MEET YOUR TOUR GUIDES
Outgoing. Passionate. Experienced. Inspiring. Knowledgeable. Well-traveled. Curious. These are just a few of the inherent traits of a Napa Valley Bike Tours Guide. Above all else, NVBT Tour Guides are eager to make the time you spend biking with us your favorite memory from your visit to wine country!
"My passion is to show guests 'off-the-beaten-track' wineries which will make for a memorable day in the beautiful Napa Valley."
Allan is one half of the dynamic "Fredericks Duo" (his wife, Cindy, drives van support for NVBT). Originally from Greeley, Colorado, Allan lived in Humbolt County for seven years before moving to the Napa Valley in 1986.
A born tinkerer who enjoys working with his hands, Allan recently built his "Dream Shop," a wood-working shop where he designs and crafts original barrel stave furniture and one-of-a-kind commissioned pieces for wineries, restaurants and private collectors.
When he's not guiding bike tours, Allan teaches Middle School Industrial Technology. His past bicycling adventures have taken him around the island of Kauai, throughout the Colorado Rockies and through the Sedona Desert.
"It's been great fun seeing the evolution of the company. Even in the early days, the guests have always had a great time, but the experience we offer today is such a dramatic improvement. I'm really proud to be a part of it."
Carol is the universally beloved matriarch of Napa Valley Bike Tours. She has been driving van support for NVBT for more than 20 years - having worked for both previous owners before Brad acquired company in 2005.
Carol is a third generation Napan. Her grandmother immigrated to the valley from Italy. Don't miss the chance to ask her about Napa's history - or the "golden olden" days of Napa Valley Bike Tours, for that matter!
When Carol isn't shuttling wine for Napa Valley Bike Tours, you'll most likely find her shuttling her grandkids to soccer, water polo, basketball or volleyball practice.
"My passion is being 'the hostess with the mostest'."
Cindy is known by all of her Napa Valley Bike Tours co-workers as the "Duchess of Details." In her role as a van support driver, Cindy goes out of her way to add personal, unexpected flourishes whenever she can. She might, for example, place a sprig of lavender to your place setting at lunch.
But don't let this shrinking violet get away without quizzing her about our local ecology. "A little known fact is that I have expertise in the ecosystems of Napa and Sonoma Valleys and how these ecosystems make our valleys the ideal growing place for world-class wines," Cindy says.
During the school year, Cindy teaches Life Sciences to students with severe disabilities. She is also an avid gardener and full-time manager of her husband, NVBT Tour Guide Allan Frederick!
Edwin Oviatt, II
Ed retired to wine country following a 40-year career as an investment advisor in San Francisco. An active volunteer in the community, Ed is a member of the Napa County Grand Jury and is also working hard as a Park and Rec Commissioner to help bring the proposed 47-mile Vine Trail bicycle and multi-use path to Napa Valley.
A former U.S. Navy Rescue Swimmer, Ed helps raise funds for the Wounded Warriors Pathways Program.
Ed is our eternal teenager and a tireless adventurer. When he's not bicycling through the vineyards with his tour guests, you'll find him in the pool training for his next Master's Swimming competition or the annual open-water swim from Alcatraz to San Franciso, hiking the trails of Mt. Tamalpais or skiing in Lake Tahoe with his two children.
Born in Holland before WWII, Hank moved to Napa with his family at the age of 18 - having met and dated his first true love, Yoka, just twice before leaving Holland.
Three years and a suitcase full of love letters later, Hank and Yoka reunited for five short days in Hawaii (Hank was on his way overseas with the U.S. Navy). The couple, who married in 1961, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2011. They have four grown children and 16 grandchildren.
In 1996, Hank and Yoka flew to Boston with their bikes and rode across the country together (with no van support!) - covering a total of 3,500 miles in 9 weeks.
When he's not guiding bike tours, Hank enjoys model ship building, reading and "romancing my beautiful wife!" Hank is also an avid painter and sells his original works, painted on canvas and wine barrel heads, at various festivals throughout the year.
James (aka J-Mac) has spent most of his life living in and around the Bay Area.
While growing up in Marin County in the 1970s, James hung with a circle of friends that included Gary Fischer, Joe Breeze, Tom Ritchey and Charlie Kelly. For fun, they started modifying street bikes so they could ride and race them off road on the trails of Mount Tamalpais. Their improvised "Klunkerz" were the predessesors of the modern mountain bike and are now a treasured part of mountain biking lore.
