All tours include great cycling or walking at your own pace along carefully selected routes; personal attention from their ... More
All tours include great cycling or walking at your own pace along carefully selected routes; personal attention from their enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour leaders; lodging at wonderful country inns and hotels; delicious dinners and healthy breakfasts; a support van; plus assorted epiphanies and serendipities.
I am the co-owner of Bike Vermont and must admit it was a surprise to see a negative review from these folks. We felt, and they agreed, we treated them exceedingly well, especially given the unique nature of their concerns. In any case I think the real point here is that if a guest has a concern about a Bike Vermont tour, whether we agree with you fully… partially…or not at all, we will go out of our way to quickly address your concerns honestly, fairly and very generously. That is why we feel we have such a good reputation and have enjoyed a successful business for over 35 years!
As to the substance, the couple who wrote complain that their tour was too small. Our web site and catalog materials actual tout the fact that, unlike many companies, we will not leave you in the lurch but will run a tour despite such small numbers. This is in deference to the fact that when people have made vacation plans they do not want their trip cancelled. We have done this for over 20 years despite the fact that a tour that small makes us no money at all. We have many many examples of guests going out of their way to THANK us for running these tours (including such a call to our office today!)…and we have never had this type of complaint before. In fact the other couple on the tour in question said they were happy to have a small tour of four (it had originally been larger) and disappointed the other couple decided to leave. We would have liked the tour to be larger too…there were, at one point, 12 people signed up for it but for various reasons it slowly got down to the 4 by the time the tour actually ran. So…lesson learned. We will be more clear on our “small tour” policy in the future. And we will continue to be the smaller friendlier company that responds quickly and generously when guests are unhappy, regardless of the uniqueness of their concerns.
This in reply to the review by “Tom” on 3/14/12. I am the owner of Bike Vermont. Every few years we have an unfortunate mismatch between guests’ expectations and ability…and our tours. Thankfully this happens very rarely indeed. The tour Tom and his group of 4 took has been advertised and rated the same way for over 20 years. It is one of our more popular tours and has been ridden by well over 3500 cyclists, the vast majority of whom are casual cyclists who were seeking a relatively easy stress-free week of riding. It has consistently been rated 9 and 10 (with 10 being the highest rating) on our Feedback sheets ever since we started a rating system about 12 years ago, and I have never received the type of complaint written by Tom before. I have apologized to Tom since his group obviously did not enjoy the experience (although they decided to only bike for about three hours out of the entire week) and I feel badly about that. I am pleased, however, that the rest of the guests on that tour (none of whom would describe themselves as particularly strong riders) raved about their experience.
I want to start this review off with saying that we received an entire refund of our deposit and tour costs with Bike Vermont.
I booked a tour with Bike Vermont called their “Lake and Leisure” Tour. I researched all of the other Vermont bike tour companies and their tours. I made a spreadsheet of all of the features of the tour and compared to the other tour companies. I checked out every spot we were staying at on Trip Advisor. At the end of this research, I chose the Bike Vermont tour. We went through all of the formalities and I talked or e-mailed multiple times with the office regarding bike preferences, bike configurations, tour size and the age of tour participations. So we thought we had every base covered. Upon arriving at the Basin Harbor Club for our wine and cheese greeting we discovered there were only 4 people on the tour of 10-14 people. We had booked this tour with the anticipation of meeting new people of varying ride abilities and we would have many options of what we wanted to do each day. From the website we were also led to believe that there would be two guides, one to ride with the group and one in the support van. What we found out is that it was only one other couple and one guide. While the other people were nice and our guide was knowledgeable we did not pay this amount of money to ride for 5 days through Vermont with another couple. We can do that with our friends at home. We ended up talking with the owner and we were refunded all of the costs associated with Bike Vermont.
We were not refunded our costs to travel to Vermont, stay at the Basin Harbor Club the night prior or the trip insurance we bought to cover the tour.
We do not understand why we were not contacted by Bike Vermont prior to the trip and given options on how to make it acceptable to everyone once the number of people on the tour was reduced. We would have been happy to look at other tours or dates.
It is really disappointing to have put the amount of time we did into deciding on a tour company, reading all of the literature, mapping out what we could do on the route and packing for a tour that we did not take. Let alone burning a week of vacation for a tour that did not happen.
