As we begin to enter the twilight of summer and harvest season draws closer, thousands of people are planning their escapes to Napa Valley and to Wine Country as a whole. Many of them have realized, as we have, that one of the best ways to soak in the atmosphere of the area is from the saddle of a bike. There are a few options if you want to tour the vineyards and gently rolling hills by bike, with the most notable difference among them being whether or not to invest in the services of a professional, local guide. As with most things there are pros and cons to both choices. Here are the top reasons to consider choosing one option for a Napa bike tour over the other:
Self-guided tours are great if you are traveling on a budget. Costing little more than the price of a bike rental, striking out on your own can be perfect if you are trying to stretch your funding.
2. Flexible Schedule
Maybe you want to sleep in, or maybe you want to move at a pace faster than the average tourist? Whatever the reason may be, you don’t want to be stuck with someone else’s schedule on your vacation. Self-guided tours offer you the freedom to move at your own pace and to adjust your timing on the fly.
3. Go Where You Want
Much like your schedule, you don’t want to be locked in to going to any specific place. When guiding yourself, you can decide exactly what stops you would like to make and in what order. Suddenly decide you want to deviate from your plan and check out something that caught your eye? Not a problem on your self-guided adventure.
1. Expert Local Knowledge
While it is true that you pay more to have a guide, the money spent is well worth it. Most guides have a personal passion for the area, and have focused that passion on building a vast bank of knowledge containing all the hidden gems that the average tourist will never find. Curious where the best place to find Thai food nearby is? Want to explore an olive oil tasting after your tour? An experienced guide will be only too happy to help you find exactly what you are looking for.
2. Tour Support
While we wish that every tour, guided or not, could happen without a hitch, the reality is that things sometimes go wrong. Generally speaking these are minor issues, like getting a flat tire or forgetting your water bottle. Having a guide and a support van, however, can make the difference between a minor issue passing into memory or ruining the day entirely. Guides are trained to resolve issues quickly and efficiently and to get the tour back on track towards having fun!
When biking and tasting all day you can work up quite the appetite. While delis and cafes are located fairly conveniently throughout wine country, nothing beats having your guide prepare a delicious spread at a winery while you taste. Most tour operators offer lunch with a tour, like our Signature Wine Country Picnic Lunch.
4. Reservations and Logistics
Some wineries are hard to get into, and often don’t allow walk-ins. Having an expert guide with local connections can greatly improve your chances of tasting where you want to. Beyond that, it is nice to avoid the hassle of making and keeping track of reservations for each stop you would like to make. Having a guide takes the worry out of planning the day, allowing you to simply show up and have a great time.
No matter which option appeals more to you, remember to relax and have a good time! For more information on what to do to maximize your fun, check out our Touring and Tasting Tips, especially if you are opting for a self-guided tour. The open road is beckoning; go ride it.