WHAT TO EXPECT
Carolina Tailwinds’ tour planning process begins with the premise that you have special and personal requirements. These become especially important when faced with the challenges of traveling by bike. We have listed below the primary items on which we place importance in providing you with a well-balanced, relaxing and fun-filled active tour. You can also visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) page for more information. Or you can simply e-mail us your question at our Contact Us page and we will be happy to answer your concerns. We look forward to serving you on your vacation!
Each night, you will stay in Carolina Tailwinds favorite country inns or bed and breakfasts. Our hosts each night greet us with graciousness and hospitality. All of the rooms we arrange for our guests have private bathrooms. Most include beautiful antique furnishings which welcome instead of overwhelm you. Our choices in inns reflect our personal preference for well-managed inns with personality. You can peruse the individual tour pages for detailed descriptions of Carolina Tailwinds’ lodging selections or for links to the inns’ own web pages.
"I thought both of the B&B's were very nice--comfortable, clean, cozy, quaint, etc. They were very helpful and responsive." -- Glenna, Alexandria, VA
Great food is always best enjoyed after an active day. We have selected the finest restaurants along all of our routes. From the lemon soufflé pancakes for breakfast to the shrimp and mushrooms over cappellini with saffron sherry cream for dinner, we can promise you will always find something delectable to eat. All of Carolina Tailwinds’ chosen favorites provide opportunities for you to try fantastic regional cuisine. Unlike many tour operators, we do not limit you to one or two options. You will be able to order from a menu each night that includes a range of options. Of course, if you have any special dietary needs, simply make them known in advance and we will be sure they are satisfied.
"I'm still not sure how I could bike so much and gain weight! The food was awesome! -- Karen, Chicago
Gourmet breakfasts, most lunches and most dinners are included in your trip price. Lunches are provided by the best local caterers. We also supply the much needed morning and afternoon snacks and water bottle refills along the day’s route. We usually plan for one or two evening meals to be on your own in towns with multiple fine restaurants within easy walking distance of your inn. Thus, you can spend your free evening with your partner or friends, or opt to dine in the company of your newfound acquaintances met on our tour.
Here are links to
a few of our regular favorites:
"The chef dazzled us!" -- Carol, Wilmington, NC
While all of Carolina Tailwinds tours focus on providing an enjoyable and active biking vacation, we also structure each trip to include an insider’s glimpse into the region. On our coastal tours, you may visit historical sites, lighthouses, and wildlife refuges. Our wine tours try to coincide with the local vineyard harvest schedules, allowing you a detailed glimpse into the art of wine making. Our mountain tours may lead you to refreshing waterfalls, Christmas tree farms, or mountain musical venues. Our Rail Trail tours guide you past the historical markers and monuments of abandoned railroad beds, and may include visits to the American Chestnut Research Farms. We want to supply you with lifetime memories of a well-balanced, fun and active tour, the kind of tour you would plan for yourself.
Our tours are designed to keep you occupied, but you may choose to diverge from the day’s group activity and venture out on your own. Each tour features a walkable village location with shops, restaurants, parks, and a myriad of activities at your fingertips. So should you decide to stay in town instead of venturing out on your bike for a day, there is always something new to explore!
Carolina Tailwinds avoids the “cattle herd” atmosphere of larger tour operators. Our limited group size (maximum of 18 guests,) and maximum guest to guide ratio of 7:1, allow you to receive our personal attention and creates the opportunity for you to get to know our other tour guests well.
"This was our fourth biking vacation and our first with Carolina Tailwinds. The attention to detail and personal service were evident throughout the tour. I have told several friends about you and hope to tour with you again." -- Dorothy, Raleigh, NC
Sharing your vacation with others who have common interests and with those who contribute their unique perspectives ensures a lively and enjoyable vacation. The broad appeal of Carolina Tailwinds’ tours draws diverse individuals from a wide range of professions and ages (spanning from age 24 and up).
