Italiaoutdoors is one of our favorite small company operators.
Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine IS run by expert guides and owners Vernon McClure, and ex-Army Ranger and recreational programming specialist with 20 years of experience designing leading active tours in Europe, and Kathy Bechtel, chef, cooking instructor, food blogger, avid cyclist and certified ski instructor. Vernon and Kathy have joined their skills to offer hand crafted tours in the Veneto, Dolomites, Tuscany, Umbria and Sicily. Italiaoutdoors intends to remain a small provider, concentrating on a few quality tours each year.
Vernon and Kathy personally design and lead each tour, limiting the number of guests to 12, with most capped at 8. They work with each group of guests prior to arrival to understand their desires for mileage, terrain, and off-bike activities. They specialize in groups of mixed abilities, and prefer to see their guests succeeding with the appropriate ride for their skills rather than riding in the SAG van. For cyclists who want maximum mileage, they supply longer routes or additional loops. Vernon provides daily riding clinics and personalized coaching for each guest; Kathy introduces the unique local wines and regional cuisine. The small group size and owner/guides allow for flexibility so the trip can adapt to the desires of the guests and allow for spontaneous discoveries.
Guests can bring their own bikes, or you can use one of their custom made Italian bikes. GPS units are provided for your use during the tour, so all guests can ride at their own pace. Italiaoutdoors scheduled tours include Bike the Wine roads tours through some of the best wine regions in Italy, three distinctly different Dolomites tours, and Chefs on Bikes, where cycling foodies enjoy cooking classes as well as cycling. Italiaoutdoors designs customized itineraries for groups as few as four. Custom trips are not priced at a premium, but are in line with scheduled tours, which are competitively priced between $3400 and $4200 (as of early 2013). Their goal is to provide a personalized experience and a great value with each and every tour.