The Marmot Tours experience has been crafted over a decade by passionate and experienced cyclists, mountain experts and outdoor enthusiasts. Over the years we have evolved, tweaked and carefully crafted our guided road cycling itineraries into a product that we are immensely proud of. Everything we do is with a personal and attentive touch – whatever you need, we’ll do our very best to help.
This holiday is your goal, your dream. It’s your mountain to climb.
We are here to make it real, make it fun, to make it the best holiday it can be.
We love the preparation so you can love the ride.
We know that when you come on your european cycling holiday you will be bringing your months of training, your beloved wheels, your hopes and fears. Whilst you have been training, we have also been preparing, leaving no stone unturned to ensure that your holiday runs smoothly and exceeds your expectations. Offering every possible support: technical, physical and moral, you will be in the hands of our highly experienced, ridiculously well prepared and technically competent team. Their knowledge and skills ensure that you can relax and just turn the pedals, enjoying the scenery, the culture, the banter and the escape.
You lead, we follow.
We will gear the holiday experience around your abilities, your needs and expectations. Our range of holidays in the mountain ranges of Europe offers something for everyone, from cyclists new to climbing to experts and those in peak fitness.
To understand that you are in safe and experienced hands please follow the link for information on how we fulfill all our responsibilities as Tour Operators.
Your feedback helps us get better…
We listen to all your comments so the Marmot holiday experience keeps getting better and better. For our latest reviews, please visit Trip Advisor.
Marmot Tours Leaders and Office Staff on the Summit of Ventoux during our 2018 team training.
We support your ride with two of our fully customised vehicles.
For your convenience, we have a fleet of 28 titanium framed bikes for hire.
Lead Guide (working with Marmot since the start!)
I was born and grew up in the South West of England. From an early age I followed in the pedal strokes of both my father and grandfather by starting to cycle regular time trials of a Thursday evening at age 15. I also spent many years playing hockey which gave me the opportunity to travel and see many parts of the world. I have always enjoyed the outdoors and every day of holiday from my work as an engineer was spent playing sport or riding my bike.
In 1997, during a cycling trip traversing the Alps, I made the decision that Life had to change and I must live in the mountains!
Life did change, and in 2000 I gave up my job and set out to find a new home. After 6 months of exploring, I settled down in Ax les Thermes, where since 2002 I have been running the Alpage, a B&B providing evening meals. I met James in 2003 and started to host some of the Marmot Tours groups. I also started to lead trips the following year. In order to continue to lead trips and share my passion of the outdoors with others, I set about passing the French walking and mountain biking Qualifications. After 4 years of studying and hard work, I am pleased to say that I am now one of the only English people who have got this set of qualifications.
I still continue to compete regularly in local mountain runs, montain and road bike races, as well as the odd triathlon.
I look forward to meeting you in Southern France to show you around.
What our clients say about Alan…
Alan is great guide, competent and friendly. R Walker, Classic Cols of Corsica 2017
Great, couldn’t do enough to help and was very knowledgeable of the area and of riding in general. Peter, Classic Cols of the Pyrenees 2016
Alan was very supportive, always encouraging, giving tips, maintaining and managing the bikes and generally helping were ever he could….couldnt have asked for more…..from a personal perspective when I bonked on the climb to Col De Vars he came back and ensured I was hydrated and fit before proceeding and monitored me on the rest of that ride…generally felt he was safely managing the event. D Martin, Raid Alpine 2016
Calm, steady, reassuring support throughout, always cheerful and upbeat. T Sutherland Classic Cols of Corsica 2016
Extremely professional while also being cool and friendly! Nothing was too much trouble for Alan. When we were cold and wet in the rain, there he was. Amazing. N Cavill Classic Cols of Corsica 2016
Alan excels as a lead guide, he is comfortable and competent and provided the whole group with a great service during the week. S Tobin Raid Pyrenean 2017
True professional, always making sure guests are enjoying their break, top bloke, you could feel his passion for Catalonia too. M Gorshkov Classic Cols of Catalonia 2018
I thought both guides were really excellent. helpful, patient and good fun. The information they gave us was spot on and always timely and the advice they gave us with relation to riding was always valuable. The guides were one of the best parts of the trip. A Saunders Raid Pyrenean 2018
Assistant Tour Guide (joined Marmot in 2015)
Cycling is still fairly new to me compared to many of the Marmot team. A friend of mine had done three of the Raids with Marmot and I had always been intrigued about what he was doing but I was busy doing my passion of competitive skydiving. I learnt to skydive in 1996 and in 2005 took it up a level to train with 3 great team mates to win the World Championships in 2006. I continued to compete at World and National level winning several medals over the years, whilst also taking out a few years to coach at National and World Cup level too.
For various reasons I stopped competing and coaching. I loved every minute of what I did. It was as exciting to see a team I had coached achieve their goals as much as it was to achieve my own. But it was time for a change and new challenges so I ran my first and second marathon in 2012 and between these events my friend encouraged me to do more cycling and buy a new road bike and that was it…I was addicted. I signed up for the Raid Dolomites after just 3 months of cycling and one 60 mile sportive in the Cotswolds.
The Raid Dolomites was amazing, hard work but stunning scenery. After just a year of cycling I always knew it was going to be tough. Each day was a challenge but the tour leaders Merv and Nathan were amazing giving me a boost when I needed it.
I took this last summer off from my usual work as a Chartered Physiotherapist to work with Marmot Tours and to cycle in the mountains as much as I could. I wanted to be able to help others in the same way that the tour leaders had helped me on my Marmot trips. I loved seeing the skydivers that I coached achieve their goals and I hope that I can help you to enjoy your challenges that you take on with your Marmot trip.
I have now set up my own clinic, Bodyfit Physiotherapy (www.bodyfit.org.uk) in West Sussex and work closely with a local bike shop doing a ‘Physio Pro Bike Fit’. I will be back with Marmot Tours each summer to get my ‘fix’ in the mountains.
What our clients say about Amanda…
Amanda was so kind and considerate. She was attentive to your needs. A great advert for your company. D Cooper, Classic Cols of the Dolomites 2016
Always smiling and willing to help C Walker, Classic Cols of the Dolomites 2016
Great at keeping us organised and supplying food and warm clothing when required C Foott, Dolomites Minibreak 2016
Fantastic attitude, great knowledge and incredibly supportive. Made the trip an absolute pleasure. D Crawford Raid Pyrenean 2018
Amanda was very responsive and helpful, thinking ahead about people’s needs. J Meigs Classic Cols of Corsica 2018
Hotel Management & Trip Preparation
It was a love of Natural History that first brought us to the Ariege, France, with our two daughters, then 6 weeks and 2 years old. Many years later we are still here, still rising to the challenge of living and working in France. When I run along trails in the mountains past half a dozen species of orchids or walk by a hay meadow amongst clouds of butterflies I’m reminded of how truly lucky I am.
I hope to meet some of you this year as you pass through the area on your Raid Pyrenean or Classic Cols of the Pyrenees.
What our clients say about our admin team:
The holiday was extremely well organised and the Link was really useful for receiving updates on the trip including road conditions, GPS files, hotel information, airport transfers etc. E Smith
The information provided in advance of the trip e.g. kit lists was most useful. This info & its presentation showed a great attention to detail that inspired confidence in how the tour would be organised & run. Rightly so, the organisation was indeed excellent. B Roberts
Lead Guide (joined Marmot in 2015)
Why be inside when you can be outside?
My passion for anything outdoors and spending as much time in the fresh air possible, started at a very young age. From the age of 6 I used to set off on solo camping adventures and in summer I never spend much time sleeping in a bed as I preferred a bivac in the farmer´s fields underneath the stars (and many rain clouds).
