Max Hofman Testimonial of Ride and Seek Tour
Special thanks to Max Hofman (pictured on the left getting some mechanical tips from Sam) for his wonderful testimonial on the recent Hannibal tour.
The only problem though is that Max was clearly so enamoured with the tour that he wrote an essay!
At the end of every tour we ask our guests to fill out a short evaluation which includes a small space for testimonials. Our hope is that our guests will write a couple of complimetary lines about the tour which we can potentially use to promote the tour in the future.
Clearly this space didn't suffice for Max and so I thought I'd present his testimonial as a blog post in its own right!
Thanks for taking the time Max - see below
Would you be willing to provide us with testimonials from your trip either regarding the trip itself, your guides or both?
Their notion of the ‘group tour’ meant that at no stage did the slowest rider feel the burden of having to catch up, nor the quickest rider feel angst that their speedy designs were thwarted. This was assisted by the open nature of the tour’s daily organization which encouraged riders to ride at their own paces and to their own strengths. Well planned coffee breaks and a healthy group dynamic assisted in all riders actively owning their own roles within the riding community; the leading riders were in a constant state of flux with the peloton, creating an agreeable and empathetic touring party.
The sensory delights of the tour were plentiful but nothing delivers a successful tour more than harmonious guiding. The guides who led Hannibal 2012 have a wealth of experience of all aspects of the Hannibal tour and were more than generous of their time and knowledge. Their ease with one another enabled their entire focus to be on the successful completion of detail and thus the collective termination of each day’s binary adventures. Whether it was mechanical dilemmas, corporal needs or cognitive salve, the guides were never found wanting in their attention to their charges.
The treatment of the riders / hoteliers / restaurateurs et al was exemplary at all times and because of the fantastic relationship the guides had with every place, our riding team always received A-class attention. Due to their extensively built relationships along this tour route that has included a BBC / SBS documentary (I would seriously recommend viewing before taking part in Hannibal 201..) and a decade’s worth of bicycle touring experience, our group was able to participate in some amazing historical / cultural aspects as well as being permitted to stay in places (such as the ‘English patient’ monastery) that would be otherwise exclusive for generic cycling groups.
Having followed with interest the progressive state of the BBC Hannibal documentary (now finally showing in Australia), it was with great anticipation that the cycling element extended itself to the general public. In doing so, Dylan and Sam created not only the perfect cyclists’ route but one with a plethora of historical and cultural features. Not only is this famous ‘camino’ a bike enthusiast’s haven that tackles the tour de France big guns but as far as I am aware it is the only current documentary in which you can actively participate. It is akin to being in a wilderness zone with Sir David Attenborough (or perhaps Bear Grylls) alongside to answer every question you can muster, and to encourage digestion of all manner of local delicacies. We were fortunate enough on this inaugural tour to have not only Sam but also another third of the Hannibal documentary trio (Sam’s brother, Ben Wood) to field the many questions that we novice historians came up with. We were only lacking the bull whip and akubra!
If feeling thus a part of a live Indiana Jones set (minus the slings and arrows) was not sufficient, the other half of the guiding fraternity made the compliment whole; with a cycling expert whose binary ability was surpassed only by his fluency in the linguistic elements. With Dylan, a past professional athlete whose curriculum vitae of bicycle guiding excellence is second to none, the tour had the perfect duo for success. Of enduring memory are the eloquent gourmet speeches that accompanied every morsel of traditional food and sip of superb vino; not to mention the charming and colloquial manner in which our language specialist was able to bring a blush to the cheek of the most modest host, with his ardent appreciation of what was placed before us.
In short, the tour guiding experience far surpassed anything I have ever encountered in more than 2 score years of bicycle touring. To retain an amiable, trouble free countenance over two and a half thousand km’s - 26 days of logistical aerobics - and to organize to the most miniscule detail every moment of every day’s ride on such an epic adventure, takes an epic effort. In Sam and Dylan, the Hannibal tour has two gentlemen capable of making such an effort, and indeed they did!
Of the retaining empirical resonance of ‘Hannibal tour 2012’, two things are constant: the success of the tour itself and the perfectly suited abilities of the guides. Well done Dylan and Sam, we all feel indebted for the wealth of experiences your dedicated guiding allowed us to enjoy. I wish you all the best for future tours and look forward with gusto any time of binary paths are to cross.
Yours sincerely and thankfully,
Hannibal tourist 2012 stages 2 / 3.