Conquest of the Moors Food Safari

The culinary experience is a fundamental element of our tours and is one of the reasons we are so excited by our Conquest of the Moors Cycling tour. On our Epic cycling tours, we travel through multiple regions, experiencing the very best of each locale. Eating on tour not only refuels us but gives us a true sense of place as you travel to each special region of a country. Our routes are primarily steered towards riding the most picturesque, quiet roads, but often we also route plan to experience a particularly wonderful dish, wine, or restaurant.

With this in mind, we give you three delicious recipes, chosen to represent some of the incredible yet distinct cuisines of three special countries that feature on this tour – Morocco, Spain, and Portugal.

Morocco- Fruity lamb tagine (serves 4)

Lamb tagine

What trip to Morocco is complete without a tagine? Subtle in flavour and so satisfying, this dish can be used anywhere from on a weeknight to a dinner party. We have also frozen excess quantities of this dish and confirm that is freezes well for those who like to prepare ahead.

For those who prefer a vegetarian option, we have also made this dish without the lamb but added chunks of potato and zucchini (courgette). It was just as delicious.


Nutrition: How to maximise your energy levels on tour

Helping our guests get the most out of their cycling tour experience is paramount to our team. By eating well on tour, it can help your recovery, energy levels and even your immunity. These points have been put together by our team member Megan Reynolds who is a qualified Dietitian. This not intended to be a list of do’s and don’ts and is a general guideline for eating throughout the day on tour.

1. Ensure you are drinking plenty of fluids during the day. It sounds obvious but this is one area most of us could improve on:


– Start your day hydrated by drinking some water in your room and/or at breakfast

– Throughout the day, sip on fluids. Bear in mind you may need more when the weather is hot.

– Electrolytes are not necessary, however, they will help give you extra sodium and carbohydrate. You could try taking one water bottle and one electrolyte bottle especially when the weather is hotter or you have a particularly hard day ahead of you.

– Otherwise, water is the best fluid.

– The best way to tell if you are hydrated is that you have straw-coloured or yellow urine.

– If you choose to have a beer or wine when you finish your ride, ensure you have plenty of water beforehand and in between drinks.

2. Consistency is key. Ensure you eat consistently through the day:


– Eat frequent meals and snacks that include some carbohydrate and protein- Don’t wait until you are starving as your blood sugar has already dropped.

– Higher fat options are OK but if you have a sensitive stomach it can make some people feel nauseous and best to avoid (eg chocolate, pastries, biscuits, cakes, cheese). Try to aim for healthier fat options such as nut butter, nuts and seeds.

– Sports gels can also be a useful option for those who find it difficult to eat in between meals (ideally a mix of glucose and fructose).

– We need more protein after 40, especially when we are active to prevent muscle breakdown and improve performance. We have a fruit and nut mix available to you on tour to help you eat some protein during the day and a variety of protein sources available to you during picnics and meals.

– Our nutrition partner Veloforte have some delicious and nutritious energy bars which we also have available on tour for our guests which offer the right mix of nutrients for cyclists. They have the added bonus of being gluten and dairy free so are suitable for those with dietary requirements. Some options are also vegan.


3. Good News! Caffeine/coffee is ok in moderation


– Caffeine can help us on the bike by reducing our perception of pain and effort (always useful when you have a day of climbing ahead).

– Generally, acceptable guidelines are between 3 and 4 per day (espressos) or 3-5mg per kg of body weight per day.

– Take care not to consume too much as it can increase heart rate, impair fine motor control and disturb your sleep.

With just a few tweaks you could help improve your performance and energy on tour. But overall, enjoy the gastronomy and opportunity to eat foods you may not have tried. It’s all about balance!


– Sports Dietitians of Australia fact Sheets: Road Cycling/ Caffeine

– “International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise” Jager et al, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2017, 14:20

Top 10 best coastal cycling routes according to our team

There is something truly special about a coastal cycle ride, complete with dazzling water views as the miles slide by. On our epic cycling tours, we get to experience some of the worlds best coastal cycling. Here are our top 10 routes from our epic cycle tours for your reading pleasure according to our trip specialists.

Cycling on the Sardinian coast

1. Sparkling Mediterranean views, colourful Bosa and superb local wines, Three Islands tour, Sardinia, Italy 

Cycling from Alghero to Cabras along the coastal line of northwest Sardinia, we will ride some of the best cycling routes of the island; a journey through 3000 years of Mediterranean history, touching the colourful Bosa on the way. Bosa is one of Italy’s most beautiful towns, with its rainbow of pastel houses a dream for your travel snaps.

The ride starts in one of Sardinia’s most beautiful medieval cities, Alghero, with its lively historic centre. From there you take a rolling road by the stunning coastline – under the wings of Griffon Vultures – followed by a brief hilly section, to end the day immersed in pastures and fertile cereal fields and the vineyards of the Oristano region. An unforgettable day, especially after reaching Cabras for a well-earned sip of Malvasia or Vernaccia di Oristano, the unique local wines. Enrico Casini

Corsica coast ride

2. Pink granite rock formations and coastal ridge riding, Three Islands Tour, Corsica, France

Having been part of all editions of the 3 Islands Tour in their entirety, there are many beautiful coastal rides with stunning scenery that I could write about. However, there is one particular route on Corsica from Calvi to Porto that stands out above the others. This day is my absolute favourite, and it begins literally at the start of the day as we leave the beautiful small and vibrant town of Calvi on an 82km ride with around 1370m of elevation.

Within just two kilometres we are riding on coastal balconies with views of the fantastic cliffs and rock pools below to our right, and equally stunning rock formations of pink granite, inland to our left. This quiet but beautiful road meanders and climbs gently for the first part of the day, before heading slightly inland and onto roads of slightly more challenging construction. Nothing to worry about here though as there is hardly any traffic.

After morning coffee we’re back on the coastal balconies and heading due south, the seawater becomes brighter and more glorious shades of blue. Meandering through tiny resorts we brush shoulders with some tourists, but not too many as we are well away from the large holiday destinations. Crossing the border between Haut Corse and the Corse du Sud we can begin to see the granite formations changing in colour from pink to red.

Later in the day we ascend and skirt around the UNESCO listed Scandola Nature Reserve to the cliff tops that almost completely envelope the tiny yet stunning coastal town of Porto. The views at this point are arguably some of the best seen on the whole tour. We have a great opportunity to stop and photograph the port, from different heights as descend down to our magnificent overnight destination.

My advice to any Ride & Seekers for this day is to not rush this beautiful ride, take your time and shoot some fantastic photos for your everlasting tour memories! The route is around 82km with 1372m of elevation. Richie Mitchell

3. Islands and spectacular Japanese bridges on the Shimanami Kaido, Samurai Tour, Japan

I can probably count on one hand the number of other “serious cyclists” I saw during our 10-day trip riding around Japan’s Shikoku Island. The vast majority use the bike as a means of transport and not so much by the aforementioned “serious cyclists”. But this doesn’t mean Japan isn’t a bike-friendly destination, the cars are small enough to be far less imposing on the road, the drivers are extremely courteous and respectful and the road surfaces and infrastructure are some of the best I’ve experienced anywhere in the world. Nowhere is this more evident than the Shimanami Kaido, 80km of pristine Japanese roads and cycle paths that crosses 6 bridges and 6 islands between Imabari on Shikoku and Onomichi on the mainland of Honshu.

Japan is an island nation and as you cross the Seto (narrow seas) this becomes incredibly evident. The area is actually a volcanic mountain range that was filled in by the sea when the polar ice caps last melted 50000 years ago. The network of bridges spanning this sea is a stunning engineering achievement that allows you to propel yourself high above the container ships and fishing boats, passing way beneath, as you head towards yet another island. Some have coastlines of rugged cliffs and rocks, some with beautiful sandy beaches. The route doesn’t just hug the shorelines though, we meander up through the forests into the inner hills before descending back to tiny fishing villages and towns with beautiful Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines.

And yet with all this natural beauty linked by engineering masterpieces I probably only saw enough “serious cyclists” to fill up the other hand. There were many tourists on city bikes with dresses blowing in the sea breeze, but I still felt a sense of privilege to be able to cycle this incredible route, and couldn’t help thinking that one day I will strike up a conversation with someone else who has ridden it, but that day may be a long time coming!

The cycling route can be ridden in either direction (from Imabari or Onomichi). It is well signposted and maintained, and the bridges of the route are accessed by ramped bridges with a gradual incline. Depending on your cycling level, it can be comfortably completed in a day. James Geen

Cycling off Venice

4. Island hopping from Venice Lido to Chioggia on the Caesar Tour, Italy 

The third week of our Caesar tour (London to Rome) is one for the ages as we ride from Lake Como to the Serenissima – Venice. Along the way, we take on the iconic Stelvio climb and then ride over the stunning Dolomites before descending down to the Po valley and on to Venice. Rather than stay in Venice itself, we base ourselves on the iconic Lido di Venezia that is one of the two barrier islands that serve to protect Venice from the Adriatic Sea.

This 11km long island, that is also the venue for the eponymous film festival, provides us with a novel coastal ride as we island-hop to the mainland and to the charming fishing town of Chioggia that is also known as ‘Little Venice’ and renowned for its beetroot! We start the day by riding the length of the island to catch the scheduled ferry to the other Venetian barrier island of Pellestrina. There are 4 main villages on pretty Pellestrina that are known for their colourful painted houses and large embankments.

What makes this coastal ride so novel is how we get from Pellestrina to the mainland. There is no onward ferry to get us from Pellestrina to the mainland and it here that our friend Mario comes in. When we were conceptualising the Caesar tour we were faced with the quandary of wanting to stay on Venice but not sure how to get off! Mario is a local fisherman who provides the seafood for our fantastic end of week meal at the Osteria Al Merca and had heard about our challenge via the owner. Every time we come through now he comes and picks us up from Pellestrina and takes us to Chioggia.

Thanks to Mario we have created a coastal ride that provides a really interesting insight into a side of Venice that few get to experience whilst enabling us to avoid the traffic and industry that are found on the more conventional routes out of Venice. On arrival into Chioggia we grab a coffee and a local tramezzina sandwich before riding down the coast to the Byzantine jewel of Ravenna. Dylan Reynolds

Tangiers lighthouse

5. Cycling the Mediterranean coast from Fnideq to Tangiers on the Conquest of the Moors Tour, Morocco

Travelling in magical Morocco will make you feel like time stands still. Travelling by bicycle here gives you a true sense of being off the well-beaten path. Our final days riding in Morocco is a real highlight of our epic Conquest of the Moors tour. We ride from our stunning beach retreat near Fnideq towards the Northern Mediterranean coast of Morocco.

Within a few miles, we are skirting around the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, one of only two Spanish enclaves on the African continent, continuing onwards to Plage Dalia on the North coast. We have our coffee stop at Plage Dalia where we sample Spanish influenced seafood and snacks our friend Ahoud’s fish cafe. With the crystal clear waters calling, a swim is also an option for those looking for a dip in the Med.  From here we follow a remarkable coastal ridge road, beach hopping between Plage Kasar Sjir and Plage Oued Alain before our final ride into atmospheric Tangiers. Ben Weigl

Marco Polo coast road

6. A cycling paradise with dazzling sea views, Marco Polo Tour, Albania

Let’s face it, none of us, before going to Albania for the first time, would have thought of finding one of the most beautiful coastal paths in the Mediterranean. Well, get ready to be surprised by this corner of paradise for cyclists, a series of hairpin bends that you would expect to find in the Dolomites, are set in a mountain overlooking the sea in the wonderful Llogara park in southern Albania, on the Canale di Otranto. Mythical places that remind us of Homeric legends, but also where the sounds and morphology of the Balkans magically meet with the colours and warmth of the Mediterranean. So let’s get rid of prejudices and set off on a bike to discover this wonderful territory.

We leave the lively avenues of Vlora along a coastal path that initially follows the city beach and then continues along gentle cliffs and small seaside hamlets. After passing Orikum, we enter the park in a mountain landscape, after a memorable climb of over 15 km we reach the Llogara pass (1,050 m above sea level). From here we enjoy a wonderful panorama that sweeps from the coasts of Puglia to the Greek island of Corfu, to then dive into the exciting bends overlooking the sea that bring us back to the coast between olive groves and small villages clinging to the cliffs. The town of Saranda, in the far south of Albania, is the perfect place to end an unforgettable day. Marcello Usala

Hvar coastal ride

7. Crystal clear Adriatic waters, UNESCO sites and lavender, Marco Polo Tour, Croatia

Starting our day in Stari Grad (Hvar), we head straight towards the incredible Stari Grad Plains, a world heritage listed UNESCO site. The Stari Grad Plains, built in the 4th century by the Ionian Greeks, are agricultural drywall formations and shelters which are still used to grow grapes and olives today. From there we head through pretty port towns Vrboska and Jelsa and into the wilder centre of Hvar island, riding through pines and rugged rocky landscape.