Dutch by nationality, I grew up with road biking, speed skating and horse riding. My parents encouraged a free spirit and as I grew older, I started extending my outdoor activities further away from home and chose to study tourist management to allow me to travel. As work experience I went to Austria and got addicted to the snow… 6 weeks after my first day skiing, I entered my first ski instructor exams! As you can imagine, it was a steep learning curve and being surrounded by some 300 Tyrolean ski heroes, type Herman Maiers, Franz Klammers, Marcel Hirschers, I felt pretty incompetent. I was always last, could really not ski that well and had ´great fun´ trying to decode the Tyrolean dialects! I ended up staying in Tyrol for 7 years! Spending my summers as a raft guide, climbing, mountain biking and enjoying yodeling on the Alm huts! My Tyrolean became excellent, my German improved and skiing is still my biggest passion every single day I am on the planks!!
Looking for a new experience I moved to France, Meribel, mainly to improve my French and worked for a French Ski school. Let us say, it was a ´Special’ and Real French Experience and left me with a better (and more selective) knowledge of French. For details, ask me sometime! In France I came in contact with Scots who brought me to bonny Scotland…
The first two years I combined the outdoors with my work as an holistic therapist but eventually returned to spending all my days in the hills: mountain biking, walking, climbing, skiing and camping, or on the water, rafting, canoeing and surfing as an instructor/ guide, sharing my knowledge and passion for the great outdoors with others as well as for personal fun. I did many of my outdoor qualifications here, for example the Summer, Winter and International mountain leader, Trail cycle leader and Mountain bike leader training. Scotland was the country that got me seriously back on my bike as it is the perfect country for the MTB. Living in Aviemore, we had a great team of riders and we used to do crazy things like night riding in winter or little 3 or 4 days bothy expeditions, which mainly consisted of carrying the bike a lot on our backs and trying to get the whisky and the beer in one piece to the bothy! Many of us have now got back on the road bike too.
10 years in Scotland left me with a serious passion for whisky, an enormous bag of outdoor experience, the title of adopted Scot, a fine Scottish accent and top skiing skills on ice, windblown snow and heather! Whilst in Scotland I also worked a lot in the Alps and ski touring in the Oberland, I met some Basques who convinced me that their country was well worth a visit and soon I was invited to visit not just the Basque Country but also Asturias, Galicia, Cantabria and Pyrenees! I was sold, moved across, learned Basque and Spanish. The north has such a rich natural environment, spectacular mountains, a wild coastline with fantastic waves, delicious food and the perfect climate for being active that it wasn´t long until it felt like home, despite the struggle with the many cultural differences. The Basque Country and Spanish Pyrenees are where I am currently based and from here I run since 5 years my own little adventure and guiding company, Mountain Minds, specialized in skiing, snow shoeing, hillwalking, trekking and climbing.
In addition this year I am really excited to join the Marmot Team on the cycling front to support you during your cycling holiday and make sure you have a fantastic fun experience! I am looking forward to seeing you on your bike soon in some of world’s wonderful places!
What our clients say about Christel…
Wealth of experience, real enthusiasm and pleasure to be around. Really nice manner while efficiently getting on with what was needed I MacCafferty, Classic Cols of the Picos 2016
Christel is a fab guide. So encouraging, never gives up on you & is always there to answer your questions!! Her experience as a guide and her knowledge of the local area left you in no doubt that we’d still be having a great day’s cycling no matter which route we took J Burke, Classic Cols of the Picos 2016
Thank you Christel for your encouragement, photos and the laughter, especially when I dropped my multitool on my foot. Where was the first aider when I needed one ! oh yes, too busy laughing! R Wheeler Classic Cols of the Picos 2015
So professional and hard working, while being fun and supportive. She was really knowledgeable about the routes, the area, bikes, everything really! The best guide I have ever had on a cycling holiday and I have been on lots. C Rank Classic Cols of the Dolomites 2018
Very encouraging and supportive and gave us all the info required to make the most of our holiday. A real asset to your company and in short, a legend. D, G and L Innes Classic Cols of the Pyrenees 2018
Christel is the best guide we have ever had on a holiday – absolutely superb. Always helpful, kind, supportive, fabulously well organised and a very inspiring woman to boot. You have a real gem there! K McPherson Raid Sardinia 2018
Christel met me at the airport and from that moment she always was available to answer questions and help. She worked so hard and dealt with every situation and event that occurred. Just brilliant. K James Classic Cols of the Dolomites 2018
Tireless, caring, supportive always, THE BEST. S Cummings Raid Dolomites 2018
Lead Guide (Joined in 2018)
Born and raised in Santander, Cantabria, surrounded by mountains and sea (my beloved Picos de Europa and the Atlantic Ocean), I have loved mountains for as long as I can remember (my first climb was actually in my mum’s belly). I have been hiking since I was 3 years old when my parents used to take me to the mountains (although that was more piggybacking than hiking for me, haha). As a kid, however, I mostly played football like all the other kids my age. I had an introduction to MTB when I was 12 but did not really take it up until 2010, my legs tired from 30 years of football but in shape from winter hiking and snowboarding on my white mountains.
I studied Business and Management and worked in a Consultancy Office for 10 years, until I had enough (just 20 vacation days plus weekends for travelling and the outdoors—no way!) I quit my old life and started a new one, beginning with the trip of a lifetime: India, Nepal, New Zealand and Australia. The main part consisted of biking NZ from the North of North Island to the South of the South one, camping freely or sleeping in random strangers’ houses. That was life-changing!!!
I had trained and competed in some long MTB races before this trip, but they never took me anywhere—after 13 hours of pushing my bike I always ended up in the same place. Touring on my bike showed me another way of travelling and experiencing places and local people. I also found, on another biking trip through the Alps, from Milan to Prague, heading to Germany for a wedding (not mine!!!), that I enjoyed joining and encouraging other bikers that I met along the way. So, here I am to support all you achieving your happiness.
What our clients say about David…
David was incredible. Considering this is his first year with Marmot, he showed initiative at every stage. Highly supportive, very positive, exceptionally helpful and always there when needed. He is hard working and a great team-mate to Christel. Whatever it is that Marmot does to select, develop and keep guides motivated – please keep doing that. David was highly positive about the entire Marmot team and clearly loves what he is doing with Marmot – he is DELIGHTED to be on the team. J Ruszka Classic Cols of the Dolomites 2018
Both guides did an excellent job dealing in a caring way with a number of problems that could not have been foreseen. Their use of the support vehicles was thoughtful and most helpful. R Chandler Classic Cols of the Picos 2018
David was super friendly, full of enthusiasm and very helpful. He was happy to hang back and support me to do the bonus climb of Tre Cime di Lavaredo on day 1. Conversations over dinner were always entertaining! C Bloomer Dolomites Minibreak 2018
David’s passion for the area was great and really came out in his descriptions of places, foods, etc. He gave us a few tips on extra places to visit slightly off the route, which was great. He was super-dedicated, including on top of the Angliru in the rain, when his spirited cheering helped us get to the top, and then he managed to get all the bikes into/onto the van, with frozen hands, and get us all down safely. It was evident how much he cared about ensuring we all had the best possible week. M Phipps-Taylor Classic Cols of the Picos 2018
Lead Guide, Trip Development & Social Media (with Marmot Tours since 2016)
Whichever way my life has twisted or turned there has always been a thread that ran through, and that was bikes. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of bike rides with my late father, and that feeling of adventure and freedom has never left me. Nowadays I’m lucky enough to be able to turn that passion into a job and I’m thankful for that!
Alongside being a guide I also look after our media and social channels 📷 and am based at our UK office.
Most of my riding nowadays is done on a cx bike, commuting from my home in Bristol to the MT office near Frome. I used to race a bit and did alright uphill, but I’m a bit more leisurely now. I don’t train anymore per se, but I do watch my numbers, steadily decreasing.
Before joining Marmot I was a road cycling guide on Corsica, and the rest we’ll talk about over dinner on one of our trips!
