Relax! If you can just ride enough that you are comfortable on a bike for a couple or hours at a time, we can find a tour for you.
Generally, our coastal tours and the Virginia Multi-Sport Tour offer the easiest biking, and are enjoyed by all ability levels. The NC Wine Country Tour is best enjoyed by intermediate level cyclists because it does cover hilly terrain. Our Blue Ridge Tour and Shenandoah Tour are for regular cyclists who are comfortable with climbs up to one mile in length. We can assist you in determining if our trips are right for you.
All of our tours have daily mileage options. You can elect to bike either a whole or half day depending on your comfort level that day. We always have up-to-date local information on alternate activities in the area should you choose to cut your cycling time short. Because of this flexibility, our tours are a great way for couples or friends of different abilities to share an active vacation.
In preparing for a tour, we recommend that you bicycle as much as you can in order to be sure that you are comfortable on a bike. Break in new equipment prior to the tour. If you are taking the Blue Ridge Tour, Shenandoah Tour or the Winery Tour, make sure you bike some hills in the weeks prior to the tour to get your legs ready.
Because some of our partner inns do not cater to children, the minimum age for our tours is generally 16. However, we can designate Virginia Multi-Sport Tours, NC Wine Country Tours, and Ocracoke Tours as "Family Tours," allowing for children age 13 and up. Designating a tour as a "Family Tour" requires that the parties requesting the designation do so prior to other adult customers booking space on that tour date. All minors must be accompanied at all times by an adult. Additionally, we offer a custom tour service in which we can plan to stay in child friendly accommodations. Please call us or email us for additional details.
have two options: 1) if your spouse will have a car, he/she can stay with
us in the inns, dine with us, and enjoy a few other "off the
bike" activities. While we're biking he/she can do other things
in the area and meet us at the next inn. There is a big discount for
this limited tour, since the spouse would not be taking a seat on the
As part of our planning process, we try to schedule our tours to optimize the regions weather averages. No matter how hard we try, though, Mother Nature will invariably have something to say about perfect weather all the time. We strongly recommend that you come to the tour with quality cycling rain gear.
Barring a thunderstorm or major downpour, and as long as road conditions are safe, Carolina Tailwinds does still cycle our planned daily routes. Keep in mind that if cycling in the rain is not your thing, you may elect to sleep late and join one of our recommended area alternate activities. We will be glad to discuss these with you on the phone or answer any other questions you may have.
What about hurricanes?
The Carolinas have endured some noteworthy hurricanes, but has less tropical activity than many people think. On average there is only one tropical cyclone landfall (including hurricanes) on the NC coast every four years. Landfall of actual hurricanes and strong hurricanes occur even less frequently, respectively.
As part of your reservation confirmation package, we mail a check list of suggested items to bring with you on the tour. It includes clothing items for activities and dining. Generally, we will recommend that you pack multiple layers of synthetic, light-weight clothing for daily activities. Also, we strongly urge you to bring multiple pairs of good quality bicycle shorts. For dining out, sporty casual attire is appropriate.
Though raingear is included on the list of things to bring, we do have a poncho for you to use in the event you do not have or forgot to bring your own outdoor raingear.
The Virginia Multi-Sport Tour uses packed gravel trails, so mountain bikes and hybrids are most suitable. Any bikes with 32mm or wider tires are acceptable, 35mm is best. All other tours use asphalt roads, so we recommend against fat "knobby" tires if you are bringing a mountain bike. On coastal trips, nearly any bike style is fine. For the Blue Ridge or Shenandoah Tours, you will want a lighter road or touring bike, with higher pressure smooth tires.
Shipping your bike in advance by FedEx or UPS is more reliable than carrying your bike on the airline, and provides you more margin for error. You can ship your bike to a bike shop near us. We'll have the bike waiting for you when you arrive. The shop on this end will assemble your bike for you and reverse the process after your tour for a reasonable charge. Call us for specifics on this.
Most airlines will transport bicycles that are disassembled and properly boxed. Most charge for oversize luggage and those fees vary widely. Call airlines in advance to learn their fees and how they are computed.
We use late model road bikes and hybrids. Our road bikes are new lightweight steel frames with compact cranks and 12-34 rear cogsets. They have Shimano 105 integrated shifters and components. Our hybrids are a mix of Fuji Absolute Ones and Cannondales. We'll fit you to a bike to match as closely as possible the riding position to which you are accustomed. For optimal comfort, you can bring your own saddle and/or pedals. We'll put them on our bike for you and you'll feel right at home.
Yes--just call or email us to request them, and we will provide you with references.
You may request a reservation online by clicking here, or you may call us at 1-888-251-3206. If you have already received our catalog, you may also either mail the enclosed reservation form to us in the envelope provided, or simply fax the form to us at 336.794.1082. To review our tour Terms and Conditions, including our cancellation policy, click here.
We carefully plan our routes to include rest stops along the way at convenience stores or parks with public restrooms. We have scouted the distances and conditions and have indicated where they are on the detailed area maps you receive each morning. Also, the Tailwinds Van is always available to scoop you up and drive you ahead to the next stop if needed.
Parking is arranged for you at the origin of each tour.
Transportation to the tour point of origin is not generally provided. In certain instances, Carolina Tailwinds can provide a courtesy shuttle to the tour start. That requires coordinated arrival and departure times to a limited airport list. Call us for more details if you are interested. Otherwise, we'll make sure you find your way to the tour start. We can refer you to airport shuttle companies for each local airport. Let us know if you would like to try to share shuttle transportation expenses with another guest and we'll try to arrange it.
insurance is offered by many providers. You may research and compare
them on websites such as www.squaremouth.com
No. You may take a look at our links page, however, for a list of resources that might be useful.
Maybe. Families, clubs, and corporate groups of 8 or more can call us to discuss possibilities. Because our calendar is established a year or more in advance, it is important for such groups to plan well in advance as well.
Yes. Our van is equipped to carry up to 2 tandems (2 wheelers only) at a time in addition to the other bikes. Let us know the specific wheelbase and height of your tandem and we will make sure that we're ready for it.
Bike touring frees you from the sedentary, mind-numbing form of travel that has become the norm in the automobile age. Pedaling through places of natural beauty allows you to experience them on multiple levels unavailable to the auto traveler. Incorporating outdoor exercise into your day makes everything from fine food to a Jacuzzi bath more enjoyable. Try it once--you won't go back!
We offer the best value in the industry. For starters, our guest to guide ratio (never over 7:1) is unbeatable. Our easy date change/cancellation policies give you peace of mind. More is included in our tours so that you won't be surprised later: almost all meals are included (usually all but one), and we let you order from the menu at dinner, rather that limiting you to one or two choices. Extra activities such as paddling are usually included on each tour, not given as options to discover on your own. If we call a tour a 6 day tour, then there is a guided activity on all 6 days -- we don't charge for "arrival days." As a courtesy we take photos for you throughout your tour and send you online access after the tour is over. Carolina Tailwinds tours are designed and led by its owners, which guarantees a superior level of service. You won't be receiving piles of fancy catalogs from us each year--we keep our overhead low is by growing slowly through client referrals and repeat business. We spend your money on your vacation.
Diverse natural scenery and a huge network of country roads make the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland and New York special to touring cyclists. There is something for everyone here: mountains, piedmont, coast, challenging, easy, quaint or luxurious. Browse our tour destinations. We bet at least one appeals to you. On a practical note, our destinations are easy to reach, thanks to an excellent network of interstate highways and international and regional airports.
Photos courtesy of the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development
Tailwinds P.O. Box 24716 Winston-Salem, NC
888.251.3206 or 336.794.1054