The Cycling Experts - Where we're are going this year
At Exodus we pride ourselves on our in-depth destination knowledge and level of expertise that we can pass on to you, our valued customers. All passionate travellers, the Exodus team are bonded by their mutual love of exploration and adventure.
We feel the best way for our staff to learn about what Exodus holidays are all about is to try the trips out for themselves. Experiencing a trip firsthand is an invaluable opportunity and is vital to ensure we can continue to offer the highest levels of service and specialist knowledge… we are the adventure EXPERTS after all!
Here some of our cycling experts tell you about their recent (or forthcoming) travels on two wheels…
Ian Langford, Sales Team Leader - Cycle The Backroads Of Sri Lanka - (Tripcode: MIR)
5 years ago I wouldn't have dreamt that I would be one of the Exodus cycling experts, but after having such a great time cycling around Croatia during my first year at Exodus, I'm working my way through all the cycling trips we offer! Each trip offers something unique, and it's also a great way to see the country and embrace the different cultures - it certainly beats the 10 mile ride to work each day, and generally the weather is better as well!
My next stop is Sri Lanka next March. I have wanted to go to Sri Lanka for a number of years, and I can't wait to visit this beautiful island. Am looking forward to spending some time in Kandy (the last royal capital), and visiting the Temple of the Tooth! The leader of this tour, Peter, has a fantastic reputation, having lead trips for many years for Exodus, and I know that he will make the trip a memorable one! We were proud to support the 'Back to Life' project after the Tsunami of 2004, so Sri Lanka will always be a special destination for us as a company, and I look forward to sharing my trip highlights with you when I return!
Read Ian's about South African cycling trip here.
David Richardson, Web Sales Team - Cycling the Dalmatian Coast (Tripcode: MVJ)
Having completed over 10 of our treks and developed my cross country skiing skills to a proficient level, one of my New Year's resolutions is to trysomething a little different. I'm off to -30°C temperatures in the Artic Circle to drive my team of huskies on a week long dogsledding expedition in February so to balance the temperature gauge I'm going to hit the bike in Croatia in summer.
I'm happy to admit this is my first cycling trip but it's high time to find out what all the fuss is about. I'm a complete novice so my Christmas list includes a cycling helmet, gloves and the dreaded lycra shorts, but from what I've picked up they'll all make for a more comfortable cycling holiday. I don't even own a bike but fitness won't be an issue, it's all about getting involved and trying something new. Croatia's coastline is raved about with turquoise waters and seaside villages serving fresh seafood, the perfect holiday mix! I can't wait to get the sun on my back as I free wheel down to the sea and finish with a refreshing dive in the Adriatic.
Marcus Nicholas, Cycling Sales Team Expert - Cycling the Empire of Genghis Khan (Tripcode: MCM)
I was lucky enough to experience two of our fantastic cycling trips in Europe last year, one being a self guided trip along the Danube and the second an off road trip in Tuscany. The off road trip reignited a passion in mountain biking that had been diminished for nearly a decade and I am extrememly keen to get back out on the rough roads. This desire was swiftly halted by a pretty awful accident in which I injured my shoulder, however I am now on the road to recovery and building towards fulfilling a dream I have held for many years in ways I could never have imagined by going on the Cycling the Empire of Genghis Khan trip to Mongolia.
Ever since spending many hours playing Risk in my youth I have been fascinated by Mongolia, the Mongual empire and Gengis Khan. Throughout my years working in the travel industry I have desired to travel to this region and experience the traditional culture and way of life. I can think of no better way to see this fascinating country than the use of pedal power and sleeping under canvas in wild campsites. It's getting harder and harder to experience true adventure these days but I feel this trip will tick all the boxes.
Andrew Ross, Cycling Programme Manger – Biking in Bosnia (Tripcode: MVH)
“Having spent five years as an Exodus Tour Leader as well as the last four years as the Cycling Programme Manager, it has always been a 'perk' of the job to get out on our cycling trips. That said, our first ever biking departure to Bosnia & Herzegovina is one that I have been eagerly awaiting! I have worked very closely with our local partners in Bosnia in order to put this trip together and it will be fantastic to join our first group of clients.
The route will be spectacular and challenging as it heads deep into the wild mountains of Bosnia, as well as a brief trip into neighbouring Montenegro. Mountain biking is still very new here and it will be interesting to meet some of the locals high up in their isolated settlements. But as well as the actual riding, it will be fantastic to learn more about the complicated history and culture of the region. I have previously visited (and loved!) Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro, so this will be the next piece in my 'former Yugoslavia' puzzle! Watch this space for a review of the trip sometime over the next couple of months....”
Olly Townsend, Leader Operations Manager – Lhasa to Kathmandu Ride - Tibet & Nepal (Tripcode: MCT)
"Before I took up my current position flying a desk in the office, I was lucky enough to be a trekking and cycling leader for Exodus and I have led around a hundred cycling trips in Morocco, France and Italy.