I post this as a cautionary tale to anyone booking a tour. You need to ask question after question, read their website with a very critical, detailed eye and never assume that that the tour company will act in your best interest.
This is also in response to Tom's review:
I'm so sorry you had such a negative experience with Bike Vermont. I went on my first Bike Vermont vacation in 1994. To date, I've been on 16 tours, ranging from weekenders to international adventures. I've experienced Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Scotland, Ireland, and Italy -- Bike Vermont is a very professional company, with great leaders, great bicycles, and great routes -- they bend over backwards for their customers. I've been on tour with people as young as 16 and as old as 70+. I'm 50+. I've never seen anyone pressured (at least by the tour leaders) to ride beyond their endurance or comfort zone. Some people walk their bikes up the steeper hills (or down!) and others prefer to ride the van for an afternoon or relax at the wonderful inns, if they are tired of riding. Bike Vermont accommodates everyone -- after all, it is our vacation! I'm also confused about your comments about having to be a long distance cyclist and ride every day to go on a Bike Vermont tour. I do not even own a bicycle! I am in good physical shape, but would not consider myself anything other than a weekend athlete. I enjoy the challenge of the rides (Vermont isn't flat!), the beauty of the countryside (no matter what the weather), and the camaraderie of wonderful tour leaders and fellow cyclists (of all ages and abilities). I'm sorry the tour didn't live up to your expectations. Bike Vermont always exceeds mine. If anyone has any questions about the different tours, just call the office -- they are happy to make recommendations or connect you with previous riders from your area for their unbiased comments.
Bike Vermont's "Coast of Maine" tour is well-organized and beautifully-constructed. It combines a variety of outdoor activities that display the outdoor beauty Maine has to offer: a gorgeous coastline, fascinating culture, and fabulous food. Cycling routes are designed to maximize scenery and minimize traffic, and there are plenty of daily options to appeal to cyclists of all skill levels. The inns are clean and comfortable, and luxurious enough to satisfy any taste. The restaurants are comfortable, mid-priced, and serve excellent food. And there is enough variety of activities (cycling, hiking, kayaking) to keep anyone's interest. But the best part of the tour for us was the leaders! Tom and Brian are great guys who obviously enjoy what they do. They like being around people, and they are interesting, kind, and friendly. We enjoyed our time in Maine, and we have many happy memories of great scenery, friendly people, and excellent food. But our favorite memories are of Tom and Brian. Thanks, guys!
We went on a bike tour offered by this company in Vermont in October 2011. On the first day my wife was badly injured and needed to go to the hospital emergency room--the fourth straight time this particular tour had an emergency room injury on the first day. The company tries to make it sound like anyone ("casual cyclists") can do their tours and have a great time. In reality, you must be in superb physical shape and a daily long-distance cyclist if you expect to ride these badly-planned routes. Bring your own bicycle--otherwise there's a good chance you'll get a bike that's not suitable for you, which is probably what caused my wife's accident. Nine people started our tour; four dropped out after one day. Only two rode on the last day, both daily long-distance cyclists. The company is run by cyclists who enjoy cycling but have no understanding (or tolerance) of people who lead ordinary lives. Their advertising is misleading where it is not incomplete. I cannot say that our experience is typical, because I don't know, but I would strongly advise against this company unless you are a strong athlete.
My husband and I have taken two Bike Vermont vacations. Everything was top-notch. We truly felt like houseguests at each of the inns, the food was fabulous, the leaders were tremendous. They keep the groups small -- 14 on our first tour and 20 on our second. You ride at your own pace and the riders we met on each tour were some of the nicest, friendliest people we've come across. I would recommend Bike Vermont wholeheartedly. Their tours are the perfect mix of activity and leisure. We're looking forward to our next bike trip!
Bike Vermont has it down. After 30 years in the business of providing quality inn-to-inn bicycle touring in New England, it seems as if the only thing they cannot perfect is control of the weather. Terrific routes, superb route maps, gorgeous terrain, nice country inns with quality food and atmosphere, it is hard to find a better experience. My wife and I have done five Bike Vermont tours and are anxiously awaiting our next opportunity.
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