What our clients say about Gav…
Brilliant in every way. Technically outstanding (how did he strip down and fix that bottom bracket so quickly and effectively?). I can do a job like that but not at the speed and efficiency Gavin displayed. Also a very decent, professional and caring person. Raid Corsica 2017
Only half way through the Raid Corsica, our 4th with you guys. You have always been exceptional but Gavin has raised the bar. His Garmin routes are amazing. Never known anything like it. He has also taught me so much about configuring the device. Similarly taught me how to adjust hydraulic disk brakes after they have been in the hands of the airline. Add to that his photography skills & tireless efforts to accommodate my dietary requests. I could go on but he is a level above even Marmot usual standards. A Brown, Raid Corsica 2017
Great enthusiasm and energy, wonderful positive attitude. T Sutherland, Classic Cols of Corsica 2016
Gavin is a real asset to the company, He may be young but he knows loads and is very tuned into what we cyclists want. N Cavill, Classic Cols of Corsica 2016
Super-friendly, extremely hard-working and very knowledgeable about all aspects of the Raid. Always managed to be ready and waiting with the van at just the right moment and synced perfectly with the other van – really good teamwork. Did a great job of maintaining my hire bike too. B Cameron Raid Alpine 2016
Gav’s a super star! Enthusiastic, very willing to help, very involved in everything going on, full of encouragement, and the best support any rider could ever hope for! He never tires and I would go to war with him, any day!! (I have been to war and I don’t often say that about somebody!) J Parkin Raid Dolomites 2017
Gav – excellent, great mechanic, great company and unfailingly supportive even though my fitness was so far below the rest of the group. I would not have achieved what I did (climbing Mont Ventoux) without his encouragement. J Stanton Ventoux and Verdon Gorge 2017
Really can’t praise Gav enough, he was great support throughout and got me through a couple of very difficult days on the bike. A lovely attitude and always helpful. M Whatley Raid Massif Central 2018
Absolutely fantastic! They are what make Marmot standout as a company. They understood the nature of the challenge and provided excellent advice. J Wright Ventoux Challenge 2017
Hi everyone, my name is Graham and I am the new Finance Manager in the Marmot Tours office. By way of an introduction, here’s a bit about me:
Cycling has been a constant in my life; my first adventure on a bike without stabilisers ended when I rode straight into a privet bush. I’ve been hooked ever since! I grew up in Liverpool through the late 70s and 80s when the cycling race scene there, was at its peak and I fell in love with the high mountains watching the likes of Kelly, Hinault, Figńon and Roche tearing around Europe. I spent a year working in Perth, Australia before returning to the UK to study Electronic Engineering in Liverpool. I then worked in London for 15 years developing a career in Finance, working predominantly in publishing and media companies. Feeling the need for a career break, I moved to Andalusia and started a cycling holiday business running MTB and road trips in the mountains above Marbella which was amazing, exhausting and a lot of fun. I’ve been back in the UK for 10 years working in Finance around Cheltenham.
I raced for many years as a Junior/U23 and even won races here and there. I still occasionally race in the UK and travel to Europe to ride classic sportives. This year, for example, I rode Flanders and the Maratona. Sadly, I left my climbing legs in 1995!
I’m really excited to join the Marmot Tours team and I look forward to meeting everyone at the Staff Training. The Finance Manager role is new to the company but I will be focused on supporting James and the ops team to help grow the business further in the coming years.
Lead Guide and Ops Manager (working with Marmot Tours since 2011)
Flat places make me feel a bit twitchy and like so many of the Marmot Tours family, I just love being out in the mountains! Outdoor sports have always been an important part of my life and I devote as much time as I can to mountain biking in the UK and the French Pyrenees, rock climbing in the UK and worldwide and as much snowboarding, telemark skiing, ski-touring and hiking as I can squeeze in in-between!
My work history is also strongly entwined with the outdoor life and so far includes scientific fieldwork in upland and Alpine ecosystems, the snowsports industry, and also project management, stone conservation and rope access work in the historic building conservation trade.
I am also a scientist – as well as a bachelors degree in Marine Biology from Liverpool and an MSc in Aquatic Biology (University of London), I hold a PhD in Biogeochemistry (Aberdeen) and have worked as a post-doc research scientist (Manchester).
I’ve been guiding for Marmot Tours for several years and derive a great deal of pleasure from working with enthusiastic cyclists and supporting them in their cycling adventures. I am delighted to now be working for Marmot Tours full-time as Operations Manager and Guide.
What our clients say about Helen…
Helen, what a woman, what a personality, always calm and considerate. The group is her main objective, going from safety, van organization during the day, supporting Sam, organizing the hotels, the departure, the arrival, the lunch, making sure everyone made it, making sure no one forgot to eat and drink or forgot to put warm clothing on the descents … Her nature makes her doing this all not using an impersonal manager style but in warm friendly humane style. P Verhoeven Raid Pyrenean 2016
I felt Helen offered brilliant support in a professional, friendly, thoughtful manner. Could not have asked for more than Helen gave. Raid Pyrenean 2016
Helen was really encouraging on the last day when we ascended the west side of Mortorolo, and so glad we did! Also she was there every few km up the Stelvio with the camera recording it all! Also came and rescued us on a navigation error on day 2. Clearly works really hard and nothing is too much trouble. Annette, Classic Cols of the Dolomites 2016
Happy, friendly, approachable, supportive, organised and other great adjectives. A Stephens, Classic Cols of Corsica 2016
Helen kept everyone well informed and moving along with minimum fuss and great humour. She is clearly a very experienced guide. Even better, she cured my knee pain with some well applied sports tape. Is there nothin’ that she cannae do? C Bloomer Dolomites Minibreak 2018
Both guides were excellent. They were enthusiastic and ensured that all riders were well supported despite the large differences in riding ability of the group. H Dillingham Dolomites Minibreak 2018
Fantastic attitude, great knowledge and incredibly supportive. Made the trip an absolute pleasure. I would not have got over the Tourmalet without Helen. D Crawford Raid Pyrenean 2018
Founder & Director
I have had many an adventure on a bike, both road bikes and mountain bikes. I can’t remember not having bikes in my life as they offered me independence when I was younger – a free way to travel round the countryside. Cycling from Nottingham, where I was studying Environmental Engineering, home to my parents’ place in Cornwall never seemed like a mad idea at the time. My greatest cycling adventure was a 4000 miles tandem tour from the UK to Jordan.
So you could say that I am passionate about cycling. But this pales in comparison to my passion for providing the best possible cycling holidays for Marmot clients. I love cycling up a col, but I love seeing a client arrive at the top of a col with a huge grin on their face even more. To share in their achievements and to take pride in providing our clients with a constantly evolving and improving product is my goal.
I love maps and exploring as well as carefully crafting routes that showcase an area. I am a perfectionist and take pleasure in the detail. I don’t know still if I am cut out for a desk job but I do have a head for logistics; getting your support vans, hire bikes and guides to the right place at the right time is like a giant and satisfying game of chess.
I created Marmot Tours back in 2001 as a multi activity holiday company based in the Pyrenees. I never expected Marmot Tours to grow into what it has become but I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved and will continue to evolve the company to be the best it can be.
What our clients say about James…
Outstanding, as you would expect! Classic Cols of Corsica 2016
Great sense of humour and wonderful organisational skills. C Gillham, Classic Cols of Corsica 2016
Worked hard. Always seemed to be there when needed. Informal yet treated you like a customer, wanting to ensure we all enjoyed our experience. Sorted out a mechanical issue I had, and quickly got me back on the bike. He really loves what he does and that helps to give a positive and friendly environment. I McKenzie, Raid du Massif Central 2016
Fun, knowledgeable, and just so damn competent. Great bike and tech know-how. No minor detail was ignored or forgotten in delivering an amazing trip. G Fleming Tour de France 2017
Top guy, can see he really enjoys running a tour and loves his Cycling. N Gain Classic Cols of the Picos 2018
Also went above and beyond- great sense of humour, bought extra snacks that were vegetarian, made sure I was eating enough, encouraged me up Angliru, overall really positive person, took great photos and really well organized. K Hall Classic Cols of the Picos 2018
Well what can I say, fautless. It’s clear James still has a huge passion for cycling and his business. As a busines owner myself it was great to see James take a back seat and let Alan and David get on with it, proper leadership. It’s good to see that growth in the business has not diluted the core spirit of a tour with Marmot. M Gorshkov Classic Cols of Catalonia 2018
Invoicing & Finance
Says yes to everything, then works out how on earth to manage it!
