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Discover Hanover Adventure Tours

Mar 15, 2022 01:14PM ● By By E. Senteio. Photography courtesy of Hanover Adventure Tours.

A family from New York City enjoys the Vermont Backroads and Farm Stand electric bike tours.

Does the thought of exploration excite you? Do you want to try something new yet familiar? Do you want to have fun? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you might want to take a ride across Ledyard Bridge along Route 5 and explore Hanover Adventure Tours (HAT). Kimberly Chambers, owner, and executive director describes HAT as “an electric bike shop that offers rentals, sales, tours, and service.” Yet, that brief statement is akin to looking at a brochure versus experiencing the real adventure of what HAT truly has to offer.

Robert and Kimberly Chambers bike across the United States of America, 2011.


Let There Be Fun

A family from New York City enjoys the Vermont Backroads and Farm Stand electric bike tours.

According to Kimberly, her father Robert Chambers was an avid outdoorsman and a “serial entrepreneur.” When he started HAT in 2019, it was to capture the fun and sense of community he had enjoyed on his travels. “My father was hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) and stayed at a really cool hostel,” Kim says. He enjoyed the experience so much he wanted to recreate it in the Upper Valley. HAT originally opened in 2019 as Norwich Hiker Hostel, but it quickly outgrew its moniker and expanded its mission. The 4,000-mile cross-country bike trip Robert and Kimberly trekked from California to New Hampshire inspired the expansion from hostel to bike shop. Visiting an adventure center with his brother spurred the idea to offer white-water tubing, kayaking, and other adventures. “My father always loved hiking, biking, skiing—anything outdoors,” Kim says. He also loved the Upper Valley and wanted to make it easier for people to hike, bike, and experience what the area has to offer.

The Electric Bike Shop

A family met Hanover Adventure Tours staff at Saint Gaudens for an adventurous Father’s Day ride, ending at the Harpoon Brewery.

Quickly becoming the premier e-bike (electric bike) retailer in the Upper Valley, HAT offers more than 15 styles and sells new and used models. They are also a full-service shop for e-bikes and regular bikes and honor manufacturer warranties on all e-bikes they sell. Maintenance package options are also available for all bike owners.

One thing people should know if they are considering buying or renting an e-bike is that “they are probably going to love it.” According to Kim, “When people try it, they find out it’s a lot of fun. It brings you back to childhood and the freedom of riding a bike and feeling invincible.” Even old bones can joyously conquer the steep hills of New England with a motor-assisted e-bike. From students and professors looking for a convenient option to get around campus to environment- or health-conscious professionals who enjoy biking to work minus the sweat and stress, to anyone who just wants to enjoy the trails or tooling about town, there’s an e-bike for you.

But for the fun part, anyone is welcome to stop by for a test ride or a rental. With various models and possible adjustments, e-bikes are adaptable to an individual’s capabilities, body type, preferences, and budgets. “Some people have limited range of motion, and we offer step-through frames. Others aren’t comfortable with drop bar handles. There are always options,” Kim says. Additional accessories can also be added—like bags, racks, and water bottle holders.

“If you test ride a bike you think you love, we have a rent-to-own option. We’ll take the rental amount—up to $100—off the purchase price. We also partner with Green Mountain Power. They give their Vermont customers a $200 rebate for an e-bike purchase. If you live in New Hampshire and we deliver the bike to you, then we honor the state sales tax discount.” Discounted multiweek rentals, as well as two-hour multirental punch cards, are available. All e-bike rentals come with a lock and helmet. HAT is a year-round operation that offers snowshoe and gear rentals, winter tubing, and “bikes with studded tires and fat tires that easily go over ice and mountain terrain.”

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

A family stops at Cedar Circle Farm on the Vermont Backroads and Farm Stand Tour.

Whether you’re a longtime local, a prospective student, a leaf peeper, a tourist, or a through-hiker, HAT wants to introduce you to the Upper Valley. “Anytime someone rents an e-bike from us, we offer tour options. The three main groupings are our self-guided tours, or you can have a tour guide come with you or your group, and then we have our full-package tour.” HAT wants you to relax and enjoy the ride from backroads and farmlands to farm stands and breweries, through campus and covered bridges. 

Tour guides share the history of the areas visited, the original names of
Native American lands, identify different types of cows, and of course, there are cheese tastings at local farms, maple syrup, brews, and Ben & Jerry’s. Kim, a Hanover High School graduate born and raised in Hanover, says, “There are a lot of facts and information I learned on the tours that I never even knew.”

