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.
This is an authentic trip around the Mekong Delta. The sort of trip that is pretty hard to find these days. The route was along narrow tracks beside rivers and canals through the real Mekong. The kids we encountered were very excited as we passed by & the locals in general laughed & waved. I think they thought we were crazy! I suspect that they have not seen mad cyclists since the group rode through a year ago!
... 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.
To say that I found the Tri-Nations tour the most challenging, but at the same the most enjoyable and satisfying of my twelve cycling tours to date is an understatement. I could continue in this testimonial by comparing the routes, culture, fantastic scenery, atmosphere and cycling through all three countries, but that would not emphasise what makes a PaintedRoads tour superior to all other tours. That superiority is simply the presence on all tours of David, who by living permanently in Asia is alert to all possible route and accommodation changes and can make alternative arrangements seamlessly.
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.
This was my second tour with Painted Roads and I was certainly not disappointed. Having come to expect a real focus on delighting the customer, Walks and his crew went out of their way to ensure our every desire was catered for. From the pre-tour communications to the on-tour briefings and support by David and the local guide Nat, nothing was left to chance, and we could just immerse ourselves in the local culture and scenery while riding. While this tour is long and hot, there were plenty of stops for refreshments and the cold beer at the end of the day made the whole ride worth it. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone who enjoys good company, good food and accommodation and of course some great cycling. Well done David Walker. See you on another tour soon.
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.