April 28th, 2023

Mac Bike Rentals: Customizing the Wine Country Experience

A man holds a glass of wine as he looks out at a grassy, expansive view of the Willamette Valley.
Enjoy a taste and a view from the deck at Youngberg Hill winery during a wine country cycling tour. Photo by Dan Shryock.

Eric Ladouceur welcomed the phone call last summer. A group of eight wanted to take a wine country bicycle tour. Would this be something Tommy’s Bicycle Shop could arrange?

As an experienced bike tour guide, Eric knew what to do .

“That group was celebrating a 40th birthday together,” recalls Eric, co – owner of the McMinnville bicycle store . “We started at Stoller (Family Estate winery) and went up to the Durant Olive Mill. It was a short ride, less than six miles. They specifically wanted to go to Durant and do an olive oil tasting so we designed the trip around that. ”

The outing worked well for both the guests and Tommy’s, so well in fact that the bike shop expects to lead more tours this year. There’s already one reservation booked.

“We have a group of 25 coming this summer to do a wedding trip experience ,” Eric says. “That will be a full-day guided experience. We’re offering that as a custom trip and as time goes on, based on demand, we’d like to add more guided trips like this .”

Each excursion will be led by a docent who will ride with guests, talk about the area, lead them to pre-arranged wineries, and even provide roadside bike adjustments if needed.

It will all start at Mac Bike Rentals, a second Tommy’s business enterprise at 824 SE First St. Customers will pick up their bikes and pedal away. Both traditional and e-bikes will be available.

“We’d like to add a self-guided experience for the more adventurous where you can load a route on a phone and take off on your own with all the information,” Eric says. “There may be some reservations pre-planned for tastings and for lunch.”

One likely loop would take cyclists southwest from downtown McMinnville toward Youngberg Hill winery where one can enjoy a glass of pinot noir and take in fabulous vistas. “We may add Erratic Rock in there as well,” Eric says, referring to a local landmark, a massive, 90-ton stone left by Ice Age floods more than 12,000 years ago.

“That’s the goal,” Eric says. “We think we could create a custom itinerary that starts from Mac Bike Rentals and goes out to wherever they want to go. It would be very intimate. We could go to a farm and talk to the farmer perhaps, then go to a wine tasting and talk to the winemaker, and then go and have lunch or dinner as a group.“

“We would curate all that and possibly even incorporate an overnight at a hotel,” he envisions. “People would just pay one price, and everything is built in. You could even take a short ride the next day if you so choose.”

Dan Shryock

Dan Shryock regularly writes about McMinnville, travel, and cycle tourism.  See his work at danshryock.com.