I live in rural Devon with my husband, 3 sons, 3 dogs and about 14 complete bikes, plus extra bits and pieces everywhere and a new eBay delivery seemingly every other day. James, my husband (George) and I were all tour leaders for Exodus in the years before Marmot Tours was born, and have been friends ever since. George is lifetime cyclist who builds retro steel beauties and whose passion means that I shamefully rarely clean my bike or fix a puncture. I took up cycling to see more of him, but usually only see his back and rear wheel, that’s if he’s within sight at all. I love the Dartmoor countryside and hills, walking the dogs, growing veg, working for Marmot (of course), Tae Kwon Do training with my sons, and painting my toenails with all that free time on my hands!
What our clients say about our admin team:
Very helpful and cheerful. It made booking the holiday easy and a pleasure. Chris
Whenever contacting the office staff by email, whoever I have dealt with, they have always been friendly, helpful and efficient . T Dooley
I am never happier than when I’m in the mountains, exploring by bike or on foot.
I realised this at the grand age of 25: I was sitting at my Accenture desk, the spring sun glowing happily outside my window, and the prospect of spending yet another summer, let alone the next few years, locked away in London’s business areas had never seemed so bleak. It suddenly occurred to me that life didn’t have to be so. There had to be other ways of living.
And sure enough, a few months later, I found myself pedaling up mountains, working for a variety of cycle touring companies in the French, Swiss and Italian Alps, the Jura and the Vosges. A friend told me about Marmot Tours and the rest is history: James runs a fantastic ship giving his team all the responsibility and support we need to ensure cyclists have a wonderful (and occasionally brutal) time on their bikes and that the team feel fulfilled by their work. Three years on I still delight in meeting Marmoteers. I find my colleagues inspiring. And I still love my office.
Since starting work in the outdoors I’ve enjoyed putting my new found freedom to good use. Having studied Social Anthropology at Cambridge University, I now have all the time I could wish for to travel, rediscover my passion for languages, history, my curiosity about places and people, and to think (I’m contemplating further study…). So far I have spent the work-quiet winter months in places like Guatemala volunteering as a hike guide for a fantastic non-profit called the Quetzaltrekkers, Colombia and more recently (Nov / Dec 2018), biking around Nepal, a country I will have to return to! Next stop: a 3 month bike packing adventure around New Zealand!
Born and brought up in France, I’m really happy spend more time in my homeland, using my languages and enjoying the beautiful mountain ranges that I used to take for granted growing up.
So all that said, I wish you a happy winter and spring of riding and look forward to meeting or seeing you again next summer!
What our clients say about Katia
Loved Katia – she was always smiling and happy. Invaluable having her speak the local language. I noticed she was always talking to hotel owners during meals to make sure everything was running smoothly. On our wettest day, she arranged with the hotel to use their furnace room overnight to dry our clothing and shoes…brilliant! A Lem & J Sinnott, Classic Cols of the Picos 2017
Excellent: As a new team member I thought Katia was lovely and went out of her way to find answers if she did not know, and to help. D Clarkson, Classic Cols of the Picos 2017
Excellent: Having a Spanish speaker on the team was a help in the restaurants and hotels. C Hopper, Classic Cols of the Picos 2017
Outstanding! C Bridges Webb, Classic Cols of the Picos 2017
Bubbly and chatty, kept us all motivated to keep pushing and not get in the van. It was also very welcoming to have fresh melon at the top! Really interesting to chat with after I had to stop riding and hopefully will be on another Marmot trip in the future, and one where I won’t crash! W Cundy, Classic Cols of the Picos 2018
Katia went above and beyond time and time again supporting the riders. She never stopped helping people out, especially in the evenings and around meal times. She never seemed to get a moment to herself, always thinking about and helping others. F Van Schelven Raid Sardinia 2018
Always happy to help – always with a smile on her face – genuinely interested in the people on the trip – absolute star. L Bozeat Classic Cols of the Alps 2018
Katia was always there to support with a smile on her face even to the extent of taking orders at the restaurants. She was also our group’s guide last year and we were delighted when she was named as the guide for this trip. G Harrington Classic Cols of Sardinia 2018
Katia did a great job. The weather made the early part of the week tough for all. Decisions had to be made and they were made confidently and ensuring that the group were part of that process. Carl Berriman Raid Sardinia 2018
I have always dreamt of living abroad and left my home country of Austria for pastures new soon after my baccalaureate. Having spent three wonderfully hectic years in London, I moved to Bath for a more relaxed pace of life and to undertake a BA degree in English Literature & Sociology at Bath Spa University.
After my undergraduate studies, I started my professional journey within the travel industry whilst working for a school tour company organising trips to Germany, France and Spain for the next eleven years. During this time, I also left city life behind and have since been taking full advantage of the beautiful Wiltshire countryside, walking and cycling whenever I can. Not too long ago, I combined my love for the great outdoors with my passion for all things literature by completing a part-time MA in Literature, Landscape and Environment for which I looked at the portrayal of animals in science fiction novels of the 1960s (a bit niche, I know :).
Having joined Marmot Tours in November 2018, I now very much enjoy getting to know our riders and helping them plan their cycling adventures. I have also started taking the bike to work and hope to be fit enough to join one of our holidays in the autumn.
What our clients say about our admin team:
Responsive and great with the details to help with our prep. Annie & Jem
Always quick to respond to queries no matter how minor they were. Emails very detailed. Lillian
I have lived most of my life in Devon and Cornwall and have walked the moors and coast paths from an early age. However, doing as I was told, I followed a proper career path (?) for almost 30 years in local government, heading two departments and being part of the executive management team. So, I feel well placed to appreciate the stresses and strains of those people with hectic lifestyles! It is often so difficult to find time for yourself even when having the best intentions.
In 2004 I moved to France with my wife to start our “new life” in the Pyrenees mountains. Life has been good to us here with a lot of new friends and the experience of being a member of a French cycling club. I know how fortunate I am to have been able to change direction for my second career and follow my passions for outdoor activities. Since my renaissance, I have added substantially to my experiences of walking in beautiful areas and have shared this enjoyment by leading hiking groups. To promote health and fitness in general I have become a certified Personal Trainer and qualified Mountain Leader focusing on the needs of my age group. I have also organised and led cycling tours for many years in some of the most challenging areas of France.
I get tremendous satisfaction from seeing others enjoy and benefit from all of these activities. I am an ex-rugby player (with the scars to prove it) but still enjoy a variety of energetic pastimes such as competing in cyclosportives, providing the necessary activity levels for someone who loves good food as much as I do!
I look forward to continuing to work as part of the Marmot Team and hope to meet some of you this summer.
