Giro's Frequently Asked Questions...
Below we've provided answers to the questions we hear most of the time. Every tour will be different, of course, but this should provide you most of what you need to plan for your cycling vacation.
Are Giro Vacations for All Levels of Cyclists?
Yes (mostly). - We adapt the cycling for your group. If you’re an occasional cyclist, we’ll probably plan for a “Casual” ride, varying from 25 to 35 kilometers, with some hill climbing. The level of challenge can go up from there. But this is the Okanagan – a mountainous valley – and the topography varies accordingly. As a baseline, we recommend coming prepared to ride at least 30 kilometers with about 300 meters (about a 1000 feet) of climbing along the way. For riders wanted more challenge, we can plan routes right up to 100 kilometers or more in length and up to 1500 meters of climbing.
How Busy are the Roads?
This depends on what you’re comfortable with and the routes we plan for you. We ask you how you feel about riding with some traffic well in advance and then plan accordingly. If you want to limit it to as little traffic as possible, we try to keep you on recreational trails and quieter roads whenever we can. If you want to explore a bit more, we will add more routes that include some road riding, but we try to keep you off the Okanagan’s high traffic corridors as much as possible. That said, we’re a mountain valley with a lake in the middle, so sometimes our route options are limited. We’ll do the best we can!
What Type of Riding Will I Do and On What Type of Bike?
If you’re a casual cyclist, you’ll be riding mainly on quieter trails and roads. Our off road riding is basically limited to wider rail trails that are easy to navigate. There is no single-track mountain biking. For casual rides, we recommend a hybrid bike like the Trek Dual Sport (which is our rental bike). If you’re comfortable with a cyclo-cross bike, it would be fine for all the riding we will be doing. Depending on trail conditions, we may hit the odd patch of sand or loose gravel. If you’re doing more road riding, you’ll be on asphalt almost all the time. Road conditions will vary, from roads that are in need of repair (ie look out for potholes) to some with fresh asphalt. As a reference point, our rental road bikes are Trek Domane 5.2’s.
What If I Want to Ride Farther or Less Than What's Planned for the Day?
We understand. Riding is all about finding the right degree of challenge for yourself. If you want to push a little harder or a little less, let us know. We're cyclists too so you'll find us pretty accommodating. We know all the routes very well and if we can accommodate with a guide, we'll do what we can to get you on the perfect ride! By the way, if you've rented a hybrid and want to try a road bike for a day, or vice versa, let us know and we'll see if we can make that happen (depending on availability).
When Do We Get Our Rental Bikes?
Unless you've made arrangements otherwise, we'll bring your rental bike to you the morning of your first ride. The frame will already have been matched to your height but we will quickly adjust the saddle so it's comfortable and safe for you. We will do a quick orientation for the bike, showing you how to shift gears and brake. We will take your bike back after the last day of riding, unless you've made arrangements to keep it for one more day.
What About Bike Storage?
If it works for you, we keep the bikes locked up each night with us (either in a secure locked trailer or locked in the shuttle). That way there's no hassle for you arranging bike storage where you're staying. If you bring your own bikes, we can either store it for you or work with your accommodation partners to secure storage where you're staying.
What About the Weather?
Spring and Fall in the Okanagan (which is Giro's cycling season) typically has warmer temperatures (averaging from the low to mid 20’s) and limited rain – but there are no guarantees. Showers are not unusual and you should be prepared for encountering the odd one when we’re on the bike (see clothing section below). Also, be prepared to dress in layers you can shed as the day warms up. This is particularly true for our high altitude tours (Myra Canyon and Chute Lake) where temperatures can be 5 degrees lower than they are at lake level. If the weather conditions are such that we feel safety is compromised or the group decides they’d rather not be on the bike, we’ll adapt the day’s activities accordingly (ie a wine tour by shuttle)
What Support is Provided?
All rides have a support vehicle and driver that will meet us at the major stops. This vehicle will have a mechanical kit for simple repairs, a first aid kit, and snacks and water. Should you be unable to continue for any reason, the vehicle can provide a ride to the next stop. Your guides will be in contact with the support vehicle and can request support as required.
What Cycling Clothing Should I Bring?
We suggest bringing the following for clothing:
- 2 – 3 pairs of cycling shorts with padding – so you can rinse*, dry and alternate while you’re here
- 2 – 3 cycling jerseys or shirts, again so you can rinse, dry and alternate while you’re here
- If you have them, either a pair of arm warmers or a long sleeved cycling jersey is a good idea to bring, just in case
- A few pairs of good quality cycling or sports socks
- Good closed toe sports shoes you can cycle in, with a sturdy sole. Alternatively, you can bring cycling shoes with cleats.
