One adventure travel company, Bicycle Adventures http://bicycleadventures.com/, specializing in two-wheel tours in North America, Hawaii (the Big Island) and New Zealand, offers annual accolades to, among others, vendors, and this year to one of its guests, who help the company deliver excellence when it comes to bicycle vacations.
The results of its 2013 Golden Cog awards that recognize outstanding accomplishments during the 2012 season were announced earlier this month. This is the 15th year of the awards, which company owners say have been as much fun to give as to receive.
“We’re really fortunate that all of the inns and restaurants and bike shops along our various routes give us such over-the-top service,” said Todd Starnes, company president. “To use a dairy analogy, skimming the cream is a fun challenge, because our vendors are all outstanding in their own special way.”
Following are the award recipients for meritorious service in 2012:
The Best Idea Golden Cog goes to the owner and to the chef of McKenzie Riverside Cottages in Blue River, OR which is included in the company’s Oregon Crater Lake Tour. A restaurant that Bicycle Adventures used for 20 years burned down. Jeanne Fager, owner of McKenzie Riverside Cottages where cyclists lodge, suggested: “Let’s have dinner here,” inviting her friend Bernadette Fleischer to be chef. Touring guests now enjoy a private, catered, five-course gourmet meal al fresco overlooking the McKenzie River. A majority of guests voted it their favorite meal of the entire week!
The Give ‘em a Hand Golden Cog came about on the epic USA Pro Cycling Challenge Bike Tour in Colorado where a guest had an unfortunate encounter with the road, damaging his hand. A prominent hand surgeon, Dr. Delwin Quenzer of West Des Moines, Iowa, happened to also be on the trip as a guest, diagnosed the broken bone, escorted the injured rider to a local orthopedic office, oversaw the entire process and took over treatment for the remainder of the tour.
The Zion Cycles Bike Shop in Springdale, UT, receives a Golden Cog for Keeping the Wheels Turning. Says Bicycle Adventures, “Our guides are pretty good mechanics, and we always carry extra bikes and plenty of tools. But occasionally we run into something we can’t handle quickly in the field. Zion Cycles understands life on tour and the need to keep the wheels turning. Whenever we’ve had a need for speed – from fixing a broken spoke to rebuilding a wheel – they respond quickly, professionally and with great technical skill. And to top it off, they offer Bicycle Adventures’ guests a discount on all the cool stuff in their store!” Three of the company’s Utah bike tours pass by the shop.
On the Northern California Pub & Pedal bike tour, the Golden Cog for Above and Beyond goes to Les Schwab Tire Company located at 1600 Santa Rosa Avenue in Santa Rosa, CA.
“The night before the start of our tour,” begins the story told by Bicycle Adventures, “one of our vans had a mechanical issue. The local Les Schwab dealer was willing to repair it after hours, which was amazing. But the real kicker was, while the van was being repaired, another Les Schwab employee volunteered to chauffeur our guides around town to do all of their pre-trip shopping. When is the last time someone drove you to the store to shop for 10 people for a seven day trip? Kudos to Les Schwab!”
The Golden Cog for Lodge of the Year was bestowed on Cable Mountain Lodge, used on Bicycle Adventures’ Bryce & Zion Bike Tour and Zion 4 Day Classic Tour. “The lodge has been amazing, responding with enthusiasm to our special requests (think champagne, rose petals and a catered in-room dinner for one couple with a big anniversary) for special guests and even last-minute changes to our tour roster. Now we can’t imagine staying anywhere else,” said Starnes.
A Simply the Best Golden Cog goes to the company itself for its guest referral program called Bring Your Own Friend.
“We looked at other companies’ referral programs and wanted to do something different, better and that fit our culture. That’s why we created the Bring Your Own Friend (B.Y.O.F.) loyalty reward. It’s really simple: (1) You must have traveled with us in the past; (2) you must bring a friend who has never traveled with us before; (3) you receive half-off your trip for the referral. Yep, we’re giving ourselves a Golden Cog for such a brilliantly simple program,” said Starnes.
Image courtesy Widness & Wiggins PR