Ride Holidays - Testimonials
Wellington, Wairarapa & Kapiti
Mum and I had an absolute fabulous time, I told you in person but it is worth repeating here, Wellington is stunning.
I personally believe there is no better way to see and experience a country and its culture than on a bike, especially when you and the other guides ride the roads daily.
I am still torn between Kapiti Island and the Bush Cycle tour. I loved the island and having a day off the bike to walk and explore was fabulous, but the Bush Cycle tour took me around parts of country I doubt I would have seen otherwise.
An extra bonus for me was the Bush challenge was "rolling" nothing to lumpy or hilly. :-)
Just when I think things cannot possible get better, you figure out a way.
I loved the combination of riding and site seeing, mum could have stayed in the parliament building an entire day.
I hope you keep your lovely city on your tours because mum and I definitely will be back.
Sharon (United States)
Just wanted to say thank you to you & all your team for another fantastic cycling trip. I enjoyed ALL the cycling among day after day of stunning scenery. Imagine what that will look like in the winter! Hard to pick highlights but some of the bits I enjoyed was being able to ride from hotel to hotel (& not having to sit in the van!), being able to combine a good ride with fossicking in the shops & small towns. One of the things I relate to cycling buddies was your cleaning of the bikes after a wet ride, outstanding guys!!!! The Fondo ride was also a definite highlight for me, fortunately I'd seen the scenery before so I could focus on the ride. However it turned out to be easier than anticipated so was pleased with my time.
Can't wait for the next one, provided we're not too old to manage it!!!!
Thanks once again
Hey Karl, I hope you arrived back safely. Thank you very much for your stewardship of the Rockies Tour. I had a great time in spectacular surroundings and good company. I didn't really know what to expect, and in all respects I think my experience was better than I might have anticipated. Your organisation of the event both in general terms and at a day-to-day level was truly outstanding. It appeared to go off without a hitch although I bet there were some bumps on the way.
I'm sitting at home (obviously) feeling quite unenthusiastic about getting on the bike to pound along the same old (literally) Auckland roads. I really have been thoroughly spoilt.
Hi Karl, we miss you and yes of course Canada!
What an amazing trip! I still feel overwhelmed by the whole experience, it is going to take some time for everything to sink in. A huge huge thanks from us for everything, for me personally this was a dream come true, a trip of a lifetime which certainly lived up to all its expectations plus more!
Many thanks again.Will be in touch.
Susan and Colin (Team Scotland)
Another memorable Ride Holidays trip - thanks to all the RH team. After France, my trust in them was so high, I didn't bother to read the Italy booklet - each day would be (and was) arranged so I didn't have to think about a thing.
It fascinates me how people from different backgrounds, but a common interest, can get on with each other so well. Every person in our group (including RH staff, riders, non-riders) I both like and respect. Thinking of the various people, I would use adjectives such as friendly, interesting, informative, humorous, unselfish, intelligent, motivating, fun. There are a number of people for which I would be genuinely sad if I thought we would never meet again.
I loved the scenery on all of the rides. Although cold, wasn't the snow spectacular? Passo dello Stelvio would top my list, although the Dolomites looked great too. I really enjoyed the unscheduled day that took us to the dam on Lago di Cancano.
The rest day was needed, plus I really enjoyed the cooking class and dinner that evening. The Ghisallo Cycling Museum was another non-riding event I enjoyed.
Looking forward to my next RH trip now.
Safe travels everyone.
Dear Karl, Dean and Katrina, a quick email to thank you all again for making our dreams a reality!
Our trip to Italy was perfect! Your care and attention to detail was superb! Accommodation and meals were fantastic and only second to our daily rides.
Your support staff were perfect. Patrick was caring to all of the riders and genuinely thrilled to be sharing the experience with us all! Jeff, new to the team was also great with a touch of larrikin and fun sense of humour.
We have all made new friends and have new exciting memories which hopefully get us through to our next big ride adventure.
Thanks again! Hoping to join you all again in future! It's a big world and I can't think of a better way to explore it than on a bike!
Hope to see you in SA in January.
Tour Down Under
Tour Down Under 2018
Morning Karl and me Kiwi, Aussie, American and Canadian mates! Theresa and I returned home on Wednesday and have not had time to reflect on TDU 2018 until Karl's email prompted me. It is Australia Day, so all you lot to the East please face West, raise a cold beer or a wine this arvo and toast the main island!
