Brandon, Vermont – The days of paper cue sheets, fold-out maps, and even phone calls wondering whether to turn right or left at the red barn are all in the rear view mirror for cyclists touring with longstanding self-guided outfitter “Inn to Inn” of Vermont. The husband-and-wife team who design the popular independent cycling tours through the quiet and pastoral “Ireland of America” farmland of western Vermont still furnish paper information as a security blanket, but their post-pandemic cyclists have unanimously adopted and endorsed the two smartphone apps that now take all the guesswork out of self-guided touring.
There is still the welcome touch of an in-person orientation talk on the first day. But an app called Vamoos is like having a tour guide along for the ride, useful for pre-trip planning (including a countdown on the home screen before departure for Vermont) as well as on-trip reference. Throughout the tour, cyclists spend a few minutes over breakfast each morning scrolling through poetry-like daily narratives authored by tour directors Seth and Olia Hopkins. These feature highlights of the day, options for side trip excursions, and (perhaps most importantly) the recommended lunch spot. The Vamoos app also offers up-to-date weather, safety recommendations, tips for a smooth trip, emergency contacts, and PDF versions of the traditional paper cue sheets.
Once the cyclists choose their preferred distance to connect their breakfast inn in one charming Vermont village to their dinner inn in another, they head over to the other app on their phone, a customized Event in RideWithGPS. This takes all the questions out of the door-to-door navigation and, with their smartphones mounted to the bike handlebars, even provides audible cues ahead of upcoming turns. RideWithGPS lets cyclists preview distances, elevations, grade, and surface conditions on their route, and keeps them on-track for a day of delights on well-vetted safe and scenic routes enjoyed by Inn to Inn cyclists for more than forty-five years.
While the leading-edge technology of smartphone apps makes for a richer and smoother self-guided tour, they do not detract from the sense that in touring inn to inn by bicycle, cyclists are experiencing a Vermont that is not only a different place but somehow a different time, safely exempt from the hustle and stress of life in 21st century America. Details can be found at www.inntoinn.com.