Every wondered what it would like to be a bike tour guide? Ask Mick:-)
Most definitely, so long as you are really passionate about cycling.
25-35 hours with 400-800km of cycling per week. To be fair much of it is not high intensity, but you still have to spend lots of time on the saddle.
The more you love it, the less demanding it is to be a tour guide, it’s all relative.
What are the biggest challenges?
Obviously, there’s a massive physical challenge, but for aspiring bike tour guides, the mental aspect presents a much greater challenge.
It involves lifestyle choices, getting to bed early, nutrition and managing your recovery time wisely.
The better condition you are in physically, the easier the job is from a mental perspective.
A positive, but humble confidence in your ability is probably the most important trait to have in your armoury. The physicality and the mentality go hand in hand really. If you’ve been on the bike for days on end and you are getting up on a Monday morning to meet 3 mountain bikers…..tall, skinny, light, strong and skilful. You know the demands of the route and what lies in wait. This will test you mentally, but only if you let it.
My glass is always more than half full. I think more about meeting the people, the fun and the conversation than the demands of the route itself.
What excites you most about MTB?
Watching a really skilful rider pick a different line through a rock garden or a corner. They see something for the first time, they have their own interpretation of the terrain and they make it look so easy. I’m always learning.
When you have a day-off from tours, does that mean a day-off the bike?
If I’ve been on the bike for more than 5 days in a row….a day-off normally means a bike-free day.
If it’s been an easy week, a day-off could mean some quality interval sessions on the road bike. These sessions set me up for the harder days on the job.
Sometimes, instead of a training session it might be a leisurely adventure with some of the locals to look at more routes to see how they might fit in with existing routes or as a completely new route.
Are you more of a roadie or mountain biker?
Neither, doing both keeps me fresh. More road bikers should try MTB, it brings your road biking to a new level in terms of your core strength, bike handling and descending skills.
Have you a secret ingredient that makes for a great bike tour?
Yes, but it’s something that gets left out rather than added……it’s a secret:-)