What our clients say about Kev…
Knowledgeable, approachable and helpful throughout the trip. Made us feel welcome and ensured we were organized, nourished, hydrated and safe. The van was always there at the top of a descent. Classic Cols of the Picos 2017
Big group to support. Provided anything I asked for. And was great at appearing in the rain with the van when needed. S Ledddington Raid Alpine 2016
Very practical, there when needed. A Green Raid Alpine 2016
Carrying bags up to rooms was a much appreciated help. S Kelly Raid Alpine 2016
Kevin is a credit to your company – you’re lucky to have him! He has the perfect skill set for all that is involved. Extremely well organised, enthusiastic, reassuring when necessary and it was never too much trouble to answer even the most daft and pathetic questions. He gave me the feeling that nothing would go wrong – a perfect leader. He nailed it! K Allen Raid Pyrenean 2017
Very supportive, encouraging, professional but also approachable and made everyone feel very comfortable and safe. M Hammond Raid Pyrenean 2017
Been with Kevin before. He’s excellent. N Downing Classic Cols of the Picos 2018
Fantastic logistics support. Nothing left to chance. G Dean Classic Cols of the Picos 2018
Things just happening without the clients being aware of the work going on in the background is the mark of a good guide – Kevin excelled. D Beckingsale Classic Cols of the Picos 2018
Very important Team Member
Mary Gordon Cumming
I discovered the mountains late in life but have definitely made up for lost time since then. Living in Wanaka, New Zealand for six years and then moving to the French Alps where I have been for the last thirteen years. At first skiing pretty much ruled my choices, following the snow between hempisheres, and between resorts, any other sport was secondary, a way of training for skiing. I confess, for a long time I swore I would never ride a bike somewhere you could drive a car. To the point that I was almost embarrassed to give in and jump on the bandwagon. Luckily, one summer I found myself working in the foothills of the Pyrenees. No-one knew me, I picked up a bike and off I went and I understood. At first, just the change of perspective. Roads that I had driven many times took on a new character, the cheers of allez allez from the old man in his garden as I attempted my first col, the elation as I arrived … the amusement when I discovered I had come up the easy side of the mur de Péguere and people looked me up and down with my steel bike circa 1982, rock climbing helmet and woollen top saying, “you came up here like that?’.
Since then I’ve come to love cycling as a way of taking in the views, the sense of camaraderie, the personal sense of achievement, the quality of coffee at the cols, the adrenalin rush of long descents, as I regularly ride around my local neighbourhood which I’m lucky enough to say takes in the Petit Saint Bernard, the Iseran and Cormet de Roseland. I look forward to sharing the adventure with you this summer!
What our clients say about Mary…
Mary was fantastic. The care she has for the well-being of the cyclists just radiates from her. She was obviously very tuned in to the various states of mind of our group as each rider reached the col passes, which was great to see and much appreciated. Mary was unfailingly helpful, cheerful, supportive and effective. The way Mary ran the trip was perfect. I couldn’t have wished for a better tour guide. She and Pedro complemented each other very well and worked brilliantly as a team. Thanks a lot Mary ! E Huguet Classic Cols of the Dolomites 2018
Great attitude, very supportive and encouraging! A Lem and J Sinnott Classic Cols of the Dolomites 2018
Great energy, added a real sense of fun to the week. P Gough Alpine Classic Cols 2018
Always had a smile and had a knack of being there on the road exactly when we needed her. Excellent local knowledge. C Barker Alpine Classic Cols 2018
Friendly; enthusiastic ; very helpful and pleasant; brilliant management with meals and accomodation. B Peacock Alpine Classic Cols 2018
I’ve loved being in the outdoors for as long as I can remember and for the past 20 years have been fortunate to indulge this particular passion, especially in Italy and France.
I started to guide in the Western Pyrénées around Barèges, in the mid-90s, and have continued to work summers and winters as a walking and snowshoe guide as well as providing support for cycling trips. During my time there I have covered much of both Central and Western Pyrénées and still get excited about the diversity of terrain, stunning scenery and amazing challenges this area provides. I love sharing my knowledge of this fantastic part of France with other outdoor enthusiasts.
I also enjoy road cycling in France, a country that is mad about this sport and hugely supportive of cyclists. I’ve cycled frequently in Australia too; completing the 120km Coast to Coast ride in Adelaide.
In 2009 I moved permanently to France with my wife Jane, a New Zealander, to Languedoc Roussillon where we’ve bought an old vigneron’s house to renovate. It’s also from where we run our activity business, Mountains and Maps and have a 2-bedroomed holiday gite. Being close to the Haut Languedoc Natural Parc, Mediterranean coast and Eastern Pyrénées, it’s another ideal location for activity holidays.
I met James and Cathy through Exodus Travel and immediately liked both of them and also admired their work ethic which is very much in line with mine. Providing people with not only a great experience in stunning scenery, but also helping them challenge the boundaries of their own abilities is both a joy and a privilege.
Previously I lived in the Lake District for ten years where I was member of the Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team. In that role I was either chair or a member of the committee for most of that time, eventually receiving the Queens Jubilee Medal for Services to the Community.
Whilst in the Lakes I obtained my Mountain Leader qualification and went on to gain the International Mountain Leader qualification. I have now transferred that to become an affiliate of France’s SNAM (Syndicat National des Accompagnateurs en Montagne) and holder of a Carte Professionelle. I also have a Mountain Bike Instructors Certificate to guide up to blue runs.
Living in the Lakes meant I could regularly pursue outdoor activities and go mountain and road biking, climbing and walking. While it was a great time in my life, France does have much better weather for these activities! I have been very fortunate whilst working for Marmot to be able to see many areas of Europe including the Alps, Corsica, Dolomites and of course the Pyrenees.
What our clients say about Merv…
Merv was very positive, professional, reassuring and calm. He seemed genuinely pleased that we completed each day on the Raid and congratulated us most days which was very encouraging. I guess that he was aware that we were among the oldest riders in the group! J Parsons, Raid Corsica 2016
Merv – a brilliant ambassador for Marmot Tours, a very thoughtful and considerate individual who ensured we were kept safe,well fed and watered. N Gillespie, Raid Corsica 2016
Merv could not have done more to make the trip as good as it was. M Solomon, 83 hr Raid Pyrenean 2016
What a top bloke . U won’t get better doing this job. Rob Archer, Raid Dolomites 2016
Merv was fantastic. Really nice guy and full on knowledge of the area.. great cycling knowledge too and filled with good advise. Really nice guy, I would happily do another classic cols with Merv. A Abbot, Alpine Classic Cols 2016
Merv looked after me on the Pyrenean Raid in 2014. He was tremendous then and remains so. R McWilliams Classic Cols of Corsica 2017
He was encouraging and made the tough days in the saddle easy. His sense of humour and rapport with everyone was superb. K Isaac Classic Cols of Dolomites 2017
Excellent, supportive and very experienced. A Cole Classic Cols of the Dolomites 2017
I was with Merv for the Classic Cols in June 2017 so I was over the moon to learn that he would be one of our guides here. Honestly I am sure you have already heard all possible superlatives with regard to Merv. One of the finest men I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Just awesome. S Hurry Ventoux Challenge 2018
Lead Guide (worked with Marmot since 2007)
Born and raised in the Peak District I grew up with a love of the outdoors which turned into a passion for cycling. I started racing at 12 and this led me across the channel to Holland where I settled for 10 years.
For several years I worked as a Technical Inspector for the Dutch Department of Transport. During this time I attended night school for 5 years and obtained a HND in Mechanical Engineering. Eventually, I had enough of Clogs, Tulips and Heineken so I took a year out to travel around Australia.
After returning to the UK I still had itchy feet and in 2003 I got a job as a Tour Guide which took me to over 30 countries. I later gained my Mountain Leader qualification and ended up leading hiking and biking trips in the French Pyrenees. This is where I met the Marmot family and I started working for them in 2007.
I now live in the Swiss Alps with my wife and our 3 year old daughter and we continue to enjoy the even greater outdoors.
It’s hard to keep away from Marmot Tours so it’s nice to be returning to run a few trips after a 3 year break and I’m looking froward to meeting some of you along the way.
What our clients say about Nathan …
Nathan – A fantastic embassador for Marmot Tours. Very experienced and knowledgable. Always happy to help and give advice. A real pleasure to have spent some time with him during the tour. D Bradley Alpine Classic Cols 2018
Despite me being a bit out of step and last off on at least one occasion, Nathan never appeared anxious or impatient. Even if I felt a bit left behind, I was always able to catch up later. Great mechanic. Handled my non-compliance very well! G Longman Raid Pyrenean 2018
I was born in the city of Bath in 1977 and grew up in the small town of Nailsworth, where one of my childhood friends introduced me to road cycling. I had previously been a keen BMX’er but soon saw the error of my ways. At the age of 9, using money saved from a paper round starting at 5am, with a heavy bag and involving a 3 mile hill of severe gradient (on said BMX!), even before the first drop, I saved up and bought myself my first racer, as we called them, a Raleigh Winner. Steel framed and heavy, my trusty steed not only made the paper round easier but also took me all over the Cotswolds and, predictably, I started following the Tour de France.
