Pedaling for passion, then profit

by Bruce Kasanoff on June 1, 2011

Image from a Backroads bike trip in the Canadian Rockies

Nearly 20 years ago, my wife and I went on our first Backroads bicycle trip. The owner of the company, Tom Hale, came along with us to California wine country.

Tom had two passions: cycling and photography. Backroads fit perfectly with both; his gorgeous photos filled each catalog and set the mood that attracted many thousands of guests. The company grew steadily.

Years later, we went on a trip to the Canadian Rockies. Tom wasn’t on that trip, but it went just as smoothly. Next to picking the right routes, he had explained, picking the right tour leaders was everything. Backroads has an intensely focused recruiting process.

Over the years, I’ve been delighted to see Backroads stay true to its passions. Their execution is superb, and they were an early adopter of personalized touches like building a special web page for each customer; mine included photos from our first trip.

These days, as I spend a lot of time writing about companies who are content to be slow and stupid, it gives me great pleasure to take a break every now and then and honor those special companies driven by passion. If your vacation plans for the summer or fall are still open, give Backroads a call.

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