Lifelong Friendship Found on Tuscany Bike Tour

Tom Coppock, our DuVine guide who hosted the trio in Tuscany and Sicily remembers the three fondly. “Joe and Carroll are the kind of people who are great at staying in touch. They’re always commenting on Facebook, and they’re able to talk about everything from history to football, from rowing to cutting-edge recycling programs in Seattle. Rick is such a character and a fearless guy. He can talk to anyone.”

Hear from Past DuViners Rick Salvo, Joe Bruener, and Carroll Haymon about how DuVine brought them together, why they hit it off, and how group travel with DuVine can truly change your life by introducing you to fellow cyclists with similar passions and interests!

What kind of cyclist are you?

Carroll + Joe: We’re both weekend cyclists with intermediate skills. Carroll is a seasonal cyclist who rides when it’s daylight and warm and not when it’s raining. I ride when we’re getting ready for another awesome DuVine trip.

Rick: I’ve been a road rider since 2007. I ride at least once a week about half the year, mostly for pleasure. I enjoy community benefit rides and larger sponsored events for various fundraising causes. Having done several long distance rides, two century rides, and over a dozen sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, I would have to say that I am an advanced rider, and I am also a spin class instructor.

How many trips have you been on with DuVine and to where?

Carroll + Joe: We’ve been on four trips: Provence Yoga in 2008, Tuscany in 2012, Piedmont in 2013, and Sicily in 2015.

Rick: Tuscany April 2012 followed by Sicily April 2015. Both were memorable for various reasons. The second trip in 2015 was highlighted by the fact that I stayed in touch with and became friends with Carroll and Joe from 2012. The three of us and one of the tour guides, Tom, all reunited for a wonderful trip.

Tell me the story of how you all met.

Carroll + Joe: It was on our Tuscany trip in 2012, and we were on our honeymoon. We were staying in a beautiful place in Montefollonico. Tom Coppock and Nick Graham were our guides. We had a short ride to the first night’s lodgings, and Rick elected to join us for the extra ride with Tom. We shared a beautiful beer in the Tuscan twilight and enjoyed hearing Rick talk about the cycling that had led him to join us in that moment.

It’s been just great to have a friend who is both so separate from the people we know in our regular lives and also such a positive spirit. We were all of similar ages, had all been divorced in the previous few years, and were enjoying a new relationship with biking and new connections.

Rick: Our similar riding abilities kept us together for most all rides. We discovered that we had many like interests, and not all cycle- or Italy-related. We have remained friends to this day despite the distance between Seattle, Washington and Austin, Texas.

What trips have you traveled on together since (with DuVine or otherwise)?

Carroll + Joe: Rick joined us for the Sicily trip in 2015 after his solo trip on the western end of the island. We were anxious about keeping up with him because at this point he was teaching spin classes and leading big rides in Texas, but we did just fine. We’ve met up with Rick at medical meetings in San Antonio, and Rick has been to Seattle to visit a few times including Thanksgiving 2014 when he brought his partner Angela. We started calling him ‘Texas Rick’ since Joe’s dad is ‘Big Rick.’

Rick: A long weekend trip to Seattle, a weekend in San Antonio, Thanksgiving in Seattle, a meet up in Dallas for the college football National Championship game in 2015, and in Sicily with DuVine in 2015.

What has glued you together as friends through the years?

Carroll + Joe: Rick is such a great person to be around. He’s extremely positive. We always look for opportunities to see him. We enjoy texting on college football Saturdays, and we share stories of various athletic endeavors–rides, runs, triathlons.

Rick: Again, common interest, cycling, sports, good wine, and good food.

What are some of your favorite memories of traveling together?

Carroll: I will never forget the “extra ride” through the Val d’Orcia on our Tuscany Bike Tour with Tom, Rick, and Joe. It was so unbelievably beautiful.  I led on the ascents, and Rick flew by us both on the way downhill. As I recall, Tom did most of the ride with one broken pedal and still outrode all of us. We all had a great time making pasta (and drinking grappa) in Tuscany. I also remember Rick and Joe putting wine in their water bottles in Sicily (hint: MISTAKE).

Joe: In January of 2015, my two sons Jupiter and McKay travelled with me to Arlington to see our Oregon Ducks football team play Ohio State for the National Championship. Rick, a longtime Texas A&M Aggies fan, met us in his tailgating rig and took care of us in really cold Texas January weather. Although the game didn’t end as we would’ve liked, it really helped to have Rick join us for the good times and the bad times.

Rick: During our Tuscany Bike Tour, we shared an evening with the group in the home of Lina and her husband Domenico. We all joined in and made our meal from scratch, and enjoyed it and plenty of vino around a large dinner table late into the evening. Tailgating at the National Championship game in Arlington, Texas was pretty cool as well. And Thanksgiving with their extended family was a wonderful time.

Why is a public DuVine tour a great place to meet new friends?

Carroll + Joe: Going on vacation is a great excuse to have a new experience.  Why not have an adventure with wonderful people from other parts of the country or world? Cycling creates so much positive energy; the food is better, the landscape is more beautiful, and everyone is in a good mood.  What an easy time to make new friends! Sometimes couples cycling can be a little challenging because we get stuck in familiar roles (and speeds!). Having Rick there really made us both enjoy riding together more. We didn’t think we would make a friend like Rick when we went on this trip. What an extra gift!

Rick: DuVine organizes such a wonderful experience and brings together like-minded individuals that one can’t help but make connections. Some end when the week ends. Other linger a bit longer before fading, and then there are those like ours that continues on long after the trip ends.

Join a public DuVine cycling trip and meet other like-minded individuals with a passion for Bike/Eat/Drink/Sleep. Who knows—you may even leave the trip with a lifelong friend.  Contact us today to start planning!

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