The 2020 Adventure Guide by Bicycling Magazine was published online (and soon after in print) on December 3rd 2019 and we’ll remember that date here at Tourissimo. Here’s why.
The title of the guide boasted:
These Are the Best Bike Trips in the World
WHERE WILL YOU RIDE IN 2020?
That catches your attention, does it not? In total the guide includes 26 trips of a lifetime and 13 category winners.
Getting a mention in the guide is huge; being awarded in one of the categories is a stellar achievement for any travel company. The best bike tour companies small and large consider it the Academy Awards of cycling vacations and adventure travel. A best bike tour in Italy recognition has been for Tourissimo something in between a wish and a goal.
We nailed a few awards when I was at Ciclismo Classico and that was both a boost in morale and in reputation. But this time it’s different because it’s our own creature – Tourissimo – that has been recognized as a top bike tour company thanks to our Friuli and Slovenia itinerary.
The news came out of the blue but it did not happen overnight. Notably, the whole process was very secretive. We don’t advertise in Bicycling Magazine and we did not know that we were in the running for the 2020 Best Bike Trips in the World.
In the words of the editor Peter Flax “These trips go beyond travel-worthy rides to experiences that should come before everything else on your bucket list."
This guide is a very good tool for anyone searching for the best cycling vacations and bike trips around and Bicycling magazine knows a thing or two about cycling trends including where to ride next.
So, how did it happen? The seed was planted years ago when we bet on Friuli and Slovenia and its potential, recognizing its simple beauty while most were sticking with more sought-out itineraries like Tuscany and Provence just to mention the most obvious but also most crowded. Unarguably, there was a PR effort that years ago put our itinerary on the map among the editors at Bicycling mag and for that we have to thank Adam York at Sublime. But way before PR comes R&D and a vision of the experience you want to deliver. I am very lucky to have an amazing team and in this case we could rely on one Italian guide and tour designer and on a Slovenian guide, both perfectly at ease with each other’s culture and that made a two-country bike tour amazingly seamless. Federica and Sasha selected the very best rides (it’s a moderate tour) and leveraged their contacts and local knowledge to create what we call the Tourissimo Experience.
Hotels are important and they must be memorable but also bike-friendly. Our hotel coordinator Alessandra Pistagna with About Italy is our hotel expert and she builds lasting relationships with hotels that translate into a nice welcoming stay for our groups.
The 2020 Adventure Guide is a great source of knowledge and inspiration for anyone interested in a supported bike trip on any continent and for any level or style of riding.
We could not agree more when we read: “There’s really no better way to connect with the sights, sounds, and culture of a region than on two wheels.”
The intro to the guide understandably emphasized that you are usually better off with an outfitter that has inside knowledge rather than DIY planning and execution. However, there are thousands of travel companies and cycling trips to choose from and Bicycling does not hide that “only some are worthy of a Bicycling Travel Awards designation.” That makes sense; it’s the very purpose of the guide: investigate, discern, and select the best cycling trips to be awarded. And the selection is pretty granular down to travel reviews, value, quality of the bike fleet (Bianchi in our case), and staff and guides. All of the details that “differentiate the best from the rest.”
Bicycling confirmed the way we feel about this tour:
Friuli and Slovenia Plus tour is a gem. We knew it and we’ve always been proud of it.
Dylan Reynolds (Ride&Seek) and Beppe Salerno (Tourissimo) with the Julian Alps of Slovenia in the background
We are in great company in this guide and in my opinion each category awarded amazing itineraries from the greatest travel companies. What you’ll notice is that company size does not carry the weight you might think. Backroads is the largest active travel company in the world and received an award and a mention. Another company that I very much admire – Butterfield & Robinson – did get a mention but did not get an award. In general, you’ll notice that authenticity and specialization pay off. Carving a niche and using a unique approach paid off for two other niche brands that I am familiar with: InGamba and Sacred Rides.
As I keep reading and look for patterns:
- Expertise in one area or region was rewarded
- Food and wine are emphasized in the more high-end tours
- Most riders will rent bikes (some companies include them in their packages)
- Accommodations: authenticity over luxury
Tourissimo fits that bill. With Ride&Seek (we partnered with our friends on this project) we were very pleased to win the '"Hidden Europe" category as it bears testament to our goal of seeking out the road less traveled and creating unique itineraries. What is unique about our award is that it comes out of collaboration. We are lucky to have friends-colleagues that believe in collaborations as much as we do. Clearly, collaborating with the right partners makes for a better final product because there are fewer assumptions and more resources than you could have by yourself.
Back to the guide: Trek Travel got Best Race-Adjacent for Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. However, the most epic race-centric is Grand Tours Project’s Ride every KM of the Giro d’Italia (sick mileage).
I strongly wish to dethrone DuVine next year (they got Best Food and Wine for Boudreaux + Burgundy) with one of our Chef Bike Tours. I think any of our Chef Bike Tours can make it to the top but my bet would go with Piedmont wine country (sold out in 2020).
On the domestic side, the gravel ride in Arizona by The Cyclist’s Menu caught my eye. It’s out of one base and you could ride under the lead of Lael Wilcox.
So, do your research and go ride in a new place!
We love talking about bike tours and we truly believe that they are the best way to explore the outdoor and to achieve total well-being on a vacation.