FAQs / GENERAL INFORMATION
Our ‘Kettle Valley Tour’ and our ‘Rockies Plus Kettle Valley Tour’ provide all-inclusive service from our meeting point to the finish location with cheerful, caring guides and a cook/driver, all meals, all lodging, support vehicle, luggage transportation, opportunities to catch a lift, and have a group size of generally 7 to 16 participants. All of these tours travel on the Trans Canada Trail to a varying degree.
Our self-guided tour groups have generally 4 to 6 participants who travel on the Trans Canada Trail only (‘Kettle Valley Tour self-guided’). While their package price includes the transportation of their luggage, cost for their lodging, only some breakfasts are provided and they travel without staff. This tour is suitable for cyclists with multi-day biking experience and knowledge of routine bike repairs, such as repairing flat tires, fixing chain derailments, and tightening loosened bolts, as well as basic first aid skills. They will be provided with extensive route info and travel more independently than our guests on escorted trips.
Upon receipt of your registration we will send you an information package with suggestions regarding your clothing and travel gear, tips on physical conditioning, along with additional information about our tour.
At the beginning of our tours, an orientation gathering will be held to have our guests familiarize themselves with the tour: test riding their (rental) bikes, details of our touring adventure, safety procedures, etc.
Routes & Maps
At tour start our guests receive extensive material about the trip, such as daily itineraries and maps with our route indicated, and on specifics of the conducted tour including accommodations and excursions. Every night after dinner our tour leader will discuss the next day’s ride including road conditions, planned stops, special events and points of interest.
At the conclusion of your escorted tour we will celebrate with an awards banquet commemorating your achievement – having conquered the magnificent wilderness of Western Canada on your bicycle.
We have chosen the less busy months of June and September to cycle in the Rockies. Trucks are prohibited on the Icefields Parkway, the road that we cycle the most KM in the Rockies. We ride on it’s shoulder with generally 1-2 metres width. For riders’ visibility we encourage them to wear brightly coloured cycling jerseys and use our safety flags on public roads. Bicycle helmets are to be used when cycling.
While you will probably encounter ascents and descents longer than what you are used to at home, note that the grades in Western Canada are more gradual than in other hilly regions of North America and significantly more moderate than the mountaineous regions in Europe. Usually our support vehicle will be nearby to provide a lift if so desired.
Trans Canada Trail
Mostly we bike on an abandoned railway corridor such as the famous Kettle Valley Railway constituting the backbone and gem of the Trans Canada Trail in BC. These rail trails have a grade of no more than 2% and are generally used by recreational cyclists, hikers and horseback riders. They are usually 3 to 4 metres wide with a varying surface that can be smooth, sandy and rocky at times. Ties and gravel are removed. At times we cross trestles with planks and handrails that make it safe to bike across them. We also come through tunnels that may require us to use a flashlight. Bicycle helmets are to be used when cycling.
Bike Tour Details
Support Vehicle / Support on Tour
On our escorted tours a motor vehicle (sagwagon) with a large trailer ensures the comfort and safety throughout the tour. Our cook & driver is ready to offer congratulations, words of encouragement or a lift. Guests may spend the entire riding day or just a portion of the day in our support vehicle (20-passenger bus).
Our trailer is equipped with an onboard kitchen to prepare a variety of meals and refreshments en route. It also has a wide range of tools and spare parts (i.e. 2 spare bicycles of different sizes) to effectively remedy potential mishaps.
Generally each escorted tour group has 2 guides. Both guides will be cycling with the group pointing out interesting things along the way, giving directions and practical assistance as needed. They are equipped with tools and first aid gear to deal with most situations that may potentially come up during a day’s ride.
Our support vehicle will transport cyclists’ luggage to each overnight destination. Thus our guests can enjoy a lightweigt ride typically taking along a jacket, snacks & drinks, a camera and personal items desired for that day. Our rental bikes provide a handle bar bag and a rack.
Both guides generally cycle at both ends of the tour group and have radios and cellulars with them and so does our driver. Our guests will be provided with our cellular phone numbers at the beginning of a tour.
