Isobel first joined the Skedaddle scene 8 years ago on a trip to the Pyrenees, crossing the mountain range from the Atlantic to the Med – she certainly set her sights high from the get-go! Since then she has guided for us in the French Alps, Provence, Corsica, Italy, Spain and UK multiple times. Having ticked off some incredible destination by bike with us, we thought it was high time we caught up with Isobel to reminisce on some of her favourite cycling stories and get her top guiding tips too…
1. What do you like most about Saddle Skedaddle?
I love meeting new people from all walks of life on trips and what brings everyone together is a love of cycling and travel.
2. Give your best piece pre-trip of advice for customers
Don’t underestimate Mother Nature. On mountain trips take kit for all weathers, even in summer. I am quite good at getting cold and have learnt that for long descents you might need to wear all your kit! Also, a decent bike check by a decent mechanic is vital. Skedaddle can help with mechanicals during a trip but prevention is always better than cure. Also pack decent shorts, a sense of humour and a sense of adventure!
3. Which trip are you most excited about in our holiday range?
Of all my trips I really love the Alps trip – Ventoux to Alps d’Huez for its challenging climbs. Also Tuscany for the stunning scenery, amazing food and gelato. For a real adventure I’d love to do the Emerald Mountains trip in Columbia and check out that famous 54-mile climb, Alto de Letras.
4. What would your chosen superpower be?
To have my own weather bubble.
5. What’s your favourite power snack and why?
My favourite cycling snack is a bakewell tart flavour Nakd bar for its natural ingredients and great taste. Not forgetting bananas and the odd Haribo up a long climb. My stand out snack memory was when Columbian guide, Tomas, handed me a little square parcel up a long climb in Corsica. Not usually in the habit of accepting packages from newly acquainted Columbians I decided to throw caution to the wind it turned out not only to be legal but also delicious: it was called bocadillo’, guava sweet wrapped in plantain leaf. Melt in the mouth, great energy and a biodegradable wrapper. I’d been wondering what was powering Tomas so fast up the mountains!
Congratulations to Isobel who is a winner of our January Guides Competition! We wanted to say a huge thank you to her, for taking the time to write an amazing insight about her experience conquering the iconic Fred Whitton Challenge last year. You can read her blog by clicking here.
We’re pretty proud of our guides at Skedaddle and we know that they’re a big part of making so many of your cycling holidays that extra bit special! During our catch up with this charismatic bunch at our annual guide gathering, we wanted to find out what their best advice for the coming season is…
With many of you planning to head off for yourself in the next few months, here’s our guides top pre-departure suggestions. LEJOG leader Richard Blackmore has plenty of experience in the saddle and advises, ‘If you’re taking your bike with you, make sure its been properly checked over’, whilst Cumbrian-based Anne Woods suggests getting out on your bikes before because ‘a little training can help improve your enjoyment no end’. Not quite sure what to pack? New guide on the block Dan Smith told us you should always, ‘come prepared for all types of weather’.
During the trip…
With so much experience guiding over the years, we’d like to think our guides know a thing or two about how to enjoy yourself when away too. UK guide Wayne Curry has tackled a few cheeky climbs in his time and for those tempted to get off their bikes and push he reminds us of a simple fact, ‘your legs don’t have gears, but your bike does.’ And finally our Italian guide Lieven shares his golden manifesto, ‘Remember…you’re on holiday!’
Keep your eyes peeled…
This year the Saddle Skedaddle team takes on the Lake District once again! Each year we organise a get together for all of our guides around the globe, a great opportunity to catch up, ride bikes, drink local beers and even do a bit of training! Folks from the Head Quarters also join the fun!
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for a sneak peek behind the scenes of the Saddle Skedaddle Guides Week 2017.
We are happy to announce the winner of our December Guides Competition: Congrats, Giuseppe!
As an ex-pro rider this chap certainly knows a thing or two about the world of road cycling and can be spotted on lots of our Italian road cycling holidays! We caught up with our resident race-cat to find out how Skedaddle gives him the opportunity to combine his two passions in life…
Full name: Giuseppe De Maria
- What do you like most about Saddle Skedaddle?
Skedaddle is the opportunity to enjoy my passions: ride a bike and travel in beautiful landscapes.
- Give your best piece pre-trip of advice for customers
Choose the suitable tour grade for your own athletic ability.
- Which trip are you most excited about in our holiday range?
Tuscany Tourer and Taste of Tuscany: amazing hills, superb food and wine, dreamy views. Furthermore, the south of Italy is magic!
- What would your chosen superpower be?
Be able to do 6,5 watt/kg for 1 hour climb, like Froome… it really is a superpower! 😉
- What’s your favourite power snack and why?
Ice cream, of course!!! When I’m riding hard, there is always a moment when I eat sugar.
We definitely agree with Giuseppe, cycling and travelling is the best way to live!