Meet our Team

All of our tours are led by two of our New Zealand based Escape Adventures leaders and at least one local interpreter, or in NZ sometimes we have a driver on board as well. We pride ourselves on the calibre and resourcefulness of these great people who you will be spending your adventure with. Our leaders are passionate bikers, great foodies, bike fixer-uppers, trained for health support (Pre-Hospital Emergency Care), and they are focused on making sure that your cycle tour is a fun, safe adventure of a lifetime. All of our tours also have a wonderful local support team, interpreter and drivers.

 

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mandycrew

John Etherington

John is the founder of Escape Adventures, new trip dreamer upper-er, ‘follow ya nose’ route finder, trusty team and tour leader, fix-everything man, and vital cuppa tea boy.

Escape Adventures began one day in 1999 when an idea planted, took seed and grew into a plan. John put on his tool belt, made a few alterations to an old land cruiser, put it on a ship to Kenya... and off he went!

Many years on, John continues his passionate work to finding the most amazing cycle touring routes around the world and developing relationships with people in remarkable places which has grown our cycle tours to what they are today.


 

Mandy Richards

Mandy joined Escape in 2004, from the start she was the ultimate sidekick, turning her hand (and pedals) to literally anything. These days Mandy is most often found at Escape HQ, she is the ‘Chief Office Hussy’ – answering all your emails and taking your bookings… but it doesn’t stop there, Mandy is the balancer of wild ideas, the multitasker and epic snack baker. She is on tour whenever possible and has lead or helped recce routes in almost all of the current destinations!

Whenever there is a spare minute Mandy is off on her own epic adventures, whether it is on a Mountain Bike, Cycle Touring or bashing through the thick NZ bush on a conservation mission for DOC.


 

 

Our Local Crew

Our Tour Leaders

Joseph

 adventurous cycling vacation

Joseph Njenga

Kenya & Tanzania

Jambo, I’m Joseph from Nairobi City in Kenya. I am a family man and father of two. I have been working with Escape Adventures, Kenya & Tanzania Team since 2008 as support driver, interpreter and local knowledge man.  In the months that I am not working with Escape Adventures, I help to create a run tour for safari vehicle companies all over East Africa.

Joseph is an essential part of our Kenya & Tanzania team – “the glue” holding everything together. You’ll find him behind the wheel of our support vehicle, in the kitchen and anywhere or anything needs doing! He will give you a real insight into life in East Africa and the occasional Swahili or bongo drum lesson.

Alice Baker

New Zealand . Kenya & Tanzania . Namibia

Alice came to NZ on holiday in 2013 and never left! Soon after came the realisation that mountain biking is the most fun activity (ever?!) plus it’s an excellent way to travel Aotearoa and see the world. Also real fruit ice cream..

Alice’s first Escape trip was to Africa in 2019 to lead our Kenya & Tanzania tours. The excitement was high for the second season and to be part of the first ever Namibia tour in 2020. Covid put a wee spanner in the works, but no worries! Alice has taken on the marketing coordinator role for us at Escape HQ as well as leading sections on the Tour Aotearoa and Cape to Cape over summer.

When she’s not with Escape, Alice can be found herding bikers at the Wairoa Gorge MTB park in Nelson, coaching skills courses and refining her snack game.

Dezy cycling in Madagascar Adventurous cycling destinations

Dezy Randriamihaja

Madagascar

We love this man!  Dezy is our man in Madagascar - born in Antananarivo of the Mirina tribe, he lives in Tana with his wife Asmira and teenage daughter and son.  Dezy has been working as a freelance chauffeur and tourism guide since 2003.  Along with Tuki and Erick, he looks after us for everything Malagasy, drives support vehicles and an awesome ambassador for his country.

In his younger years, Dezy managed to escape the boredom of studying economics to play football for the Madagascar National football team - so he is not only our star, but is a bit of a star with the local kids on our riding route!

Bruce Telford

New Zealand . Colombia . Cambodia
Affectionately known as "Brucie T”. After honing his bush skills and pursuing a career as an Outward Bound instructor and sea kayak guide, Bruce spent 23 years in the NZ police force, mostly in beautiful Golden Bay, NZ. He has finally hung up the bullet proof vest to get back to what he really wants to do. Exploring this awesome planet we call home and getting out on as many missions as his knees will allow.  Bruce reckons it feels like he is returning to his youth by joining the Escape team, you will find him leading our cycle tours in Colombia, Cambodia, the Tour Aotearoa and Cape to Cape.

 

Bruce is now living the dream ‘van life’ in the adventure capital of Queenstown with his wife Annie. He loves being closer to their grandchild…when he’s not out riding his bike, scrambling up rock walls, kayaking down raging rivers or leaping tall buildings in a single boun

Alex Rodriguez in Colombia

Biking holidays off the beaten track

Alexander Rodriguez Arcila (Alex)

Colombia

Alex is an ex Colombian policeman with the anti-narcotics special division (yikes!) - now with 3 years training as a professional tour guide he has in-exhaustable knowledge of everything Colombian and loves to share his country with you. In his spare time he loves to read, cook and take his family and wife Paula on weekend excursions.

