In Pictures: Wrapping up the 2015 Guiding Season

Even in monumentally successful years like the one we’ve had in 2015, we at B&R will never rest on our laurels. (Nor will we ever bother to look up the word “laurels” in the dictionary to find out what that saying actually means; some mysteries are best left unsolved.)

That’s why, at the end of our European season each year, we bring together the team of enthusiastic, hard-working and effortlessly stylish (we’re looking at you, Scott McEwen) raconteurs we call B&R Guides to discuss the season that was, swap stories and tricks of the trade, and of course do what we at B&R do best: celebrate. This year, our annual Guide Gathering descended on the stunning Herdade da Cortesia in Avis, Portugal for three days of (necessary) meetings, (spectacular) riding and some (absolutely essential) partying.

In addition to the operational agenda, the end of season gathering gives us a chance to honour those who went even higher above and further beyond this year, with our annual guide photo contest and awards ceremony, the Sidneys and the Martha. Thanks to some of our incredible partners, the prizes for this year’s guide photo contest were nothing short of fantastic—and so were the winning shots!

Best Shot of a Co-Guide

Glyn Jones took a great snap, seen in the banner shot at the top of this post, of co-guide Fanny Viret in her native habitat among the mountains of Switzerland As a reward he took home some stylish luggage from our partner Rimowa.

Best Video

With a compilation spanning from the hills of Tuscany to the streets of Berlin and Dresden, wunderguide Alex Graefe submitted shots as inspiring as they are immersive. (Check out a few of his great shots in the Tuscany video below.) Our budding Spielberg received a bike from Bianchi, who we’re proud to say have manufactured our fleet of hybrid and drop-bar road bikes.

Best Photo

Fanny proved to be just as astute behind the camera as she is in front of it, snapping this great shot of our Switzerland E-Biking trip (one of National Geogrpahic Traveler‘s 50 Tours of a Lifetime), taking home a prize pack of gear from our friends at Rudy Project in the process.



Ready to Go?

On our newly resurrected Portugal Biking trip, ride along this culinary and cultural heartland, where sleepy villages dot a landscape of farmland, cork forests, olive groves, vineyards, and sinewy man-made lakes.


But the awards didn’t stop there. This year’s Sidney and Martha winners comprise a cross-section of young upstarts and savvy veterans who embody the spirit of service that permeates everything we do.

And the awards go to…

The Martha Award for Best Female Guide

LottieLottie Williams-Burrell

Lottie has proven herself a rock star, for many reasons: exceptionally hard work, unbridled enthusiasm and an all around sense that she has discovered her true calling, to name just a few. Lottie came back from her first trip with bruises, cuts and bike grease all over her legs—and a HUGE smile on her face. It is just so nice to see someone doing a job they are so passionate about.

AnthonyRookie of the Year

Anthony King

In his first season with B&R, Anthony has already done it all: from chasing children around on family trips to roasting travellers (as they keeled over in fits of laughter) on final night of his last trip. Through it all, his co-guides couldn’t help but notice what our travellers said about him: he’s a star.

StefanoThe Knight in Shining Armour

Stefano Lopez

When travellers spotted a puppy abandoned in the forest along one of our routes, it was Stefano to the rescue. Along with the travellers he snatched up the poor pup, explained the situation in Italian to the staff at our hotel, Masseria Torre Coccaro, and had had a vet brought in to care for the pup. Twenty-four hours later, the dog had been adopted by a member of the hotel staff. Bravo, Stefano!

JacopoThe MVP

Jacopo di Lorenzo

As the staff in our Italian office put it: “Jacopo is appreciative, polite and warm. I have never seen someone who is so clean and organized (who wasn’t Swiss, that is) washing the van interior himself almost daily. He is very perceptive and thinks of others before he thinks of himself. That is a rare quality to find these days.” We couldn’t agree more.

AlessioThe Guide Mentor Extraordinaire

Alessio Frangioni

We’ll let Alice Van der Voort (another veteran guide who knows a thing or two about mentorship) sum up Alessio: “This gentleman, my Italian brother, is always available for a chat, he will listen to you when you need to blow off some steam and he is also always there to help. For all of the many years that he has been working for B&R, he has been consistent, kind, a lovely co-guide, and so wonderful with all travellers. He always gives 150% to make a memorable trip.”

EricThe Workhorse

Eric Sponseller

Between May and September, Eric took about eight days off—not eight days, plus weekends. Eight days. Total. As if the sheer quantity of his work weren’t enough, the quality also happens to be exceptional: Eric is smart, takes initiative, helps train new guides and runs terrific trips in many of our Eastern European regions.

TiborThe Comeback

Tibor Barna

After a few years off, Tibor returned to the guiding fold this year, and was instrumental in helping get our Danube Biking trip off the ground.


The Dynamic Duo

Kim Hession and Christopher Litt

ChrisKimThese two work hard, bike hard and play hard. After four trips together in the Loire Valley this year, not only did these two come back still speaking to each other (an accomplishment in and of itself), but smiling to boot. Their dynamism has been a pleasure for both our travellers and our staff.

Best Jersey Drop

Sonia Ter Hovanessian and Lara Mattioli

SoniaLaraLong one of our most hallowed traditions, the revealing of the B&R jersey has become a point of pride for our guides, and resulted in some pretty fantastic theatrics. In this case, Sonia and Lara coerced some local riders into initiating our travellers into the Tuscan town of Assissi in a ceremony they’ll never forget.

RemiThe Swan

Remi Lahaussois

Remi is considerate, helpful and enthusiastic, just as a B&R guide should be. In short, he makes it look easy.


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