You’ve traveled with VBT to France, Spain, and the Netherlands and you’re leaving soon for Italy with a group! Tell us why you chose these destinations.
I keep a VBT catalog on my coffee table and often flip through it, bending the corners of the pages and marking my bucket list. I always pick trips with easier activity ratings, as I don’t look at this as a workout but as an opportunity for sightseeing, eating and fun in between!
I also want to ensure that the people I invite don’t feel intimidated, and these easier trips are perfect for planning diverse groups. My trip to France was with my 85-year-old father and my 22-year-old daughter who had just graduated from college. I tell people that VBT bike trips are for anyone at any age and any fitness level!
What are some of your favorite memories from your VBT adventures?
Every trip is my favorite trip! No matter where we go, I can be sure that there will be consistently great service and fabulous activities, hotels, and food. I am so grateful to have the memories of traveling with VBT with my sweet dad—every single photo warms my heart. My mantra is no regrets! Don’t wait…do it now!
I also love it when I can get the entire group (guides too) to do a plank! I post lots of pictures on my Instagram and our hashtag is #planksinprettyplaces.
What inspired you to start organizing VBT groups?
2008-2010 were really rough years for me. It was a time to reboot and reinvent myself, and to create a life I loved! At first it was scary, but I had a huge sense of adventure and knew there was a big world out there to see. As I worked to get my feet back on the ground, I met other people who were also going through a transition in their lives.
So, I encouraged my clients and students to try something new and different. I especially wanted my spin students to try riding outside on a real bike! I knew from my own experience that VBT trips are stress free, so it was an easy “sell” to get others on board too.
What tips do you have for someone hoping to organize a VBT group?
Reach out to anyone and everyone—you never know who might be ready to say yes (even if they said no last time). Diverse groups are fun—on our upcoming trip to Italy (Tuscany by the Sea) we have a great combination of couples and single ladies traveling. I don’t know everyone—one person invites another person who invites another, and so on!
I create a group email and a private Facebook page and post tips, pictures, and any pertinent communication that helps first time travelers feel confident and relaxed. While on the trip, I teach a class each morning before breakfast (yoga or pilates or stretch) to anyone in the group who would like to join.
I prepare a small welcome gift for each traveler (and guides) to give at the welcome cocktail party (chocolates/granola bars/bags of nuts) and upon our return home, mail each traveler a framed photo of our group from the last evening together. I also put together a slideshow of photos with music to share with the group.
Then, while everyone is still experiencing “post trip bliss,” I reach out and ask “where do you want to go next?” and start planning a trip for the next year! I know that posting lots of pictures on Facebook and Instagram gets friends very interested—they want to have fun too.
After Italy, where do you hope to travel next with VBT?
Croatia! We already have 22 people booked on our Croatia bike tour for Sept 2020 and 8 people on the waitlist. I have a list for the next 5 years out and am thinking about a second trip for 2020. Some of my bucket list destinations are: the Dolomites and Lake Garda in Italy, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Alberta and Banff National Parks, and Vermont for the leaf peeping!
Interested in organizing a VBT group? Learn more about our Group Travel Program!