This was our third RH TDU and they keep getting better. I waxed lyrical on our first tour, and the second. The elements we love most comprise:
- Meeting a bunch of equally avid cyclists (I reckon you kiwis are more bloody competitive as soon as you sit on a bike though) and building on friendships. We have made some wonderful friends from RH TDU.
- The "seamless excellence in organisation" from Karl and the RH team. They truly are like "ducks on water", all calm above, not a feather out of place, and paddling furiously out of sight. We truly are spoiled with the little we need to do except pump tyres, clamber aboard our velocipedes and pedal up and down a few hills in the gentle South Australian climate!
- On our first tour run by a Brisbane operator, we stayed in Adelaide the entire time. We love the RH practice of picking different locations to stay each year. It provides more cycling time outside Adelaide and the chance to experience different towns. Theresa and I love Hahndorf, please never change that as a destination. Victor Harbour was great this year, as was Barossa the previous year, and McClaren Vale the year before that. We always arrive a few days earlier and leave later, simply to avoid the "bike rush" and spend more time pedalling out of Adelaide, and oddly finding new places to sample the local wines or three!
- The choice of cycling challenge options would match any level of ability. We were particularly appreciative of the change in route this year out of Victor to allow us slower but equally strong folk to do the longer course but at a slower pace. I recall doing that hill on a Bupa Challenge and it was great to have another shot at it, and blast the previous time away. The ride from Victor to Hahndorf was sensational, loved that 13km gentle climb at the end. The Dirty Dozen is always a challenge albeit Theresa and I tackle the half dozen (we actually count 10 climbs) so the Dozen is more like 18!
- I need to stick my hand up and admit that Theresa and myself generally avoid "corporate functions" like the Legends Dinner. After attending for the first time this year we would DEFINITELY do so next year. A great night, albeit there must have been an earth tremor as we were departing as the ground was very wobbly and kept tilting!
I could add lots more but will conclude on this.
- We've given Karl a standing order to book two places for us each year for TDU … we love it greatly.
- I regret not responding to the speeches at the Rooftop on Pasta Night. I would have added our sincere thanks to allowing us non-Kiwis to join you, be warmly embraced by you all, and to allow us Aussies to try our damnedest to stir the hell out of you lot! Love you all.
- We will get to cycle in NZ and strongly encourage RH to offer a tour there. You can count Theresa and I in, Shazza (nee Sharon) and Paul I reckon are starters too!
- If any of you intend to visit Brisbane, please let us know. We would be honoured to show you something of our fine city both in terms of cycling and sightseeing.
See you in France in July and again at TDU 2019!
Mark & Theresa, Queensland
Tour Down Under 2018
Hi Karl, Firstly thank to you and the whole team for a brilliant tour. Its not often that second time is better than the first - but it certainly was for me - just loved it.
The Ride Holidays team - just outstanding. Victor Harbour - accommodation and especially the food - wonderful. Stirling race finish and grandstand - just bloody perfect. Bike racks - nice touch. Legends night - everybody there and a bus home to boot - more than perfect. I am describing myself like a 16 year old girl at a Beatles concert in the front row - it was just better than the best. Thanks for getting all the stars to be kind to me. And leaving Mathew Hayman till the last was just unbelievable. I watched the Greenedge film on the way back and had tears and tears and tears...
Like Douglas MacArthur - "I will be back" and may even bring Holden with me...
Thanks heaps just bloody brilliant.
Tour Down Under 2018
I just wanted to say a genuine thank you to you and your team who were amazing. Running these events is quite a mission in itself, then adding in the factor that a lot of the group are friends actually adds to the personal feeling of wanting everyone to have a great experience. I know even when I simply host people for work functions there is a lot of prep and arrangements - in this case it's on a much bigger scale and then throw in adjustments for the temp and conditions there's a lot going on behind the scenes. You did a great job for a very reasonable rate. Thanks.
I really appreciated Davis fixing my bike which was creaking at the bottom bracket on day 1, whatever he did to it did the trick. I saw a number of bikes go his way after some big days on the road, so he must have had done some long days. Brett was phenomenal on the front, and Todd ever patient as van sweeper and put in some strong laps into the wind, I stuck behind him on the bike track coming from Barossa! Above all nice blokes to ride with and chat too.
As the least experienced guy on tour, and still working on my riding ability I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. Loved the loops through Adelaide hills, the day we had around Barossa and looping back through the palms, the race circuit around Willunga (first time hitting 80ks).
Thanks Karl, Brett, Davis, Toddy.
