Thursday, December 09, 2010

Give an Adventure Cycling Membership

We are a proud Gold Sponsor of the nonprofit organization Adventure Cycling. These folks out in Missoula, Montana work to inspire people to bicycle by researching the best cycling routes, producing the incredibly detailed bike maps, and publishing the fascinating Adventure Cyclist magazine.

In return for our donation, they gave us 10 annual memberships to give away. We'd like to give them to you to give to someone else. That seems only appropriate given the holiday season. We'll gift them to you so you can pass them onto someone who could use a little inspiration to get on their bike.

Let us know who could use a free membership.  Leave a comment to this blog here, write on our wall or comment on Facebook. If you'd like more privacy, send me an email to jackie at We'll send memberships out to the most compelling messages. Thanks and happy holidays!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Our 2011 Guide Schedule

Every year we receive emails wondering which tours your favorite leaders are working. Here's our 2011 schedule by guide:

Jennifer Thompson
NY: Finger Lakes Wine Country

Linda Gryczan

California: Santa Barbara & Santa Ynez Valley-Spring
Idaho Greenways
Idaho Greenways Private Reunion Tour
Idaho: Teton Tune-Up
Glacier National Park

Patty Jackson
Hawaii: Circling the Big Island
Mississippi: The Natchez Trace Parkway
Utah: Moab Arches and Canyonlands
Cross-Country Northern Tier Eastern Segment (5/19-6/11)
Idaho: Teton Tune-Up
Glacier National Park
New Mexico: Land of Enchantment
Amalfi Coast of Italy
California: Santa Barbara &  Santa Ynez Valley-Fall

Kimberly Masters
Death Valley National Park (2/13-2/18)
Arizona Spring Training
Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
Idaho: Teton Valley
Alaska and the Yukon: The Golden Circle

Michelle Slusher
Death Valley National Park (2/13-2/18)
Arizona Spring Training
Texas Hill Country
Louisiana: Biking the Bayou
Utah: Moab Arches and Canyonlands
California: Santa Barbara &  Santa Ynez Valley
Cross-Country Northern Tier Eastern Segment (7/6-8/17)

Laurie Collins
Bicycling in Bhutan (4/7-4/16)
Maryland Eastern Shore-Northern
Maryland Eastern Shore-Southern
Washington DC Bikeways
Shenandoah National Park
Massachusetts: Cape Cod & Martha's Vineyard
NY: Finger Lakes Wine Country
Michigan Grand Traverse
Michigan Harbor Country
Maine: Downeast and Acadia National Park
Pennsylvania Dutch Country
Outer Banks of North Carolina

Linda Baldwin
Cross-Country Southern Tier
Idaho Greenways
Idaho Greenways Private Reunion Tour
Cross-Country Northern Tier Eastern Segment
Death Valley National Park Private Reunion Tour

Lynne Brach
Death Valley National Park (2/7-2/12)
Texas Hill Country
Louisiana: Biking the Bayou
Michigan Grand Traverse
New Mexico: Land of Enchantment
Pennsylvania Dutch Country
Outer Banks of North Carolina

Denise Purdue
Hawaii: Circling the Big Island
Cross-Country Northern Tier (5/19-6/11)
Massachusetts: Cape Cod & Martha's Vineyard-Fall
Washington DC Bikeways-Fall

Sid Moffatt

Mississippi: The Natchez Trace Parkway
Maryland Eastern Shore-Northern
Maryland Eastern Shore-Southern
Washington DC Bikeways
Alaska: The Inside Passage

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
Idaho: Teton Valley
Alaska and the Yukon: The Golden Circle

Carol Wilder
Cross-Country Southern Tier
Shenandoah National Park
Maine: Downeast and Acadia National Park
Death Valley National Park Private Reunion Tour

Gloria Smith
Bicycling in Bhutan

Jackie Marchand

 Michigan Harbor Country

Yvonne Jackson: Cross-Country Northern Tier (6/10-6/30 and 7/6-7/29)
Cheryl Heffernan: Death Valley National Park (2/7-2/12) and Massachusetts: Cape Cod & Martha's Vineyard-Spring

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Radio Podcast about WomanTours

WomanTours was the focus of the bicycling radio show The Outspoken Cyclist this week. You can hear my interview along with Cheryl Teare who did our Finger Lakes Wine Country bike tour last year. It was fun remembering how I got into cycling, how I came to WomanTours, how hot it was on Cheryl's tour last year.  It was my 15 minutes of fame. A big thank you to Diane Lees, the host of the show.

