Bikexplore - Bike tours and expeditions near and far for all abilities by experienced tour leaders
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Where am I going in 2022?


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Morocco

Provisionally January 2022

Fixed Centre

 

Morocco fixed centre gravel bike riding. A stunning hotel nestling in a valley in the Anti-Atlas, using local guides and transport to find the best gravel roads in the area.



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Georgia - High Mountain Tour

Provisionally 13 to 28 June 2022

Moving on


The stunning scenery and challenging terrain of Georgia will be a revelation to all. It is an underrated adventure playground, with high mountains and an ancient Christian culture. It is a land of stunning landscapes, fortified mountain villages, ancient churches, unclimbed peaks, wild natural beauty and unfailingly hospitable people.

The tour explores the remote countryside and stays in small guesthouses in villages high up hillsides. Georgia is the home of wine, and there will be a number of local varieties to try out.


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Italy

Provisionally 2022

Fixed Centre

 

Fixed centre in Riccione, East Italy. A wonderful cycling hotel, great routes and enough to fill 6 days. The main point of the tour is to ride the most famous gran fondo event in Europe, the Novi Colli, and to watch a stage of the Giro d’Italia stage close up.

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Italy - Lakes and High Passes

Unsure at this time

Moving on

 

This tour has the most amazing views and achievements. We cycle over the two highest passes in Italy, Passo Stelvio at 2760m and Passo Gavia at 2620m. We return through Switzerland, Livigno and spend a couple of days on the shores of the stunning Lake Como.



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Morocco - Anti-Atlas
Fixed Centre

 

Fixed centre gravel bike holidays in the Anti-Atlas.


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Morocco - Atlas Mountains

Provisionally Feb/March 2022
Moving on

 

Cycle over the three highest passes in the Atlas mountains with wild country in between.



My experience and style

What to expect

Who am I?

I am an experienced tour leader / manager, having led tours in Europe and further afield. I have personally toured in almost every European country and several further afield.  

I am an experienced cyclist and leader, leader tutor, instructor and British Cycling level 2 coach. I speak Italian fluently having lived there for 5 years, and have a working knowledge of French and Spanish.


My tour leading style

I like exploring new areas. I love cycling up hills and seeing the views from the top. Then whoopee down the other side.  I lead very informally, allowing the groups to form and ride at their own pace. I prefer being at the back but will often ride to the front and then chat to people in the middle.

 

My rides are down as quiet roads as possible, if we have to ride a gravel track to avoid traffic then we will. I tend to lead rides at harder grades, so expect longer climbs on my tours. I am exploring even longer tours too, higher passes and more adventurous areas.

 

Tours will be a mix of supported and self-supported, largely moving on tours though. I am exploring the adventure biking concept now, gravel tracks and more remote areas.

 

Accommodation chosen is the best possible mix of economy and comfort. I aim to use 3 star where possible, but in the more remote areas sometimes we have to use what is available. I look for individual places where the food is great.

The roads I take

I often choose less well-known areas and routes that are not well pedalled. But they will be equally pretty.

 

Italy can be a busy country and tours need to be designed carefully to miss the worst of the traffic and to find the roads less travelled. My routes sometimes use cycle paths and routes that are not tarmacked if that helps reduce traffic levels. I'm happy to  go into towns; after all, many Italian towns are stunning and well worth visiting. In areas that are pretty we aim to get into the town earlier to find time to visit sites. My route notes always highlight areas that are worth visiting. However, sometimes, especially in the mountains, there will be only one road available and we will have to use that. Also, I find that drivers are generally kind if you are off the main through routes. Italians tend to like cyclists and sometimes hoot their support.

 

On my other tours, we use the quietest routes around and look for areas that are less touristy.

The places we stay

I deliberately look for interesting hotels. Hotels that are owned by families and not corporations. (That is not always possible).

 

I like a minimum of comfort, three star as a rule, sometimes though, we may have to use smaller hotels in the less touristy areas.

 

In some of the more remote areas, I have been able to find interesting buildings as hotels.

 

Food is an important part of visiting Italy, I will endeavour to find hotels that provide excellent food. Be prepared to eat well on tour with me.

Where do I go?

Italy is my main area of expertise as I understand the culture. I have already led a variety of tours in Italy and are planning a number more. I am keen to set up a number of tours in Italy, Dolomites, Alps, and lakes, and looking forward to designing an End to End.

Adventure cycling and gravel biking is the new exciting area of holidays. And we are setting fixed centre adventures in Morocco and Georgia. These tours will explore new and exciting areas little trodden by the existing holiday companies.

 

Morocco is a wonderful place to go in the dark winter months of the UK. Sunshine, wonderful food, welcoming people, and extremely quiet cycling areas. For these I collaborate with my fellow Bikexplore tour leader David Goodworth 

 Georgia is a new cycling mecca. High mountains, hidden villages, ancient Christian churches and unspoilt countryside. Roads and gravel tracks and mountain biking tracks abound.

Where have I travelled before ?

I have led tours in various countries, but mainly Italy. I know the country really well, having lived there for 5 years.  

In partnership with Chris Juden I have led two tours in Sicily. We have a third tour in the north of the island in the planning stage. 

The first tour covered the west of the island, visiting ancient Greek sites and the mountainous heart.

The second tour, we covered the east of the island, ascending Mount Etna. I have also assisted Chris in Tuscany.

I have led a tour through the wild hinterland of Sardinia, areas that are rarely visited by tourists. 

My favorite area of Italy, the Dolomites. 

I ran a mountain bike tour in Tuscany, following single track routes though the Apennines and visiting Florence and a tour in the Veneto area, Venice, Vicenza, Ravenna and other beautiful towns in the north east. 

 I run regular fixed centre tours in Riccione, the east of Italy, mainly to participate in the most popular Sportive in Italy, the Nove Colli but also to ride the wonderful Apennine roads in the area.

I ran a tour in Ethiopia, I have good contacts there and have visited the country several times. This tour visited little travelled routes including Harar a medieval walled town and spent a night under the stars on a mountain top. I am looking at running a tour there in the future, following the ancient drover’s road from Addis Ababa to Lalibela. My agent is currently researching logistics.
In partnership with David Goodworth I have led a tour in the Atlas Mountains Morocco. We are researching new high Atlas routes in the area too.


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Sicily
Two tours in Sicily, led in partnership with fellow Bikexplore leader Chris Juden. We are looking to design one more, covering the wilder areas of the north 
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Sardinia

 

Sardinia is a wild and undiscovered island. It can be tricky to get to though. But as long as you stay away from the Emerald Coast you will hardly find other tourists. There is so much to see and cycle through.


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Dolomites

 

What can I say, in my view they are the most beautiful mountains in Europe. Stunning views of the pinkish limestone, long climbs and descents and great mountain food.


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Ethiopia

 

Ethiopia is a wonderful ancient and Christian culture. It has never (really) been settled and ruined by European colonisation.


Gregs contact details

gregorywoodford@gmail.com
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