will be the financial responsibility of the guest.
Question: What type of meals will be served?
Answer: All cyclists know the importance of well-rounded, healthy meals. With our years of cycling experience, we will provide dining choices you will enjoy, yet still provide the power and nutrition needed for the enormous calorie output from a day of cycling. We will always attempt to find at least one restaurant for fine memorable dining. Coat and tie will never be necessary. Dining will generally be upscale, casual and comfortable.
Question: Is lodging included?
Answer: Yes! Our choice of accommodations range from modest family owned inns or Bed & Breakfasts, in the more rural areas, to nice hotel chains in the populated areas. Luxurious hotels with nice amenities, as well as inns in the national park system, are booked when available and convenient to our tour locations. Your final tour cost reflects our various lodging decisions. Lodging costs are not included in our “Four Day” tour series.
Question: What if I am a solo traveler?
Answer: Lodging and tour rates are based on 2 guests per room. If you would like to be guaranteed a room to yourself, we offer a single room supplement for an additional charge. Select “Single Occupancy” when registering for the tour to purchase the single room supplement. If you are travelling solo but are willing to have a roommate, select “Two Beds (Share)” when registering. No single room supplement will be charged if we can match you with a roommate of the same gender 30 days or more prior to departure. If we cannot find a roommate 30 days prior to departure, you will be charged 50% of the single room supplement listed for that tour.
Question: What does van support offer?
Answer: Our premier Cycle of Life Adventures van with a commercially licensed driver will be available on each tour to carry up to 15 passengers, up to 16 bicycles, and a trailer for luggage and other equipment. The driver will deliver your luggage to your accommodations prior to your arrival and will accompany your group on the road to provide assistance and support, snacks, refreshments, bicycle repair necessities, first aid or a ride for someone who would like to take a break.
Rental Bikes & E-Bikes
Guests are welcome to bring their own bikes or rent one through Cycle of Life Adventures.
Question: If I bring my own bike, how do I get it to my destination?
Answer: There are many ways of shipping a bicycle. Some Amtrac stations accept them as boxed-checked baggage. Fed Ex will ship bikes. We work with ShipBikes.com. There are many helpful hints on how to pack your bike. Just give us a call or ask your reputable local bike shop.
Question: If I rent a bike, what quality bikes are your rentals?
Answer: Our rental fleet consists of Trek Domane 2.3 series aluminum endurance bikes. They feature Trek ISO Speed control technology and sleek geometry for a smooth and stable ride in all conditions.
The 2.3 series features a Shimano compact crank, a Shimano 105 drive train, brake system and Shimano Tiagra cassette.
We provide a rear rack system on your Trek if desired and water bottles and a computer. Please consider bringing your own saddle and pedals that fit your shoes. We keep a fleet of bicycles that range in size from 48cm to 60cm. Our inventory also includes several women-specific designs (the Trek” Lexa” SLX) stocked in smaller sizes for petite riders.
We have a small selection on Specialized Sirrus 2.0 in medium and large frames. These bicycles offer a straight bar design, aluminum framing, disc brakes, Shimano gearing with a triple crank, 8 speed cassette and 32cm tires.
Facts About our E-Bikes
We offer Giant Explore E and Gazelle electric-assist bicycles. Both the Giant Explore and the Gazelle come with a Bosch motor offering three or four power modes. These are a hybrid style class 1 electric bicycle. An electric assist bicycle does not use a throttle. You must pedal to engage the motor. The motor output is limited at 20 mph here in the US. There is a small learning curve to riding an E-bike. First you have a heaver weight bike than what you are used to. Weight also makes you move faster on the down hill than you may normally ride. All e-bikes have disc brakes which are quicker to stop than the traditional caliper brakes. Lastly, the gearing is slightly different than most traditional road bikes. Gearing is a Shimano 1×9 speed, disc brakes, front shocks. Reservations for e-bikes must be made no less than 2 months in advance to guarantee delivery to and from the tour site. Rental e-bike prices start at $300 for our Four Day and $375 per week long tour.
- Mind your manners when in a group of non- electric bikes.
- Don’t hang on their wheel – the hum of your motor can be annoying.
- Don’t gloat – avoid saying “that hill wasn’t so bad.”
- Don’t give the Queen’s wave as you Zoooooom by.
- Always be willing to help your guide lift, transport and charge your e-bike.
- Enjoy a longer lifetime of Adventure!
Send us your measurements and necessary information for a rental bike in advance and our experienced staff will have a comfortable, well-equipped bike ready for your tour.
