Penned by Kieran Andrews
A note on our series of backstories:
We like riding with clients, we really do. We love being with our customers as they experience things for the first time. If we are doing our jobs well, our clients never even think about the fact that there was once a first time for us as well.
I will come straight out and say it, I absolutely love the "pre-trip" part of guiding. Sometimes the idea for a trip evolves from a relaxing summer holiday and other times a week long itinerary needs to be ironed out in only 3 days. We find the routes, eat at the restaurants, wander the villages and collapse into the hotel beds… and all the while we debate the merits of every choice we make. We do this so that you don't have to.
As no client will ever share these experiences with us, we will share our stories with you right here.
The buzz growing around Girona has been hard to ignore, so when we had the chance to visit at the end of one of our Mallorca trips we leapt at the opportunity. We had been so busy guiding in the weeks before that we did literally no planning. Nothing. Unfazed, we found our hotel, pieced our bikes back together and did what all disorganized travelers do; we got out our computers.
I will admit this; mapping out cycling routes and planning days is something I really enjoy. I kind of have a thing for figuring out how to effectively utilize various mapping tools and social media platforms and combining them with as much local lore and cycling mystique as I can dig up in order to create the best bike rides I can. I think of it as an art form and have let it become a bit of an obsession. There, I said it out loud.
We were off, riding in one of Europe’s cycling heartlands. With a range of hills in every direction and a medieval city at its center I was confident that we were going to love this place. I was right. The shock was in the variety of routes and difficulties. Even though surrounded by hills, it turned out to be possible to find easier rides while on our big days we probed into the foothills of the Pyrenees or rode all the way out to the Mediterranean to glimpse the ocean.
By our third day I knew this was a place that our clients would love. When we first decided to visit Girona it was solely for a personal cycling vacation, but after only a few days I found myself thinking of itineraries. We found ourselves looking for the best routes for riders of mixed abilities and checking the cleanliness of the washrooms at restaurants in medieval villages. We found excuses to try more than one restaurant per night as well as riding further afield than we had planned just in case there was a place over the horizon that was worth a visit. Finally, we caught ourselves taking the kind of photos that we never take… the ones that are taken with the idea of capturing the imagination of others.
Without ever really making the decision we put together a great itinerary for Girona. The next season we ran that trip for the first time and got rave reviews. When we have our own holidays we keep going back.