Meet Your Sonoma Valley Bike Tour Guides
Outgoing. Passionate. Experienced. Inspiring. Knowledgeable. Well-traveled. Curious. These are just a few of the inherit traits of a Sonoma Valley Bike Tours Guide. Above all else, SVBT 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 Sonoma Valley."
Allan is one half of the dynamic "Fredericks Duo" (his wife, Cindy, drives van support for SVBT). Originally from Greeley, Colorado, Allan lived in Humbolt County for seven years before moving to wine country 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.
Carol is the universally beloved matriarch of Napa & Sonoma Valley Bike Tours. She has been driving van support for our bike tours 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.
"It's been great fun seeing the evolution of the company," Carol says. "It really has risen to a whole different level. I mean, 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."
When Carol isn't shuttling wine for Sonoma Valley Bike Tours, you'll most likely find her shuttling her grandkids to soccer, water polo, basketball or volleyball practice.
Carol's favorite Sonoma winery: "For me, it's less about the wineries and more about the people," Carol says. "It's Dave at Homewood and Peter at Ravenswood, among others. It's the warm and interesting people in the tasting room that really create a great experience for our guests."
"Never leave home without a pair of bike shorts. Even if you are going to NYC or the North Pole. You just never know when you might get a chance to get on a bike!"
Carolyn is a true California girl (from Lake Tahoe) with a penchant just about anything that allows her to be outdoors. She's found the perfect way to follow her bliss as a ski instructor during the winter and a bike tour guide for SVBT during the summer.
Carolyn recalls hosting a mother-daughter duo for three days of bike tours. "On my day off, I happened to be in Sonoma and ran into them at their hotel. They spoke about how much the trip had meant to them and how they were going to remember it forever. Sharing an outdoor adventure truly is such a great bonding experience."
When she's not guiding bike tours with SVBT, you'll find Carolyn practicing her Downward Dog, brushing up on her conversational French or planning her next European bicycling vacation. Carolyn has cycled in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Australia, France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Austria.
Carolyn's favorite Sonoma winery: "Gun-Bun! Friendly people, beautiful setting, interesting history and a very nice gewurtz!"
"My passion is being 'the hostess with the mostest'."
Cindy is known by all of her Sonoma 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, Tour Guide Allan Frederick!
Cindy's favorite Sonoma wine: "Homewood's 2008 Dry Creek Zinfandel is a favorite."
"I love experiencing the beauty of the wine country with guests who are here for the first time. It's like biking through paradise!"
When Craig isn't guiding bike tours with SVBT, you'll likely find him in his framing artwork and treasured objects at his shop, The Framery, in Downtown Napa. It's a business he's owned for more than 25 years. And with a Master's Degree in Fine Art, it's no surprise that you'll find Craig's handiwork hanging in premier restaurants, wineries and hotels across wine country.
Craig is also an avid water sportsman. Not only has he completed the one-way swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco multiple times, but in 2008, starting from the San Francicsco shoreline, he also swam out and around Alcatraz Island and back - a total journey of 3.25 miles! Craig also enjoys abalone diving along the Northern California coast.
Born in Holland before WWII, Hank moved to wine country 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 SVBT or leading Active Tours of the San Francisco Bay Area, Joan revels in the everyday delights of being a grandmother to Piper.
"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).
Mark's favorite Sonoma wine: "Gundlach-Bundschu because I'm proud I can pronounce it!"
"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.
Having traveled to 48 of the 50 States and 12 countries around the world, Matt is uniquely qualified when he says "Our climate and topography make the quality of cycling opportunities second to very few places on earth."
Originally from LIttleton, Colorado, Matt has called Sonoma home since his wife's career brought them here in 1999. Being food, wine and all-around outdoor enthusiasts, it wasn't a rough adjustment: "One of my favorite things to do is go for a long bike ride finishing back home with great wine paired with a locally sourced meal enjoyed with friends & family."
Although his proudest job title is "Mr. Mom" to daugher, Ella, Matt is also an accomplished woodworker. He has completed custom residential cabinetry projects for several high-profile clients and continues to "moonlight" in woodworking as time allows.
Matt's Favorite Sonoma wine pairings: "Benziger Family Tribute or Oonopais paired with a local grass-fed steak or braised stew."
"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 bike tour guests themselves!
While spending four days biking through the vineyards with Napa & Sonoma Valley Bike Tours, 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 and Sonoma on his Harley Fat Boy, which he hopes to ride one day on a trip from Texas to New Orleans along the Gulf Coast.
North's favorite Sonoma wine: "Homewood's 2008 Sonoma County Flying Whizzbanger. It's delicious with any kind of grilled meat!"
"I love seeing the delight on guests' faces when they're having an incredible day!"
Born and raised in Switzerland, with stints spent living in Italy, Connecticut and New Orleans, Oona's talents are as diverse as her background.
A wine country resident "off-and-on" since 1998, Oona has extensive training in hospitality and tour management, including with the International Tour Management Institute. She's also a trained sommelier, having worked for several wineries as a wine educator. And she speaks five languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish and German.
In her free time, you'll find Oona hiding out in her leather-crafting studio in Sonoma, where she hand stitches one-of-a-kind bags and boxes. Or, she might be pedaling along wine country's back roads with her miniature Chihuahua, Squirt, riding along in the basket.
Oona's favorite Sonoma wine pairing: "Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee with some tasty tapas!"
You could say that Paul keeps finding his way "home" to wine country, 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 wine country 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.
Paul's favorite Sonoma winery: "The last winery I tasted at!"
"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.
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 SVBT, 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!).
Thorne's favorite Sonoma winery: "I'd have to pick Ravenswood because the staff are exceptionally welcoming, they have comfy lounge chairs with a beautiful view, and most importantly they have 13 zinfandels, all of them great!"