My family later moved to Stroud, a town a few miles away and when I was 18 I decided to go to college and study outdoor pursuits. This led me to the great outdoors, in turn to rock climbing and mountain sports. Cycling took a back seat until 2011 when I began leading groups overseas on trekking and biking tours and I rediscovered my love of cycling.
I worked my first season with Marmot in 2014, interspersed with rope access work, leading groups overseas and working as a safety consultant in northern Iraq. This consultancy work continued full time for most of 2015 and in September that year I left Sheffield, where I had been living for 15 years, and moved to Chatel, where I spent the winter season snow boarding and skiing and generally enjoying living in the mountains. I currently live near Courchevel in the Savoie region of the French Alps, working as an electrician, guiding for Marmot during the summer and leading the occasional overseas trip or nipping back to the UK for a bit of rope access work or to visit the family.
I still rock climb regularly, as it was my main sport for 20 or so years but living so close to so many great climbs (and descents!) gives me a unique opportunity to enjoy some of the best bits of road France has to offer and believe me, I am!
Hope to see you on the road!
What our clients say about Neil…
Very well organised, clear and concise. Good sense of humour and a credit to Marmot. E Graham Raid Dolomites 2017
Excellent in so many ways and a great sense of humour, clear instructions re routes and tricky descents. S Germon Raid Dolomites 2017
Neil was great. Calm, just managed everything effortlessly which is the true hallmark of someone who is very good at what they do. I blew myself up on the first day on the first climb (brake caliper rubbing and I didn’t know it) It was a big day and I suffered for the rest of it coming in last and not being able to make it down for dinner. Neil came up to my room to check on me and organised a meal in the room which allowed me to recover and then complete the Raid. Great guy and I needed the help. J Carpenter Raid Alpine 2018
Excellent knowledge of the area and routes, very accommodating to all requests and helped make it a wonderful and enjoyable trip. L Robinson Classic Cols of Corsica 2018
Approachable and friendly, and with excellent knowledge of the route which came across along the route and during our evening briefings. Brilliant support, was always where he said he would be on the road. Tremendous workload, seems like a guide’s working day is 7am – 10pm. T Dooley Raid Alpine 2018
Neil came across as being very knowledgeable about the itinerary and was able to quickly gauge the strengths of the individuals in the group. He was always helpful, always smiling despite some very difficult circumstances. He was able to offer alternative suggestions if I wasn’t feeling up to some of the hills and suggested great pick up/drop off points. All in all a very supportive guide. His daily briefings were always great! H Wright Classic Cols of Corsica 2018
Neil always always calm and ready to help. Like Graham nothing seemed to phase him and another great asset to Marmot. Z Elliott Raid Corsica 2018
Born and raised in Austria, I emigrated to the UK in my early twenties and have been here ever since, interrupted only by a fabulous 6 month adventure in sunny California. Having lived in London, Gloucestershire and the rolling hills of Somerset, I feel most at home here in the Frome area. I’m happy to have taken on the mantel of Trip Administrator at Marmot Tours in January 2017 and look forward to helping you have a great experience with us!
Other than that, I am passionate about natural health (I am also a qualified homeopath), food and making delicious and healthy cakes. Another one of my favourite things is to go off on adventures with my teenage daughter – we love exploring new places and the outdoors, particularly the mountains. Although, I admit I prefer conquering them on foot! I speak fluent English, German and a little bit of Spanish.
After many years of only occasionally pedalling for fun, Marmot have successfully cajoled me to cycle to work and after experiencing a Marmot trip for myself in Tenerife last year, I must say, I’m hooked. This year I will attempt the Dolomites Classics – oh no, what have I let myself in for?!
What our clients say about our admin team:
Efficient and accommodating. Flawless. David
Fantastic, swift, prompt and always clear and concise. Couldn’t be better. John
Assistant Guide (since 2016)
I’m from the West Midlands, UK.
I’m all for exploring and excitement.
From an early age I’ve always loved the mountains and the great outdoors and fortunately my two hobbies fit into that description. Skiing is my oldest hobby; I learnt to ski in French Alps as a toddler… Fast forward two decades and I’m now a basi instructor working in Zermatt for the winters.
Cycling is a more recent interest: about 5 years ago I was introduced to the sport and purchased my first road bike. Since then, I have enjoyed riding several sportives, building a bike and watching the Tour.
Now I have the opportunity to share my passion with you… See you on a tour soon!
What our clients say about Sam…
Sam provided really great support to Christel and was a welcome face at the top of many a climb C Golby, Classic Cols of the Picos 2016
Sam is great. Friendly and good fun, very enthusiastic. Although newer to Marmot he has all his ski teaching experience so well skilled at group management and support to individuals. D Junghans Raid Pyrenean 2016
Sam was also great with suggestions and reminders and even knocked on our door once when the alarm failed. I think he hauled a ton of luggage, as did Helen. Sam had the van there at all kinds of spots for water and food and clothing. Classic Cols of the Pyrenees 2016
Support was excellent, willing, biddable. His ability to play guitar and sing is an extraordinary talent – should be encouraged to do more, earlier on the trip! J Matthews, Raid Alpine 2016
Again very good, enthusiastic and encouraging, knew exactly what he was doing. Very aware of the difficulties posed by the weather conditions and made sure we were looked after as soon we arrived in the freezing cold at the top of the cols. K Gunning Raid Pyrenean 2017
Fantastic support and good humour throughout. Very flexible and good problem solving when presented with unexpected road closures due to car rally. Worked extremely well with partner guide. Could not have asked for more. T Waller Raid Alpine 2018
Sam was great. Kind, considerate, always willing to help, nothing too much trouble, anticipated what we needed and made sure it was there. Sam helped me out on the road. He pulled over on a long climb as I couldn’t shift the front chainring. He put the bike into the holder, several minutes later had the issue sorted and I was good to go. I was out on my own with no-one around so it was a little unnerving and a relief to see him hove into view and able to help me. Great guy. J Carpenter Raid Alpine 2018
Outstanding. Nothing too much trouble. Always available and enthusiastic. Must be hard at end of long season. S Muller Classic Cols of Sardinia 2018
They did a fantastic job on a very difficult week due to the weather. N Brazier Raid Sardinia 2018
My Dad put me on a bike without stabilisers (there were no balance bikes in the 70s) when I was two years old. I immediately fell off. Undeterred however I got back on and as I grew up bicycles were always part of my life.
I cycled to school and I cycled on my newspaper delivery round and I cycled everywhere in between: bikes were my ticket to adventure and exploration. As kids my friends and I organised mini-races, built jumps, and rode down (on a Raleigh racer) the steep slopes of our local disused quarry. I joined my first cycling club when I was 14 and did my first race (a 25 mile time-trial) the following Sunday, I came last, but loved it all.
Since then I have raced time-trials and road-races, hill climbs and stage races, velodrome and grass-track, XC and Enduro. Over the years I have had so much enjoyment, met so many people and learnt so much from riding bikes that I decided I wanted to give something back. Moving to Highland Perthshire I joined a new cycling club and started organising road races for them. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was organising all sorts of races including multi-stage MTB Enduros.
I am now a British Cycling qualified road and time-trial, track and mountain-bike coach and since 2009 have coached countless young people and adults. I am the head coach at my local youth cycling club and it is fantastic to see so many children getting on bikes and having as much fun as I did at that age. My favourite aspect of coaching is going into schools and running sessions with pupils who haven’t had the same opportunities to get out and ride and seeing how they engage with the activities. At one school the teacher warned about one pupil who could be very disruptive. During the session he had a big smile on his face and at the end was one of a few pupils who came to thank me and tell me “I didn’t know that riding a bike could be so much fun”.