You can listen to the podcast on the WJCU radio station website here.

Or on iTunes here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Washington DC Bikeways tour in video

Washington, D.C. Bikeways from WomanTours on Vimeo.

Annette has done it again. She's produced a wonderful video about our Washington DC Bikeways tour. It shows you what it's like to be on one of our tours. Watch our video here and be sure to let us know what you think. And then tell all your friends - thanks!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Name our cover girls for free cycling socks

Our 2011 tour catalog is out! If you can name our cover girls, we'll send you a free pair of cycling socks.

Hint: one of them is a guide and the other has been on 14 tours with us.

You can guess as often as you like until November 15, 2010, but you can only win 1 pair of socks per person. Surely, someone out there was on their Moab tour last year where this photo was taken.

Click here to get your own copy of our tour catalog.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Adirondacks in Autumn multi-sport tour

Ode to the Adirondacks
by Lisa Szymanski, September 2010

Day 1
We all got on the van in Albany,
Excited for the adventure that was about to be.
Sid and Jackie dropped us off at the side of the road,
Saying, “So long, ladies! The van will carry your load!”
The first long hill nearly did us all in;
“What?” we call cried, “we have to climb more again?”
We finally rolled in to The Hedges before dark,
A charming little camp in Adirondack Park.
We stuffed ourselves at dinner and we talked biking lingo,
Then WomanTours kicked butt during Sunday night bingo!

Day 2

The rain started falling but it didn’t get us down;
Ann showed us how to kayak (and hopefully not drown).
Our destination: a picnic spot “just beyond that next pine;”
“Are we there yet?”, “My arms hurt!” We were not doing fine!
A little lunch, a warm fire, and we were back on our way,
But the wind had picked up – felt like the Chesapeake Bay!
Hours later, paddling as hard as we could,
We finally docked – land never looked so good!

Day 3

Next came “The Hike” – straight up a rock!
We followed Sid and Jackie, the unsuspecting flock.
We slipped and we tripped, we grabbed roots and huffed and puffed;
“How much farther?”, “My legs hurt!”, “I think I’ve had enough!”
But oh, the peak! The vista! The view!
We wolfed down our lunch and hit the “green room!”

Day 4

On to more cycling; by now we all knew the drill:
Get into your lowest gear if you wanna make it up that hill!
Barely crawling up them at 3 miles per hour,
“Damn! I’m out of lower gears and my legs are out of power!”
But oh, those downhills – I tell ya, it was scary!
(Kind of like the feeling when we almost lost Mary!)

Day 5

Our first day in Keene Valley and it’s rained and rained some more;
Some of us went hiking – we are so hard core!
We scampered over puddles while others relaxed back at “home,”
But we had our own treats – “Would anyone like a scone?”
Now it’s Thursday and we’re toasty, fed, and (mostly) dry;
“Only 2 days left?!” in disbelief we all cry.
One more day to cycle and one more day to hike,
To lace up our boots and to hop on the bike.
Each day we started low and we climbed together high,
Even with the raindrops falling from the sky.
Sid and Jackie kept us well-fed and watered every day,
Encouraged us and cheered us every step of the way,
Believed we could do it, no matter what our skills –
I think we’ll miss them dearly, but not these frikkin’ hills!

Day 6

The weather looked iffy, so we split up the group;
A few drove to Lake Placid while others cycled the loop.
The drizzle splattered our glasses ‘til we couldn’t see nothin’
Yet we had to work off those banana nut muffins!
The mountains were hidden in cold clouds of mist;
The road was slick with wet pine needles – well, you get the gist.
We thought about sagging at the 11.2 turn
But Jackie missed the stop – yeah, we got burned.
Made us climb up the grade – thank god for that granny!
(My toes were going numb, not to mention my fanny!)
Oh the joys of cycling – the fresh air, give me a dose!
And what better way to see road kill up close?
We finally re-grouped in the Olympic Village;
Twelve women with credit cards, the stores we did pillage!