Tour Down Under 2018
Hi Karl, A quick note of thanks for the outstanding experience you provided in Adelaide for the FFC cycling tour, following the 2018 TDU.
Despite all of the challenges you faced, you kept your sense of humour and showed a lot of resilience to battle through and seamlessly deliver the tour and even swap around ride days and get rolling a little earlier to make the temperatures more manageable - well done.
The guides also contributed with their "can do" attitude and thinking on their feet when required to keep the tour moving or find a watering hole.
While I was fortunate not to have any mechanical difficulties, I was surprised at the performance of some of the wheel and tyre combinations in the warmer conditions.
The legends dinner was quite a surprise at the size of the event and the accessibility of the pro cyclists to the general audience (I found my ticket by the way when unpacking - located in a very safe place). It was good to kick back over a couple of drinks and reflect on a week of great adventures.
I would be interested in seeing who is keen to repeat the event next year.
Thanks & Best Regards,
Tour Down Under 2017
Hi Karl and the RH team, Theresa and I are sitting at Adelaide Airport headed for Brisbane. What a fabulous holiday we have enjoyed over the past two weeks. I sent you a fairly long winded note of thanks last year, have just read it and we both agree that the extraordinary level of care and attention was replicated this year. Karl, you said at your speech at dinner on the Saturday night that your "clients become friends". We share that with you, we value your friendship, that of your team and the wonderful Kiwis we have met these past two years.
The highlights for us from tdu 2017
- We wanted to arrive earlier than the RH tour and depart later. All handled by you with no effort on our part whatsoever. We will do likewise next year, we understand from QANTAS there were 1200 bicycles handled on Sunday, today (Tuesday) there are six destined for Brisbane!
- RH are UNIQUE in their selection of locations outside Adelaide to visit and cycle around. The Barossa and Hahndorf (we love this town) offered more time cycling in the region rather than pedalling each day out of Adelaide;
- The RH crew are exceptional in their knowledge, willingness to assist, and to make our cycling experience fun albeit with a sense of challenge and achievement. They all stand out;
- The variety in rides, speeds and challenges is a real plus. On some days we stepped up and pushed hard. On others we stepped back a group and enjoyed a more leisurely pace;
- The Coffee Van at strategic points, the plethora of support vehicles (with water) are a stroke of genius;
- The selection of accommodation and the various dinners was without fault;
- As with 2016 we met returning Kiwi clients of yours, and new Kiwis also. All are now mates of ours and I think Mike summed it up during one conversation at the end of the ride back from Wilunga. "Us Kiwis and you Aussies are the same, we're ANZACs". So true and we are blessed to now add so many Kiwis to our list of valued mates.
The cycling highlights:
- Theresa and I both getting up Corkscrew Road;
- My climb up Checkers Hill (thanks to my group for getting there early and giving a few of us time to conquer this unplanned challenge);
- The ride from Hahndorf back down the range into Glenelg and then Adelaide (awesome);
- The Dirty Dozen challenge!
- Adelaide to Wilunga and return;
- Oh, I forgot! Watching the professionals in the Tour do some of the same routes a little quicker!
Will we return for TDU2018? Most definitely! We think Ride Holidays offers exceptional service (and mateship) and excellent value for money.
Mark and Theresa
Tour Down Under 2017
Hi Karl, I just had to drop you a quick note to say thanks to you and all your team for organising such a marvelous Tour Down Under. It was a really great trip, way up there with my previous two trips organised by you. What impressed me the most, apart from the fantastic rides was how the tour exceeded my expectations. The organisation of the trip went like clockwork, but the unexpected extras you and your team threw in ie- coffee truck, bananas, lunches ex the van, the cafe and lunch on the Wilunga Hill. Please pass on my thanks to your guides as well. A great bunch who contributed to a very memorable tour.
Tour Down Under 2017
Hello Karl, On behalf of Ma and I, I would like to thank you and all your team for an absolutely brilliant week in Adelaide. I had heard good things about your tours and it did not disappoint!
With most things it is a matter of the more you put in, the more you get out, so I went out and challenged myself on the bike at times, spoke to as many of the others on the trip and the guides as possible and really benefitted from this.
The whole week seemed to work like clockwork - I do not know what might have been happening behind the scenes but did not notice anything (!) - the transfers, accommodation, unpacking the bikes, the daily rides and the options available, watching the TDU in Stirling & Wilunga, evening meals, and the list goes on, was just fantastic. For me it was quite simple…cycle when I was asked and eat when I was told!!
