Why Classic Adventures?
We aren't a big company. But don't mistake size for quality! We are big when it comes to honoring the values that are the cornerstone of this company. We never subcontract our services and we will make your vacation a rich, exhilarating adventure, down to the tiniest detail. Whether you are new to Classic Adventures or a returning guest, we hope you will consider a vacation with us in 2017. Bringing your own bike is fine with us, and we won't roof rack your bike! We fork mount all bikes in our customized trailers. Nobody puts baby, (your bike), on the roof! Have questions? Please call us at 800-777-8090 from 9 am-5 pm EST Mon-Fri to speak directly with a Hart family member.
Each of Our Bicycle Tours Includes:
Why Travel With A Commerical Tour Operator?
Does a bicycling tour with luxury hotels, coupled with fine dining, luggage transfers, and a SAG wagon appeal to you? Perhaps sleeping in a tent, and planning your own meals and routes is your idea of the perfect vacation. Before you decide on a self contained or fully supported bike tour, there are many points to consider, which are often very difficult to quantify.
In 1979 Dale and Dianne Hart founded Classic Adventures, a family owned and operated bicycle touring company located near Rochester, NY. Dianne Hart describes a unique experience on their Greece - Island of Crete cycling tour to help answer the question "Why should you consider traveling with a commercial tour operator?" Their group of 15 cyclists spent two nights on the Lasithi Plateau, one of those "off the beaten path" destinations that offer sights, sounds and smells of a bygone era. The group would njoy a cultural treat that took them even farther off that path.
During the last 30 years, guide Dale Hart had established friendships with many of the locals in this rustic area, the Lasithi Plateau. Just after dinner we were offered the opportunity to hear traditional Cretan music played on a handmade Cretan lyre by an octogenarian named Manolis in a nearby village. Manolis was known far and wide for his talents. The tour support vehicle stopped at the head of a dirt trail that we followed back to a two room house where Manolis lived with his wife Maria. At the door Manolis stood proud in his worn suit coat. Maria pointed to the tree stumps cut for seats in their courtyard. She brought us shots of raki (a distilled liquor), walnuts, and slices of fresh cut apple, all in the spirit of old village hospitality. "Firewater!" murmured one of the cyclists as she politely choked down some raki.
With Dale translating, we learned Manolis was closer to 90 years old. He and Maria lived close to the earth. They had no electricity. Firewood provided heat. They still grew their own vegetables. And then Manolis picked up an instrument resembling a small set of bagpipes. The songs were rhythmic and eerie at the same time. He explained he had made the bagpipes from a goatskin. Our concert continued with songs on the Cretan Lyre, a stringed instrument resembling a violin. Manolis entered that intense zone of concentration as he entertained us for the next 20 minutes.
In the end we all knew that this visit to meet Manolis and Maria was one of those rare exchanges that make you feel more human, more at peace. We came away with awe at the simple and genuine pleasure those two people shared with us and with each other, even as they neared the end of their lives.
This visit would not have happened without an experienced tour guide, who has intimate knowledge of the region.
Classic Adventures Tour Guide Benton Hart offers some pros and cons to consider when deciding to travel with a tour operator versus organizing your own independent tour. "Before you dismiss an organized tour based on price and other limiting factors, you should evaluate what type of biker you are, your budget, and your expectations in terms of lodging, meals and daily distances. "For several reasons certain destinations are simply not viable if you try to do it yourself. Limiting factors that can make a self contained bike tour difficult include long distances between lodging, a poor network of roads, language barriers, and limited availability of basic resources including water and food," states Hart.
While there are certainly many other advantages to taking a cycling vacation with a commercial tour operator, Benton Hart indicates that the pros and cons are clearly different for each cyclist. What may be seen as a turn-off to one person may be a real selling point to another. For example, having to "endure" group meals most nights is perhaps not your idea of a vacation. Others enjoy the camaraderie of a group, joke telling, and sharing of their daily trials and tribulations. "Ferreting out a good place to eat could be the last thing you want to take on at the end of a long ride," says Hart.
Since you can't really experience a tour beforehand, Hart urges cyclists to carefully compare tours, request catalogs, visit websites, and speak directly with guides and staff. Ask "how long have they been in business? Does the operator have more detailed itineraries and references available?" "Be sure to jot down your general expectations before you begin the selection process, and ask a lot of questions," remarks Hart. "Request to speak to one of the actual guides and find out if they (the operator) offer any personal touches that make their tour different from all the others." "Carefully researching and screening a particular tour is critical, especially given the number of tour operators and destinations that are available. More importantly a high price doesn't necessarily equate to a high level of service, planning and overall enjoyment," reiterates Hart.