We honestly believe that we are a little bit special... so here's a few words about why.. both from us and those that have joined us for adventure!
PaintedRoads was created as a result of one man's passion and enthusiasm for travelling Asia on his bicycle. With the realisation that his adventure cycling experiences were simply too good to keep to himself, David began indulging his passions for bicycle adventure, photography, and writing by creating cycling tours in the part of the world he knows best. Having explored and documented several tours the time inevitably came to share his discoveries. Subsequently David, along with the girl who was to become his wife, retreated to a little cottage in the hills between Thailand and Burma where, with the valuable assistance of web developer and fellow adventure cyclist Mike, created Painted Roads.
With much experience gained from operating as a tour guide for other cycling holiday providers David knew that PaintedRoads would be different, better. That was five years ago, and since that time PaintedRoads has become known for its intimate, relaxed cycling holidays a world away from the offerings of large commercial operators. We're very different to those large bicycle tour operators you may have seen, rather than trying to offer a staggering portfolio of destinations with a reliance on contract staff we prefer to concentrate on the countries we really love, and of which we have an in-depth knowledge. That way we can ensure the best personal service and a truly special cycling adventure.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Yunnan. The local people were really friendly and the scenery was superb. Cathy, the very accomplished cycling guide and the two drivers, both called Li, and our tour guide David of course, made us feel that they could cope with any eventuality. Echo looked after our every need. We also enjoyed the company of our fellow travellers, together with the crew, and had lots of laughs along the way, whilst staying in comfortable, attractive and friendly accommodation. We would definitely recommend this tour.
Pat & Keith Green
... or what makes us unique? PaintedRoads was created to indulge a passion rather than to grow a business, and it’s the man with that passion who is responsible for every step of the way with your tour. When you join us for a cycling holiday we are sharing with you our love of the places we cycle, we want you to experience the joy that we do when cycling through Asia.
How It Works
Having dreamt up an idea for a tour David usually has an immediate and inextinguishable desire to see if his notion will bear fruit. He quickly gathers up his camera, iPad, and a few essentials, packs his bike, and sets out to have a look.
He visits the land in question and rides the route, either alone or with a friend. He photographs what he sees and journals his adventure. Sometimes a route is not quite right (Burma for example), and is either forgotten or put on the to one side, but sometimes he is overwhelmed with just how wonderful a destination is, which is when it is polished and perfected into a PaintedRoads tour.
Not only is it David who dreams up the idea for a tour, explores the route, photographs it, and documents it, it is also David who answers your emails and explains things about the tour to you when you are unsure. He will also be on the tour with you, and will be involved with you at every step of the way from your initial enquiry until the end of your tour. Being on the tour means the advice he gives has been very carefully considered and is as honest as can be, after all, no one wants to spend two weeks with people who feel they have been led up the garden path.
Having David as tour leader and the actual person who cycled the whole itinerary beforehand, makes the biggest difference to other touring companies. Even more, he and his team were ALWAYS at the disposal, even for the pettiest demands, and each and everyone one was solved on time and completely. The tour itself is maybe not for those who lately neglected their fitness (although the support vehicle is always at our disposal!) but cycling through - for foreigners - seldom seen Vietnam backwaters is most rewarding feeling.
A Unique Experience
Well, if not quite unique, PaintedRoads is at least a rare and special thing. Many cycling holiday companies subcontract their tours out to local business to run, with the result no one really knows the route or the accommodation until they arrive, including sometimes the guide and tour leader (yes, this does happen). And the all too often the person answering your emails and advising you on your adventure pre-tour has never been anywhere near Asia, let alone ridden the route - not so with PaintedRoads.
Fresh & Interesting Routes
David, Phong, Natt, and the rest of the crew share a curiosity for routes, accommodation and restaurants. With David and his in country agents personally being on each and every tour means that this curiosity is often indulged in the form of new and interesting route options, dining opportunities and characterful new lodging. And this is why, rather than become old and stagnant, PaintedRoads tours mature with age. We can tell a lot of stories about our routes, but that is best done over a post ride beer, or whilst riding through a little bit of paradise.
The inaugural Painted Roads tour of the Mekong Delta provided an enthralling insight into the people, agriculture and commerce of this fascinating region of South Vietnam. The route had clearly been well researched, and it made the most of the intricate network of tracks, trails and byways which threaded their way alongside the canals and backwaters of the Delta. The stars of the tour were undoubtedly the local people (who made us feel very welcome indeed), my fellow travellers (I couldn’t have wished to ride with a nicer bunch of folks) . . . . and the Mekong River itself – a vibrant, diverse, intriguing, colourful, beating heart to the region.
Your tour will be lead by David, often his wife Echo, and his in country partners. In China for example David and Echo work alongside Cathy and Lee, husband and wife, keen cyclists, experienced guides, and all importantly they are all close friends.
In Thailand we work with Natt, not only a great guide but also a good friend and our in country agent.
In Vietnam it’s Phong and Ngoc, again a husband and wife team. Ngoc takes care of preparations with amazing attention to detail, whilst Phong and David will be with you, guiding you and taking care of your needs from your arrival in Vietnam until your departure.
You can find out more about the people we work with on our About Us page.
Groups that are 'Just Right'
If a group is too small it may lack the dynamic edge, humour, and interesting conversation that make group tours so much fun. However if a group is too large we don't so much enter a restaurant as swarm upon it. Likewise once a group goes beyond a certain size the logistics become exponentially more difficult to take care off. With this in mind PaintedRoads' groups are made up of between four and twelve group members plus David, ensuring a most convivial time. There are occasional circumstances in which we may stretch a group size a little. For example we may have eleven people already booked onto a tour when a couple who are good fun easy going PaintedRoads regulars ask to join, a situation where it may be deemed beneficial to swell the group to thirteen.