Personal Guide. Partner in Discovery. New Friend.
Your VBT Trip Leader is passionate about travel and devoted to sharing new discoveries with you. Each is a multi-lingual resident of your destination who intimately knows the history, cultural heritage, and traditions of your surroundings. Your Trip Leader also brings an insider’s knowledge of the best places to explore, dine, and shop—along with local customs that will be useful to you. With keen organizational skills, splendid sense of humor, and talent for making you and your fellow travelers thrive with your own group dynamic, your VBT Trip Leader will become a treasured friend.
“Our Trip Leaders in South Africa, Henk and Gareth, were top-notch: enthusiastic, knowledgeable, responsive, caring, friendly, and good-humored. They are the kind of folks with whom you’d like to establish long-term friendships. They went beyond the expected.” Recent VBT Traveler—Cycling South Africa: Cape Town & the Garden Route
Kha • Journey through Vietnam
The story of Kha and his family is the story of Vietnam’s modern history: war, peace, and rapid economic development. It’s a vivid story that he shares with his travelers. He delights in helping visitors experience another essential quality of life in Vietnam: the irresistible happiness of the Vietnamese people. He has always believed that in our lives we meet someone for a reason. He wants to be the Trip Leader who makes that unforgettably true for you.
Marijn • Holland and Belgium Bike & Barge
Inspired by Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” Marijn discovered small-town America for three months in 1995, traveling from New England to Florida, west to Texas, and north to Utah. He’s still on the trail, encouraging travelers to “take care of your vacation self”—in other words, bike when you want to and indulge when you want to. Marijn looks forward to introducing you to delicious Dutch cookies called Stroopwafels.
Andrea • The Czech Republic, Germany & Austria
Andrea cherishes the memories of her grandmother’s farm, with its cows, sheep, and geese. That’s why she still feels very close to nature, whether she’s mountain climbing, skiing, or sharing discoveries with VBT travelers. As a child growing up in the former Czechoslovakia, Andrea experienced the oppression of the Communist era, a contrast she highlights vividly for her travelers. Conversant in eight languages, Andrea will teach you to share a friendly nazdar (hello) to every biker you meet.
Anne • Maine Coast: Purely Acadia
Raised on a dairy farm in northern Aroostook County, Maine, with six brothers and sisters, Anne had to travel to Hawaii and live the island life for nearly 30 years to discover how much she missed life on the farm. Now the only way to tempt her out of her Maine organic garden is to bring out a bicycle. A VBT Trip Leader for 14 years, her favorite place to go is “anyplace on a bicycle.” The travelers who discover America with her can expect, as she does, “to live life to the fullest.”
Marcello • Tuscany
“When a person is in sync with nature, things flow better in life.” This is one of Marcello’s guiding principles, and it’s an approach his travelers come to appreciate. Born and raised in Florence, he has worn many hats in his long career—and hanged them all over the world—but none more satisfying than Trip Leader. He knows that travel can be a life-changing experience, and he loves being able to bring beauty and pleasure to his travelers.
Stephane • Provence: The Alpilles
Born the year VBT was founded, Stephane is a native of Ardennes, grew up near Paris, and was educated at the Sorbonne. Fluent in four languages, he enjoys bicycling, downhill skiing and travel, considering himself “a citizen of the world who needs to discover its people and diversity.” His personal motto—and his advice to his travelers—is to “be curious.”
“Our Trip Leader Stephane was beyond helpful, personable and friendly. I’d travel with him anywhere.” Recent VBT Traveler—from Washington
Alejandro • Spain: under the Andalusian Sky
Born and raised in Cadiz, Spain, and with two degrees (law and political science) under his belt, Alejandro considers his best friends to be his books, his bicycle and his VBT travelers. As a local Andalusian, he is perfectly tuned to the distinctive approach to life, art and cuisine that beats at the heart of this exciting, inimitable region.
“This was our first trip with VBT, so we didn’t know what to expect. Everything went smoothly, and the rides were beyond what we had imaged! Alejandro was outstanding and very knowledgeable.” Recent VBT Traveler—from Texas
Valerie • Maryland: Cycling the Chesapeake Bay
Valerie nurtured her love of the ocean and of the special charms of coastal life while growing up in the historic community of Cape May, New Jersey. Her fondest memory is vacationing with her family on Maryland’s eastern shore, crabbing and searching for shark’s teeth. She had bicycled across the U.S and searched the world for the perfect surfboarding wave—and she can’t wait to teach you how to open a delicious blue-claw crab.
“The strength of the trip, as always, was the quality of the Trip Leader. Valerie was excellent and always willing to assist and accommodate in every way.” Recent VBT Traveler—from Pennsylvania
Ulisse • Amalfi Coast
Ulisse was born and raised in Naples, a place he describes as a “great city to get your ‘citizen of the world’ diploma.” English was his first language (thanks to his American-born mother) and he credits that linguistic heritage as the source of his ability to relate to guests quickly and understand their sense of humor. Indeed, humor is a big part of traveling with Ulisse, who thinks that laughter should be a key ingredient of every trip—closely followed by memorable walks, pasta of all kinds, discussions on Italy’s history and quirky politics, and good wine.
“Our trip leaders, Vincenzo and Ulisse were incredible, resourceful, entertaining, knowledgeable, caring, loving and respectful, not enough words can describe how these two gentlemen made our trip, a trip of a lifetime.” Recent VBT Traveler—from New Jersey
Jan • New Zealand: The South Island
Raised in a family devoted to outdoor activity, Jan discovered early the rewarding cultural influence of the Maori people. That’s why she enjoys sharing Maori legends and the meanings behind their beautiful place names with her travelers. A self-described “mother hen who likes to make sure my guests are happy, well informed, well fed, and having a great time while getting the New Zealand experience,” she said she and her travelers first have to get past the language barrier. “When I talk about the snack basket, I get asked if we have snakes. We don’t.”
“Jan and Nial provided service above and beyond, and went out of their way to make sure everyone had a good time.” Recent VBT Traveler—from Missouri
Ferry • Holland and Belgium Bike & Barge
Ferry’s first trip as a guide was his first Himalayan trekking tour in Northwest India, in 1988, and he’s been pleasing VBT travelers since 2001. Above all else, he believes his role in your VBT vacation is to have you “feel comfortable, enjoy it, learn something, and last but not least, have fun!” Traveling with Ferry, you’re likely to try salted herring and smoked eel and cheese and especially Belgian beer. His passions run deep and wide—biking, hiking, Himalayan studies, photography, listening to the Blues—and you are not likely to forget his guidance.
“Our two Dutch Trip Leaders, Ferry and Marieke, were not just bike guides. They provided yummy snacks just when we needed them, found us when we strayed, shared history, architecture, and customs along the way, and even hosted a beer tasting one night.” Recent VBT Traveler— from Maine
Maureen • Ireland: Galway & Connemara Coast • Ireland: Walking the West Country
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Maureen grew up in Killarney, where she’s lived since she was nine months old, so the only accent her travelers will hear is the lovely, lilting cadence of West Ireland. She and her sister operate an Irish dancing school, and with her husband and daughter, she delights in family hikes and bike rides from their hilltop home. “The outdoors is my playground,” she says. “I love to share with our guests my love of music and Irish dancing. They will have a genuine opportunity to taste what it’s like to live in Ireland.”
“Maureen was fun to be with and worked very well with Katrin. Her high energy level was infectious. Her Irish background enhanced the stories during the tour.” Recent VBT Traveler—from South Carolina
IN MEMORIUM, RICHARD TOM
Our condolences go out to Richard Tom’s family and everyone who was fortunate enough to know him. We are profoundly saddened by his unexpected passing. Richard was a dedicated, long-time member of the VBT family, and we will miss him deeply. He began with VBT in the early 1990s while leading tours in the USA and in Europe, and recently transitioned into a full-time position here in our Bristol office. We will always remember him for his deep caring of his fellow associates, his connection with our guests—who appreciated his leadership, generosity and kind spirit—and of course, for his love of cycling. Rest in Peace, Richard.