MEET THE TEAM
“ Above and beyond any expectation we might have had. I did think the country would be beautiful and it didn’t disappoint but the attention to detail by the team was beyond superb from start to finish. ”
“ How much we enjoyed our week with The Slow Cyclist. Altogether a triumph. Rarely, if ever, have I been so well fed, watered, exercised and educated all at the same time. You have a special formula. Thank you. ”
Founder & Managing Director
These days I live outside Banbury, Oxfordshire with my wife and two young sons. Back in 2009 I left a career with Knight Frank, hopped on my bike and spent the next 14 months cycling to Australia to watch The Ashes cricket series. Two years working in Rwanda followed before my first – and only – book, Cycling to the Ashes, was published by Random House. I founded The Slow Cyclist in 2014 and if you would like to know why we exist, take a look at our values.
I moved back to the UK in 2016 after twelve years living and working in Sydney and Bangkok, tempted home by the prospect of joining Oli and helping to grow The Slow Cyclist. These days I run our operations, working with trusted partners in all our destinations to make sure you have the most amazing time, without any hiccups. I make sure I host a few trips each year too – I can’t get enough of the Transylvanian wildflower meadows.
We always hope that our trips have a lasting impact on our guests and for me that was certainly true! After joining a trip to Rwanda in 2018, I decided to switch out of a 25 year career in the legal profession (having lived and worked in the UK, USA and Asia) and join The Slow Cyclist, which I did in August 2019. My role as Commercial Director combines my love for travel and my experience of growing global businesses.
Having worked in the property sector since 2017, I joined The Slow Cyclist in January 2020 to pursue my love of travel. I support Sally in the operations team but, certainly in 2020, have spent much of my time in Greece where I’ve loved hosting our guests throughout their time with us. (I am pictured on the left here in Zagori with Lefteris, Sally and Josh).
An ethnic Hungarian from northern Transylvania, Szabolcs has guided for us since 2017 and is a firm favourite with our guests. He’s a former actor (he used to travel the world entertaining on cruise ships) and you’ll be able to spot his dramatic tendencies if you can coax a traditional song out of him after a few palinka.
Lefteris has guided for us in Zagori since we began running trips there in 2019. He grew up in the area, and now lives in nearby Ioannina where he splits his time between teaching Turkish and guiding. He absolutely loves sharing his home and its wild beauty with our guests.
Half Rwandan, half Ugandan, Godfrey grew up in Kisoro in south western Uganda. He was hooked on the outdoors and biking from an early age. In 2013 he was introduced to adventure mountain biking and became a little obsessed. A passion was born for sharing the beautiful local scenery while travelling slowly by bike. Godfrey also works with local communities teaching financial education. His greatest satisfaction is helping people to live their lives to the fullest.
Sergiu was the first person Oli met on his first visit to Transylvania in 2014. He works for his family’s business in Sighisoara but his two real passions are cycling and history, and despite being Romania’s reigning veteran downhill mountain biker, he is a slow cyclist through and though. He lives within Sighisoara’s medieval walls and his ability to grasp and explain Transylvania’s – and Romania’s – complicated history is a skill only matched by the care he takes in looking after our guests.
Josh read Classics at Oxford University and modern Greek literature at King’s College. Moving to Athens to brush up on his modern Greek, Josh translated the work of the poet Michelis Ganas (published by Yale University Press in September 2019), and divides his time between writing and guiding (with a bit of singing and guitar-playing thrown in for good measure) in the beautiful region of Zagori.
Marco is a Dutchman who has lived in the Saxon villages since 2001. He first went to Transylvania to study and write about the region’s diverse ethnic make-up. Having fallen in love with the place and its people, he now lives there with his wife, Donate, who often cooks for our guests, and their daughter.
Jado has been a guide for 5 years. Originally from Kigali, he lives in Nyamirambo, the Muslim quarter of the capital, nicknamed ‘the place that never sleeps’. Rarely without a smile on his face, he loves meeting people from all over the world, adventure cycling, Kung Fu, acrobatics, dancing, singing and reading.
Lori spent most of his childhood in Transylvania and now lives near Medias, near to where we focus our activities. His curiosity to discover Romania’s rich history and his love of nature and the outdoors drove him to become a guide. He uses this an opportunity to tell guests the story of this amazing region.
Iancu is a gentle giant, who trained as an engineer but has spent the last 10 years working as an English translator, and indulging in his passion for photography by travelling the world. The big outdoors is where he’s happiest, preferably with a bike to ride.
South African Jaco (pictured front row on the right, with a group of slow cyclists), realized that there had to be more to his life than grinding away at making a living, and he embraces his love for nature and cycling by, among other things, guiding for us in Rwanda. His positive attitude and friendly demeanour leave guests feeling exceptionally well looked after and cared for.
Vangelis originally trained as an engineer, but has been cycle guiding all over Greece for years, inspired by the variety of landscapes and the wonderful hospitality of its people. He takes great pleasure in sharing his knowledge with our guests and if anything goes wrong with your bike, Vangelis is your man!
Born and raised near Tbilisi, Misha spent his holidays growing up in the mountains, feeding his soul. For him, nothing compares to riding a bike in nature and he knew from an early age that he wanted to show off the incredible scenery of his homeland. He says “I am always reminding myself of a line from the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli’s The Knight in the Panther’s Skin, in which he writes: ‘What you give away is yours, what you don’t is lost.’ I am happy that I have something to give away as a guide.”
Driver & Guide, Rwanda
Emmy is always smiling. It’s his superpower. He just loves what he does. Born and raised in south-west Rwanda, he has guided since 2006 and is happiest when he’s sharing the landscapes and wildlife of Rwanda with travellers. He has travelled a fair bit around Africa, and it’s his dream to cycle all over the continent.
Sign up to receive The Slow Cyclist newsletter and occasional updates from our journal