All the guides, including you, Dean and Kat, were all very knowledgeable, approachable and really made the holiday. In particular, I rode with Davies and Duncan a lot...great guys and great guides. I must also make a comment about Davies taking my bike away to fix it up and getting it working…amazing.
Ma really enjoyed her week and the people who were in her group as well. It cost me a new suitcase and excess baggage in Adelaide airport but there you go!!
I am not sure there is anything else I can say apart from please pass on my thanks to everyone involved last week who made it such a memorable time. I am now looking to the future and a Tour de France trip is certainly on the agenda in maybe 2019 or 2020 I would think!
Tour Down Under, 2016
Dear Karl, Theresa and I just want to share how much we enjoyed the trip with your good self and the Ride Holidays crew. Everything ran seamlessly, which as Theresa and I know from our business means there is a hell of a lot of work that has been undertaken behind the scenes. You are like New Zealand geese, all calm on top and paddling furiously below!
PLUSES FOR US:
- Staying in the different locations. All were fabulous, but Hahndorf and the Adelaide location are definitely standouts. McLaren Vale also great but the first two just stood out. Hahndorf because it is such a quaint town. And the hotel in Adelaide because it is just central;
- Coming a day early and leaving a day later Definitely to be repeated;
- The different levels of cycling. Just great. Our greatest fear in joining the tour was we did not know where we would fit. I thought the Strava group was a great idea, we saw we were in the top 20% and it allayed our concerns. Your email a few weeks out to lift our metres climbed was motivational;
- Your crew. Just exceptional. Shaun heading back to get my tyres very much appreciated. Not one criticism of any of them;
- The variety in rides. I thoroughly enjoyed the 6 peaks; the Hahndorf to Adelaide route; and back to Wilunga. Oh and the Bupa Challenge, doing the 100km following advice from yourself was greatly appreciated. We had a ball!
- A wonderful group of people whom we will meet and cycle with again. Many are repeat clients of yours and that speaks much of the exceptional service;
- We did not appreciate how many meals were included, amazing and welcomed!
WILL WE RETURN? Yes, most definitely. We chose Ride Holidays owing the variety of destinations compared to others advertised on the Santos web site. We are definitely keen on France, California, NZ, Alaska etc. Will we return with you to Adelaide. Yes, count us in for 2017!!!
Karl, we thoroughly enjoyed our Ride Holiday, our most sincere thanks.
Very Best Regards
Mark and Theresa (Queensland)
Tour Down Under, 2016
Hi Karl, Michael and I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to you and the ALL the Ride Holidays crew for a truly marvelous holiday experience at the STDU. Words can't really express how appreciative we are to you and how very thankful we are, we chose the very best - Ride holidays, to experience the STDU 2016.
So good, So many experiences, So much fun, on SOOO many levels - I keep having flashbacks - remembering all the different parts of the trip, the rides, the hills, the meals, the wines, the people, the STDU experiences makes me smile whenever I think of the trip (smiling now).
Lyn and Michael (Queensland)
Tour Down Under, 2016
Hi Karl, a huge thanks for the photo - and the whole tour. Wow - I just keep thinking of all the brilliant experiences, and once again it was a once in a life time adventure. I am so lucky to have done 2 now (TDF + TDU) - and I want to do more.
Thanks so much for all your planning, calmness and the thought you put into the tour - it was just perfect. And the way you guys dealt with Lynn when she was sick, was just so typical of your commitment to a fantastic professional tour.
Tour Down Under, 2016
Hello Karl, just a quick note to thank you for a fantastic Adelaide TDU tour. The whole week exceeded my expectations. We received more than expected and from a customer service level and exceeding expectations is what it's all about. From the quality of every staff guide - to the daily rides, breakfasts, and dinner venues - all were brilliant. The entertainment such as visiting and dining at Yeelands winery and dinner at the Wine Centre were pretty special. Accommodation - especially at Hahndorf and Adelaide was brilliant. Every day was made easy for us by you and your team and you were able to adapt on the fly when needed without fuss.
I have been a keen advocate for you here in Dunedin.
Tour Down Under, 2016
Hi Karl, thank you very much for arranging such a fantastic holiday. Sharon and I are still buzzing. We know that an enormous amount of work from you and your team goes into making them such a success - so thank you for that. We enjoyed meeting your crew. They're all a lot of fun and very professional.
