We are in love with Velo View Bike Tours and think you should be too! Here are just a few reasons, awesomely presented by Owner Shannon Burke, why it should be on the top of your to do list:
Q: What got Velo View Bike Tours started?
A: Before starting Velo View, I was a city planner. Organization and logistics have always been in my blood. When I first started cycling, I was the one who organized the group rides and planned the weekend getaways. After my wife took me on my first bike tour along the California coast with people she had traveled with in the past, I was hooked and never wanted to take a vacation without my bike again. It was such a perfect way to experience new places. We were covering so much more ground than we could by hiking, and yet still had that same intimate connection with the landscape – something you just can’t get from the inside of a car. The next year the same group did a bike tour in Montana, and I did all the planning for it, taking us from Spokane, Washington to Missoula, Montana with a detour through Glacier National Park. I loved the prep work, and of course I loved the experience of the trip. It was a perfect fit for me and something that I was passionate about, so after Montana I started exploring doing bike tours full-time and eventually took the leap to start Velo View.
Q: What can people expect on their first experience?
A: When I first started, my goal was to make bike touring accessible to more people. I wanted to share the experience of a bike vacation, and make it easy for people to do it. So I built my business model around removing all of the obstacles that keep people from traveling with their bikes. I kept track of all of the reasons my friends would give for not doing a bike vacation, and then addressed each one in crafting our tours. So what guests experience on a Velo View bike tour is how easy everything is. Of course, the cycling can be challenging at times, but the cycling is really all they have to think about. Everything else is planned for them. From the time their flight lands to the time the leave, they can turn off their brains, put their wallet away, and simply enjoy the experience. The trips are all-inclusive, and the rides are personally guided by me with our van providing SAG support. All they have to do is pedal and enjoy the scenery, the first-class hotels, and the fantastic restaurants that we have waiting for them.
Q: Tell us about your background in the athletic community.
A: In college I was a pretty active recreational athlete, but I was never really serious about any of it. I did a lot of weight lifting in my 20’s, but eventually my joints started complaining. So I laid off the weights and the high-impact sports and switched over to swimming, spending a lot of time doing laps at Barton Springs. Then when I started dating my wife, she insisted that I ride bikes with her. Like most newbies, I was a little unsure about all of the spandex, but once I took a few rides, I really got into it! It felt so good to work my legs without having any of the issues brought on by running. I had always been a sprinter on foot, and it felt so good to be fast again, even as I was heading into my late 30’s. I’ve never formally raced on a bike, but I was definitely competitive with my friends when I first got into cycling. But now in my third year at Velo View, I’ve mellowed a bit and am much more into sharing the experience with other cyclists, both through the tours and through one-on-one coaching and skills clinics.
Q: How many tours does Velo View offer and how frequently do they run?
A: We’ll run about a dozen tours this year, with a mix of in-state retreats and out-of-state vacations. The majority of our tours will be in June and October, since those months are the best for the places we’ll ride (i.e. mild temps and drier conditions). But we also have West Texas trips planned for March & November, and we have a few Hill Country retreats in April & May. We also try to squeeze in as many hill country day trips
as we can when we’re not running tours. Those are fun rides that give people a chance to get out of the traffic for a day, ride on some new back roads, and get a small taste of why we love bike vacations so much. Find the full list of 2015 tours here.
Q: What was one of your most memorable tours?
A: Picking one tour as my most memorable is too hard! They are all so special because we always have a unique mix of guests who experience the tours in their own way. We ran quite a few Colorado tours
in our first two seasons, and it was so much fun to see how differently each person took on the challenge, especially the climb up Mt Evans with its ever-changing weather and deficit of oxygen. If I had to pick just one tour, I would say it was our first California Wine Country tour
. We added those trips specifically to balance out the more challenging Colorado and Carolina tours. California was going to be our easy one. It still has a few challenging hills in the itinerary, but the thing I liked about that first tour was how much it felt like a true vacation. The group we had on the trip really got into the experience, taking advantage of the shopping in Santa Monica, the massages in Solvang, and the winery stops on our rides. When we did our last ride of the trip along the Pacific Coast Highway, they were stopping for photos of the surfers and even ran into the ocean at the end of the ride! It was just so nice to see them having such a complete experience both on and off the bike. What made that trip even more special was when I saw them connecting with each other on Facebook. These people were strangers before the trip, but in little more than a four-day weekend they bonded over the shared experience and have continued to maintain those bonds. That to me that is success. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right. To be able to practice what you love and to be able to successfully share that with other people is truly special and something that I wake up grateful for every day.
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