Every great guide is a multi-talented, creative and resourceful individual. On top of the obvious essential skills of being a mechanic and navigator, a guide is also top class in a number of other unexpected areas.
A Skedaddle guide is also a…
1. Natural diplomat
Making sure that everyone feels welcome, valued and included in the group is led by the guides. Over the course of a trip, there will be times when people are tired, the riding is hard or dinner is running a little late. A guide is there to keep the conversation and the good vibes flowing. When little frictions develop, they are quick to anticipate and smooth the rough edges. They need a sixth sense for group dynamics and the diplomatic skills that would score them a place as an ambassador.
2. Cheerleader and motivator
Cycling can be a tough sport and sometimes when it gets tough you need someone by your side, and that’s where your Skedaddle guide will be. Whether it is a carefully chosen, quiet word of encouragement or shouting, cheering, dancing and singing to get you up the climb, they always have got your back.
3. Head chef
Skedaddle picnics are legendary. To create these masterpieces, a Skedaddle guide needs to have an in-depth knowledge of flavour combinations, as well as an eye for the best produce. Our guides carefully consider the days riding before creating their menu. Will there be extra fuel required for the afternoon climb? Is it very hot meaning juicy watermelons and crispy salads will be in demand? Has it been a tough morning so some extra sweet treats are needed to raise the spirits? Every day, our guides are scanning the markets and local shops for the best of the region to tantalise your taste buds.
4. Sous chef
Whilst the head chef in every guide plans the menu, when it comes to putting up a table and preparing the picnic, their sous chef skills come into play. A guides’ knife skills have to be top notch to be able to carve a tomato into a flower whilst battling the wind on top of hills, especially whilst knowing that a bunch of hungry cyclists are just a few minutes away! From the moment the hand brake is pulled on at the lunch stop up until the covers are whisked off the beautifully prepared salads, the preparation is as intense and demanding as working in a Michelin 3-star under Gordon Ramsay who has just done a 50-mile bike ride and is really, really hungry.
5. Creative director and photographer
Everyone wants the moment they reach the summit of an epic climb captured for posterity. Often, the group wants a shot of everyone together to celebrate the finale of their trip. At this moment, it is the guide who has camera in hand, picking the best angles, working the light and orchestrating a group of excited and boisterous cyclists into some sort of pose.
There is something about cycling, that takes you away from your day to day life and gives you time to think and ponder. Climbing your way up a beautiful mountainside or along a meandering river can let your mind flow to places you don’t normally let it. Riding side-by-side with someone for many hours creates closeness and it’s in these moments that sometimes people want to talk about things they wouldn’t normally discuss, even with close friends. It’s not unusual for a guide to be told intimate secrets and in these moments, their wisdom as a counsellor and their respect for the secrecy of the cycling confession are called into action.
7. The driving force
Every guide loves their beautiful Skedaddle van, cleaning and maintaining it on a daily basis. They are at one with their vehicle. When it comes to reverse parking a long wheel base van in a narrow French side street watched by the entire group and a snooty hotelier, they maintain the nonchalance and calm whilst learning Portuguese with a hand tied behind his back.
8. Personal shopper
A guides day is hectic and often the window for shopping is short but in that time, not only do they have to bring together the days picnic lunch, but also remember the other odds and ends requested since the shop the day before. The list has been known to include: toothbrushes, plug adaptors, “something to stop my bum hurting”, fresh pairs of socks, the cereal bars that don’t have chocolate, the cereal bars that do have chocolate, dried mango, IrnBru, nail clippers and insect repellent. And on top of all of this, they must not forget the bananas… A good guide NEVER forgets bananas.
Want to know more about our Guides? Check our our Guide and Team section on the blog to get to know our team a little bit better and for some expert advice on all things cycling!