During the winter James loves to head south to Zihuatanejo, on the Pacific coast of Mexico (yes, it's the fabled fishing village that Andy and Red escaped to in the movie, the "Shawshank Redemption"). It's a place, James says, where life's simple pleasures are magnified by the beautiful setting and the warm and welcoming people.
"Having cycled the backroads and byways of so many countries, I can honestly say that the California wine country is the best!"
Joan is a proud fourth generation California Native - and although she's explored six continents - "Antartica is just too cold!" - she still feels lucky to live and have raised her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Joan became a professional tour guide - certified with the International Tour Managment Institute and the San Francisco Tour Guide Guild - after taking an early retirement from her 18-year career as a Librarian at Stanford University.
Having taken bicycling vacations around the world for the past 20 years, it was a natural progression for Joan to find a way to pair her love of bicycle touring with her knowledge of Northern California history and tour guiding skills.
When she's not guiding for NVBT or leading Active Tours of the San Francisco Bay Area, Joan revels in the everyday delights of being a grandmother to Piper.
"Riding through wine country is just flat out exhilarating! The variety of terrain and scenery abound and that makes cycling in wine country extra special."
Born and raised in Maryland, John retired to Sonoma in 2011. While John is a wine enthusiast, that is not the sole reason he moved to wine country. He has a daughter and grandchildren living in San Francisco and his wife, Nora, is from the Bay Area. But, he adds, "The fact that the weather and cycling are just incredible here didn't hurt either!"
John is our resident Rocket Scientist. No really, he holds a BS degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland. Prior to retirement he dedicated 40 years of Civil Service with US DOT, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as an aviation safety engineer, and as an aviation accident investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, DC.
His true passions, which he acquired later in life, are competitive bicycle racing and snow skiing. When he is not taking guests on bike tours you can find him riding the roads of Sonoma and Napa or racing at the Hellyer Velodrome in San Jose. In the winter, John migrates to the mountains of Lake Tahoe and Colorado to engage in downhill skiing.
"I want every one of my clients to come away feeling enriched, with a better understanding of the wonderful role of the wineries and vineyards in our diverse agricultural heritage."
Lyn, aka "Kiwi", has lived in Sonoma for 26 years. Originally from New Zealand, "home of the best sauvignon blanc in the world," Lyn has lived and worked all over Central and South America, speaks Spanish, and has cycled across the Atacama Desert in Chile and survived!
Apart from guiding bike tours, Lyn is the manager of the Arts Guild of Sonoma, a small co-operative non-profit art gallery in Sonoma.
She is also a nationally ranked snowboarder, holding the title of USASA Overall Women's Alpine Champion for many years. In the winter she heads for the mountains every opportunity she gets.
"When you ride a bike through wine country, you're guaranteed to see things that you'd never see driving in a car."
Mark was born and raised in Napa. A pilot and EMT, Mark enjoys running, cycling, sailing and playing guitars.
When he's not hosting bike tours, Mark is a board member and actively involved in the organization of the the Napa Valley Marathon.
Mark also hosts youth groups on educational trips to Israel and the Middle East. On his bucket list: Mountain bike the Israeli National Trail from the Lebanon border to the Red Sea (approximatetly 530 miles).
"Riding a bike through wine country is what I refer to as my 'cycletherapy'."
Mark is a California native who's has called Sonoma home for 20 years.
A maintenance technician by trade, Mark has developed a passion for the wine industry that he has furtherd along by taking numerous courses in viticulture, enology and formal wine tasting.
When he's not towing his adorable 4-legged companion, Izzabelle (a.k.a. Izzie), Mark has been known to tow his camping gear on extended trips around Northern California. He's also completed the AIDS Lifecycle: Ride to End AIDS - a 7-day chairty ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles - five times.
While Mike is a native Californian, he has spent most of his life living out of state. He and his wife, De, owned The Five Gables Inn on the coast of Maine for 17 years. From the moment you meet him, you'll realize that no amount of time on the East Coast could rob this California boy of his bohemian spirit.
In past incarnations (all within this lifetime, mind you), Mike has owned a construction company in Atlanta, worked on a freighter hauling beer to U.S. troops in Viet Nam, lived and worked as part of a kibbutz community in Israel, and traveled with American youth groups to work on construction projects benefiting impoverished communities in Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador and Peru. In his own words, Mike describes himself as "pretty footloose."
Mike has biked the Blue Ridge Parkway from Carolina to Virginia and also point-to-point down the Pacific Coast from Vancouver, BC to San Francisco.