Tour Down Under, 2015
Hi Karl, thanks so much for a brilliant trip - couldn't have asked for anything more. You did an amazing job in organising a tour that allowed me to ride alongside cycling gurus and yet still feel as though we were all part of the same team. I'd found cycling to be a bit demoralising over the last couple of years but I feel like I've re-discovered the sport. The entire team were so encouraging and helpful every single day - it really made such a huge difference - and the locations you selected were just superb. I feel like it's given me a huge leap in confidence, particularly to head out on my own. The proof is in the pudding and I'm pleased to say I also took advantage of the sunshine today and rode out and around the bays - wearing my 'Ride Holidays' shirt no less! Enjoyed Brooklyn Hill for the first time in my life. You say that you're looking at improving the trip - not sure I'd change a thing. I thought it was a perfect balance between riding and relaxation, and the mixture of venues and rides was excellent. The guides are a dream team and Shaun & Sally were absolute troopers. Thanks so very much.
Tour de France
Tour de France 2018
Thanks for a most wonderful experience. It was truly the best holiday we have ever had and it has given us life long memories. Absolutely loved it. You are your team are superb.
All the best
Shona and Daryll
Tour de France 2018
I too, certainly had a great time. Hard not to with a room mate like Anthony and the exquisite riding in France. The highlights for me were the two long days in the saddle - Ventoux (plus the ride there and back) the Tourmalet Loop (with the Hautacam tacked on by Anthony, Lea and I) and Champs Élysées. If you want to see the Pros in action, the frequent passing and build up to the sprint was much more enjoyable to me than the four hours on the side of Alp Duez for a 30 second glimpse. I thoroughly enjoyed the small village/small hotel atmosphere. They provided a much more interesting appreciation of the French culture and it felt like we had the places to ourselves. The big hotels are nice/comfortable but impersonal and the same all over the world.
The transfer days were obviously unavoidable. The effort to break them up with a ride part way was appreciated but I found getting into and out of cycling kit on the bus on the side of the road was a little unappealing. My preference would be to do the travel and ride either before departure or on arrival or include the cultural/tourist attraction activities as part of these days and not ride at all. I enjoyed the numerous nights in one location minimising the travel on tour.
Your staff on this tour were fabulous. Dean and Dingo are always great fun to be with but also very professional. Thomas, Ryan and Jen were very pleasant and made a big effort to ensure we were well looked after on the road. Patrick, well once again, a bundle of energy, calm and accommodating - even under patience testing conditions. Zachary, a nice young lad.
Yes, the weather was perfect, as it was in Italy 2016. Anthony and I believe we are the common factor here. So happy to help out with weather in the future.
I, and hopefully Elvie, will join you again for another trip. Not sure which one yet. I think I'd pick one with multiple nights in one location and one with a Fondo event included to allow for one of those days just to go out and 'smash it' as an individual 😊 Also maybe The Classics, for that unique challenge you don't get down under.
Looking forward to Dean's fancy pancy montage. Sadly my photography skills on the road are a little lacking. Thanks again. Appreciated your company. Hopefully see you on the roads around Auckland sometime.
Tour de France 2018
Like Allan, you and others have beat me to emailing my thanks to you and the team.
I appreciated your care and professionalism and priority to keep everyone safe and happy, which can be challenging with such a diverse group of people with different riding abilities. My feeling is you and your team succeeded in helping everyone achieve their goals while having a great time.
I had a wonderful time, and have collected memories that will last a lifetime (with the intention of adding more from future cycling holidays). So many highlights - Galiber, Tourmalet (the Pyronnes in general), Ventoux - ticking off the big names; nice meals; good company. The opportunity to finish up in Paris was the icing on the cake - could only have been better if Sagan won the final stage; Dingo's humor; Patrick's ride routes from A to B; the list goes on.
I would like to reinforce everything Allan has said. I was extremely satisfied with the accommodation - I expected small in France, and was pleasantly surprised with the size of some of our stops. Hand holding opportunities with Allan at night was an added bonus. I was not fussed that one of our accommodations did not have air-con and agree that the intimacy of the location outweigh air-con in Lourdes.
The bus travel between locations is unavoidable, and I appreciated your efforts to keep us housed in accommodation for 3 or 4 nights at a time between locations. The promise of a bike ride before or after the road journey is always something to look forward to. The efforts to provide entertainment on the bus was appreciated - videos and bar. I watched Tour D'Pharmacy with my wife last night - could be added to your list once the bar has been opened...
Thank you once again and please share my thanks with your whole team. I have no doubt that our paths will cross on many occasions in future on the road, and hopefully on future Ride Holidays.
I agree with Allan's suggestion that perhaps our combination is possibly a factor in the perfect weather as experienced in Italy and France - happy to obligue on future trips.
