Q: Bicycles are a great way to get around the North Fork, since the land is (mostly) flat and our roads are well maintained. Your company is “East End Bike Tours”—does that mean that people have to take a tour, or can they just rent a bike and check things out on their own? A: We rent bikes without tours, and we do tours. We have single bikes for men and women, and tandem bikes (2 seater bike). They’re all hybrids, meaning a cross between a road bike and mountain bike.
Each bike rental comes with helmets and a map, and if you want, we can help you design a route that takes you to a vineyard, a historic site or, anything you’d like.
Renting a bike is a great option, because of the freedom it gives you to just explore the whole area at your own pace.
Q: Tandem bikes--I’ve never ridden one of those. Is there any trick to it?
A: Tandems (two seater) bikes can be a lot of fun! You should be in sync with the other person since you are on one bike together. Control over the steering though-is left up to the rider in the front.
Q: Cool. People can rent bikes, single and tandem. So what is the tour option all about?
A: We do a vineyard bike tour, and we do private tours for groups of 10-25.
Q: A vineyard tour—that sounds like fun. What’s involved?
A: We meet here at the shop, at Main Rd and Love Lane, get organized and head out around noon. We stop at a beach, two vineyards and a farm.
It’s a relaxing ride, works for people of all age groups, though everyone has to be at least 21. The terrain is mostly flat, about 13.5 miles in all. The tour is 5 hours long—we leave the store at noon, return back close to 5 pm.
Q: You stop at the beach? Do people need beach gear?
A: No beach gear needed. At the beach we catch our breath, the first part of the ride is the most challenging, and we get to enjoy the beauty of the North Fork. We relax 15 or 20 minutes. People often walk the beach, pose for pictures, and every once in a while people take a quick dip in the water.
Q: So where do you head next?
A: From the beach we head to the first vineyard, and we enjoy our lunch that is waiting for us. People can bring their own lunch, or enjoy our Greek style village lunch to compliment the tastings. At the vineyard people can relax and explore, sample the wines, and enjoy the music. Luke who is knowledgeable in wine production, will give us an overview of the grapes they use and offer us tastings of the featured wines, if you so choose.
Our Premier Tour version includes the Greek Style Village Lunch and all tastings, the signature tour includes the bike tour and wine tasting.
Q: What’s a Greek-style village lunch?
A: It’s a feast. Enjoy Greek salad, grilled chicken with six dipping sauces, spinach pies, warm grilled pita bread with many dipping sauces, rice, Greek style potatoes, homemade lemonade, and dessert.
Q: Yum! So then you head to another vineyard?
A: Yes. At the second vineyard, everyone’s tour package includes a fine vinaigrette and olive oil tasting produced here in Long Island.
Q: That’s not the whole trip, right? You said something about a farm too?
A: Yes. From the second vineyard we head to Harbes Family Farm, for half an hour, it’s really different than the vineyards, though. They do have their own tasting rooms, there’s live music, they’ve got great roast corn, homemade lemonade, cider, fried donuts, and you can watch them make the donuts.
Q: Sounds great. Can a single person buy a package, or does it have to be a group? And what if something goes wrong, or someone just isn’t fit enough to finish the trip?
A: Anyone can buy a package, on their own or as part of a group at eastendbiketours.com , but each tour is capped out at 25 people. The main reason we cap the tours is so we can provide the proper level of support; enough staff people riding with the tour, and a support vehicle. The support vehicle not only takes care of someone with a difficulty, it also carries the wine or other souvenirs that people buy on the tour.
Q: Have you always been into bikes? Are you from the North Fork?
A: I’ve always been active, and an avid bike rider. And I know the North Fork From my husband; his family has had a summer home in Mattituck for 50 years, on Peconic Bay Boulevard. I acquired this venture this season. Bicycles are a fabulous way to enjoy this part of Long Island while having fun and staying fit.
Q: Have you changed the business much?
A: Some. We’ve put more of an emphasis on bicycle rentals as well as the tours, and we changed the lunch. We do something to acknowledge birthdays & anniversaries, that’s new. We also keep the tours a little smaller, have more support staff. But the essence of the business is the same.
Q: Are you open year round, seven days a week?
A: No, we’re seasonal and we’re focused on the weekends. We start for the summer in May, and will be open through October. We are open Thursday through Sunday, 10-5:30 and our website eastendbiketours.com is full service where you can reserve a bike rental or a tour in advance. P eople can check availability on our website, or can also call us at 631-871-1666.
Q: Anything else people should know?
A: A few things. We take pictures at no charge, and offer them on our website as a courtesy. They make a great souvenir. Also, we’re not just bikes; we also do limousine and bus rentals, which includes village lunch, tastings, and concierge service, so that everything is set up and organized for you.
Perhaps most important for New York City folks who don’t have cars: we’re really close to both the LIRR and Hampton Jitney Mattituck stops, less than 10 minute walks from each.
Meet Nicole and her family: