Guided biking tours in Italy, France, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia and Spain
Owner & Manager: Brett Naisby has been cycling amongst the vineyards and castles of Europe since 1990, when he guided his first bike tour for Butterfield & Robinson. After graduating from McGill University with a Master's Degree in International Studies, Brett spent three years with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs before being lured back to Europe and the open road. He guided full time for B&R for four years before deciding to establish his own tour company in 1996, called Customwalks, and Mondo Bike Tours is its cycling division. Since then, Brett has been running bike tours throughout Italy and France, and more recently Spain, Greece, Croatia, and Slovenia. He is an avid cyclist himself, and spends six months of the year biking around his summer home in the Chianti region of Tuscany, and the other half at his home in Christchurch, New Zealand. He continues to research and develop new tours, and guides several departures a year. He is ably helped by the wonderful people you see below. Besides the "Mondo Bike Tours" and "Customwalks" brands, Brett also established "Scooterbella" in 2006, which does guided scooter and Vespa tours in Tuscany, Puglia, Croatia, Provence, and Andalusia. Brett divides his time between the Customwalks offices in New Zealand and Tuscany (where he oversees the European summer season) and his home town of Ottawa, Canada.
Brett Naisby, Owner-Director, Speranza Travel Ltd. (at the summit of Mont Ventoux, 2016)
www.mondobiketours.com, www.customwalks.com, www.scooterbella.com
What makes us different?
Meet our Trip Leaders
Brett guided his first bike tour way back in 1990, and he managed to guide at least one tour every season in Europe even while working for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs. He left the government in 1994 to return to Europe to guide and then started his own company in 1996. He is still a keen rider but is perhaps even more interested in great food and wine, which is why he spends 6 months of the year in the Chianti wine-growing region of Tuscany where he manages the European season. It is also why food and wine feature so prominently on all of our tours! Brett still enjoys guiding, and he is still able to bike up Mont Ventoux 27 years after he first climbed that epic mountain. He divides his time between our offices in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the office in Tuscany. Languages: Canadian-eh, French and Italian.
Claire has a PhD in French Literature and philosophy but happily abandoned academia years ago to become a guide. She started guiding our bike tours back in 1999 and became a full-time member of our staff in 2011. Together with Brett, she oversees the development of many of our tours and leads most of our departures. Claire lives in Florence and is fluent in English, French and Italian, and can order wine in another 15 languages, which is one of the many reasons why she is the perfect Mondo Bike Guide.
Emanuela ("Manu") is our operations manager for many of our tours and occasionally joins us on tour as the driver of our support vehicle. Manu now lives in Rome but spent 20 years in Tuscany and even a few years in Berkeley, California. A biologist by training, she worked for an environmental consultancy in Tuscany before giving it up to guide for us back in 2000. She now works for us full-time, planning trips and handling our finances (not her favorite part of the job!). In her free time, she enjoys hiking and traveling, and she has a passion for the food, wine and culture of her native Italy. She guides our walking tours in Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Cinque Terre, Sardinia, Puglia, Corsica, and Provence. Languages: Italian, English and French.
Sara is a licensed city guide for her historic hometown of Arezzo and its province. Together with Claire and Manu, she manages the operations for some of our bike tours. Although not a cyclist herself, Sara loves helping people discover the beauty, history, and traditions of her beloved Italy. Fluent in Spanish, Sara also looks after our bike tours in Spain. Languages: Italian, English, Spanish and French.
Melissa was raised in Michigan but fell in love with Europe when she was 19 after spending a year studying art in Provence. She returned to France after university to lead bike tours throughout France for several years. She then moved to Florence in 2000 to study painting and she has been there ever since. She now works as an artist and Fine Arts teacher in Florence and Siena but has never lost her passion for guiding people through some of the most beautiful places in the world. "Mel" has been guiding our bike tours since 2005 throughout Italy and France. Languages: English, French, Italian
Rudy was born and raised in Chianti, Tuscany’s beautiful wine region. He has degrees in anthropology and photojournalism but is also a yoga instructor and practitioner of shiatsu and osteopathy. He embraces a holistic approach to well-being so has studied the health benefits of plants and herbs and their culinary uses. He also loves backpacking around the world to learn about other cultures, and enjoys the beauty of our wonderful planet. He found a way to combine his interests by becoming a certified hiking guide, and since 2011 he has been guiding hiking and cycling tours throughout Italy for eight months of the year while spending the other four on his journeys of discovery.
Dimitris is of course Greek, and he guides our Crete bike tour. Dimtris is an engineer by training but has left that profession to become a full time adventure guide throughout Greece. Besides biking, his passions are rock climbing, traditional Greek music (he is a mean Bouzouki player) and poetry. As you can tell from the photo, he also loves traditional Greek dance. Dimitris has travelled extensively throughout all the regions of Greece, leading tours and finding new mountains to climb. Languages: Greek and English.
Sagra guided her first Tuscany Bike tour for us back in 1999 and she was an instant hit with our clients. Her lovely sense of fun and constant good humour keeps everyone smiling. Sagra is Spannish and lives in the seaside town of Alicante where she teaches secondary school while pursuing a Master’s degree in anthropology. Sagra guides our Spannish bike tours, as well as our bike tours in Italy when possible. When not guiding our tours she loves hiking, swimming and sharing adventures with her daughter Carla. Languages: Spanish, French, English, Italian, Catalan.
Heidi was born in Gibraltar but was raised in Plymouth, in the U.K. She studied Social Policy and Administration at Brighton University and worked in Social Care for a few years, but eventually embarked on a round-the-world trip during which she spent 7 months in New Zealand. She fell in love with the country and returned to live there in 2013, making a new life in Christchurch where she's busy raising two daughters. She now works part-time for us taking payments and issuing trip agreements.