And for me that is why I cycle.
It is great fun and I love coaching, guiding and supporting others to get as much fun out on two-wheels as I do. See you out on two-wheels very soon.
What our clients say about Scot…
As ever Scot provided great support and good humour, thanks. R Hart, Classic Cols of Gran Canaria 2017
One day when it was raining heavily Scot, having already passed us in the van, turned around and dropped back down so that we were able to get our wet weather gear out of the van. This and other similar touches just reinforced the level of support provided on this trip: really first class. G Borton, Raid Corsica 2016
Scott waiting for me on Madeleine on the last day (as the other riders had long gone as I had fitted in an extra climb), was so kind and appreciated. His “it is important to have someone waiting for you to see you finish your last climb” was very touching and not something I will forget. N Mullet Raid Dolomites 2016
A real gem that everyone really liked. Energetic and enthusiastic and extremely personable. Always ready and prepared – nothing is too much trouble. We would all like him and Merv when we do the Raid Sardinia next May please. R Parsons, Raid Corsica 2016
Very positive at every hour of the long rides. Dealt with some minor problems ( slow puncture, squeaky transmission) with my hire bike. Scott was very helpful by providing first aid kit when I fell off on some gravel early in the week. A Staniforth, Raid du Massif Central 2016
Knowledgeable & v supportive. Good at mixing with guests and helping with any mechanical issues. H Gibbs, Raid Dolomites 2016
A great combination of someone you have total confidence in, unflapable, enjoyable to sit and talk with and nothing is too much trouble. Sliced tomatoes and salt were brill. Scott has become a brilliant ambassador for Marmot Tours. N Gillespie Raid Sardinia 2017
Scot was brilliant, very experienced and friendly and super helpful. The perfect guide really. I Threadgold Raid Pyrenean 2018
Great, he was very knowledgeable on the route and responsive to any questions. Super friendly guy, just what you want in a tour guide. Always in the right spot when needed without having to ask. B Murray Alpine Classic Cols 2018
Assistant Guide (since 2018)
What would you like to be when you grow up? A question often pondered as the younger years passed me by … and despite all the more sensible options, all I really wanted to do was ride my bike and live in the mountains.
Of course, to make this dream a reality, a plan had to be hatched: The bike bit was easy – I found my mum’s Raleigh Shopper in the garage and set about ‘tweaking’ with a bag of spanners. With the handlebars lowered and the sprung saddle set for optimal leg power output, I was well on my way. I started mountain bike racing as a teenager and after winning a few races, found myself in humble possession of the Junior National Champion’s jersey – what a moment. I’m not sure I ever did officially thank the Shopper creator for their contribution. The next five years were spent working in a local bike shop by day to fund the semi-professional cycling career by evening. I was the proverbial ‘kid in a sweetshop’ and loved every moment.
As the years passed after my ‘racing retirement’, inevitably a new challenge was required, which is when I found Marmot Tours. The Raid Pyrenean was an absolutely amazing experience and one of many challenges I intended to complete before I hang up those cycling shoes.
So that was one part of the childhood dream realised … but growing up on the south coast of England posed a slight problem – an area not known for its mountainous landscape, there was only one thing that could be done to feed the hunger for the great outdoors: a visit with my tent, sleeping bag and the kitchen sink to my spiritual home in the Lake District. The first trip didn’t start well. As my dad lifted my over-sized comedy rucksack on my back, I promptly fell backwards, lying on the lounge floor like an upturned turtle! Hmmm, something had to be done – not the image of the mountaineer I had envisaged for myself.
Fast forward a few years (well maybe twenty or so) and I am pleased to report that the upturned turtle managed to overcome the ‘packing issue’ and summit some of Europe’s highest mountains, trek in the Nepalese foothills of Annapurna and continue the quest to bag those evasive ‘Wainwrights’.
Inspired by tunes of yesteryear on the portable cassette player, a rock band once sung to me that ‘life’s a journey, not a destination’, so I continue to ride my bike in the mountains and sometimes find it hard to harness my enthusiasm when sharing this passion with others. Maybe one day I’ll decide what I really want to do when I grow up, but in the meantime I hope I can join you, on your journey, along the way.
What our clients say about Sharon…
Huge support through the toughest times in the harsh weather we encountered. Thank you! R Reynolds Raid Pyrenean 2018
Great that Sharon had done the Raid and could share her experiences and empathise with our grumbles !! Both guides were in the right place at the right time, really excellent support just when needed. I Gillott Raid Pyrenean 2018
Sharon really lit up the trip with her enthusiasm and sunny disposition. She has such a genuine smile that really lifts everyone around her. Sharon couldn’t have done more for us. M Firth Raid Pyrenean 2018
Unrelentingly high levels of support and encouragement. D Green Classic Cols of the Pyrenees 2018
As a child, I spent my early years growing up on the Red Sea in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, so at weekends spent more time in a Laser or on a windsurf than on a bike. Once my family moved back home to North Yorkshire, we spent many happy times fell walking in the Moors, the Dales and the Lakes and I’ve loved the outdoors ever since.
I read English & Linguistics at Bangor University and after graduating, spent two years in Newcastle converting to law and completing my solicitors’ training with a view to following a legal career. But 3 months partying on the east coast of Australia at the end of it convinced me that going back to law until retirement dawned was going to send me to an early grave, so I decided to retrain in marketing via the CIM. I started off in the manufacturing sector, then spent some years working for charity and finally returned to business in 2005 where I’ve been (maternity leaves notwithstanding) ever since.
I became a mum for the first time in 2004 and now have 2 boys and a little girl who help me spend my money but from whom I gain wonderfully valuable life lessons every day (most importantly, how to use social media).
With my husband Jon, we live in the fantastically vibrant village of Rode, near Frome. When not ferrying people around to rugby or hockey matches, we enjoy family time outdoors, especially walking and bike riding in the Somerset and Wiltshire countryside. We also love sailing and windsurfing in warmer climes come the summer months.
I love keeping fit and enjoy a variety of classes, as long as they’re accompanied by some banging club tracks (80s and 90s throwback alert) but also good old circuit training. I’ve had to walk away from the kettlebells since I found out my osteopath could make her mortgage payments from my visits alone….I took up playing the ukulele 2 years ago when with a group of 5 girlfriends, we formed The Daisy Ukes. We sing and play at local pubs and festivals, have heaps of fun and definitely don’t take ourselves too seriously!
I’m loving working at Marmot Tours on a freelance basis; getting to know more about the cycling world but more importantly, being part of what an amazing company Marmot really is; the remarkable level of service, the acute attention to detail and the total dedication of everyone who works here, to ensure every single client’s holiday is the very best it can be, in every single way.
I was young when I realised I enjoyed helping people & encouraging them to achieve. It started because my mum was a social worker & she organised days out for kids with disabilities. I enjoyed the shared experiences & learned the benefits of active time outdoors. It made me happy, and them too. It was the start of something, although back then I wasn’t sure what.
This early discovery was hindered by a strong urge to be nomadic, see the world a bit & meet the people. I didn’t realise how incompatible this can be with modern life that demands careers, pension schemes & stability. A circuitous route involving lots of study & a wide range of jobs, some mundane, others outlandish brought me into the sphere of outdoor leadership & facilitation.
Until this point I’d enjoyed all manner of wild places, trekking, climbing, cycling & camping. The usual mix of adventure, campfires & personal growth, with a sprinkling of mishaps along the way. Nobody ever told me there were actual career paths to be had in this realm. So I added the qualifications to the kit bag & indulged my passion for personal development, the great outdoors & working with people. Since then I have had the pleasure to work with diverse groups of people – young, old & in between – in some of the most mind blowing locations on earth. Helping them to achieve & vice versa… a true win, win situation.
