My wife and I rode with another couple who we hadn't met previously and were accompanied by one guide; it was one of the best trips we have ever had.
Guide and support - It's hard to believe that UDC could have another guide as good as Susan, there was nothing more she could have done for us (guide rating = 6 stars). She has all the skills and more right down to being a paramedic (very handy for patching up some scrapes that I brought upon myself). Riding with Susan on the rest day was a highlight.
Food - quality of all meals, snacks, restaurant ambience, American regional experiences (e.g., peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ollaliberries, and so-called biscuits), right down to the electrolyte water was excellent. Lodgings - perfectly pitched and probably all rate high on TripAdvisor (we'd give them all 4-5 stars, especially the Burton Inn in Cambria but they were all of similarly high standard).
Bikes - I ride a TDF Cannondale EVO back home and was more than satisfied with our Scott Carbon Ultegras. Perfectly set up to our specifications, brought our own saddles just to be fussy, and rode well all week. The ladies had the uber-comfort frames with thinned rear stays and the boys got more standard racing styles - perfectly pitched! They even provided a USB stick with all the routes that could be downloaded to a Garmin.
Riding in company - UDC are very skilled at managing different clients with different preferences, speeds and so on. We were fortunate to be paired with a lovely couple of cycle enthusiasts and enjoyed their company as much as the ride, learning a lot about life in America, the various nuances of language and etiquette (and snow globes!) We breathed a sigh of relief every time we rode past a different tour company with dozens of people, phew!
Countryside and routes - Lovely little maps were provided every day at nightly briefings that clipped on to the handlebars. These were apparently the work of "Terry", who's a bit like Charlie of Charlie's Angels fame - omnipresent but never seen. The daily rides were very well chosen and reflect a lot of thought and planning. The option to do top ups and extras like the Nascimento hill and loops on the rest day ensured that everyone got their fill of good riding.
Value for money - worth every penny and apparently considerably cheaper than some other companies. I would be surprised if anyone else could deliver a better experience.
Wouldn't hesitate to recommend them and wouldn't hesitate to do another ride with them, including trying to match our schedule with Susan's.
TripAdvisor September 2012
Our operation was founded with a radical notion that bike tours should emphasize great bicycling before everything else. Thousands of cyclists agreed, and our dedication to a great cycling experience has made us the leading road bike tour company in California. Our tours are very different than the standard fare offered by countless other companies, however. Here are the main features that set our tours apart:
Our first priority is always producing the best imaginable bicycle vacation for those who love road cycling. Anything that makes cycling more enjoyable, we do it. For example, a great cycling experience starts with a great bike. That's why our race-ready, feather-light carbon road bikes are the highest performance bicycles offered by any tour company.
California is our home, and we specialize on providing the absolute best cycling this state has to offer.
We prefer the backroads to the main highway, the quaint village to the busy tourist town, the small historic inn to the world famous resort. We don't see many other tour companies on our travels, and we like it that way.
Crowds are not our style, so we limit our group sizes to no more than 14 people—and frequently no more than 10! This lets us fit comfortably in the smaller inns, lodges, and restaurants off the beaten path.
We believe bike tours should be about traveling by bicycle, not shuttling in a van, so we design all of our tour routes to maximize amazing bicycle travel and minimize vehicle transfers (of course, a support vehicle is on the route should you need it).