As we turn and head towards Hvar Town, the final 20km of the ride brings with it jaw-dropping sea vistas and lavender fields. The route meanders through Brusje with its fragrant lavender fields (blooming late June/early July) and onwards with sensational sea views to either side. It is a feast for the senses as we head towards our destination of Hvar Town. We finish the day at the hip Hula Hula bar for sundowners and toast a wonderful day on the bike. Megan Reynolds

Cycling Cap Corse

8. The dizzying heights of Cap Corse, Three Islands Tour, Corsica, France

We leave Bastia behind heading North on the Eastern coast of Cap Corse, we ride a series of little ports, beaches and marinas before the climbing begins. The elevation begins to increase as we climb into the hills to the Northernmost point of Corsica where views of Ile de la Giraglia will await us. As we turn to head back down the Western side of the cape, the coastal views just keep coming. And it is spectacular. The route takes us along cliffside roads, high above the sea with breathtaking views.

The route takes in some of the islands most fascinating historical remnants, the Genoese towers. The watchtowers, built in the 16th century, were manned to signal the arrival of potential Barbary pirates. Fires were lit to communicate between the towers and with the surrounding villages. Some of the towers still remain today, of which you will see some fine examples along our route.

The route continues down the coast, taking in the incredible black sand beaches surrounding Nonza and onwards to finish in Saint Florent. Set on a sparkling bay, this medieval village is perfect for an evening aperitif overlooking the marina. Simone Scalas

Lunch on Lake Trasimeno

9. Cycle a real historical battlefield at Lake Trasimeno, Hannibal Tour, Italy  

“Cycling around the battlefield at Lake Trasimeno is one of my historical highlights of the Hannibal epic. Rare indeed is it to be able to walk (cycle!) through the exact location of such an iconic battle. but thanks to the ancient sources and the unique geography, we can!” Ben Kane.

On tour, we depart from Pienza (Tuscany) and ride past the noble vineyards of Montepulciano before we make our way to the site of one of Hannibal’s most famous and bloody battles, Lake Trasimeno. To this day, this battle is considered by some to be the greatest ambush in history, with 15,000 Roman soldiers losing their lives, with Hannibal losing only a mere 1500 by comparison.  The battle was reportedly of such proportions that the waters of Lake Trasimeno ran red for days with blood from the nearby battlefield.

In present times, there is still recognition of Hannibals greatest victory, with many information boards which mark significant sites and provide further information on the battle. For our guests on tour, we also picnic at the lake itself during our day ride and contemplate the events of this historical place. From there, we continue through the Umbrian countryside to our destination of Todi, a majestic hilltop town.

10. Tiny coves and temples on Noto Peninsula, Samurai Tour, Japan

Our detailed GPS routes allow riders to get off even the quiet coast routes and be led through the laneways of little fishing villages. The inhabitants here continue to live with the rhythm of the ocean as they have been for centuries. Smooth, fantastically engineered roads greet you as you weave along the coast with expansive views of the Sea of Japan. You will cycle in and out of small coves tucked in among the cliffs dotted with fishing craft.  Temples and shrines decorate the most beautiful hilltops and rock outcrops. Once off the bike, unwind in one of the hotel natural hot springs which are often placed where they afford a slower more contemplative coastal view. Finish the day sampling a wonderful collection of the local fruits of the ocean, decorated so beautifully, it can be said that we dine on ‘edible art’. Ben Weigl

We hope you have enjoyed our round-up of the best coastal routes. Let us know in the comments if you have ridden any of these or give us a heads up on your favourite coastal routes!


Top 10 Climbs on our epic cycle tours according to our team

Summit of Mont Ventoux, France

Nothing beats that feeling of summiting a long-awaited iconic climb on your bike. All that training and miles in the saddle for a sublime moment of achievement in a faraway corner of the globe. And then, of course, there is the descent after.

