bike tours

Old Feb 5th, 2008, 09:38 AM
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bike tours

Has anyone used Iron Donkey bike tours in Ireland? It's web site sounds great.
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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 09:48 AM
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Might get more answers if you post country/company name in title.
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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 04:45 PM
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Thanks for the advice. Ireland bike tours--Iron Donkey or Backroads?
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Old Mar 1st, 2008, 02:18 PM
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Aspenlife: It's pretty suspicious when you have only four postings on this site--all on 3/1/2008 and all mentioning DuVine Tours.

Just an FYI-no advertising/promotion is allowed on this site.

Another FYI in case you aren't a paid promoter (and in that case, I apologize): many of the bikers on this site distrust taking ANY tour trip because of the lack of independence. I have to tell you, although we thoroughly enjoyed our DuVine tour in Burgundy and thought it was a great value, we felt it was the most "groupy" bike trip we've ever taken.
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Old Mar 1st, 2008, 03:10 PM
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Josephina

Can you tell more about your Duvine experience. I get their newsletters etc and have always fancied doing a Duvine bike tour at some stage. I am not a great "group" person, in fact have never done a tour of any description, we have always been independant travellers. What do you mean by Groupy? No free time by yourselves, all jolly hockey sticks everyday etc? Their accommodation looks great and I like the idea of having someone carry all the luggage from A to B for you. Any further comments would be most appreciated, thanks.
Schnauzer
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Old Mar 1st, 2008, 04:48 PM
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Hi Schnauzer: We don't want to put down DuVine. We felt our accomodations, meals, wine tastings, etc. were fabulous. But we are first and foremost bikers. Our Burgundy trip was "pretend" adventure cycling.

In our experiences with Bike Vermont (also known as Bike Ireland/Bike Scotland), Backroads, and VBT, we were super pleased because we still had our "family" trip, but had the advantage of no family stresses--where to stay, where to eat, and almost as important--how far to bike--were no longer problems.

My husband usually will bike forever, as long as he's free to stop for brewskies whenever he feels like it. My oldest daughter on some days would like to bike at least 25 miles beyond him (sans brewskies). My youngest is capable of equalling the husband (but only with gelato/ice cream). And I can keep up, but what the hey, I usually would like to return to a good book in a hot tub. I try to make sure I fit in all the brewski stops, though.

Therefore, a well-run bike tour can accomodate all our needs. Our luggage is schlepped, our bikes are checked out for tires and water, and we're ready to go. Good morning meetings warning about "traps", good "here are the points we'll meet you if you want to return" things, excellent directions/maps, you got it. And then you're off. It's up to you, the biker, to create your own adventure every single day. Just make it back in time for dinner. Lovely.

Most of the "good" companies have guides saying, "Go for it." These ones have at least a short and a long option per day and even three options on some days.

I can truly say that VBT, Bike Vermont, and Backroads also gave my family members mileage beyond the long options once the guides felt the husband/kiddies were capable of doing such routes without doing a disservice to their other guests.

DuVine just wasn't in their league. They are excellent at providing things like pre-trip service. They aren't serving bikers. They had the WORST directions ever, and we never once had a real route "rap". No directions on safety--which is a big problem when you're a) riding neck to neck with people who haven't been on a bike since the Stone Age and b) all coming out of a wine tasting.

You'd have to read the DuVine directions to believe me about how bad they were. They seem to have been written in James Joyce mode after four bottles of wine. As implied above, we were expected to bike beside (not even in line after) the guides in a clump while the guides did constant discourse about the vineyards. We stopped, I swear, every ten miles for a group picture.

If we were "good", we got to go on a bike after most people were done. Even I, the person who really is better designed for a librarian stack triathlon, could have done 20 extra miles each day.

However, I liked our meals, our accomodations, etc. Really, really good. Had I never been on another bike trip with another company, there's a chance I would have thought I had received the best vacay ever. Then again, maybe not. I did notice that the people most pleased with the trip loved cruises. My husband would kill me if I ever booked another cruise.

So yes, I do love adventure company bike trips. I think VBT and Bike Vermont offer good value, though for different reasons. Backroads is still in business for good reason--they may have the most professional guides in the business.

My husband, who hates socializing, enjoys the comraderie of trips with those companies. He can avoid anyone and everyone at breakfast if so desired, do a "drop by" if there is a picnic lunch (usually we're on our own), but totally enjoy meeting everyone at dinner.

So I hope I've given you a general idea of what we enjoyed. To each his own!!!

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Old Mar 1st, 2008, 06:06 PM
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Hi southerncyclist-- I have friends who are serious cyclists and did an Iron Donkey trip in England a couple of years ago. They loved it and want to do another.
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Old Mar 1st, 2008, 10:55 PM
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Thanks Josephina, that was very interesting. You wouldn't get that impression from their very slick web page. As you say, a bit "pretend" perhaps. We haven't even been on a cruise, so maybe Duvine is not for us! Maybe when I get a bit older?

Thanks for the info.
Schnauzer
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