The idea of Smart Tours was born in 2006 during a two month self supported bike tour with my dad. We pedaled our loaded mountain bikes from Sonoma County to Cabo San Lucas over the following months tracing the beautiful California Coast down iconic Hwy 1, camping outside every night, and being thrilled with the feelings of simplicity and calm that days spent on a bike can give. We began to talk about how to share this feeling of freedom with more people.
Seeing new or even familiar places from the seat of a bike is a unique experience. I returned from this trip eager for new adventures and invigorated by all there is to see in the world. I spent the next few couple years working to see and do more. My travels took me around the world. Somewhere between living and volunteering in Thailand, looking at Everest from my frozen bed at Rombuk Monastery, and catching piranha in the Amazon I became completely convinced that the best thing I could do with my life would be to get on a plane and add passport stamps at every opportunity.
But at a certain point I noticed something. It happened for the first time on the airport shuttle back home after spending five months in some of the most exotic and beautiful places on Earth. I was floored by the deepness of the green in the Sonoma Hills. By the size of the trees just off the side of the road. By the images of idyllic country roads stretching over layer upon layer of softly rolling hills. I realized that the home I was so eager to get away from was just as beautiful as the places I yearned to escape to. I realized that the Sonoma Coast, the Redwoods, and the rolling hills of Sonoma County were sitting here unexplored by me and that I was missing out by not diving headfirst into my home territory.
And so I fell in love with where I live. Since then I have biked thousands of miles on Sonoma County roads. Hiked to the wildest and most beautiful vistas in the Bay Area. Have lost my breath watching an osprey pluck a fish from the water just feet in front of my kayak. And I have stared up for the hundredth time into the redwood canopy and have felt myself quieted by what I see there.
The idea of sharing these experiences once again crept up in conversations with my family. During long bike rides with my dad we would talk about starting the tour company one day, about all the places we could show people who come here just for the wine and end up leaving with half an experience. So it took a few more years but Smart Tours is real now. I don't take for granted how fortunate I am to be in a family and community that loves being outside searching for new roads and climbing new hills. And I feel incredibly lucky to be able to share my little corner of the world both with people who come here looking for new adventures and also for those who have lived here their entire lives and have still not seen the seals at the coast.
This is what we believe:
We believe that there is more to visiting Sonoma and Napa than spending your money and more importantly your time having the same experiences as every other visitor.
We believe that the San Francisco Bay Area truly is one of the most beautiful places in the world. We feel blessed to live here and we take great pride and pleasure in giving visitors a glimpse into the hidden wonders of this remarkable place we call home. We are dedicated to finding a wide range of adventures to suit a vast range of travelers. From casual wine tasting in the valley floor to heart pounding bike rides up the stunning hills and everything in between we have you covered.
So...Get on a bike and let us show you the back roads of the Russian River Valley. Hike under the canopy of the largest trees on earth. Kayak with a family of seals smiling at you and a thousand birds flying over you.
Join us and get ready to experience "Wine Country" in a whole new way!