I discovered cycling travel and Asia in my early twenties. The moment when I realised that the two would combine perfectly, changed my life.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"We do bike trips and we do these in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. Actually there are some others, but this is where we offer our best experiences. We have trips to suit just about anyone. Families with young kids, those who like an adventure, but don't consider themselves cyclists, groups of friends, even solo travelers. We are not all about the bike. It's an important element, but it is really about using the bike to free yourself from the constraints of enclosed, motorised, controlled and limiting transport, based on highlight, or site based travel. The intrigue and satisfaction is in the journey itself.
At the same time, we are cyclists ourselves, so can put together amazing rides that will be some of the most satisfying cycling you will do, but will also introduce you to the hidden joys of Asia and the wonderful people who inhabit the towns and villages through which we ride. "
How did you get involved in travel?
"I grew up in rural Australia and had always ridden bikes as a kid. It wasn't until my early twenties that I tagged along with some friends on an OS trip that included Vietnam. I loved the place, but I hated the way we traveled. Too quickly, too superficially, just being fed through a tourist mill. I came home and committed to finding a better way to travel. In fact the answer was right under my nose. I'd just sold my car and was riding a bike to and from my bank job and it was turning into the best hour of each day.
I did my first overseas ride in Southern China in 2004 and then followed that with lots of riding through Southeast Asia in the following couple of years. Eventually I realised that the career path of banking was not for me and decided to make a living out of my passion.
Since that time, I have led many rides through a wide variety of destinations. I then built a business that employs an army of guides and support staff and so my energy these days is dedicated to training others and building their capacity to deliver crafted adventures, with genuine connections and with an almost obsessive attention to detail. We believe that a bike ride in Asia, done well, can be a transformational experience. "
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"In August 2007, I wanted to go for a ride in Myanmar. I put a post on a cycle touring forum to find a ride buddy and the one that I got was a great guy named Patrick from Montreal. He was about my age and my height and my cycling ability, so really a great match. We met in Bangkok, then flew into Yangon. We walked straight into the early stages of the Saffron Revolution and into the most intense, but intriguing travel experience either of us had ever had. We spent almost three weeks riding around the parts of the country that were accessible and discovered what a lovely bunch of people the Myanmar-ese (there is a reason not to call them Burmese) are. Amazing hospitality was forthcoming, despite the risks that people were taking in what was essentially a police state at the time.
Our most memorable exchange was a man who lived in a little stone house by a lake in the Shan Hills. He chased us down on his old rickety bike and insisted we come for tea at his house. A great meal and hours of conversation followed as our host extracted about three decades of information on the outside world from us (a task a couple of twenty somethings were possibly not well equipped for). We learned of the hardships our new friend had faced, including his imprisonment for his political resistance activities in the eighties, the loss of an eye during a subsequent arrest, the loss of his son to AIDS and the passing of his wife. A hard life to say the least. Late that evening, we snuck past the police station on our way back to the hotel.
As we were leaving town on our bikes the next morning, our friend came out with two, generous packed lunches. In 2014 I went back to visit our friend, but his house was being renovated by some younger people and they couldn't tell me anything about the previous owner or his whereabouts.
Myanmar these days is a free society and one that is changing at a rapid pace. The genuine nature of the people is still intact, but the overbearing police presence and the oppression that people like my one eyed friend had suffered is a memory that is quickly sliding away. "
Featured trips & expertise
The beautiful ancient city of Kyoto is the spiritual home of Japan and the perfect base for this week-long cycling adventure. Explore the streets of Kyoto by bike and venture further afield as you delve into Japanese culture and cuisine. Take an exhilarating ride from the city to sacred Mount Koya and around the region's stunning landscape for an unforgettable vacation.
Perfect for active travelers and nature-lovers, this 10-day tour covers everything from sunny coastlines to national parks to tea plantations. Walk, swim, and drive your way through rainforests, across sandy beaches, and - if you're lucky - past some of the country's most exotic wildlife.
An intact flora and fauna collection is one of Sri Lanka’s greatest assets and a couple of park visits are a great way to break up your tour. Horton Plains, Yala, and Udawalawe National Parks are often the highlights, but each park has its own unique way to avoid the crowds and have an amazing experience.
If you're looking to spend some time relaxing on the beach in Sri Lanka, there are many great beaches to choose from. Which one you end up at will probably depend on the time of year you travel and on the overall route of your tour.
Sri Lanka is a compact country so domestic flights are limited. Newer highways are reducing travel times for those who take the bus. However, trains are the more comfortable way to get around. The best way to see Sri Lanks is on a bike and there is an excellent network of roads to get you around to every corner of the country.
From dreamy rice fields to sprawling tea plantations, rural villages to nature preserves teeming with wildlife, the range of Sri Lanka's geographical and cultural treasures is astounding—and there's no better way to see it all than on two wheels. Find out how to navigate the roads, weather, and more with this comprehensive guide to cycling in Sri Lanka.
Recent trip reviews for Adam
Trip to laos, Laos - Nov 4 - Nov 11, 2017
Tui, our guide, was amazing. He is such a warm and pleasant person to spend a week with. He is helpful, resourceful, insightful, intelligent, and fun. We had a wonderful experience and holiday and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We would recommend this to many people. The trip worked like clockwork and was a great pleasure and we will look to do more holidays with Grasshopper. Tui should be commended for being a great guide. We had no incidents in the whole trip. The Sennali hotel was a poor... read more