Tour de France 2018
Hi Karl and team, I would like to thank you all for a wonderful trip. I had looked forward to this trip for a long time and my expectations of the trip and myself were certainly exceeded. Dean, Dingo, Ryan, Jen, and Patrick, thanks for all your encouragement and Thomas thanks for the suggestion to bring a piece of Ventoux home. It brings back very good memories, whenever I look at it. Keon, the magnificent bus driver. Karl, what can I say, thank you so much for all your support when I could hardly stand up. What you did was over and above the call of duty. I will be forever grateful. I personally enjoyed the location of the hotels and Argeles Gazost was a lovely village.
I must say what wonderful people cyclists are. From all walks of life, there were no big egos on this trip and everyone was friendly and supportive.
Tour de France 2018
Hi Karl, I just wanted to say thanks to you and the rest of the crew for your efforts with us over the last couple of weeks. I know all the organisation and logistics have been ongoing for quite some time pre tour but the two weeks we were with you guys were excellent and all of the personalities of the staff really made things that much more pleasant.
A couple of highlights from me include tearing down from the Galibier with Ryan (I can tell you about this now the tour is over and a growling is less likely) and the bonus rides / extra cols Patrick would show us around.
I didn't manage to catch up with any of the staff prior to departure but please pass on my thanks to all I really appreciate everyone's time, conversations, good humour and efforts.
Hope Paris went well.
Tour de France 2017
Karl, just a brief email to say thank you for a wonderful cycling holiday at this years Tour de France. Ride Holidays and your staff provide a service that far exceeds other companies whom I have travelled with in the past. Just a few areas in which RH excel -
- The attention to detail for clients is second to none.
- The almost military effort in planning the day to day running is superb.
- Local guides with local knowledge...Brilliant.
- A realistic daily cycling pace for everyone made the trip a joy to be part off.
- Kiwl & Aussie humour along the way...Priceless.
- The information flow from initial booking, pre departure, and during the trip made life easy and took away any added stress that may have arisen during our trip.
- Outstanding hotels and the most wonderful French food and wine.
- Value for money in a competitive market...But you rise above the competition.
Viva La Tour - Viva Ride Holidays
Tour de France, 2016
Hi Karl, thanks for organising a wonderful Tour de France trip, seeing the tour was probably one of the more memorable moments of my life, and I still get very excited talking about it.
We really appreciated being able to do our own thing at times, we have both done a lot of travelling, Paul to some more risky places the last few years. So thanks for not babysitting us, always a worry before a trip.
I did enjoy the cycling , have done a very cruise ride since getting home, will do more when the weather improves.
Once again a big thank you.
Dj and Paul (Tauranga)
Tour de France, 2016
Thank you again Karl and Ride Holidays for a very memorable holiday. I still can not believe I climbed all those Cols in the French Alps! And on back-to-back days too!
Prior to starting the Tour de France trip, I admit, I was nervous about my level of fitness and my ability to cope with the vertical. I suppose I had been focusing more on the wonderful Chateau accommodation, delicious French food and alpine scenery that was on offer .
I knew that the tour offered a great deal of flexibility and I could choose to opt out and be a 'Fluffy' some days. But, I wanted to ride, there was so much to see and so many iconic rides to conquer I wanted to do as much as I could. I really appreciate your encouragement and your faith in my ability to tackle all these amazing climbs. My bike and I certainly finished the trip with a lot more confidence in each other.
Chris and I both enjoyed the company of all the Ride Holiday guides. What a great bunch of guys. Their commitment and joy of cycling is infectious. Patrick and Morgan added that fabulous French flair and Koen is certainly coach driver numero un.
Our group was a large one but you seemed to manage to balance the needs of everyone from the most experienced riders through to the non-riders. I feel this is largely down to your presence Karl. You obviously have a wealth of experience hosting and organizing these cycle tours and it showed through with the smooth operation of each day, the relaxed atmosphere and genuine feeling of friendship and support within the group.
Ride Holidays took care of all the arrangements so we could focus on the biking, wine and great conversation!!
It was a real treat to travel with this fun group of like minded cyclists in a country that embraces and revers the sport. France is truly a cyclist's paradise and anyone who enjoys cycling must add the Tour de France experience to their bucket list.
We look forward to seeing the photos from your Canada tour next month - another beautiful part of the world to travel by bike.
Estelle and Chris (Auckland)
Tour de France, 2015
Hi Karl, Brrrrrrr. I think I prefer 30°C over this weather any time. We enjoyed four more days in Paris after the tour finished and then three days in Singapore before finally getting home on the 4th August. Now we are unpacking and emptying the bags, memories of all the weeks we were away are coming back. Gave my bike at home a hug, lol. Sitting here tired and still trying to get my mind up to speed with everything we put on hold for nine weeks. Thanks for a very memorable holiday, we had no special expectations because we had never been to France or done a cycling based tour so everything we did had a big wow factor. We loved the places we stayed at and visited, one of the factors of doing the tour was to see France while I did some cycling. To cycle the Cols and other roads was fantastic, never expected them to be so interesting, thrilling, beautiful, hard work. If I had of known how many metres of climbing I would do while riding each day I would have doubted my ability to survive, but I did. Joanne and I really appreciate the effort put in by you and your team to be flexible and work around the day to day issues of roads and our different requests, being so flexible certainly creates a lot of work for yourselves. Joanne is especially praising of Morgan's efforts in chaperoning her little group to all the best places and she is still having me on that she got to see better views of the Tour de France than I did. As I catch up with my cycling mates I will be singing your praises. Thanks again Karl for a wonderful holiday.
Lex and Joanne
Tour de France, 2015
Hi Karl, you organised a fantastic trip! Even the reluctant riders, like me, enjoyed it. Prior to leaving I was strictly focused on riding through the sunflowers but getting to the top of those mountains was an amazing feeling. Will defiantly pass your contact details and recommend your company to any other cyclists who are even remotely thinking of a biking holiday. Thanks again to you and you team for a great trip.
Helena & Gavin
Tour de France, 2015
Hi Karl, I got asked in the weekend by a couple of buddies what the highlight of the trip was and I told them that each day had at least one highlight. I think the balance of riding and taking in the various sights was absolutely superb. Going through my photos I can't believe how much we saw and took in. This could never have been achieved without the upfront organisation of Ride Holidays. Thanks again for the experience.
Tour de France, 2015
Good afternoon team, what a trip and now back to work. I was very impressed with the organisation and the professional way the trip was conducted. From my point of view it ticked all my boxes and I achieved the Cols that I most wanted to do. I now have 15 little key rings for the Cols I have climbed over there. The group of people were excellent and some of us have made some lifetime friends. I am seriously contemplating the Canadian Rockies trip next year and the Adelaide trip so Karl keep me in the loop there please. To Karl thanks for organising it, Mr Smooth organiser. To Dean, you have made me a far better Garmin user even though we got lost in one of the easy days (I fancied a bit of roughly riding). To Silas, Mr Joker saying the Annecy ride had a False flat in the last 3kms and chatting up the Tourmalet while I was gasping for breath. To Dean, Mr Knowledge of the area and good at commenting on everything. He might not be so happy now his cricket team got rolled early this week. Once again thanks guys, well done.
Tour de France, 2015
Dear Karl, how are you? We are all good in Scotland, life has returned to its normal frantic self! I miss France. I really loved the fact that I was told where to go, what to have for dinner and when I had to get up, etc. No responsibilities, those were the days! The only thing I had to do to earn this carefree lifestyle was cycle up a freaking mountain! Everyday! In 30+ degree heat! Ah well my average speed on the bike has improved massively, 2mph faster than before France. I am very chuffed indeed! Thank you so much for the most amazing holiday, I had a ball! You and your team were faultless and so much fun to be with. Let's do it again sometime! Best wishes.
Hi Karl and Dean, Just want to say "Thanks" for a great NZ (Taupo) trip. We were both really impressed with the level of organisation, continual updates during the day and the amount of genuine interest in everyone in the riding group - especially with their individual riding needs. FYI - The 'non riders' could not say enough good comments from the feeling of inclusion they received from your team and their activities - they were so happy. Would love to do another ride with you guys - once and if I ever get fit enough - We would highly recommend Ride Holidays to anyone interested.
Graham and Michelle (Sydney)
Hi Karl and Dean, Just wanted to send you a quick email thanking you for a fantastic Taupo trip . It shows that you have both put a massive amount of preparation into your tours from all the excellent communication prior and also during the tour by ensuring all the rides and other activities went off without a hitch. Also a big thank you to Johnny, Jo, Frank and Sandy (sorry if I missed some others) for their efforts during the 6 days. They were a fantastic team to have involved in your business. Looking forward to hopefully coming along again next year. Will definitely be booking in for the France and Canada tours in the next few years. Just need to save up a little for these ones.