Our tour package includes all meals and snacks en route. We consider our meals an integral and essential aspect of our overall touring experience. Our chef goes out of his way to serve delicious and nutritious food, preferably local and organic while taking into account preferences and dislikes of our guests. Thus the culinary component of our tours ranks rightly among their fondest recollections. Due to our extensive knowledge of our route we frequently have our meals and picnics at secluded, idyllic spots – part of our wilderness experience.
Our exciting and exhilarating cycling days we aim to top off by lodging in memorable accommodations typical for rural Western Canada. We have carefully selected a variety of the area’s most charming hotels, resorts, guest ranches and mountain lodges that reflect the characteristic warmth and hospitality of the region in which they are located. Several of them have the intimacy of the resident proprietor we have befriended who is pleased to meet our guests. Some of our accommodations offer hot tubs, swimming pools and other amenities to soothe any thrills of past adventures.
We feel privileged to have the opportunity to stay a few times on private and state operated campgrounds at idyllic, remote locations. Typically we spend evenings at campfires sharing stories, listening to the tunes of a guitar or clarinet, singing … Rest assured, we provide the entire camping gear so our guests have a warm and comfortable night in our amazing outdoors. Those who prefer to have a roof over their heads may upgrade and lodge in an indoor dwelling nearby.
Solo travellers who would not mind sharing their room with another single traveller, we will gladly try to book together with another guest (of the same gender). If someone requests single accommodations, or if a roommate can’t be found, a single supplement fee applies. Solo travelers are entitled to their own tent.
Bicycles / renting or not
For carefree travel we recommend renting one of our Rocky Mountain Bicycles 24 or 27-speed mountain bikes. They are made in Canada and have a great reputation for performance, comfort and reliability. Nonetheless our guests are welcome to bring their own properly conditioned bikes at their own cost. Due to space limitations we can’t transport any hardshell bicycle cases. Cyclists who rent a bike from us and prefer to ride with clipless pedals can bring their own pedals, and saddle (without seatpost) and computer, so our rental bike will feel almost like their own. On our Rockies Plus Kettle Valley Tour we will swap premium road tires with typical mountain bike tires when advisable. We do not recommend to use a touring bike on the abandoned rail trails of our route.
With our bicycle touring concept, our proven support system and our intimate knowledge of our cycling routes we adjust our trips to different fitness levels within the group. While the vast majority of our guests tend to be moderate recreational cyclists, those looking for a relaxed scenic ride with plenty of photo opportunities and advanced cyclists aiming to challenge their physical limits generally appreciate our philosophy of allowing our guests to enjoy themselves at their own terms. Thus our daily distances of 40 to 70 km accommodate all, whether those distances are just fine, whether they wish to shorten some by catching a lift in our minibus or whether we find some extra kilometres for them to cover while others may be shooting the breeze.
The highest altitudes that we encounter are Bow Pass and Sunwapta Pass on the Icefields Parkway with both an elevation of about 2,000 metres (Rockies Plus Kettle Valley Tour). These elevations may find us huffing and puffing, however, they will not cause Acute Mountain Sickness. On our Trans Canada Trail Route our hightest elevations will be around 1,250 metres.
As we offer our cycling tours on an international scale, cultural and lingual diversity can be expected with currently English and German as the primary languages spoken. Our groups typically have a pretty even mix of singles and couples, females and males. The majority of tour participants fall within the 40 to 70 age range, with significantly more over the age of 50 than under the age of 30. Participants should be at least 14 years of age and traveling with a parent, if still a minor.
The diversity of our tour groups frequently contributes to enriching our guests enjoyment. Traveling and at times roughing it together through our Western Canadian boonies typically encourages a sense of camaraderie that inspires our outdoorsy-minded guests to stay in touch long after their adventure with us is over.
We welcome a relative or friend joining our cycling guest on a tour, not to share the riding, but the company of our friendly cook & driver and the socializing with our riders later on. A non-cycling companion is eligible to join us for a discount of $250.
We do not sell or trade your address or private information to any third party, except where required by law or as authorized by the participant in an event.
This page is also available in: German