Lamoille Valley Bike Tours delivers visitors to local gems along the scenic Lamoille Valley Rail Trail
What is the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail?
Winding through the hills and farmlands of rural Vermont, under covered bridges, and through quaint townships, lay what remained of the Lamoille Valley Rail Road.
Formerly the Vermont division of the Portland-Ogdensburg Rail Road constructed in 1877, the railway connected Morristown to Jeffersonville, VT. Throughout its operation, it delivered freight between Maine and New York and passengers to their summer homes in Vermont. Guests stayed in beautiful trailside hotels in over 18 townships along the tracks. The railroad brought industry and economic growth to the tiny towns it wove through. In the mid-1900s, however, the railroad’s profits declined. After a brief period in the 1980s when the railroad was unsuccessful in maintaining the tracks for tourism purposes, the railroad was closed down. The corridor was quiet.
Then in 2014, the state of Vermont, led by the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) began overhauling the tracks to clear the way for a new purpose.
The trail would once again bring economic growth to those townships along its route but delivered on a different vehicle: E-Bikes.
Enter: Lamoille Valley Bike Tours
The idea began with Jim Rose.
Following the story and progress of the Lamoille Valley Railroad rehabilitation and conversion to a recreational trail, Jim saw the opportunity to bring E-bikes onto the scene. When the 17-mile section of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail opened within their county in 2015, Jim and his wife Yva began their venture into E-Bike tours.
Lamoille Valley Bike Tours began as a mobile business. Simple out-and-back rides with customers along different sections of the trail, with Yva trucking the bikes to their rendezvous with customers, and Jim guiding them for a unique local tour of Vermont. As they brainstormed, the Rose family reached out to local businesses positioned along the trail to design bike tours and events centered around delivering these guests to the doors of local businesses off the beaten path. Just the kind of experience that Conscious Travel Collective seeks out for their small group tour of Vermont.
"It’s a labor of love, we love introducing people to Vermont and E-bikes. We’re excited to meet you and get you outside, experiencing our beautiful state on an E-bike. We love our customers.”
Family-Owned and Operated
In the beginning, Jim and Yva guided the tours. A craft beer aficionado, Jim brought groups along the Trail to the many craft beer breweries that Vermont is famous for. As their tours evolved and grew in popularity, they brought on additional guides— always someone close to the family that had experience with the area and the E-bikes. “Our business is like our baby,” Yva says, “We want to make sure we cater to the customer and give each tour a special touch.”
The LVBT Team expanded their unique offering with the construction of their trailside shop, and it quickly became Yva’s favorite part of the business. Since the move from a mobile company to brick and mortar shop in her hometown of Johnson, she loves to greet visitors as they enter the shop, learn about where they’re visiting from, and share about her home state. So many pass through on their own bikes or pop into the shop to see what LVBT is all about. Plus, the outdoor picnic area allows for that community vibe as people gather for their tour and event— or share a hot chocolate around the fire together after their winter fat tire bike tours.
The Mission of Lamoille Valley Bike Tours
The Lamoille Valley Bike Tour mission is to connect visitors to the local community, but it goes further than that. It promotes healthful living, and small businesses, and ensures visitors’ thirst for adventure is satisfied. It gets people outside, in nature, exercising, and introduces them to the fun that only an E-Bike can supply.
Why E-Bike Tours?
E-Bikes are the great equalizer when it comes to combining tourism with exercise adventure travel. Yva likes to explain E-Bikes to cycling purists who may scoff them off like this: “If you wanted to take a bike ride with your child, how far do you think it will be?” Jim and Yva’s ten-year-old joined them on a 26-mile bike ride. With E-bikes, the tours that LVBT offers become accessible to a greater variety of folks. A most memorable demonstration of this was on one of their Pedal-to-Plate tours that brought four generations of a family on an E-bike ride out to a local farm where they were fed a farm-to-table meal.
They offer a variety of tours, both guided and self-guided.
Among their most popular are:
The Bike&Brew Tour: A 4.5 hours tour, offered as both guided and self-guided, that brings riders to the local craft beer breweries along the Rail Trail.
Vermont Canoe and Kayak: This tour partners with Vermont Canoe and Kayak for an all-day combo of recreational adventure.
Teahouse Tour: A bike through the backroads in the woods of Johnson to the local tea house for tea and dessert. Sounds like a perfect girls' getaway.
When’s the best time to go, you ask? Well, you can probably guess that the Vermont foliage during the autumn months draws the most visitors to the state.
What’s in store for future tours?
In December 2022, the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail opened up all sections for use. This means all 93 miles of the trail are fair game, and Yva and Jim are designing more E-bike tours to take advantage of all the trail has to offer. What can you expect? The vision is multi-day biking adventures in some of the most beautiful stretches of rural Vermont, and quaint local lodging along the historic trail.
What is the one thing Yva would like visitors to know about visiting Vermont? “Be patient and kind with us. Our communities are small and quiet and need time to adjust to the increased volume of traffic that the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail has brought. It’s a labor of love, we love introducing people to Vermont and E-bikes. We’re excited to meet you and get you outside, experiencing our beautiful state on an E-bike. We love our customers.”
Sparking connection in Vermont - Conscious Travel Collective & Lamoille Valley Bike Tours
CTC is thrilled to partner with values-aligned businesses such as Lamoille Valley Bike Tours win designing private travel to Vermont. To learn more about Lamoille Valley Bike Tours, you can visit their website here.
The author of this blog is the oh-so-talented, Shelagh Hogan.
You can find out more about her work on our team page
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