Day 7

Now the last day is dawning – it is cold, crisp, but clear;
One last walk in the woods as the end draws near.
An easy trek over bridges through sun-dappled trees;
We’re all feeling good – no achy knees!
One last picnic together, some last M&Ms;
A lot of us planning to do this again.
So goodbye to our saddles and paddles and wool socks;
I think we all agree:  WomanTours rocks!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Miles for Mariann is top Bike MS Fund Raising Team

Michelle (front, left); Cele (back, 3rd from left) Carolyn (back, 4th from left)
One of the great things about our bike tours is the friendships we make while on them. Michelle, from our office, met Carolyn on our Pennsylvania Dutch Country tour last year. This year, she joined Carolyn and another WomanTours fan, Cele, on their Bike MS team MS Miles for Mariann. Together they were the top find raising team for the Finger Lakes Challenge. They raised $20,848.13 for the National MS Society - Congratulations!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Bike Guides

If you're lucky enough to travel with Michelle as your guide, then you've probably heard her pick her guitar and sing a song or two. But if you dream about becoming a bike tour guide yourself, you may want to think again. Michelle graciously shared these lyrics wish us from one of her latest songs.

If you want to see and hear Michelle sing another one of her songs, watch our Moab bike tour video here.

Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be bike guides
Don't let em pick guitars and drive them old trucks
Their bikes are worth more than their retirement funds.
Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be bike guides
Cause they'll never stay home and they're always alone
Doing the work that they love.

Bike guides ain't easy to find, they don't answer their phones
Facebook's the only way you know where they're at on the globe
The college degrees we've all gotten have just turned to dust
Cause the thought of the blue cube and living inside
Just turns our minds to mush.

Beat up sunglasses and old Pearl Izumi
Cut off t-shirts and tanned feet
They drink too much coffee and beer
Cause they never sleep.
Them that don't know em think their life's like a rock star's
Working is really all play
But they get up at dawn and they're always on
Until the last light of day.

Bike guides get the smoky motel rooms and roll away beds
They have to be cook, mechanic, counselor and friend
Backing the trailer's a skill that they do to no end
And they can dance on the roof in high winds with a bike in each hand.

Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be bike guides
Don't let em pick guitars and drive them old trucks
Their bikes are worth more than their retirement funds.
Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be bike guides
Cause they'll never stay home and they're always alone
Doing the work that they love.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Barbara Minnick

It’s taken me a long time to be able to write about this. We lost a WomanTours bicyclist last month. Barbara Minnick was hit from behind while she was biking on our Northern Tier Western Segment Tour near Minot, North Dakota.

The driver was a 48-year-old man in a pick-up truck. He was on the way to his son’s wedding. It was a 4-lane divided road, straight, with little traffic. It was a warm sunny afternoon with a nice tailwind, and you could see for miles, but he didn't see her until it was too late. She flew off her bike and landed in soft, tall grass.

That's the part I’d like to remember. It was a beautiful resting place, with farmland all around. I want to believe she died instantly and painlessly.

The Meandering Mississippi was Barbara's first tour with us in 2007. She did a tour every year after that, and I saw her on each of them.

I’ll never forget the first time I met her. She told me that we needed to proof our printed material better. It was as if she’d stabbed me, but she was right. I’ve tried to do better ever since, but I always knew I could count on her to point out our itinerary inaccuracies. Every year, she’d go over them at home before the tour and email me so I could fix our mistakes.

I was cycling with her once when her bike got caught on a lip in the pavement and she fell over. She hurt an arm that had been healing from a previous injury.  After a little first aid, she got up and back on her bike. She may have been 70, but she was tough. And she loved that bike and bicycling.

I could also tell that she loved WomanTours as a community more with each year.  We all watched her blossom into the confident, kind, funny, caring and loving person she was on this year’s tour.  My heart goes out to the women who have biked with her and known her through the years with WomanTours. And my heart goes out to her friends and family at home.

She died doing what she loved, so I try to remember that to make the loss easier.