While there are prepackaged options, HAT, Kim says, is “about meeting people where they are.” That means tours and other offerings can be designed around an individual’s or group’s needs. “We have more than 75 different routes. All e-bike tours are also available via coach. We have a 15-person coach tour bus, and private tours, like our breweries and distillery tour, can be part biked and part coach.” From renting an e-bike with self-guided tour suggestions to a full package including transportation, catered lunch, and white-water tubing down the White River, Kim says, HAT can “take away all the hassle and just let it be fun.”

Suppose, instead of a tour, you just want to have a reunion or corporate outing. (“One group did a triathlon with kayaking, running, and biking.”) In that case, HAT also rents indoor and outdoor event space so your adventure can start and end at their front lawn. Indoor capacity is about 50 people, outdoor is about 150. The waterfront location with a dock is great for water activities like kayaking and paddleboarding. There is a volleyball court, even cornhole and other games. HAT also hosts graduation parties and reunions. “We also rent parking space on our property. When wedding parties have used our space, we’ve shuttled them back and forth across the bridge.” 
With all of the fun, convenience, and camaraderie HAT has to offer, you might like it so much you’ll decide to stay for a while. That’s another option.

It Began as a Hostel

At the heart of HAT is the hiker hostel. “The Norwich-Hanover area is usually a primary stopover for through-hikers that are headed into the White Mountains,” Kim says. Hiking north, the Upper Valley is the place to stock up before moving farther along the trail, while hikers returning south often stop to lighten their load. At HAT, hikers may choose to stay in one of the 16 bunk beds in the bunkhouse, semiprivate rooms that accommodate four, or private rooms. With a total capacity of 25 beds, the hostel is large enough to be comfortable and small enough to create a sense of community. 

All bathrooms, the kitchen, and 
the living room are shared spaces. There are laundry facilities, Internet access, computers, television and streaming services, board games, and discounted after-hour e-bike rentals for guests. Campsites are also available that include access to all indoor amenities (except the bed). “Guests like to get outside and enjoy a nice campfire,” Kim says, so the large outdoor firepit is always going during the summer, and it’s where people often congregate.

Guests also enjoy the complimentary make-it-yourself-all-you-can-eat breakfast of pancakes, waffles, eggs, seasonal fruit from the garden, and of course, coffee and tea. Kim says, “Every evening, our staff makes a fresh batch of batter so it’s ready for guests to pour on the griddle in the morning.” If it’s a zero day, when hikers take a break from the trail, they may just want to float on a tube in the river and eat a Popsicle. Besides having to pay only one dollar for your first pint of ice cream, there are frozen pizzas, burgers, and other items available for purchase on-site. Since HAT is only a short distance across the bridge from the center of Hanover, “People often go into town and buy whatever they want and bring it back to cook in the kitchen or on the grill.” 
While it’s usually through-hikers who visit in the summer months, the leaf peepers and week hikers arrive as the seasons change. In November, the hostel opens to long-term guests, from traveling nurses to nature seekers. Whatever the season, Kim says, “We have staff that live on-site, so there’s always someone there who can assist you.”

Building and Supporting Community

Robert Chambers passed away in April of 2021. When Kim took the reins of HAT, it became one of the few woman-owned businesses in the e-bike and adventure industries. Yet, while her father’s dream and intention are still alive and growing, Kim is an adventurous trailblazer in her own right. Not only did she make the two-and-a-half-month cross-country journey with her father, but she was on the rowing team at Hanover High School and was one of the youngest people to ride in the Prouty Century—an annual 100-mile biking fundraising for cancer research.

HAT delivered 10 electric bikes to the Artisans Park in Windsor.

As Kim sees it, her role is helping bring new people into the area to support the local economy by introducing them to local businesses, many of whom HAT partners with to create an unforgettable experience for guests and customers. It’s not about competition but community, which is why HAT works closely with local hotels and vendors, like Omer and Bob’s bike and sporting goods shop. It’s all about helping the customer get what they want. “HAT’s goal is to support other local businesses, and if we can help people feel like locals while doing that, then we’re doing our job right.” It’s also about reminding and informing locals about the vibrant and beautiful area they live in.

E-bikes to tours, events to hostel, from the Appalachian Trail or around the corner, HAT is about fun and adventure. Still, from its inception, the main goal has never changed: “I want HAT to be a long-lasting and amazing place for everyone to love and enjoy. I want us to be a source of community.” Are you ready for an adventure?

Hanover Adventure Tours

713 US Route 5 North
Norwich, VT
(802) 359-2921

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