- A light windbreaker shell, preferably waterproof, that you can cycle in.
- A pair of sunglasses suitable for cycling
- A pair of padded cycling gloves * With some accommodation partners, we have arranged for laundry services. If this is available, we’ll give you a mesh laundry bag to put your cycling gear in and provide instructions for drop off and pick up of your items.
Is there Anything Else I should Bring?
Giro will provide cycling helmets and water bottles. Some guests find it helpful to bring a small cycling backpack to put their belongings in while cycling, especially if they have to carry clothing as the day warms up. As far as off-bike clothing, the Okanagan is a pretty casual place. There are no specific clothing requirements at any of our dining destinations. We recommend dressing as you typically would if you were visiting a nicer restaurant while on your vacation. The main goal is to be comfortable! Oh…and throw a swimsuit in if your accommodation has a hot tub! It’s amazing after a day of riding.
What will the Dining be Like?
Amazing, but varied. We’re very proud of the dining partners we get to work with. Before you get here, we’ll ask you about your dining preferences and then work to match the experience to your tastes. You’ll find a mix of farm to table fine dining, relaxed Okanagan favorites, some al fresco adventures and even the odd visit to a food truck. All our Giro partners stress using local ingredients and have a deep respect for nature. They also create some extraordinarily delicious dishes. Eating is a big part of the Giro experience, so we’ve gone the extra mile to ensure it’s exceptional.
What Is Covered in My Package and What Isn't?
Your Giro Vacation includes 3 meals each day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), guided tours, accommodation and transfers once you get here. In addition, if we have a scheduled stop for a wine tasting, your tasting fees are also included. Really, the only things not included will be any alcohol you order with a meal and whatever you might buy at a snack stop (i.e. ice cream cones, coffee, etc). Also, if you arrange additional activities or services through us (relaxation massages, kayak tours, etc) those costs would be in addition to your package price.
What If I Want to Buy Things at Some of Our Stops?
Please do! Our support driver will be there to pick up your items and transport them for you to your accommodations at the end of the day. We encourage you to take as much of the Okanagan home with you as you can. It’s a special place, so you’ll want to share it with as many people as you can when you have to say so long.
Is this a Fully Guided and Hosted Tour?
Again, yes (mostly). You will have at least one guide for every 5 guests on most tours. And you will have a host/driver who will transport you to and from the tours and the dining venues. However, we won’t spend every minute of every day with you. We find our guest like to have a little bit of privacy along with the opportunity to spend some time with their fellow guests. You’ll have a few hours of free time after the day’s ride and before dinner to do whatever you want. Generally, on every tour, we will host one dinner where we’ll join you. Other than that, each evening we’ll get you to your amazing dining destination and we’ll pick you up, but in between we’ll let you be you!
What About Medical Assistance?
On every tour, at least one of your guides will be trained in emergency first aid. There will be a small first aid kit with one of the guides and a full first aid kit in the support vehicle. Should anything serious occur, there are hospitals in both Penticton and Kelowna.
What is Cell Coverage and Communication Like?
Most places we’ll be riding will have cell coverage, but some of the back country trails (ie sections of the KVR trail) will have areas where there is no coverage. Your guides have cell phones and we will give you their number before each ride. We’ll also give you the number of the support driver. Your accommodations should have wi-fi (all the Giro partners do).
Do You Provide Airport Transfers?
We can arrange an airport transfer for you if required. Please notify us if this is the case.
What Can I Expect on My Arrival Day?
Things are pretty relaxed on the day you get here. After you check in, we'll make arrangements to meet you for a welcome cocktail and then shuttle you to your first dining destination for dinner. Other than that, you can just relax and reset your internal clock to Okanagan time.
What Can I Expect on My Departure Day?
Again, this is a pretty relaxed day. Unless you've made arrangements with us to keep your bike for one last day, we'll already have picked it up and said our farewells. So enjoy your last breakfast here and savour the memories of each ride you've had. Your check out time will be in the Accommodation FAQs.
What Other Things Are There to Do Before or After My Giro Vacation?
If you wanted to extend your stay in the Okanagan, or are looking for suggestions elsewhere in British Columbia, let us know. We work extensively with the local tourism offices and can give you some wonderful suggestions.
Still have a question we didn't answer? Just drop us an email at email@example.com and we'll get right back to you!