Our wheels are never still for long at The Slow Cyclist. As we welcome in the new year, founder Oli Broom shares some of the things we’re most looking forward to in 2024.
Back to Our Roots
Back in 2015, we welcomed our first guests to Transylvania. Many Slow Cyclists have now seen why I fell in love with this captivating corner of Europe all those years ago.
But Romania has so much more to offer, and one of this year’s most exciting developments at The Slow Cyclist is the launch of two new journeys in Romania: in Bucovina and the Danube Delta.
First up is a ride in Bucovina which, famed for its UNESCO painted monasteries, is now home to the northernmost section of the Via Transilvanica, a new trail that has been created to connect and bring life to rural villages, farmsteads, forests and valleys that have been depopulated and forgotten. It is a wonderful mission, and we’re in awe of its creators.
Although still on e-bikes, the terrain means this is our toughest journey, and the first in our Expedition series.
Then we have the Danube Delta, an opportunity to visit this birding paradise with long-term Slow Cyclist guide and expert naturalist Mişu David.
You might notice that these journeys are a little different to our usual offering, which leads me into…
There are plenty of things that link every Slow Cyclist journey: attention to detail and the quality of the guiding are just two. But as we introduce more journeys, we want to make it really easy for you to find the perfect fit. That’s why our journeys are now categorised into different types of Experiences.
Alongside our Classic journeys, you’ll find Expeditions for the adventurous, one-off Events and Expert-Led journeys with a focus on a specific point of interest. And if you’d like us to design something specific you have in mind, we can offer Bespoke journeys too.
The Kardamyli Festival
We’ll be hosting a number of special dinners – or Slow Tables – throughout 2024, as well as attending the Hay Literary Festival in the Welsh borders in late May. But the event we’re always most excited about is the incredible Kardamyli Festival, on the southern tip of Greece’s Peloponnese. Along with up to 30 Slow Cyclists I have attended since it began 3 years ago and it’s a genuine cultural highlight each year. Last year we had Rory Stewart, Tom Holland and Steve Rosenberg among other literary luminaries, with cycling and walking each afternoon. I can’t wait to hear this year’s line-up and if you’re interested in joining us do get in touch.
After joining The Conscious Travel Foundation last year, we took the next step of calculating our carbon footprint as a team and as a business. It’s a big task that we’ll be tackling for a while and the work certainly doesn’t end once we have those initial numbers. Then we’ll be seeing how we can make improvements both in our office and in our operations internationally.
One of the many reasons I love cycling is its low carbon footprint and I love that we can give back to the communities we work in, but we can always do more and that’s why I wanted to take on this carbon project. As a team we’re excited about the difference we can make and it might just be the most important thing we do this year.
I like to think I know our journeys inside out, but every year I find new surprises. In September I found myself with a group of lovely folks cycling in the Spanish Basque Country and have rarely eaten better, the highlight being cod-stuffed piquillo peppers accompanied by a vibrant ‘Txakoli’ – a local Basque white. The cycling was magical too: a lakeside path with only egrets and cormorants for company; grassy tracks that cut through pine forests; long tarmac descents into hidden valleys. And I ended in Bilbao, my hotel room overlooking Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim. Majestic!
Later in the year I travelled to Abruzzo as winter was sinking its teeth in. From the beautiful village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio to the wide open skies of Gran Sasso and Maiella National Parks, every part of the journey was magic and I can’t wait to return and discover more in 2024.