I received an email yesterday from Marissa who is about to do her first tour with us. She’s new to biking and is madly training to get in shape for the tour. I emailed her, “Isn’t the biking fun?” And she replied, “Its more than fun, it's a whole new sense of freedom!”

Sometimes that freedom can be all too fleeting. Be careful out there. Wear bright colors, bike defensively and cherish every moment. I am honored to have known Barbara and to have biked with her. I will miss her.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Just back from our Finger Lakes bike tour

We're in the midst of a heat wave here in the northeast, but that didn't deter any of the women on our Finger Lakes Wine Country tour from bicycling. Once again though, the beautiful scenery took a back seat to the amazing women themselves.

There was Sandy, whose daughter Ellen talked her into doing the trip with her. Having recently undergone knee replacement surgery, Sandy experienced a personal best every day. She'd never bicycled as many miles in her life!

And there was Julie, who was recovering from a broken foot and discovering that she really could bike hills again.

And Alison and Juli, who may well become the next Food Network star - watch for her!

And Meri and Kathy, who I met 6 years ago in Sicily, and who continue to remind me what best friends are - thank you.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Northern Tier Tours Take Off!

Our two Northern Tier tours left the coast of Anacortes, Washington for the plains of Fargo, North Dakota one day apart last week. Wish them fair skies and tailwinds!
Most of Tour #1.

Almost all of Tour #2

To follow some of the women on their bike tour halfway across the country, follow these blogs:
Vicky Chapman
Sherrie Kingsley
Kathy Leonard
Ellen Martyn
Barbara Minnick
Mary Palmberg
Clark Taylor
Linda Tilley

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lessons Learned on Today's Bike Ride

I carpooled with Marcia today to meet some running buddies for lunch followed by a bike ride.  After lunch, I took my bike out of my Marcia's trunk to put the wheels back on. I heard one of my friends say, "Let's watch Jackie put her rear wheel back on so we can learn how to do it. She's the expert."

Well, for the life of me, I couldn't get it on. The chain had gotten all turned around and kinked. I'd never seen anything like it. Feeling the pressure, I undid the master link on the chain, thinking that would make it easier to get the rear wheel on. Then I'd be able to unkink the chain and rehook the master link.

Suddenly, the link slipped off the chain and down between two wooden slats on the deck where I was standing. It was 14'' below us, but it may as well have been a mile. We couldn't see the tiny link among all the debris and there was no way to get beneath the deck anyway.

My friends took off for their bike ride and Marcia offered to drive me to a bike shop to buy a new chain. When I asked the guy behind the counter for a chain, he said, "You don't need a new chain, you need a new rear derailleur!" In all my anxiety, I hadn't realized that the broken derailleur was the reason I couldn't get the wheel on. That explained the strange popping noise I'd heard when I'd put the bike in the trunk of the car!

After a few phone calls to area bike shops, I found a Campagnolo 8-speed rear derailleur - kind of a relic these days, so I'll be spending the evening installing it.

So what were the lessons learned?
1.) Be sure you're on firm ground before attempting a bike repair.
2.) No matter how much you think you know, there's a guy at a bike shop that knows more.
3.) Don't car pool to lunch - ride your bike.

My broken rear derailleur

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Back home from the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park Tour

It looks like a fake backdrop, doesn't it? It's the actual scenic overlook, Artist Point at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. This is most of our group, minus the "SoCal girls, " who were probably busy tending to their beautiful ti bikes.

The daily weather forecast was for rain all week, but we stayed dry every day except the first. It was an amazing tour - Yellowstone more than lived up to its reputation. For more photos from the bike tour, click here.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Reunion before the Yellowstone tour

The best part about bike tours is the friends you make who live all over the country.

I arrived in Driggs, ID yesterday in prep for the start of our Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks tour. It's the home of WomanTours founder Gloria Smith. She cooked a lovely dinner for me and co-leader Linda.