After spending nearly 50 years out of state, Mike returned to Napa Valley to be close to family once again, and he couldn’t be happier!
"Every Tour Guide needs a secret talent. Mine is that I can make people laugh while riding uphill!"
North is originally from Montreal, Vancouver (hence the nickname, "North"!). Without a doubt, North has a keen sense of his guests' perspective since it was only a few years ago (back in July 2007, to be exact) when he and his wife, Lil, were NVBT bike tour guests themselves!
While spending four days biking through the vineyards with NVBT, the couple, who are both school teachers currently living in LA, thought, "We've got to find a way to spend more time here!" They chanced upon a quaint little cottage rental and without pausing long enough to talk themselves out of it, they secured it for the following summer. 2012 will be their 5th season!
On days when he's not guiding bike tours, North takes to the backroads of Napa on his Harley Fat Boy, which he hopes to ride one day on a trip from Texas to New Orleans along the Gulf Coast.
You could say that Paul keeps finding his way "home" to Napa Valley, having lived locally from 1952-69, 1980-89 and finally landing back here in 1995 (in the intermin, Paul lived in Milwaukee, WI, and Fayetteville and Winston-Salem, NC).
Fun fact: Paul worked for the United States Parachute Association as their Accelerated Freefall Training & Certification Course Director for four and a half years. He has remained involved in the sport as a writer for Parachutist Magazine and in 2011, was honored by the USPA with a Lifetime Acheivement Award.
With a degree in history, and his firsthand experience living in Napa Valley over several decades (not to mention, raising three children here), Paul's tour guests enjoy hearing his personal perspective of just how radically the valley has grown and changed.
Nicknamed “5-Mile Phoebe” because as she explains, “I literally have no sense of mileage so when my tour guests ask, ‘How many miles did we just ride?" the answer is sure to be, "Oh, I'd say about 5 miles.”
Phoebe's secret superpower is that she is an unabashed "Cork Dork" with 23 years of experience in the wine industry. Though she tries to keep her impressive knowledge somewhat under wraps (she doesn't want to overwhelm wine country newcomers), the curious traveler would be well served by peppering her with questions!
Before joining NVBT Phoebe worked in fine wine sales and as a luxury wine tour driver, taking guests to exclusive and secret winery locations well of the beaten path.
When she's not leading tours, Phoebe can be found living the Northern California outdoor lifestyle with her three lovely daughters. They enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, and camping. When the opportunity presents itself, the girls all vie for the chance to accompany Mom on a tandem when she's leading a bike tour.
"I've found that guiding bike tours in Napa & Sonoma has renewed my appreciation for this area. I enjoy experiencing it again through the eyes of my guests."
As a San Francisco native, Steve has childhood memories of visiting Sonoma with his family, when they would stay for 4 to 6 weeks at a time. But, as an adult he and his wife found it harder and harder to retreat back to their city life after their weekend getaways to the wine country - so they found a way to stay!
A former competitive time trial cyclist with a Masters in Social Psychology and a degree in Culinary Arts, Steve owns Yucatan Sunset catering company with his wife, Susan. Their wine-friendly ethnic cusine has made them a "go-to" resource for local winery parties and private events and has also resulted in many great friendships and connections with local wine makers.
When he's not guiding bike tours or catering a wine country soiree, Steve also enjoys swimming and archery. Steve has cycled in Hawaii, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Germany, the UK, including Scotland, and France.
"Every day I am amazed that I get to live in the Napa Valley. Best of all, I live in Rutherford. It doesn't get much more beautiful than this!"
California native, Teresa loves to cycle, read, hike, and work out at the gym. In the summers her and her husband travel in their teardrop trailer, which they made themselves!
When she's not hosting bike tours, Teresa teaches middle school P.E., Language Arts, and Health.
Teresa believes riding a bike through wine country is the best way to truly experience every aspect of the valley with all of you senses, especially around harvest time.
Born in Chicago and raised outside of New York City, Thorne moved to California initially to finish college. After spending some years in the Silicon Valley tech industry, he and his wife moved to Sonoma in 1984 to start a family.
Thorne's has first-hand knowledge of many aspects of the wine-making process, having worked at four wineries over the years in tasting room, leading winery tours, conducting formal wine-tasting classes, working the crush and even making his own personal wine (100 gallons of pinot noir). He has also been a professional taster for the San Jose Mercury News Wine Competition.
When he's not leading bike tours for NVBT, Thorne is the Program Director for Helping Hands Therapies, an occupational therapy clinic.
Among the places Thorne has cycled: France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Tajikistan (Google it!).