But our partnerships are far-reaching, even beyond the longtime friends we visit on our cycling tours. We count travel advisors among our most influential allies, and we love the way they pour their hearts into designing the perfect vacation—we do that, too!
Last month, DuVine joined the “Smarties” of SmartFlyer, a full-service travel company, on the trip of a lifetime in Sonoma and Napa. We spent two nights in the stunning luxury of Farmhouse Inn and two more at the inimitable Meadowood Napa Valley, sharing with these well-traveled experts why we stand by biking as the best way to dive into any region.
The ten travel agents who joined us may not have not have considered themselves cyclists, but the quiet roads and gorgeous scenery ignited a newfound love for active travel. As the Smarties found out, cycling vacations aren’t only for avid riders—they’re for everyone. The most experienced rider only ever attended the odd indoor cycling class, but everyone biked between 12 and 30 miles a day!
“I hadn’t done much cycling—just one spin class a week to stay fit—but the experience was eye-opening I was proud of my personal and physical achievements. I’m already hooked—there’s no comparison for unplugging and focusing on your surroundings as you bike.”
—Lauren S., SmartFlyer Travel Advisor
Our visit showed off the best of springtime in California. We hopped off our bikes for a few selfies with the cows who ran up to a fence to greet us and continued onto our favorite country store for iced coffee in the shade. Some of the Smarties lingered over their coffee (and decided to finish the ride in our support van), while others pedaled on to our lunch destination, Arista Winery. Here, everyone reconvened for a hilltop pizza party—with excellent local wine, of course.
Later, a private transfer whisked us away to Single Thread Farms, Healdsburg’s newest restaurant, where an eleven-course prix-fixe dinner of elevated Japanese-meets-Sonoma cuisine lingered late into the evening.
“I entered the trip never having biked on the open road. It was beyond memorable, so fulfilling, and every detail was so perfectly executed. DuVine guides were always by my side, encouraging me to keep going. I ended the trip thinking, ‘Where can I go next with DuVine?'”
—Betsy B., SmartFlyer Travel Advisor
The next day, we were off again toward Napa—one of those places we love because you never have to set foot in a car to see its splendor (unless you want to). Part of the group decided to sleep in and meet us for lunch at their own pace. Others enjoyed cycling on quiet roads from Sonoma into Napa, via Chalk Hill and Knights Valley. They explored the wooded groves along route 128 which open into pastures with stunning views of Mount St. Helena. With each day in the saddle, our friends at SmartFlyer were growing into stronger cyclists!
After a stop for iced chai and homemade snacks using fresh California produce, the newly minted cyclists continued to Davis Estates for a tour of the property a beautifully catered luncheon in their barn. Before long, it was time to retreat to the wine country luxury of Meadowood for some well-deserved spa treatments, tennis matches, or simple relaxation.
What did the travel advisors take away from their mini-DuVine tour of Napa + Sonoma? Cycling tours aren’t only for the spandex-clad weekend warrior type—anyone who loves seeing the world in an active way can come closer to the sights, sounds, and smells of a beautiful destination by bike. As a group who can appreciate the devil in the details of every travel experience, our friends at SmartFlyer glimpsed the depth of care that goes into planning each DuVine bicycle vacation—from our attentive guides to personalized gear and surprising touches, all the details fall away so they—and you—can enjoy the spectacular surroundings completely carefree.
Video by elysiumcreativemedia