We dined with Phyllis and Lynn, who I met 2 years ago on our Italy tour.  And I got to see Ellen who does all of our graphic design, like our annual tour catalog. She lives in St. Anthony, ID, so we don't get to see each other very often. The sun shined on us all evening. After Phyllis and Lynn finished telling me about their recent trip to the Galapagos, I talked them into joining us in Bhutan next year!
left to right: Me, Phyllis, Linda, Lynn, Gloria, Ellen

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Bicycling in Bhutan

When I asked Marian Marbury of Adventures in Good Company where I should plan a bike tour, she immediately suggested Bhutan. I’d never heard of it. But her enthusiasm piqued my interest.

At about the same time, I received some unsolicited literature in the mail from a Bhutanese bicycle touring company. Before I knew anything more than Bhutan was nestled between China and India, I was heading to the small Asian country to plan a bike tour. It was providence.

The first thing you learn about Bhutan is how hard it is to get to. Halfway around the world is a long way to fly. There’s only 1 airline – Drukair – that flies into Bhutan and only one city – Bangkok – that offers daily flights. However, I’m thankful for this, as it will help slow down the change that is quickly overtaking Bhutan. If you want to go to Bhutan, then you have to go soon. But I get ahead of myself.

Bhutan is twice the size of Maryland, with a population smaller than the metropolitan area of my hometown of Rochester, NY.  Three-fourths of the country is covered in forest. The capital city of Thimphu doesn’t have a stoplight. In fact, there isn’t a stoplight anywhere in the country. They’ve only had paved roads since the 1950s and there’s very little traffic.

The monarchy government declared a democracy, appointed a Minister of Domestic Happiness, and opened the nation’s borders to tourism just a couple years ago. They’re working hard at bringing the positive side of modernization, such as electricity and education, to all Bhutanese.

But I couldn’t help but wonder as I passed the line of hotels under construction by the airport, how long will it be until Bhutan starts to see some of our western problems? There is no talk of pollution, unemployment, crime, corruption or homelessness in Bhutan. They just don’t exist as they do here in the western world.

There’s no separation of church and state in Bhutan either. Buddhism is a way of life. Prayer flags are everywhere. They live their faith. I’ve never been to a place that treasures traditions, honors natural resources, and cherishes life like in Bhutan.  I’m not a religious person, but Bhutan felt like a holy place to me.

Maybe a story from my trip can explain it best. As we were driving in Bhutan, we heard a small thump. We stopped and all got out of the car to see a bird lain dead in the middle of the road. I watched as my guide picked it up gently, petted it, and then set the bird softly down in the tall grass on the side of the road.  He said hopefully, “The bird’s soul will return to the world as a higher being.” All I could think about is the times back home when I’d hit a bird and never stopped.

You’ll surely come away from Bhutan with your own lessons. I was reminded to stop and care about the little things.

Bicycles in Bhutan are still an anomaly. If you want to see a place in transition before it’s changed forever, before it becomes the next China, India or even Vietnam, then join us for Bicycling in Bhutan. I guarantee that it will be beautiful and fascinating. And you might even learn a lesson or two.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Women's Bike Ride in Freeport Maine

The only bad thing about working our Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks bike tour this June  is I can't join the Women's Ride in Freeport, Maine on June 13th. 

Coordinated by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, this 9th annual event is extremely well-run. There are a variety of bike ride options: 50, 25, 15 and 5. Surely, anyone can find a suitable distance for herself!

So if you're looking for an excuse to bike in Maine, join hundreds of other women in Freeport (home of LL Bean.) If it weren't for Yellowstone, I'd be there. So many places to bike, so little time!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Santa Barbara Tour and Michelle Green Update

Here are the beautiful women of our Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley bike tour, except for Michelle Slusher who must have been taking the picture. They've obviously cleaned up from the day's bike ride and are waiting for dinner.

As for my sister, Michelle (front, far right,) she rode 56 miles that day. Some of the women she was biking with had a slew of flat tires. After fixing all of them, they just flat ran out of time. They took a short ride in our van so they wouldn't be late for dinner. Can't say as I blame them!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Michelle on our Santa Barbara tour

When my sister Michelle started working for WomanTours, she didn't even own a bike. Four tours, 2 flat tires and a couple hundred dollars in clothes later, she's now a bona fide cyclist. She's on our Santa Barbara tour now, enjoying the sunshine and dreading today's 69-mile day. She doesn't know it yet, but she's ready for it - she's been biking to work a couple times a week this spring, up a nasty hill. If she bikes all today's miles, it will be her personal best....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Save $283 on our new Washington DC bike tour

Save $283.50 if you can fill the last space on our Washington DC Bikeways bike tour May 24-29, 2010. We're offering a 15% discount to anyone who can go at this last minute and take the last spot. The money you save can pay for your flight to the tour, or you can drive and leave your car at the start.

We're psyched about our newest tour. It's nearly all on bike paths, quiet, car-free, pastoral. You'll forget you're in a huge urban center. You'll get the chance to bike by the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian and along the Potomac River. Our photographer Annette is going, so you'll be sure to get some beautiful pictures while you're there too.

Call or email us if you're interested!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

List of Women's Only Rides

If you missed the women's only Cinderella Classic bike ride in California last week, then consider joining one of these upcoming women's only cycling events. We're going to try to attend as many as possible.

Girls with Gears in Limerick, PA on 4/18/10
Goldilocks Women Only in Herriman, UT on 5/8/10
Velo de Femme in Paso Robles, CA on 5/29/10
Little Red Riding Hood in Logan, UT on 6/5/10
Annual Women's Ride in Freeport, ME on  6/13/10
Venus de Miles in Longmont, CO on 8/29/10
Hope on Wheels in Leiper's Fork, TN on  9/11/10
Cycle the Wave in Issaquah, WA on 9/19/10
Princess Promenade in Sacramento, CA on 10/3/10
La Tour de Femme in  Cary, NC on 10/9/10
Wild Goose Chase in Cambridge, MD on 10/17/10
Cinderella Classic in Pleasanton, CA on 4/2/11

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bicycling the Cinderella Classic

I joined 2499 other women in bicycling the Cinderella Classic on Saturday. It's an extremely well-organized, women-only, metric century coordinated by the Valley Spokemen Bicycle Touring Club in California every year.

After the ride, we sponsored a drawing at our booth for a free WomanTours trip. Of the 244 women who entered, Nancy Levin of San Francisco was the lucky winner. Many thanks to Roxanne and Meri for staffing the booth and for Kathy for pushing me so hard on the ride.

Get on the mailing list now and plan to join us next year. The ride sells out every year!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Our Tour Schedule by Guide

While we think all WomanTours guides are excellent, I know that some of you have your favorites. So here's a listing of our 2010 tours by guide. It might help you decide where to bicycle this year - good luck!

Carol Wilder
Vermont Champlain Valley
Downeast Maine and Acadia National Park
Cape Cod & Martha's Vineyard

Denise Purdue
Northern Tier Cross-Country #1
New Mexico Land of Enchantment

Jennifer Thompson
Finger Lakes Wine Country

Kimberly Masters
Shenandoah National Park
Tour de Tetons
Downeast Maine and Acadia National Park

Laurie Collins
Maryland Eastern Shore
Washington DC Bikeways - May & September
Shenandoah National Park
Cape Cod & Martha's Vineyard - June
Tour de Tetons
Teton Valley
Glacier National Park
Pennsylvania Dutch Country
Outer Banks of North Carolina
Arizona in Autumn
Death Valley National Park

Linda Baldwin
Northern Tier Cross-Country #2
Arizona in Autumn
Death Valley National Park

Linda Gryczan
Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
Teton Valley
Glacier National Park
Santa Barbara & Santa Ynez Valley - October

Lynne Brach
Santa Barbara & Santa Ynez Valley - May
Cape Cod & Martha's Vineyard - June & September
Michigan Grand Traverse
Washington DC Bikeways - September
Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Michelle Slusher
Northern Tier Cross-Country #2
Santa Barbara & Santa Ynez Valley - May & October
Northern Tier Cross-Country #2
Sun Valley
Idaho Greenways
Grand Canyon, Bryce and Capitol Reef National Parks
Moab: Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

Patty Jackson
Maryland Eastern Shore
Washington DC Bikeways - May
Northern Tier Cross-Country #1
Sun Valley
Idaho Greenways
New Mexico Land of Enchantment
Grand Canyon, Bryce and Capitol Reef National Parks
Moab: Arches and Canyonlands National Parks
Outer Banks of North Carolina

Sid Moffat
Alaska: The Inside Passage
Michigan Grand Traverse
Vermont Champlain Valley

and me...
Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
Finger Lakes Wine Country
Amalfi Coast of Italy #1
Adirondack State Park

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Go to a National Park for free!