For Our team, one of the best parts of our jobs is seeing our guests climb bucket-list mountains and passes. It can be emotional, as people push themselves to their physical and mental limits but ticking off any of these climbs can feel pretty great. Here we round up some of our absolute best epic cycle tour climbs according to our well-travelled team.

1.Col De l’Izoard, French Alps (Hannibal Tour – Stage 1)

I have many favourite climbs but one of the best for me has to be Col d’Izoard in the French Alps. It’s a  climb that I know well, I’ve ridden it many times from both sides and in some outrageous weather. At a height of 2360 metres and right up there in amongst ski resorts, it usually has snow on the top few kilometres right up until the beginning of June each year. Then it’s only completely clear of snow until October.

One memory that stands out for me was the time that I rode the 19km route from Briancon towards the end of May a few years ago with a friend. When we got to within 3km from the summit, we hit snow and what can only be described as appalling conditions. We should have turned back but being so close and coupled with the fact that my friend hadn’t summited before, we made the decision to push on. Conditions on those last couple of kilometres were some of the worst that I’ve ever ridden in. We couldn’t even stand up straight on the top at the famous monument, and we were so cold it was unbelievable. Of course, the conditions eased after that first 3km and once warmed up I continued down to Briancon with an ever-increasing smile. I love this mountain so much, I have learned not only to enjoy her but to respect her as well. Richie Mitchell

Climb Statistics (from Briancon): 19.5km, Elevation gained 1145m, Average gradient 5.8%, Maximum gradient 9%

2. Mortirolo, the Italian Dolomites (Caesar Tour – Stage 2)

The Mortirolo is a high pass in the Italian Alps, unrelenting in its punishing gradient. Featuring heavily in the Giro d’Italia, it is a favourite climb among guests who enjoy testing their limits. Whilst climbing the pass, at bend 11 you can check out the Pantani monument. This monument is here as it marks the point in the 1994 Giro when the world really began to take notice of him. With 32 turns and an average gradient of 11.3%, it is a true mental and physical test. Much of the climb is forest-lined which is beautiful but gives you little opportunity to see how far you have climbed. It is a beast of a climb but a great one to add to your bucket list. Chris Small

Climbing statistics from Mazzo: 11km, Average gradient 11.3%, Maximum gradient 20% Elevation gain 1300m

3. The Giant of Provence -Mont Ventoux (Hannibal Tour – Stage 1)

Setting off on a hot Provencal day, Richie and I rode the Gorges de la Nesque to Sault and then up Mount Ventoux. The ascent from Sault is lesser known than the famous Bedoin and Maleucene ascents, however, it is still a beautiful climb. Starting at a higher elevation, it is longer with a lesser gradient than the other routes but the final 6km are joined with the Bedoin route to make it a tough finish. I would recommend it to anyone who is apprehensive about taking on the Bedoin or Malaucene routes but would like to give Ventoux a go! We love this climb as it is on the doorstep of our European HQ and is always a welcome sight when we are working in Provence. Colette Southworth

Climb statistics from Sault: 25.7km, 1152 elevation, Average gradient 4.5%, Maximum gradient 11%.

4. Mount Ishizuchi, Shikoku Island (Samurai Tour – Stage 2)  

On the Samurai Shikoku tour, we were all looking forward to cycling Mount Ishizuchi. The photographs looked stunning and I had been assured there was a superb hot noodle restaurant at the summit. The weather started closing in on the climb with fog and drizzle making it a little demotivating. However, onward we went willing each other up the largest peak in Western Japan. At the summit, we were greeted with fog clouds and bundled into the restaurant for steaming hot noodles. Just what we needed after our soggy climb. As we set off on the descent, all the climbing made sense as the fog dissipated and we were greeted with panoramic vistas of autumnal Japanese forests. Meg Reynolds

Climb statistics: 11.5km, 780m climbing, Average gradient 5.9%

5. Sella Ronda, Italian Dolomites (Caesar Tour – Stage 2)

For 2020, we managed to coincide our Caesar tour with the Sella Ronda bike day. This fantastic day gives cyclists the opportunity to cycle these magnificent passes without and vehicles on the road. What could be better, magnificent views, fantastic coffee and Italian food to refuel on. For me, this is one of my all-time favourite Italian passes, having ridden it twice. I love this ride!   Jess Shull

Route statistics clockwise: Approx 58km, Elevation 1845m, include 4 passes: Campolongo, Pordoi, Sella and Gardena.

