Andy Levine knows how to live. He is an adventurer, a wine connoisseur, an ambitious cyclist, and a fearless traveler. His bike trips around the globe have fueled his love of the good things in life and his conviction that in order to really know a place you must see it from the seat of a bicycle. Andy founded DuVine in 1996 on a shoestring, a bottle of wine, and a dream: for every traveler to experience the world by bike. When he’s not traveling, Andy serves on the international advisory board of Atout France. He is a member of the Director’s Circle at Boston’s Institute for Contemporary Art and an overseer of the Boston Ballet.
What experience led you to found DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co.?
I always loved to ride my bike, and I had a passion for European villages—the undiscovered. The parts of the world untouched by tourists. When I graduated college, I moved to Burgundy and the beauty and lifestyle there inspired me. I really wanted to share those incredible life-changing experiences with everyone. My goal is for everyone to experience the world from the seat of a bike so that they can see, just as I do, that it’s the best way to travel.
What level of cycling experience do you need to enjoy a DuVine Adventure?
No specific level or experience necessary. Whether you only ride on your cycling vacations or you ride every day—we’ve got a tour for you. All you need is the will and a helmet!
Approximately how many miles a day would a guest be looking to enjoy while on a tour?
Miles are not what one should look at; look at time on the bicycle. Three hours of riding per day for five days in a row is usually enough for people on a cycling vacation. It is vacation, after all. You need time to relax and enjoy the incredible hotels and charming towns you visit along the way. A DuVine tour is much more than just being on a bike.
How does DuVine select areas that are tour-worthy?
We look for a place where we can connect the dots: great wine and food, local charm, uncrowded roads, stunning scenery, and great hotels along the way. We lean on our trip artisans and local connections to invite our guests into undiscovered territory—both on the bike and behind hidden doors.
What is the most interesting place you have cycled through?
There are too many to pick from. That’s like asking me to choose a favorite wine. But most recently I had an amazing experience on an island off Croatia called Hvar, and I always love the coast of Corsica. Anytime I visit somewhere like Hvar or Corsica that blows me away, I wonder why we all don’t live here.
Even for the busiest of entrepreneurs, how much time do you think one should take off to experience a new place and culture?
I’m fortunate enough that my job overlaps with my greatest passion; discovering new places and experiencing exciting cultures. My job makes me happy, so lucky for me I don’t have to take much time off. I always encourage everyone to take advantage of time off to experience the world outside of their everyday habits. When I travel, it gives me a new perspective, and when I return, I bring a lot of inspiration back to the office. It’s important when you’re an entrepreneur. I pride myself on running a lifestyle company where work-life balance is a really valued.
Aside from your company/job, what is your greatest success?
Staying alive? I try to take risks in all aspects of his life. I have skied and ridden my bicycle down many wild descents. But I have to say my company because it is who I am. I started DuVine with just a bottle of wine and an idea, and have grown the company with a great team of people into a small business I’m very proud of.
What is one book you would recommend to everyone?
Who is someone we should be following on Twitter right now?
I think great marketers need to be following, listening and learning from others across social media in general including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and so on. A few key Twitter followers I suggest are: Duvine, Ted King, Deepak Chopra, Krista Pappas
What is one app that all FoundersCard Members should be using?
Strava – it is a great way to capture your cycling progress, compare performance with friends, and challenge others.
Give us your best plug/brag a little about as to what you’re working on now/next.
DuVine’s mission is for every traveler to experience the world by bike. In order to do that, we must constantly innovate and stay current. We have exciting new products hot off the press that cater to a wide range of cycling abilities. For instance, our new Journeys Tours are for cycling enthusiasts looking for an epic challenge, and our newest Chef on Wheels Tour featuring celebrity chef Seamus Mullen is a perfect fit for any foodies out there.
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