Corporate Supporter Spotlight: ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours

Jul 29, 2011

This post is part of a series that spotlights Adventure Cycling's corporate supporters. These companies support our mission and programs and do some cool stuff of their own. We decided to ask them some questions and, as a result, have learned a few interesting things about our supporters that we'd like to share with you. The answers below are direct from the companies. We hope that this gives you the chance to get to know them a little better, too.

ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours, a silver-level member, is one of our newer corporate members. Maria Elena Price, co-owner, took time to answer some of our questions and tell us more about her company.

Adventure Cycling: Tell us a little bit about your company.
Maria Elena: We are a bicycle tour company that organizes bicycling vacations in Europe and Latin America. Our trips are one- to two-week-long tours (and a few month-long or longer trips thrown in there as well) and are fully-supported, guided tours that take people to some of the top bicycling destinations in the world. Cycling is the key to our rides, and most itineraries have you traveling by bicycle from one comfortable, cozy hotel to the next. We also ensure that travelers have time for sightseeing and exploring on all our tours – it isn’t a race!

Our classic destinations include the Bike Across Italy tour from Venice to Pisa (or Pisa to Venice!), established in 1972 by the parents of current owners. Since then, the tour has changed a bit, but it is still one of our most popular trips – after all, cycling cross-country holds a great sense of accomplishment! France, Spain, Argentina, and Germany are just a few of the other countries we take bicycle travelers to. All of our trips are designed so travelers set their own pace (navigating with our signature chalk arrows) and enjoy central, locally owned accommodations at the end of the day – wonderful guides, fabulous local cuisine, and great bikes.

 

Adventure Cycling: Talk about what services or products you provide for bicycle tourists.
Maria Elena: All our trips are fully-supported (accommodations, van support, guides, and navigation). We include the bicycle rental with the tour and offer some of the best bicycle touring fleets in the business.

Adventure Cycling: Why do you support Adventure Cycling through corporate membership?
Maria Elena: We feel that bicycle travel is incredibly important, and any organization that is dedicated to furthering the use and infrastructure of bicycles (and especially traveling by bike) is important. Many of our customers have never taken a bicycle vacation when they first join us on tour – ultimately, we are in the business of converting people to love bicycle travel, and Adventure Cycling is too.

Adventure Cycling: What are your five favorite cycling-related things right now?
Maria Elena:

  1. It seems more people are aware that a bicycle is a great way not to just work out but also to travel and use at home.
  2. The bicycle industry is making it easier and easier to be a commuter – bikes with racks, fenders, and appropriate gearing. Also, great examples and lists of “best cities for biking” make other communities want to improve.
  3. Here in Fort Collins, Colorado, a number of streets have been converted from four to two lanes to make room for bike lanes. And we have our first “sharrows” just this summer. Educating motorists and bicyclists alike seems to be a priority for more cities.
  4. Professional bicycle racing is returning to Colorado this summer; we are quite excited.
  5. Our new Ti road bike fleet in Europe for those who come on tour and want road bikes! 

Adventure Cycling: Where would you like to see cycling in America be in five years?
Maria Elena:

  • More bike and shared lanes.
  • School programs that have our youth back outside riding to school and for fun, and educating them on safe cycling habits
  • More bike libraries and bike share programs, so if you are traveling a bike is always available.
  • A regular part of everyone’s day.
  • More incentives from companies to get their employees biking to work.

 

Adventure Cycling: What is your favorite service or program that Adventure Cycling offers?
Maria Elena: Advocacy efforts, educational opportunities, resources for bicycle travel. Enjoy Bike Bits every month; there is always something to amuse or amaze. Also, Adventure Cyclist magazine keeps the hopes and dreams of that next trip alive and thriving.

Adventure Cycling: As your company grows, have you had mainly tailwinds, headwinds, or crosswinds? Please explain.
Maria Elena: The travel and tourism industry has certainly seen all kinds of different winds. 9/11 and the recent recession are two examples of times when we had to pull back and reconsider and focus on who we are and what we do best. Fortunately, these times (like headwinds) ultimately make you stronger, so as the winds start to shift we are prepared and ready as a much stronger company to continue offering our best product – quality cycling vacations in Europe and Latin America – to our travelers.

Adventure Cycling: Have any of your staff ridden Adventure Cycling's mapped routes? Which ones?
Maria Elena: Yes, the Great Parks route from Walden, Colorado, to Lake Louise in Canada. Some of us are aspiring to do the cross-country ride as well, as soon as we can find time.

Adventure Cycling: What do you like best about the magazine (other than having your logo appear)?
Maria Elena: The photographs and articles are incredibly inspirational – in fact, they make us all want to jump on our bikes, leave our email behind, and go explore.

 

Adventure Cycling: What cycling-related benefits do you offer your staff?
Maria Elena: We have a variety of programs and partnerships with bicycle product distributors that benefit our staff, but we also try and encourage bicycle commuting by providing 2 bike credits ($2) a day to each person who does bike to work (or walk or take alternative transportation). These credits are then used to purchase bikes and other bicycle products. Also, we do get to go on our own tours – so part of our “work” is going on a bicycle tour in Europe or Latin America (not a bad gig).

Adventure Cycling: Is there anything else about your company that you really want to share with our readers?
Maria Elena: We plan our itineraries a lot like you would – you actually get to travel by bicycle and you don’t have to get in the van if you don’t want to for 90% of our itineraries. Follow our chalk dust arrows and keep your mind on the beauty that surrounds you or on your next gelato stop. Our company is chalk full of people who love to share their passion for travel by bicycle.

 

Thanks to Maria Elena for taking some time to share her company with us! ExperiencePlus! has generously offered a free jersey to any Adventure Cycling member who signs up for one of their tours. Simply mention your membership during registration and they will hook you up! To learn more about their tours and their company, visit their website, find them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.

 

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MEMBERSHIP HIGHLIGHTS is typically posted every other Friday by Amy Corbin, Membership and Marketing Coordinator. Membership Highlights spotlights the various benefits of membership,our accomplishments thanks to member support, and even interviews with some of our most passionate and dedicated members, both individual and organizational.

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