6. Col Agnel, French Alps (Hannibal Tour – Stage 1)

At 2744 m, Col Agnel is the third highest pass in the French Alps at 2744m. Only Col de l’Iseran and the Stelvio are higher. The first part of the climb is moderately steep at 6-8%, with a relatively easier middle section, before ramping up to 8-9% for the final 7km. It’s a tough climb, and the weather can be very variable, but at the summit you are rewarded with sweeping views of the Alps and an incredible view back into France, as well as the hairpin bends down into Italy, which form the beginning of one of Europe’s longest descents – 50 kilometres! Ben Kane

Climb Statistics (French side): 20.8km, elevation 1365m, Average gradient 6.6%, Maximum gradient 8-9%.

7. Stelvio Pass, Italian Alps (Caesar Tour – Stage 2)

One of the most iconic climbs of Europe, the Stelvio is an incredible cycling experience. With 48 hairpin bends it can feel like you are climbing endlessly. On our 2019 Caesar custom tour, parts of the pass were still closed due to a particularly cold winter season leaving a 20ft snow wall blocking our planned descent. Undeterred, we managed to put together an alternative route for our guests which still enabled them to get up the Stelvio with the unexpected bonus of dropping into Switzerland before looping back to the original route. Marten Fekkes

Climb statistics: 21km, elevation 1558m, average gradient 7%


8. Alpe D’Huez, French Alps (Hannibal Tour – Stage 1)

Alpe d’Huez is a favourite climb among guides and guests alike. It brings with it a bit of friendly competition from the team, comparing our times up this iconic climb. Including 21 bends and 14km of climbing, it is shorter but no less gruelling than other climbs we do on tour. Starting with an average of 11%, you want to take it easy for the first 6 bends. It is not until closer to the summit that you get a relatively easier climb of 5-6% gradient” James Geen.

Climb Statistics: 14km, elevation 1120m, minimum gradient 5%, maximum gradient 11-12%

9. Mount Ruapehu -North Island, New Zealand  (Maori Tour – Stage 2)

This climb is the only Hors Categorie climb in New Zealand and provides a fantastic challenge to riders on our Maori tour. It is a still-active volcano and in winter the biggest ski field the southern hemisphere. The climb itself is 17km with approximately 1000m elevation. The first 6km are fairly moderate, but don’t get too comfortable as from there the gradient climbs to above 10%.” Rich Mortiboys

Climb Statistics: 17km, elevation 1000m, minimum gradient approximately 5%, maximum gradient above 10%

10. Pico de Veleta –  Andalucia, Spain (Conquest of the Moors Tour – Stage 2)

Believe it or not, but the highest paved road in Europe is not found in the French or Swiss Alps, but in the Spanish Picos. This climb is an absolute beast and not one for the faint of heart. So for the Conquest of the Moors’ tour, we will only offer it as part of an optional ride. This climb is very long, very steep (in parts) and very high- all the elements that make up a true cyclist’s bucket-list climb. To reach the summit, you will need to ride 43km uphill, with an average gradient of 6.5%, with the final kilometres becoming steeper. You may also find the altitude making breathing a little more difficult, which only adds to the challenge. Dylan Reynolds

Climb Statistics (from Granada): 43km, elevation gain 2700m,average gradient 6.5%, maximum gradient 8%

We hope this blog sparks a little motivation to get climbing and add some new climbs to your Epic list and perhaps an epic cycle tour too!

Top 10 memorable moments in 2019 according to our team

As we look forward to the start of our 2020 season, we are reflecting on a epic 2019 season. We all know those moments when travelling where some sort of magic happens. All seems right in the world, your every day worries far from your mind. You sit back and think there is no place you’d rather be. Whether it is a particularly special sunset, making a new friend from a foreign land or a particularly scrumptious meal. There are many moments like these that stay in our memories long after our tours are over.