I'm a dedicated mountain biker and spend most of life looking for the perfect stretch of swoopy, sun dappled singletrack, or the ideal mountain-top spot from which to watch the sunset.
As one of the Exodus cycling experts, I sometimes get to use my skills and experience to help improve our trips and this year in August I'm lucky enough to be heading out to Tibet and Nepal to go on our Lhasa to Kathmandu trip. I've trekked regularly in Nepal over the past 10 years and have mountain biked in the Kathmandu Valley, but have never managed to get to Tibet, so jumped at the chance of travelling there, particularly when I get to explore the region by bike.
I'm currently training 3 or 4 times a week to make sure my fitness is good enough to help ease the burden of the high altitude and cope with the amount of camera equipment I will be lugging along (to try to 'capture' the essence of the trip) and I’ve been busily reading up on the area too.
The days are flying past and I'm sure mid August will come around far too soon, but I'm already really excited about heading out to the big mountains again!"
Read Olly's review after his trip here.
Andy Gibbins, Costings Manager - Classic Nepal Ride (Tripcode: MNN)
"Having competed in some amateur competitive mountain biking during my teenage years I was, at one point in time, a pretty competent mountain biker (I used to think anyway)! Then the distractions of a few years at uni and some travelling occurred and I rarely rode a bike in around four years - I almost forgot how much I enjoyed it.
Since I started working at Exodus though my love of being in the saddle has been re-ignited, mainly from working on our cycling product and seeing some of the exciting routes available all over the world.
The closest route to where I live is a lap or two around Wimbledon Common or Richmond Park - not the most exciting of rides by any stretch of the imagination, but at least I'm out on the bike! So, when the opportunity came up to go mountain biking in Nepal, a country that's been on my 'to do' list for a while now, I jumped at the chance!
I've heard so many stories about the beauty of Nepal, both the country and its people, that I really can’t wait for November to come around and I'm on plane en-route to Kathmandu.
I can’t think of many better ways to explore a country than on a bike - to go at your own pace and take it all in is something I am very much looking forward too. Plus, the chance to enjoy a nice cold beer after a day’s riding whilst admiring a view of the Himalaya or Chitwan National Park - that has to a good way to finish off a day!"
Read Andy's review after his trip here.
Ian Langford, Sales Team Leader - Cycling the Cape & Winelands (Tripcode: MZC)
"This year, I am lucky enough to be going to South Africa for my trip - Cycling the Cape & Winelands. I have wanted to go to this region for many years, and seeing as they have just hosted the World Cup, what better time could there be to see the country and soak up the atmosphere!
September seemed like the perfect time to go as it will not be too hot for cycling, and it is also whale watching season, so fingers crossed, I will catch a glimpse of these fantastic creatures! The itinerary is well paced, and apart from the whale watching, other highlights will include visits to the local vineyards and a trip to Robben Island.
Another reason for wanting to go to South Africa is because my cousin married a South African and he is always saying I should go and try out the local 'Braai'!
This will be my fifth Exodus cycling trip, and I'm sure this one will live up to all expectations, just like all the others have. Roll on 10th September... there are places still available if you want to join me! As this trip is not one of our most popular cycling holidays, I am hopeful that on my return I will be able to persuade future travellers to see the country on two wheels instead of from the comfort of a minibus!"
Read Ian's review after his trip here.
Rachael Stone, Customer Relations Manager - Petra & Wadi Rum by Bike (Tripcode: MXW)
“Having never been on a cycling holiday before and with the Middle East high on my wish list, I recently joined a stunning one-week cycling trip through Jordan. I was somewhat apprehensive about cycling every day, but the combination of padded shorts and a gel seat meant getting back on my bike wasn’t something I had to approach with abject terror each morning.
As a real cycling holiday novice, this itinerary was perfect. The first day’s ride was a gentle introduction with more downhill than up, and a lot of flat in between, allowing us to enjoy the tranquillity of the foothills of the Rift Valley. The following day had some exhilarating downhill sections, interspersed with visits to Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea.
This was followed by a day and a half off to visit the majestic rose red city of Petra. Due to the magnitude of the site, exploring Petra on foot didn’t give us much of a breather, but we were all ready to jump back in the saddle and head to the Red Sea. The 62km ride through desert was the highlight of the trip for me, offering a good mix of terrain, although the 2km uphill stretch was something of a challenge in 40-degree heat. Our final stop was the spectacular Wadi Rum where sleeping under the stars was an unforgettable experience, although everyone was a little sad to say goodbye to the bikes!
Jordan is an fascinating destination with welcoming locals, amazing cuisine and some seriously jaw-dropping sites, and the experience of exploring by bike gave me the opportunity to slow down, take it all in and come home with a more rounded picture of the country. I never imagined I would enjoy cycling so much, and whilst I’m clearly not going to be in contention for 2012, I certainly plan to incorporate two wheels into my next adventure. An expert? Perhaps not yet, but I will be after my next trip!"