If you're planning your first Timberline cycling tour, we suspect that you may have questions concerning terrain and level of difficulty. Obviously, "Timberline Country" is not flat. We have our share of hills and we promise that you'll have ample opportunity to do some climbing with us regardless of which tour you select. But then why else would you even consider a Timberline bike tour were it not for our well-known passion for corrugated topography! In 2014 we will offer 7 new tours, 28 different cycling tours and 32 date choices.
When you cycle in the Rockies, Sierra or Cascades in particular, you can expect to be involved in climbs that are longer than those that you may have experienced in other parts of the country. But most importantly, the grades that you will encounter in the mountain ranges of the West, though longer, are more gradual than those of the hilly regions of New England and Appalachian areas, and significantly more moderate than the mountainous regions of Europe.
A word about the altitude factor that is a common concern of those considering their first Western cycletour. Acute Mountain Sickness, a significant reaction caused by rapid ascents and prolonged presence above 9,000 feet is not an issue. Many of our tours rarely exceed 5,000 feet in elevation and, even in Colorado where we'll climb to 10,000 feet and beyond, rapid descents soon return us to lower elevations.
At worst, cyclists at the highest altitudes may find themselves huffing and puffing in a climb, more than they would ordinarily anticipate given that level of activity. The almost universal experience during the course of a tour will be a marked and noticeable decline in the effect of altitude upon respiration. In other words, much of the anxiety over altitude is unwarranted. Most importantly however, you are contemplating a tour, not a competitive endurance event.
All cycling tours will be supported by a motor vehicle (sagwagon), specially equipped to carry as many as 16 bicycles, 15 passengers and a trailer for luggage. The vehicle will transport cyclists' luggage to each overnight destination and will accompany the group on the road each day to provide assistance and support, including a ride for any weary traveller.
We encourage everyone to cycle at his or her own pace and we anticipate that our groups will spread out along the route during the course of the day. Each cyclist can rely upon contact by our van at approximate 1- to 1 1/2-hour intervals. Another leader is on the road near the rear of the group. Both road and van leaders are equipped with tools and first aid equipment to deal with most situations that potentially may arise in the course of a day's ride. The van, particularly, is equipped with a wide range of tools and spare parts, sufficient to ensure that most mechanical problems are nothing more than a minor annoyance and not a traumatic catastrophe.
The support vehicle that is on the road to support the rides during the course of the tour is always there for you. If there is a day, an hour or two or a hill, or inclimate weather (heaven forbid), that you just do not feel like climbing, get a ride in the van. Sling shot is a term we use, if you are a slower rider and you want to get a little headstart from a faster group. If you just need water or a snack just know the van is available for those reasons and to enjoy your experience.
Tour descriptions and total mileages for each tour provide helpful indicators as to that tour's level of challenge. But the best insight into a particular tour's content and its suitability for you or your group can be obtained by contacting us so that we can discuss your interests and experience personally and directly with you.
Make no mistake, cycling "Timberline Country" certainly is not an effortless activity and our cycling adventures are athletic experiences by design. But if you are a reasonably active individual, it certainly is "do-able," and by do-able we mean enjoyable within the context of a leisurely vacation experience. In return for that effort, you will share in what well may be the most rewarding and memorable cycling experience that you ever will encounter.
Routes, mileage and accommodations are subject to change due to safety, road/trail conditions, weather and availability.