Thanks very much Karl, it was a fantastic Taupo tour and kudos to you, Dean and the other staff members for making everything run so smoothly and with such a great atmosphere - Its obvious how much you guys love your jobs and that was certainly felt through the vibe of the tour. I personally was amazed that Jonny lent Andrew his new bike, that was such a generous thing to do and I believe Andrew was understandably stoked! A great holiday, great team and certainly made the booking of Canada tour an easy decision - I have been looking at it for a while but was holding off making the decision in case the Taupo tour didn't go so well ;) PS. I loved the Team App notifications which helped with knowing where-what-when and Dean is a champ!
All the best
Cambodia an Vietnam Tour, 2017
Thanks Karl, now that our wonderful trip is over and we have settled back into "normal" life, Ariu and I talked over the weekend about our personal feedback and thought we would share that with you.
- This trip was a fabulous experience - it was very well organised at your end and equally well organised at the Cambodian/Vietnam end. Everything ran to time perfectly which is a huge achievement, considering the size of our group and we had good leadership inside the group from Waz and JC. The group dinners and the food we ate at them, were well planned and of a high quality.
- The Cambodian section was a real highlight for us and if possible it would have been great to spend a little longer there.
- Ha Long Bay was our only disappointment - there were too many junks in one place, too many people climbing up in the caves at one time and the Bay is very polluted with rubbish. As a group we loving swimming, but I was circumspect about going into the water there at all, and when I did, I did not put my head under water, such was the amount of floating rubbish.
- Hoi An was amazing and the place we stayed at while there, was in our opinion, the pick of the accommodation (actually the Cambodian Hotel was also great). All the Hotels were clean, some a bit older than others, and the service at them was of a very high standard. Most had swimming pools, which became a very important part of our daily late afternoon socialisation, so we would recommend always looking for accommodation with either a pool or access to the sea.
- The biking was harder than I expected - and that came about from the combination of heat, traffic and riding what is essentially a mountain bike, when I am only a road biker. I think the amount of biking for the length of the trip was about right, and I accept it was my responsibility to be fit enough, but a bit more warning about the likely biking conditions, especially the heat factor, would have been good and essentially I should have trained on a mountain bike from about two months out. Having said that, several riders in the group excelled and biked better than they usually do back here, so maybe this was just my problem! We do recommend squeezing the biking part of the bike days into the morning only, so instead of stopping for lunch and then biking again the in the heat of the afternoon, everyone gets the afternoon for free time., to swim and chill out.
I think the main thing to ask yourself after a holiday like this, which is different in format from any other holiday we have been on, is would you do it again? The answer is most definitely yes, so well done to you and your business for the organisation of our trip.
Jane (Kapiti Coast)
PS The gear is great - love the colours and so easy for us to find each other
Cambodia and Vietnam Tour, 2015
Hi Karl, as you know I had some reservations about our trip to Cambodia and Vietnam - wasn't sure if I'd cope with the food and the itinerary given my fatigue issues. Well I'd have to say this has been the best holiday of my entire life - and I'm not exaggerating. And I suspect I'm not alone. Everything went like clockwork for the entire trip - the preparation and information that you provided for us, the flights, the transfers and all the internal travel, the accommodation, food, guides, Wide Eyed Tours and their operators, support provided at every level, itinerary, sight seeing, shopping, fellow travellers, lovely Cambodian and Vietnamese people, magic Halong Bay experience. Everything.
I've never enjoyed myself so much, nor laughed as much. It's the only holiday I haven't wanted to come to an end. And it's the first time I've returned home from a holiday feeling relaxed and refreshed, as I did throughout the entire holiday. It was also incredibly good value for money - I wonder how so much could be provided for such a small cost. The food was amazing - no dog on the menu and no fish dishes forced on me or fish sauce in anything. In fact I plan to eat as much genuine Vietnamese food as I can find here and have started cooking it myself. I even planted Vietnamese herbs in the garden on the weekend to replicate the amazing flavours.
You and Mike from Wide Eyed Tours have plenty to be proud of and if I can help you to promote the tour to others in the future I'd be more than happy to do so. The only negative thing I can say is that instead of losing weight as I thought I would, I gained 500gms. Probably had something to do with all the cheap beers and very cheap cocktails that I drank. We 'non-riders' were really well catered for at all times and we were never treated as the 'poor relations' to the riders, which we'd half expected to happen. Don't change a thing - perfection doesn't come that easily or often! Thanks for absolutely everything. It was the best.