In celebration of National Parks Week, entrance fees to all 392 National Parks are being waived during the 9 days of April 17-25, 2010. So grab your bike or your hiking shoes, but leave your cash at home, because admission is free! Read more about National Park Week here.

If you can't make it your favorite park this month, then consider one of the many tours that we do that includes a visit to a national park. We always include admission to the park for free!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Use Google Maps for Bicycling Routes

I use Google Maps for everything -- not just to get me where I'm going, but to help me design and update routes on our bike tours. I also use it to help me plan our tour schedule by telling me how long it takes to get our vehicles from place to place.    

Now, it can also help me to commute by bike. The next time you're looking up driving directions, click on the "By Car" option and change it to "Bicycling". Then click "Get Directions." Google displays a bike-friendly route.

Google's not always correct. Sometimes it misses a bike path that I know about, or puts me on a high-traffic road, but it's also helped me find new routes that I had never tried before. 

Use it whether you're looking to commute by bike or not. The more that Google sees that there's a need for it, the more they'll invest in making it accurate. It can only get better with time and use.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Update on International Tour Survey

It's been a little over a month since we began our international tour survey. If you haven't taken it yet and want to register your preference, click here to take our survey.

So far, 226 people have weighed in and Italy is by far the overall winner.  That's a good thing, as we already go to Italy. There's still space on our fall tours to the Amalfi Coast. Here are our results to date:

Argentina - 64
Belize - 53
Bhutan - 32
Italy - 101
Peru - 56
South Africa - 48
Vietnam - 50

The country with the most write-in votes is France with 17 with Ireland running a close second at 15. Thanks for your input. We'll keep counting and we'll keep working on some new international tours for y'all!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Please Take This Cycling Survey

The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) is coordinating a survey of female bicyclists. Please take the anonymous survey by clicking on the link - I did. It's worth the 15 minutes of your time. I hope it helps get more women and girls on their bikes!

The APBP is also sponsoring a free webinar on March 31, 2010 at 3:00pm eastern time. It's entitled, Writing Women Back into Bicycling: Changing Transportation Culture to Encourage More Women to Cycle More Places More Often. Read more about it and register here. 

Feel free to pass this information on to all the female cyclists you know.

Monday, March 22, 2010

NY Bicycling Coalition Seeks Executive Director

The New York Bicycling Coalition (NYBC) seeks an Executive Director. It is a well established, 20 year-old statewide non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a coherent, credible voice for the interests of all bicyclists in the state, on- or off-road, recreational or racer. NYBC is looking for a highly energetic, innovative
individual willing to make at least a three-year commitment to this challenging position.

The Executive Director has responsibility for all NYBC activities, including:

1) Working with the Board of Directors on legislative matters and meetings with representatives from New York State government Executive and Legislative branches and other priorities that may arise.
2) Communication with members and other related parties via the tri-annual newsletter, website updates, monthly e-news and club outreach letters, and managing an ongoing membership drive.
3) General program administration, operational activities, grants management, and regular correspondence with the Board.
4) Annual budgets for the Board’s review and advice, oversee the allocation of financial and staff resources among the various projects and functions, and devise any needed work plans.
5) Networking with personal contacts, cycling groups, and officials for the purpose of NYBC program and fund development.

