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FAQ's about Carolina Tailwinds Tours 

Frequently Asked Questions

Airports    Airport Transportation    Bad Weather    Children    Groups/Custom Tours  

Physical Preparation
    Self-Guided Tours    Which Bike to Bring    Raingear     Rental Bikes    

    Reservations    Shipping Bikes    Spouse Doesn't Bike    Tandem Bikes

Travel Insurance
    What to bring    Why Bike Tour?    Why these destinations?    

Why Carolina Tailwinds?

I’m not in shape.  Do you still recommend I take your tour?

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 (SC Lowcountry, NC Outer Banks, Chesapeake Bay and Colonial Virginia) offer the easiest biking, and are enjoyed by all ability levels.  The NC Wine Country, NC Horse Country, Finger Lakes, and Middle Tennessee Tours are best enjoyed by intermediate and above level cyclists because it does cover hilly terrain.  Our Blue Ridge Tour and Shenandoah Tours 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 Tours, NY Finger Lakes Tour, or the NC Wine Country Tour, make sure you bike some hills in the weeks prior to the tour to get your legs ready.

Are children allowed?  What is the minimum age?

Because some of our partner inns do not cater to children, the minimum age for our tours is generally 16.  However, we can designate some of our 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.

My spouse doesn't bike.  Can he/she still come along?

Certainly.  You 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 tour.  
2)  The spouse could take a space on the tour and simply ride in the van or relax at the inns during biking.  There is no discount for this option, though.

What happens in bad weather?  Do we still ride in the rain?

As part of our planning process, we try to schedule our tours to optimize the region’s 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.

Our NC coastal tours are scheduled after the peak of hurricane season.  Although October is part of the hurricane season, it sees far fewer storms than the peak period of late August through early September.  The last tropical cyclone to make landfall in North Carolina in October was Isabell in 1964.

In the unlikely event that a tropical cyclone forces us to cancel a tour prior to its start, guests will have the opportunity to reschedule on one of our subsequent tours or receive a full refund.

More information about NC hurricane history is available at the State Climate Office of NC. 

What do I bring?

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.

Do you provide raingear for me?

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.

I want to bring one of my own bikes.  What style is most suitable?

Unless specified otherwise, all of our tours use asphalt roads, so we recommend against fat "knobby" tires if you are bringing a mountain bike.  On flat coastal trips, nearly any bike style is fine.  For our hilly tours you will want a lighter road or touring bike, with higher pressure smooth tires, and a wide range of gearing.  Give us a call if you have questions about your equipment.

How can I transport my bike to you if I am flying?

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.  Most shops  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.

What are your rental bikes like?  How do I know I'll be comfortable on them?

We use late model road bikes and hybrids.  All of our bikes have adjustable rise stems.  Our road bikes all have a "endurance" frame geometry, meaning they are designed for long rides and allow a slightly more upright posture.  Some of our them are new lightweight steel frames with compact cranks and 12-34 rear cogsets.  They have Shimano 105 integrated shifters and components.  We also have carbon fiber road bikes by LaPierre, which also have compact cranksets.

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.

Are references from past guests available?

Yes--just call or email us to request them, and we will provide you with references.

How can I reserve my spot?

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, or fax the form to us at 336.794.1082.  To review our tour Terms and Conditions, including our cancellation policy, click here.

What happens when that morning coffee kicks in while we are on the day’s cycling route?

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.

Where do we leave our cars?

Parking is arranged for you at the origin of each tour.

Where is the nearest airport?

Consult the individual tour webpage for detailed information about airports and suggested arrival time specific to the tour you are considering. 

Do you provide transportation from the airport to the point of origin?

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.  

Is travel insurance available to me?

Travel insurance is offered by many providers.  You may research and compare them on websites such as
We recommend that you seriously consider travel insurance and carefully read the policy terms and conditions for any policy that you purchase.

Does Carolina Tailwinds offer self-guided (unsupported) tours?

No.  You may take a look at our links page, however, for a list of resources that might be useful. 

Can Carolina Tailwinds provide a customized tour for my group?

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.   

Can your SAG van carry tandem bicycles?

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.

There are other ways to vacation.  Why do a bike tour?

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!

There are other bike tour companies.  Why go with Carolina Tailwinds?

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.  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.

There are other destinations.  Why yours?

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.  

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Carolina Tailwinds   P.O. Box 24716   Winston-Salem, NC 27114-4716   888.251.3206 or 336.794.1054