Vermont. It really is as beautiful and green as you imagine it to be. On this goal-oriented, summer bike trip you’ll pedal through Vermont’s deep green valleys, famous for covered bridges, cool streams, cow-dotted pastures, and charming small towns. Along the way you’ll kayak Lake Champlain and volunteer on a local community service project. Together as a team you’ll make your way north, cross the Canadian border, and reach your final destination, Montréal. A fun contrast to rural Vermont, this lively, cosmopolitan city offers the perfect international setting to celebrate your many amazing accomplishments.
Rural Vermont, Lake Champlain & Burlington
We’ll start our ride in the charming village of Poultney, where we’ll get to know each other and begin to learn the ins and outs of bicycle touring. With Lake Champlain as our first goal we’ll begin our northward ride through lush valleys, rolling hills, and picture-perfect villages. Reaching the shores of Lake Champlain, we’ll trade our bikes for sea kayaks and spend some time exploring Champlain’s gorgeous coves and bays. Retrieving our bikes, we’ll follow the lake’s shore until we arrive in exciting Burlington, VT. Here, we’ll spend a full day off of the bikes volunteering in the morning and exploring in the afternoon.
Route Verte & Montréal
Back on the bikes, we’ll mark our next milestone as we pedal across the border and into Canada’s fertile farmland. We’ll pick up the Route Verte (the “Green Road”) and travel this world-famous cycling path through the rural heartland, over the St. Lawrence River and into historic, French-speaking Montréal. Feeling fantastic about reaching our final goal, we’ll spend two nights and a full day exploring the sights of this dynamic city. A French feast and warm “adieus” will round out our time together in Montréal.
Please see our General FAQ page for many more frequently asked questions and answers!
How physically challenging is VM?
Given a rating of Challenge Level 4 (out of a maximum of 10), we consider VM to be a beginner cycle-touring trip that any moderately fit, motivated student can successfully complete with some prior preparation. Compared to similar biking trips, we believe that VM is slightly more challenging than Cape Cod & the Islands (mostly due to extended mileage), but easier than Pacific Coast. Please note that all of Apogee’s Challenge Levels are not scientific and are subjectively calculated by the Apogee staff.
My child is new to cycle touring and has never ridden with loaded panniers. Could my child participate without previous experience?
Yes. Apogee’s trips are designed around the concept of “achievable challenge” – anyone who has a willingness to challenge themselves and possesses a basic to moderate level of physical fitness is already well-prepared. Upon your child’s enrollment, we will send you a suggested training schedule that we highly recommend your child completes prior to his/her trip. Training beforehand (especially with panniers and weight) will directly contribute to good risk management and your child’s physical comfort.
Does my child need to bring his or her own bike for this trip?
No – we offer rental bikes (as well as panniers) for an additional fee. In 2017, the cost of a hybrid rental bicycle for the 12-day trip is $180. Waterproof rental panniers are available for $50. If your child already has a bike that is appropriate for this trip, they are welcome to bring it. Please call our office with any questions regarding the suitability of your child’s bike for this trip.
Aside from the trip cost, what are the additional expenses for this trip?
Apogee’s tuition costs are meant to be all-inclusive and include all meal, accommodation, and activity fees. The most significant additional expenses on our Vermont to Montreal trip will include travel to and from Manchester, NH, a sleeping bag and sleeping pad, a bike helmet, and touring bike and panniers (rentals are available, see above).
What does the community service portion of this trip entail?
Service projects vary from year to year, but most years, our VM groups work in coordination with the Burlington Parks and Recreation team on a variety of tasks, including painting and bike trail maintenance. Your child can expect 3-6 hours of community service.
My child will be flying to this trip start. How will they connect with their leaders?
Please note that Apogee staff members do not travel with students; our trip leaders will already be in Vermont on arrival day and will stay at our headquarters in Maine after the trip ends. Apogee staff and trip leaders will have a detailed flight itinerary for each student who is flying to the trip start and will be at the airport to greet them on arrival. Once students are with their leaders, they will call home to let their parents know they have arrived and are with their group. Please see our blog post for specifics regarding students traveling as Unaccompanied Minors. Further, we encourage you to coordinate travel with other attendees; we’re happy to put you in touch with other enrolled families from your region. We will provide enrolled families with a Travel Information document covering details specific to traveling to and from Vermont, including airport information and arrival and departure time windows. Please contact Apogee with any specific questions or concerns regarding drop-offs and/or pick-ups