Happily settled in France, working for myself & other tour companies, I look forward to meeting you this summer. Although it will be yourselves doing the pedalling, I will be oiling the wheels of your cycle tour & sharing in your achievements.
What our clients say about Tim…
Fantastic Cool, calm, competent, cheerful, charismatic. Couldn’t be better. A lovely guy. R Hirst, Raid du Massif Central 2016
Outstanding. Nothing was too much trouble and the attention to detail was faultless. J Clapp Raid du Massif Central 2016
Tim was brilliant, nothing was ever a problem for him and to meet him halfway up a Col with the back of the van open with all sorts of goodies ready to get you up the second half will live in the memory. P Devine, Raid Pyrenean 2016
Professional, encouraging, aware, able, thoughtful…….a whole lot of good things to say. I simply would not have competed the ride without Tim and Graham. Very impressive logistics to seemingly always be around for James & I in our own two person peloton far behind the other riders and yet also be available for the front peloton. M Yeates. Raid Pyrenean 2016
Not only very supportive but had a lot of local knowledge as well. J Wilson Raid Massif Central 2017
Absolutely brilliant! So relaxed, friendly, thoughtful, motivational and fun. I’d love to know his secret for keeping everyone’s spirits up when it starts to rain. Also an inspiring and interesting life story. Thank you so much. M Guy Raid Pyrenean 2017
Very knowledgeable of the island, it’s background, culture and language. In addition Tim was an excellent bike and van mechanic. S Stodart Raid Corsica 2017
Spot on, attentive and pro active but at same time relaxed and fun. R Sharam Classic Cols of the Dolomites 2018
Tim is an excellent guide and a wonderful ambassador for Marmot. He anticipates every need, almost before we need it. He kept the whole show rolling beautifully with support available at all of the key points that made the rides spectacular. He managed organization and expectations extremely well. On top of that, he is a fabulous guy who led the show but seamlessly also became “one of the guys”. E Boomer Raid Dolomites 2018
Partners & Friends
Dorset based company making a range of yummy breakfast cereals that we use to supplement hotel breatkfasts. They are a great way to kick start your day in the saddle (especially when the alternative in France is a bit of toasted baguette and a croissant!)
Renowned brand in the world of cycling, for their clothing and their Chamois Creme. We are selling 140ml pots of their cream on our cycling holidays.
Eat Natural Bars
Tasty and nutritious cereal bars with an emphasis on natural ingredients. Available out the back of the highly customised Marmot vans.
Cook up delicious and nutritious paleo bars. Newly launched are their protein recovery bars available on our Raid itineraries.
lightweight, high quality components for our hire bike fleet and an exceptionally good aftersales service which extends to training courses on their groupset setup.
Our most recent acquisition of a spare bike is a high spec lightweight carbon framed bike which was excellent value. Their customer service and ability to customise the build will mean us going back to them again for more of the same.
They filter the technology from high end wheels into exceptionally good durable and strong wheels that are perfect for our trips and made them an acceptable price. Their wheels are to be found on all of our hire fleet.
Ride with GPS
Cycle route planning software with an excellent mobile phone app and an approachable customer service. These guys really listen to feedback and try and put it into action wherever possible.
Creator of col profiles in Europe and further afield. He has given us kind permission to use their col profiles on our website.
Cyclo Club Bearnais
Organisers and Designers of the fabulous route that is the Raid Pyrenean. They have granted us kind permission to use their logo on our Raid Pyrenean souvenir jersey.
First Aid Training Cooperative
Organising first aid courses to business, charities and activity organisations. Training people to save lives.
Coniston Corporate Embroidery
with an excellent range of customisable ‘off the shelf’ products, plus the flexibility to customise brand clothing, we have gone back to this company year after year for help with staff clothing and other company products
Montrose Rope and Sail Ltd
Designer and Manufacturer of all weather kit bags, these guys produced our fabulous Marmot Tours Blue Kit bags.
UK supplier of cycling products and kit, Wildoo produce our Marmot Tours Phonepacs and Water Bottles. They have a great customer service and range of products.
Designer and supplier of fabulous quality Cycling Jerseys including of course, our own Raid Corsica souvenir jersey.
Never baulk when we ask them if they can make a weird and wonderful sticker in a host of colours for some random labelling on our trips.
A small design and branding company with big agency thinking and experience. Just the right level of perfectionism and fabulous insight into what we wanted in our re-brand (somehow they knew what we wanted before we even knew what we wanted!)
Friendly, approachable and professional webdesign agency with a perfect balance of design advice and technical knowhow.
Dennis And Turnbull
Experienced and approachable Accountancy firm with knowledge of the complex world of TOMS (the Tour Operator Management Scheme for VAT)
Filemaker Pro Software Developers with an emphasis on customer relationships and an excellent team.
Award winning Eco fashion brand from the Isle of Wight, producing organic cotton products. We chose them for our Classic Cols Souvenir T-shirts for both their values and the quality of their product.
Designers of expertly crafted business stationary with an emphasis on design and quality.
UK Cycling Events
Organise over 75 cycling events across the UK every year and we’ll be taking our events team along to 3 of their sportives in 2018 – why not enter and come and see us? We’ll be at the Wiggle New Forest Spring, Wiggle New Forest 100 and the Wiggle South Downs 100.
Supply us with our Marmot Tours High UV Buff® in Coolmax® fabric. We give these as freebies to all clients on our Raids cycling holidays.
We turned to Genie to print a gatefold leaflet which had to fit into a cycling jersey pocket and withstand a very warm back! They came up trumps where the competition failed to find a solution. Their super-quick turnaround was the cherry on top of this project.
Design and produce our ‘ass-savers’ that we give away as freebies to all of our Raids clients. These guys are Bristol-based (we like to keep it local where we can) and we love their eco credentials too, using 100% recycled waste plastic.
House of Flags
Produce our feather flags which we use to shout about Marmot Tours when we’re at outdoor events and sportives. Great customer service, competitive pricing and fast turnaround.
With almost twenty years’ worth of experience in all things web, Moonshine are also expert in digital marketing with a strong focus on SEO.
The go-to site for all things bike related – a veritable emporium of gifts, kit, gadgets, books, cards and artwork for the bike nut in your life. They really do go the extra mile for you, no matter what you’re looking for.
Iconic Cycling Events
Specialise in designing, developing and delivering high quality, professionally managed cycling events in the UK and overseas. We’ll be taking our events team to their Bike Bath sportive this year. Why not enter and come and see us?
Our Charity of the Year, with their Wheels for All programme. We love that they have a growing network of 50 centres across the UK, all geared to making cycling available to everyone, regardless of their physical or mental abilities. A range of specially adapted bikes and a trusted team of volunteers at each centre make this a fantastic initiative.
We stock a variety of Pulsin’s Beond organic cold pressed snack bars in all of our support vans. They’re made from the highest quality natural ingredients selected for maximum nutritional benefit and great taste. They’re vegan and free from gluten, dairy, soya, refined sugars and are non-GM. A fantastic, healthy alternative if you want to avoid the M&Ms that we also stock on board our vans!
Wholesome seeds are lovingly crafted with the finest ingredients to create great tasting, healthy snacks. Their bars get a big thumbs up from us as they contain no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives, are a source of calcium, they’re gluten and wheat free, high in fibre and are vegan friendly with 100% plant protein. All of our support vans are stocked with a variety of flavours for you to snack on whenever you need a pick me up.
When designing our new Raids t-shirt, Shirtworks came up with the goods when it came to sourcing the perfect colour grey in a 100% organic cotton tee. Their customer service, competitive price and fast turnaround were just what we needed.
Surf & Turf
The guys at Surf & Turf came up trumps when it came to producing our outdoor events gazebo. Their attention to detail, quality, competitive pricing and fast lead time were all invaluable to us when looking for the right partner for our new piece of kit.
Quad Lock® is the strongest and most secure mounting system in the UK that integrates your smartphone into an active lifestyle. Here at Marmot we love these cases and have kitted out our vans with the screen mount and wireless charging heads.