Every cycle touring company claims to be unique. To be honest, it gets a little boring when everyone claims their guides are the best, their routes are the best, their hotels are the best, their food and wine is the best and you guessed it their bikes are the best!
We have consistently tried to look at every aspect of cycle touring and take the best (yes that word again!) from it and then add a little more. We feel that because we are a combination of bike guides, documentary makers, historians, computer scientists, designers and travellers we often get a different and slightly better angle for our trips.
Among obviously having the ‘best’ of everything, there are 5 key things which we feel make Bike Odyssey stand out from the bike tour crowd. These are luxury with challenge, history, guides, technology and bikes.
1. Luxury with challenge
This might not sound like anything revolutionary but the reality is that only a couple of other companies ride the distances we ride crossing countries and continents and when they do they do it rough, camping or basic hotels with thrown together food. But for our mind what better and more satisfying thing is there than riding across a country and each evening feeling tired but knowing you will have a beautiful bed, views and exceptional meal to enjoy! No one else does this like we do.
With archaeologists and historians on our team, this is key to us and we pride ourselves on adding atmosphere and a story to your journey across Europe or South America. This adds more than you can imagine, with genuine storytellers bringing to life the past as you roll through wooded hills or over great plains where history was made. Our foundation was built on this belief. Sam, the founder of Bike Odyssey worked previously as an archaeologist around the world from Bermuda to Pompei. He rode Hannibal, one of our key European tours for the BBC in 2010 making a 6 part cycling and history travelogue documentary which was shown in over 70 countries around the world. He still rides this tour every year as he loves the history and of course because it takes in the highlights of European mountains, roads, food and wine!
This is a simple one. Look at the majority of the ‘big’ companies and you will see youth leading your tours – 20 to 30 year olds with less experience in the countries they are guiding you through than you have! We only employ highly experienced guides and we build our teams with great thought to ensure you have the best experience. For example, our South American team for Che – Santiago to Bariloche is led by Max, an Australian and one of our most loved and experienced guides who has lived in Chile for 12 years. He is supported by Frenchman Bruno a guide of 20 years and a sommelier, Sam an archaeologist and documentary maker and Manuel a Chilean bike mechanic and whiz. And let us not forget our masseuse!
This is an interesting one, as many bike touring companies are just catching up with GPS navigation. Having employed these units since their development we have stayed at the forefront of this technology. We use Hammerhead Karoo which are the most modern unit ( shipping Jan 2018) in the market. We know they are the best because we have tested every single GPS unit in the market for our purpose. We love the Karoo because it works like an iPhone but is robust like a Garmin, it is beautiful to use but also clear in the rain or in the glare of the sun for any aged guest. It navigates better than a Garmin touring, 800 or 1000 series but also syncs, updates and functions like a smartphone. It took a long time to get it right but these units are perfect for bike touring. Using these units we now also track all our guests on the road for added safety – no one else in the industry does this.
On any tour, they are all important! So many touring companies have fleets which are years old. They might spruce them up each year but when it comes down to it, cycling is bound to technology and riding a bike from 5 years ago is a bit like using a phone from 5 years ago – slow and no fun! We believe we have found the perfect solution. Through our connections, we have secured bikes directly off the Bianchi factory floor. This literally means that prior to each European bike tour we drive to Lombardy to pick up some of the latest models Italian steeds and take them for our guests on tour. Guest are guaranteed the best bike experience every single year.
The list could go on…we spend so much time on choosing the right food, the right wine, focusing on amazing support on and off the bike but these are aspects every company can offer if they work hard. The 5 points above are where we are genuinely different to our competitors.
For more information or to book in one of our incredible bike tours get in touch with the team at Bike Odyssey at [email protected].