The Qualifications needed for the position are:
1) Commitment to the mission: The E/D is a cyclist and committed to creating an improved, safer environment for bicycling throughout New York State. This involves working collaboratively with an equally committed volunteer Board of Directors.
2) Strong communication skills: The E/D is the public "face" of the organization, and needs excellent written, presentation and oral communication skills. Ideally, the candidate will also have some web programming and desktop publishing experience.
3) Leadership skills: The E/D must have the capacity to work with a wide array of interests — government officials, bicycle clubs, civic and business leaders and the news media. The E/D will have thoughts and plans on reaching-out to clubs for mobilizing and activating their membership.
4) Professional expertise: The E/D must have an understanding of bicycling, pedestrian and transportation issues. This includes the ability to manage advocacy and plan projects. A body of published papers and presentations and recognized stature in the field is a plus.
5) Management skills: The E/D must be able to identify strategies for achieving NYBC goals, and raise resources to support those strategies. Key is the ability to plan and budget, evaluate operations and programs, and control spending. E/D must also be able to manage outside consultants as well as full and part-time paid staff.

Salary range: $35K-40K/yr (with benefits)
Start Date: Spring 2010
Resumes accepted until an Executive Director is selected, expected to be early April.
Location: Capital Region of New York, the seat of State Government

To apply, please send the following materials via email to the Coalition or mail to:
NYBC Executive Director Search
PO Box 8868
Albany, NY 12208
1. Cover letter that speaks to your experience in fundraising and campaign management.
2. Résumé
3. Two writing samples of less than one page each for which you were the sole author--one should be a fundraising piece and the other should reflect advocacy or policy work.

The New York Bicycling Coalition is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Subaru Outback Joins Cross-Country Tour Fleet

Please welcome the newest member of the WomanTours support vehicle fleet. She's a 2007 Subaru Outback, soon to be equipped with WomanTours signage, roof rack, first aid kit, bicycle tool kit, water cooler, snack tray, spare tires and tubes, sunscreen and toilet paper.

We'll use her as a SAG (Support and Gear) vehicle on our Northern Tier tour this June instead of a sweep bicyclist. Four of our riders will switch off driving her along the route, providing everything a fellow bicyclist might need, including a lift. In return for volunteering their time one out of every four days, the SAG drivers receive a discount on the tour price. We still need one more driver for this summer's tour.

We use our Subarus and SAG drivers on all our epic bike tours, such as the cross-country Southern Tier and Northern Tier, the Meandering Mississippi and the Northwest Loop. We couldn't run the tours without them!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

12 Years to the Southern Tier

It took Patti Hall 12 years to finally do our Southern Tier cross-country bike tour. It was 1998 when she read this article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and she's been hanging onto it ever since. She gave it to me at the start of this year's tour in San Diego last week.

It was Barbara Manger who biked across the country and wrote about it 12 years ago. As she explains, "Every journey is about more than the journey."

She used the tour to raise $28,000 in the fight against breast cancer, and as top fund raiser on the tour, she won a Terry bicycle. She gave it to a friend who didn't have a bike and who's since become an avid cyclist.  While on the tour, Barbara came up with the idea to create a nonprofit to expose children to art. Twelve years later, her non-profit Artists Working in Education operates mobile truck studios bringing art and art-making materials to Milwaukee youth. Just last year, she got together with friends she met on the tour and they all biked the all-female, metric century Cinderella Classic bike ride together. They still keep in touch.

And finally, 12 years later, she's inspired Patti Hall to do the tour. "I hope she has a great time - I did!"

Monday, March 08, 2010

Southern Tier cross-country bike tour takes off!

Our 2010 Southern Tier cross-country bike tour left San Diego last Friday on a gorgeous sunny spring day. All 25 of them made it 40 miles down the road to the first stop in Alpine, at an altitude of 1800'. The group consists of a pair of sisters, a couple women in their 70s and a big bunch of bloggers. I think we have them all listed below now. We wish them a wonderful ride!

JoAnn Bary
Linda Beiler
Karen Cooper
Sue Hersman
Suzanne Howze
Kathy Kirby
Katie Lemley
Lois Nafziger
Rita Rowe

Monday, March 01, 2010

Visit to the Handmade Bicycle Show

The Handmade Bicycle Show in Richmond this past weekend was a feast for snow-weary eyes. Beautiful bikes were everywhere. They ranged from the pristine, titanium beauties from Moots to the down, dirty and funky Banjo Bicycles here.

I couldn't justify a new bike quite yet, but I did plunk down $240 for a new pair of handmade cycling shoes from Dromarti. I figure I saved myself at least $10,000. Now that's a deal!