My Rider Ability and Style is riding on a regular basis for fun, fitness or commuting to work.
I enjoy cruising flat routes at a brisk pace, rolling terrain or the challenge of reaching the top of a short mountain. I have ridden with a local bike group or I feel comfortable riding in light to moderate traffic. I enjoy stopping for sightseeing, snacks or extra activities.
I can ride 15-40 miles, and believe I could ride further with group support.
My Rider Ability and Style is riding for activity and fitness is an integral part of my life. I ride on a regular basis, 3 or more times per week. I enjoy riding for 2 or more hours and enjoy the workout.
I enjoy all terrain, small mountain passes of about 3,000 feet of climbing. I handle my bike safely on descents with speed. I can ride: 40 miles on average and up to 60 or 70 on longer days.
I can ride safely in moderate traffic and I’m comfortable at elevations of 8,000 feet above sea level.
My Rider Ability and Style is riding an average of 75-100 or more miles per week. I like a faster pace and the physical training of the ride.
I enjoy mountain passes, big hills, or steep descents. I’m comfortable climbing 5,000 feet in a day and perhaps up to 7,000 on a difficult day.
I can ride 60 miles on average, up to 100 on a long day and do this for 5-7 days straight on a tour. I’m comfortable in heavier traffic, in a more populated area. I’m comfortable making bicycle repairs if I get separated from the group.
View All-Inclusive Advanced Rider Tours
My Lifestyle: I am fit and active and enjoy the company of a group of active people.
I enjoy a challenge, riding in a small group or by myself and at my pace whether it is faster or slower than other riders. I enjoy additional activities or side trips along with the daily ride.
I can ride 40 miles or more, and I would be comfortable asking for van support on a difficult day. I’m comfortable in heavy traffic when traveling a more populated area.
Most of our adventures can be customized or provide options for all levels. Please call our office to discuss your comfort level.
Group Size & Age
Question: What is the typical group size for each tour?
Answer: Our scheduled cycling tours will usually range in size from 4 – 12 participants. Cyclists will need to be 21 years of age or older. Younger participants who are 15 years or older are accepted, if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Our groups generally consist of males, females, couples and single travelers ranging in all ages up to 80.
Question: En lieu of the COVID-19 epidemic, what steps will you perform to protect me on my tour?
Answer: In addition to our standard health guidlines, we offer each guest a small personal travel kit containing tissues, hand sanitizer, wipes, latex gloves, sunscreen and chamois butter. All served foods are individual serving packs and disposable items. Dining options will include social distancing according to local suggestions – this may include separate dining options or group gatherings. Our interior van surfaces will be sanitized daily as will rental bikes, helmets, all luggage and objects touched by multiple invididuals. Riding will be with distancing and suggested only with those people with whom you live.
Most importantly, if it is not safe to travel to an area, we will postpone or make other options available.
Question: What type of clothing and other items should I pack for my tour??
Answer: Your clothing choices will be determined by (1) our tour destination, (2) your needs for personal comfort, and (3) our space limitations. Don’t over pack. Most everything can be carried in a medium size duffle. Our trips are your casual vacation. Our support van is available to transport your clothing and personal belongings. On certain days, we may be without access to the van, therefore be ready to carry your daypack with clothing and other personal articles.
Water is vital, and your daypack or backpack should be large enough to accommodate 2 water bottles. Other options are a fanny pack water bottle carrier or a camelback style pack.
- Your Bike or our Rental Bicycle
- Your Pedals
- Your Saddle
- Your Helmet
- Bike Shorts (2-3)
- Jerseys (2-3)
- Cycling shoes
- Rain gear
- Leisure clothing, including comfortable shoes for evenings (informal, casual and comfortable is the rule – evenings can be cool to cold)
- Multi-purpose shoes and socks
- Short sleeve T-shirts
- Long sleeve T-shirts (evenings and cool mornings, even for Southwest programs)
- Gloves, long and short
- Fleece or sweater
- Jacket (e.g., fleece), sweater or sweatshirt (for warmth)
- Leg tights, warm-up pants
- Hat or other head covering (for sun protection)
- (2) Water bottles
- Tevas, aqua socks or old sneakers (for those programs where we will be wading through water, rafting, canoeing, etc.)
PERSONAL ARTICLES/OTHER GEAR:
- Cell phone and charger
- Water container carrier (your bike bottles will work fine)
- Sun glasses
- Sunscreen (spf 15 or greater) and lip protection
- Camera and binoculars
Question: How should I condition for my tour?
