Texas Hill Country-Classic Adventure

5 Apr

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There were several firsts on this bike tour: first bike tour in Texas, first bike tour with Classic Adventures and my first tour to receive compensation (significant discount on cost of my tour) for writing about the riding – win – win – win!

I will admit to a certain amount of fear and trepidation going in – what if I didn’t like the tour? I’m not a writer of fiction, just a blogger and if I didn’t enjoy the tour it would come through in my writing. I’m happy to report that, like most time that is spent worrying, it was all for naught. Now the only question is whether I can do the bike tour justice. ~ Susan


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Determined to get a jump on our biking goals for this year, we decided to do an early tour. While searching online for a bike tour in the March timeframe I came across the Classic Adventures Texas Hill Country tour. Although I hadn’t heard of them before, Classic Adventures is far from new and offers a wide range of bike tours in places we would like to ride at some point – including Europe and the northeast; plus they even offer a Coast to Coast Tour across the U.S. which you can do in its entirety or in sections.

Something else I really liked is that Classic Adventures is a family owned and operated company. They have conducted bike tours for a very long time – 33 years to be exact. All of which instantly attracted me to them. Another draw was the tour price – no bike tour is cheap, but CA’s price for the Texas Hill Country tour was the most reasonable we found for the type of tour offered (support, lodging, meals, mileage options, etc.) and as it turns out a good value.

Before I get into the beyond-belief-greatness of riding in the Texas Hill Country, I want to give you a little background on the company and guides, Dianne and Dale Hart. Not only were Dale and Dianne our tour leaders, but they founded Classic Adventures way back in 1979. What started as a trip to Greece for then Professor Dale Hart to teach university students about ancient history and Greek culture, evolved into a tour of Greece by bike and finally evolving into the bike tour company now known as Classic Adventures.

Although Dale and Dianne no longer own the company, their son Benton does, they continue to lead trips. Benton and his wife, Sarah, also lead trips. In fact, Classic Adventures is a true family affair with many “Harts” involved.

Besides being nice people and great guides, Dale and Dianne also have a peloton (TDF size) of knowledge about bike touring and cycling in general. Obviously as the founders of the company, they take pride and go the extra mile to make sure tour participants enjoy themselves and have the best experience possible.

One of the things that impressed me right away about Classic Adventures was the routes and route sheets/trip notes for our tour. We rode on the most out of the way roads you can imagine through the Hill Country – off the beaten path to say the least, but good roads. To say they were lightly travelled is a huge understatement. Except for riding through the small towns and villages of Texas Hill Country, we saw very few vehicles. Truthfully, we probably saw more cows, goats, sheep, horses, deer and even elk – than we saw cars and trucks. That’s my idea of a perfect route!

P1020704In fact, our routes often felt more like paved bike paths than public use roads – with few exceptions. The trip notes provided incredible detail, leaving nothing to chance, even down to where the bent cattle guard or slick water crossing was! Seriously, the most detailed trips notes I’ve had on a tour.

Something else that was helpful was the pre-ride meeting every morning after breakfast. We’ve had these before with other tour companies but they were usually held outside just before taking off on the bike. I didn’t always pay close attention since I was also applying sunscreen, making sure I had what I needed, filling water bottles, etc. Having a brief meeting just to discuss the route particulars, lunch and snack stops, and mileage options was very helpful. When I took off on the bike each morning I felt like I had the info I needed.

As many of you know, I typically rely on Mark, (since he has a built-in GPS in his brain), to keep us on the right route but we rode apart at times so it was good to have the detailed route notes to guide me along and keep me out of trouble.

Although it wouldn’t have been bad to get a little lost, the riding in the Hill Country was such a pleasure – great routes, low-traffic roads and miles of wildflowers – especially those infamous Texas Bluebonnets.

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Every day was a treat. Follow along and I’ll tell you about each of our five fantastic days of riding on the Classic Adventures Texas Hill Country tour.


Day 1:  Texas Hill Country – Boerne Arrival

Day 2:  Texas Hill Country – Boerne to Comfort

Day 3:  Texas Hill Country – Fredericksburg

Day 4:  Texas Hill Country – Willow City Loop

Day 5: Texas Hill Country – Ride to Doss

Day 6: Texas Hill Country – Hilltop Ride/Enchanted Rock

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7 Responses to “Texas Hill Country-Classic Adventure”

  1. Carlene April 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    Hello, I am in the Edmond area and interested in slowly beginning to develop biking as my form of exercise. I would greatly appreciate any recommendations for a beginning biker. I am, of course, a bit wary of the large, fast, vehicles on our Edmond streets which offer no bike lanes. Everytime the city resurfaces a road like Covell, I think adding a bike lane should be part of that bike plan!! How do you best handle the safety issues? Are there better times to avoid traffic than others? Are there any groups riding who are open to mentor new riders?
    Thank You in advance for your answers!
    Blessings,
    CR

    • Susan April 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

      Carlene, good questions and I’ll try to answer them within a few days. In the meantime visit the Oklahoma Bicycle Society’s website for general info plus a list of group rides (including rides for beginners): http://www.oklahomabicyclesociety.com/

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