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Zephyr Inline Skate Tours
Questions and Answers
At a skating tour presentation I attended in Southern California
Zephyr Adventures owner Allan Wright answered questions asked
by local skaters about his skating holidays in Europe and
the United States.
Would you leave the country with this man?
Copyright © Zephyr Adventures
A couple of years ago I attended a slide show and
breakfast, presented by Zephyr Inline Skate Tours
at the Belmont Brewery in Long Beach, California
(and no, we didn't have BEER for breakfast).
Would I Take One of Zephyr's Trips?
I'll answer that question at the end of this article.
I will begin by saying I have done a lot of
traveling. Some of it has been rough traveling, like
tracking gorillas in Zaire, and some not so
rough, like hanging out for a few weeks in the
Seychelles Islands. (The only thing rough about that trip
was getting there from Los Angeles - 33 hours!) What I'm
trying to say is, I don't think of myself as the
kind of person who books a packaged tour, and
especially not a tour where I will be traveling with
a large group of people I don't know.
But I keep hearing about these great skating
trips being offered by companies
in Germany, the Netherlands, Finland,
the United States, and other places.
And I have to admit - the idea of
zooming around Europe on skates, while someone else
handles all the travel details, does have its appeal.
So I attended Zephyr's presentation with two
goals in mind: #1 - to learn what all the buzz
is about, and #2 - to have an
enjoyable morning with a
group of local skaters. Oh - and #3! To show off
my new 5-wheel skates (I made everybody look at
them - even total strangers).
I learned a lot about Zephyr tours at that presentation,
including one surprising fact that changed my entire
outlook on those trips. One reason I thought a
Zephyr skating trip might not be for me, was because
even though I enjoy skating with a large group of people
on a Friday night in Santa Monica, a week of forced
togetherness might be a bit much (depending on the
group of people).
But I found out today, that on a Zephyr trip, the
participants don't all skate together in a big
pack, the way I had always imagined.
Each morning, everyone is given a choice of 3
for that day's destination. For most trips, there
are short (10-12 mile),
medium (20-25 mile) and long (30-35 mile) routes to
choose from. You are given
route instructions, some tips to help you along
the way, and a friendly "See you tonight!"
I'm exaggerating a little. There are 2 or 3 guides
on each trip, and SOME of the participants will skate
with the guides (I'm sure you could if you wanted to).
There is also a van with
a cell phone in case you get lost.
But it was interesting to hear that you
don't have to skate with a large group of people,
unless you want to. You
can be more or less on your own, if you prefer,
and do each skate at your own pace, stopping
anywhere you want, for as long you want.
This makes a Zephyr trip sound much more appealing.
I might feel like skating with a large group of people,
but I might just feel like skating alone - or perhaps
with one special person!
Here are some questions people asked at the presentation
along with the answers given by Zephyr
owner Allan Wright and Minnesota tour guide, Mike
Questions and Answers
What Destinations Do You Offer?
In 2000, there are trips to France, Germany,
the Netherlands, Switzerland, Florida,
Minnesota, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard.
How Much Does a Trip Cost?
Zephyr tours run from $495 for a 2 night
trip through Amish country, to $1,765 for 6 nights in
Switzerland's Rhone Valley. A best buy
is Zephyr's 9 night "European Night Skates" tour for
$1,395 ($155 per night).
What is included in the cost?
The cost does not include transportation from
your city to the tour starting point, but it does
include double-occupancy accommodations, guide
services, van support, local transportation
(trains, shuttles, ferries), and usually
How Many Skaters Are On Each Trip?
No trip will have more than 24 skaters, and
each trip must have at least 7 to 10 skaters
(depending on the destination).
Would I Feel Comfortable Traveling Alone?
40% of the skaters on Zephyr's 1999 trips were
traveling alone. Zephyr can arrange for two solo
travelers to share a room, or travelers can pay
a bit extra to have their own room.
Can I Bring a Friend Who Doesn't Skate?
Your friend can ride a bicycle, if you select one
of the bicycle-friendly tours
(the Netherlands, Switzerland, Martha's Vineyard,
Are There Any Age Limits For Skaters?
Most of the skaters are between 20 and 60, but
there have been skaters as young as 12 and as
old as 70. There are no hard age limits.
Are the Tours too Hard for Beginners?
If you are an advanced beginner,
you should be fine on most of these trips.
You may want to skate the shortest route
each day (10 to 12 miles) and you can
always elect to ride in the van for part of any day.
Are the Tours Too Easy for 5-Wheel Skaters?
Zephyr tours are designed to accommodate
skaters with all levels of ability.
No 5-wheel skater has ever complained that
a Zephyr tour was too easy.
Are There Any Hills?
Most tours have completely flat routes and
some are mostly flat. The Pennsylvania Amish
tour has some hills, but you will be taught to
skate those hills by certified instructors.
What Happens If It Rains?
If it happens to rain on a particular
day, there are several possibilities.
Sometimes the group will rent bicycles,
and continue on the planned route.
Other times they will skate indoors and
have an "instruction day". Another possibility
is to do a non-skating activity that day.
What Kind of Body Protection is Required?
Helmet and wrist guards are required.
Knee pads and elbow pads are recommended.
What Kind of Skates Are Recommended
It's very important to buy
the most comfortable skates you can find.
Some 5-wheel skaters find that a 5-wheel fitness
skate is more comfortable for a long trip like
this, than a true speedskate, because of the
What Kind of Socks Are Recommended?
Allen: "Plain cotton socks have always worked fine for me"
Are All of the Guides Employee Full Time?
Two Zephyr guides are employed full time,
and the others are hired seasonally.
Would I Take a Zephyr Skate Tour?
I think it would be fun to take one of Zephyr's
trips if I was in the mood for a no-stress,
vacation where I could exercise (skate) all day
and relax in the evenings, and not even think
about the hassles often associated with traveling
in an unfamiliar place where you don't speak the
Would I feel comfortable going on one of
Zephyr's trips by myself?
That one is easy! Sure - why not?
I would have a wonderful time skating every day and reading
and relaxing in the evenings. Right now that sounds
If you would like to learn more about Zephyr trips,
see the Zephyr adventures Web site or email your
postal address to Zephyr and ask for
one of their brochures.
PO Box 16, Red Lodge,
Montana 59068 USA
Phone (Local): 406-818-0001
Phone (Toll Free): 888-758-8687
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