Some of them make the news when they get back home, like our tour guest Bob Martin, Houston's "Accountant to the Stars:" click here
"I ... felt very comfortable on every level -- socially and athletically." -- Katharine, Charlottesville, VA
Biking and sightseeing can be enjoyed year-round in the southeast. Early spring and fall are the perfect times to enjoy the coastal wetlands without slogging through the dreaded southern humidity. And when the lowlands heat up in the summer, we take you west to the mild temperatures of the foothills and mountains. We will be glad to answer any specific questions you may have. You will receive with your reservation confirmation an average weather chart for your tour as well as a list of recommended items to bring for your chosen tour. Specific climate data links are available on our Links page.
Every morning on our tours, we offer you different route options of varying lengths and difficulty. This allows you the flexibility to choose how much or little time and energy you want to spend on your bike each day. The route options include daily mileage of as little as 15 miles and as much as 60+ miles. The choice is yours. Whichever option you choose, the Carolina Tailwinds Van will be there to help when needed.
The general route difficulty also varies by tour. Our coastal and rail trail tours are the easiest. They are suited for novice or advanced cyclists. If you are thinking of taking either our Chesapeake Bay Tour, Ocracoke Tour or our Northern Outer Banks Tour, you will find the flat roads to be a blessing, though headwinds can sometimes cause an invisible challenge. If you are uncomfortable biking in light traffic or are itching to get away from the daily hustle and bustle, our Virginia Rail Trail Tour may be your ideal choice, offering flat, railroad grade routes on a packed gravel surface in pastoral settings. Blue Ridge Tours are most difficult, and are best enjoyed by intermediate and advanced cyclists. On our NC Wine Tour, you will be pedaling up some rolling hills, so it is best for intermediate and above as well.
In general, most of our chosen daily routes allow for 3 to 8 hours "in the saddle". As with any vacation you would plan for yourself, you have the freedom to pedal on your own schedule. You can dawdle at magnificent views, take your time meandering through pastoral backroads, or bike as if you are a competitor on the Tour de France. The pace and distance traveled is controlled by you.
If you are still unsure which tour is right for you, call us at 1-888-251-3206 and we will be happy to assist you!
"The van support was great - always there when we needed it!" -- Stacey, Unionville, CT
On a Carolina Tailwinds
tour, you will be secure in the knowledge that our van will be along to
provide refreshments and support whenever you need them. We have several established check points
along each of our planned routes. These check points enable
Carolina Tailwinds to maintain close contact with you at whatever pace
and schedule you set. Our van allows experienced and inexperienced cyclists the
chance to enjoy the same terrain on their own terms and pace.
"Bikes and setup expertise were excellent." -- John, Roswell, GA
Though you are welcome to bring your own bike, Carolina Tailwinds’ low bicycle rental charges allow you to forego the hassle of transporting equipment to the tour rendezvous. We maintain a fleet of high quality bikes. Hybrids are late model Cannondales and Fuji Absolute One's. Our road bikes are handmade custom steel frame bikes with very wide gearing. Your rental bike is outfitted with 21 to 30 gears to ease your journey, and is adjusted to fit you upon your arrival. A bag is on your bike to tote the day’s necessities. We recommend our lightweight road bikes for the mountainous and hilly tours, and either road or hybrid for our coastal tours. We also provide you with a new water bottle with our Carolina Tailwinds’ logo that is yours to keep. Helmets are absolutely required on all rides. We encourage you to bring your own or we will be happy to provide one. You may also bring your own saddle and/or pedals for us to install on a rental bike for you.
Since we know where many great photo opportunities are on your tour we take pictures as we go. Each guest is provided online access to all of our shots, and prints and other products can be ordered easily and inexpensively.
We take care of shuttling your luggage and any items bought along the way to your next destination. This leaves you free to enjoy the surrounding area without any added weight on your bike.
"The routes were perfect for a nice relaxing vacation, with just the right amount of challenging hills." -- Sally, Durham, NC
We begin each day with a brief overview of what to expect on the day’s ride, including timing and terrain, and what additional special activities we have planned. We supply you with detailed cue sheets of the day’s route, including mileage markers and optional side trips, and prior to sending you on your way. One of our guides is always cycling with you to provide any answers about what lies ahead.
top 3 photos courtesy of North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development
Tailwinds P.O. Box 24716 Winston-Salem, NC
27114-4716 888.251.3206 or 336.794.1054