(FORTUNE Magazine) – What to do for summer vacation? Raymond Benton, founder of the biggest U.S. bicycle tour operator, has an alternative to that oh-so-typical fortnight at Martha's Vineyard. His company, Travent Ltd., offers bike rides in New England and also down the country roads of Tuscany and Ireland, with four-course meals, wine tastings, and historical detours along the way. Cost: $2,000 a person for the European trips, not including air fare. On some tours a van travels alongside the cyclists so that they can hop aboard at the first drop of rain. ''Biking used to be something only superjocks did,'' says Benton. ''Our tours are for people who want comfort.'' Benton, 48, is something of a superjock himself. He played tennis for the University of Iowa and was a founder of ProServ, a sports marketing firm that represents top athletes from Jimmy Connors to Michael Jordan. He stepped down as president in 1986 and started buying bicycle tour companies after biking through France with his son. Travent sold $4 million worth of tours to 7,000 bicyclists last year, most of them in the U.S. Benton says heavy capital outlays (vans, bicycles, a computer reservation system) have kept the company from turning a profit, but he hopes to pedal into the black by next year.