So we asked our team what their best epic cyle tour magic tour moments were off the bike. A pretty tough ask considering what we pack in during a season but we have collated some of our favourites here:

1. Nouvelle cuisine with Lithuania’s best chef, Vilnius (Napoleon Tour)

“When we arrived at this beautiful restaurant we knew we would be treated to a special dinner. The chef is considered the best in Lithuania and joined us for each course to provide a description of each creation of our tasting menu. It added a special element to the meal and led to many of us photo documenting our culinary journey. The chef was even generous enough to share his secret seed bread recipe with me too!”” Colette Saunders

2. A private concert of true Sardinian folk songs, Sardinia (Three Islands Tour)

“With a perfect setting outside on the terrace of our Albergo diffuso hotel in Cabras Sardinia, I arranged a private concert with a “Canto a Tenore”, a group of Sardinian 4 singers performing traditional and ancestral songs using just their voices (or ‘A Cappella’).  For me, this singing group is special being friends of mine who also sang at my wedding. This type of singing is called the Cantu a tenore and is practised in groups of four in a close circle. For me it is a true taste of Sardinian culture and a powerful performance to witness.” Simone Scalas

3. History direct from a local in Berlin (Iron Curtain Tour)

“To commence the Iron Curtain tour we arranged for a bike tour around the city, led by Peter who recounted his stories of trying to escape East Berlin. He tried 3 times, the third attempt of which he succeeded. Providing this historical context is extremely important to us at Ride and Seek and the personal experiences of Peter had us hanging on his every word. ” Dylan Reynolds

4. Lunching like a king from Paris to St Petersberg (Napoleon Tour)

 “The Napoleon tour has many picnic’s, being a little more off the beaten path. For me the highlight of this tour was the superb picnic’s prepared with love by Colette. We pride ourselves on great picnics, but I think Colette’s really are something special.” Gabriel Donati

5. Exquisite dinner overlooking an archaeological marvel, Agrigento, Italy (3 Islands Tour)

“As part of the Three Islands tour, we visit the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily. The Valley of the Temples is an archaeological site with the remains of seven temples in the Doric style. Our sunset dinner at Villa Athena for me is magical, enjoying a Sicilian feast overlooking this extraordinary historical site. It’s a dinner that remains long in my tour memories.” Richie Mitchell


6. A spa with an extraordinary view, Japan (Samurai  Tour)

“One of the best things about cycle touring in Japan is the Onsen (spa) culture. Nothing soothes the muscles like a soak in the onsen after a long day in the saddle. It is even better when this is combined with a great view like our hotel near battleship rock on the Noto Peninsula.” Ben Weigl

7. Sunset dinner overlooking Lake Como, Italy (Caesar Tour)

“What an awesome way to start the tour. Our Caesar custom tour starting from Como took the funicular to Brunate for a sunset dinner and drinks. It was a beautiful evening, great food and wine and great company. It made for a truly memorable start to the tour.” Chris Small

8. A Catalan feast and memorable spot for a historical chat in Madremanya, Spain (Hannibal Tour)

“An outstanding tour memory for me is the family-run boutique hotel in Madremanya at the start of the Hannibal tour. Before an incredible tasting menu (off the scale delicious!), as the guests enjoyed a local wine, I weaved the story of Hannibal’s extraordinary exploits, and how he shook Rome’s foundations to the core.” Ben Kane


9. Spontaneous swimming on the Tatsukushi Coast, Japan (Samurai Tour)

“Arriving at a pretty beach on the Samurai tour, we grabbed our swimmers out of the van and dove in the surprisingly warm sea for a dip. Some of us paddled in our kit, some of us swam far out to sea. It was a moment of freedom and embracing simple pleasures. And to top it off, the stop was planned to have access to a shower and change facilities, followed by a beautiful morning tea of matcha cake, fresh cut-up fruits, energy bars, and hot tea and coffees.” Meg Reynolds

10. A superb slow food dinner in an Albanian Agriturismo (Marco Polo Tour)

“Scouting is usually a very busy time with not much time for sitting down to a proper meal. This year, Dylan and I scouted the Marco Polo tour and found a gem. We have always embraced the ‘Slow Food’ ethos so finding an agriturismo in Albania with a ‘slow food’ menu was both surprising and exciting. The Agriturismo hotel was once used to intern political prisoners but now provides employment for many in the local community. And the food was incredible. We can’t wait to take our guests back there in 2020 to eat and stay.” Marcello Usala

What were your favourite travel moments of 2019? Share your thoughts in the comments