Answer: At Cycle of Life Adventures (COLA), we are not going to prescribe some rigorous regimen of physical conditioning in preparation for your upcoming bicycle tour. We want to offer a few suggestions to further increase your anticipation of your tour.
- Not every person may be “hooked” by the thrill of cycle touring. With the decision to ride with COLA, be aware you are accepting the fact you and your bicycle are going to do some climbing. It is best to prepare yourself for the type of cycling you will be doing on your tour.
- For those of you who have cycled in the Northeast (Vermont, for example) or in upstate New York, in the Middle Atlantic regions of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland or in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina – you’ve experienced terrain more difficult than which you will encounter in the West.
- Western climbs are longer than those generally found elsewhere in the country and you will reach altitudes higher than those with which you may be familiar. The grades along most of our mountain passes rarely exceeds 6% but, occasionally could reach 8% in short stretches. Every tour has its share of hills to climb – climbs that will maintain your attention for extended periods of time on occasion.
- COLA believes the best means of preparing for any bicycle tour is to ride your bicycle. Then, ride some more. Running, swimming and any other form of aerobic exercise is helpful, but is not a substitute for spending time in the saddle.
- COLA’s daily mileages vary for each tour. Our average is between 40-70 miles/day on our moderate tours to 50-80 miles/day on our more difficult adventures.
- COLA suggests you progressively spend more time in the saddle, gradually increase the distance of your rides each week. Gear down as the terrain and wind dictate, to maintain a pace without tiring yourself. You’ll be amazed at the distance you can pleasurably cover and enjoy.
- Practice on hills, which are different than flatland cruising. If you have some hills that are reasonably accessible, go for them as often as possible. If not, ride what you have and we’ll give you some “on-the-ride” training when you arrive.
- We believe the most important preparation one can do for mountain cycling is psychological, rather than physical. We are not suggesting the ride does not involve physical effort. However, preparing yourself mentally for the experience is equally as important as the physical training.
- You are not in a race to the summit – you’re striving to achieve pride, not a prize. Your comfortable pace and enjoyment of your surroundings and the ride itself is paramount. Therefore, we suggest you gear down as far as is necessary to ensure your comfort. Whether it’s a 100-foot, 700-foot or a 5200-foot climb, the mindset is the same. We have nothing but time. Remember… this is your vacation!
- Eventually, you’ll develop your own technique for climbing. The more you do it, the less intimidating the climbs will appear. You’ll soon realize how readily you accept and even eagerly anticipate a climb to a mountain summit as the highlight of the day’s ride.
- You’ll find you may be affected to some degree by the altitude. You may feel winded earlier than you’re used to in your daily rides. Please, don’t worry excessively about it. You’ll find that although you may not adjust fully to the increased elevation, you will be pleasantly surprised at how rapidly you will feel comfortable in spite of the changes you experience. Drinking plenty of fluids (more than you’re accustomed to) is essential for overcoming any discomfort the altitude may cause you.
Suggested Training for a Multi-Week Tour
Need to plan and start training 3-4 months from the beginning of the trip
Four (4) Months Out
- Get fitted to the bike you are going to use from a local bike shop.
- If you haven’t ridden much, start by riding 2-3 times/week, with distances in the 20-30 mile range.
Three (3) Months Out
- Ride 2-3 days/week, with at least one ride in the 40-50 mile range. Vary the terrain and distances. The use of intervals helps in strength and stamina-building.
- Try to use saddle, shoes, and pedals you plan to use on trip.
Two (2) Months Out
- Increase riding days to 3-4 and mileage to at least one 50+ mile day. I like to begin hill repeats at this point.
One (1) Month Out
- Ride 4-5 days/week. Try to ride 3 days in a row. Average miles in the 40-50 mile range with one being 70 miles.
Two (2) Weeks Out
- Ride back-to-back 75 mile days.
- Get bike tuned up. Purchase new tires (get the widest possible for your rims and bike), chain and cassette. Check brakes and all cables.
One Week Before
- Ride 60-70 miles on Sunday, take a day off on Monday, then take an easy ride for 25-30 miles on Tuesday.
- Pack up bike. Travel to starting location and have bike reassembled. Take an easy 15-20 mile ride to make sure bike fits properly and to loosen up legs.
- Seat time on the saddle you will be using is IMPORTANT!
- Spinning/indoor cycling classes are good, but they only last an hour. Get additional longer rides on your own bicycle.