Billings, MT, Feb. 23, 2011 – Award-winning tour operator Austin-Lehman Adventures (ALA – http://www.austinlehman.com/), the active travel company setting adventure tour standards in Yellowstone National Park, Europe, Africa and beyond, commemorates the 150th anniversary of a unified Italy with two new cycling explorations in the north of il bel paese, “the beautiful country.”
Planning these trips is European cycling tour veteran Ron van Dijk, Austin-Lehman Adventures director of European operations, who has nearly 40 years of experience pedaling the continent.
Over the years van Dijk has witnessed many changes in the way bicycles have been used in European vacations, from the use of increasingly lighter (and more pricey) touring bikes and gears moving from 10 to 27 gears, as well as high-tech brakes and now, battery-powered bikes.
“Even the Tuscan hills become quite doable for the novice cyclist. But what hasn’t changed is the leisurely pace at which you immerse in the landscape, the towns, the villages and therefore the culture. No other mode of transportation can give you this much variety and depth,” van Dijk said, noting that accommodation choices have moved from the youth hostels of decades ago to multiple-star hotels, country inns, converted monasteries and luxurious chateaux.
For the 2011 season ALA announces two new Italy bike tours that celebrate the nation’s 150th anniversary and in the words of van Dijk, “bring back the easy Italian cycling vacation.”
Tyrol Bicycle Tour – Innsbruck to Lake Garda
This tour is mostly downhill or flat with the Dolomites constantly in view but without having to climb them. Guests move from Austria into Italy visiting castles, ancient churches and a mummified corpse caught in Alpine ice. Participants sip regional wines and dine on local fare. There are three departures of this 10-day/9-night journey: May 21-30, June 18-27 and Sept. 3-12, 2011. The per person, double rate is $4,598 ($980 single supplement).
Tuscany Bike Tour
This is a more challenging ride beginning with Florence’s splendors and moving out to Chianti vineyards, Siena, the elusive Etruscans and San Gimignano, all snapshots of this delectable region of Italy. There are five departures for this 7-day/6-night tour: April 9-15, May 14-20, June 11-17, Sept 3-9 and Oct 1-7, 2011. The per person, double rate is $3,398 ($680 single supplement).
Both trips offer all-inclusive adventures with double occupancy rooms with private baths, all breakfasts, most dinners, several lunches, professional and first-aid certified guides, high-tech bicycles, luggage service and vehicle support as required. Not included are international and in-country air, guide gratuities and items of a personal nature.
ALA’s legacy of biking in Europe began in 1974 when Ron’s father Wim, became the first U.S. bike tour company to establish operations in Europe. “In 1974, Richard Nixon resigned, Han Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s homerun record, and our own Ron van Dijk began what would be a lifetime career of guiding cycling clients across Europe,” reflected Dan Austin, ALA director and owner.
Austin noted that the 2011 season is beginning to fill up and that people who want to travel with one of Travel + Leisure’s Best Tour Operators in the World should consider booking their plans now.
About Austin-Lehman Adventures
Austin-Lehman Adventures, with a 37-year legacy, provides adventure vacations on five continents, has built an international reputation for small group active travel to destinations in North, Central and South America, Europe, the Pacific Rim and Africa. The company specializes in adult and family multi-sport, hiking, biking vacations that emphasize history, culture and nature’s charms. Trips are limited to 12 guests (18 on family departures) and feature excellent regional dining, distinctive accommodations and all-inclusive rates and services. In addition to scheduled group departures, ALA offers customized trip planning. ALA offers each traveler a money-back satisfaction guarantee.
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