On our Colombian tours Alex is our interpreter, fixer and local legend teller, and he "loves it when a plan comes together!"

Bruce Maunsell

New Zealand . Kyrgyzstan .

Meet Bruce. Bike nerd and passionate advocate for type 2 fun! Bruce reckons he’s finally qualified after training for this job for decades. He’s been involved in tourism and hospitality since before others on our team were born (true!) through sea kayaking, charter yachts, cafes and restaurants, and more recently setting up an epic lodge on one of New Zealand’s cycle trails.

Bruce lives in the bush in New Zealand’s King Country and he’s happiest on his bike, or standing knee deep in one of New Zealand's wild rivers fly fishing for lunch, and camping out by night. Bruce will be leading our cycle tours in Kyrgyzstan, the Tour Aotearoa and the Cape to Cape. 

Kyrgystan cycle tours Tim and Theresa crew leader in Kenya & Tanzania and New Zealand

Kenje

Kyrgyzstan 

Kenje has been our fixer and interpreter in Kyrgyzstan since 2017. She now lives in Bishkek, the capital city, but came from a small rural village where her parents and family still farm. When Kenje is not busy helping us herd bikers across the plains she is a teacher at an English language school. During COVID work has been slow but she has managed to continue with some teaching online, and has been involved with a snow leopard conservation project. Lock down was also a great time to get into new hobbies and Kenje has enjoyed practicing yoga and Pilates at home and in the nearby park. Kenje recently got married with an epic ceremony and party in Bishkek, now that gatherings are allowed again.

Tim & Theresa Bygate

New Zealand . Kenya & Tanzania . Fiji Islands

Better known as Mumma T and Timbo to past Escape bikers, they joined the Escape Adventures team back in 2011 & 12. We have managed to drag Tim & Theresa back for an encore appearance in Kenya & Tanzania and now again for some New Zealand cycle touring!

They have been keeping busy traveling with Tim’s building business, working on site often for weeks at a time and riding as many tracks around New Zealand as possible in between. They are both super excited to be back on board with Escape and will be joining us on the Tour Aotearoa trips this summer, as well as heading back to East Africa as soon as possible.

Cambodia cycle tours wtih Thy  Bicycle tours Africa. Cycle the length of New zealand with Perryn

(Thy) Un Chanthearith

Cambodia

Meet Thy (pronounced Tee).  Thy is our local go to, fix it man and interpreter on our Cambodia cycle tours.  We have been working together since 2014.  He runs his own small tour company in Cambodia which he loves as he says "every 2 seconds is a new adventure!"  

Born on New Year's day, Thy lives in Siem Reap with his wife Thorn Chan Tha and young daughter.  Thorn Chan Tha is a cook, but Thy likes to cook as well and his signature dish is stir fry with ginger and lemon grass.  In his spare time Thy goes to the gym, plays volleyball, enjoys music and riding BIKES!!

Perryn Lydford

New Zealand . Kenya & Tanzania

Perryn is an avid traveller with 15 years of outdoor guiding under her belt - skiing, hiking, caving, kayaking and of course biking! For a long time all she thought about was snow, but the year she discovered biking in Alaska everything changed.  Since then Perryn has spent her time riding as much as possible and getting people stoked on bikes!

Now a qualified paramedic with ridiculous people management skills. She is often found at adventure sports events coordinating the first aid crew (and everyone else). Perryn will be found on the Tour Aotearoa this summer and we’re hoping she’ll be back in Kenya & Tanzania when we get to travel internationally.

Cycle tour Fiji. Cycle tours in New Zealand. Riding the Tour Aotearoa.

Paula Masirewa

Fiji Islands

This is Paula (as in polar bear) and just as cuddly, but a lot less dangerous!  Paula is from Vuna on the garden Island of Taveuni - he is one of 11 siblings and one of three sets of twins in his family!   When Paula is not on tour with Escape Adventures he works as a truckie on a road construction gang, and cooks his favourite dish of lamb curry for his family and friends (of which he has many!).  Actually if you hang out with Paula, one might get the feeling that he is famous!

Paula is the most kind hearted, outgoing, friendliest man you will meet - and he has no frown lines! He is an awesome ambassador for his country and really loves to host us while we are on tour in Fiji!

 Zoe Moulam

New Zealand

Zoe emigrated to New Zealand to escape big city England living, and discovered Nelson is her happy place. She loves the outdoors, and has found bike packing is the perfect combination of exploring beautiful places at a sociable pace with time to enjoy the views, and sample all the tasty snacks along the way.

A well planned mid-life crisis means Zoe quit her proper job to work for herself and do fun stuff like cycle tour leading with us! You will find Zoe leading the Tour Aotearoa trips and, once it’s safe and allowed, our Colombia trips. Zoe’s other job is consulting and training food businesses on food safety practises.

Zoe also volunteers with the local Army Cadets, so that’s to ma'am to you. We reckon if she can wrangle surly teenagers then a bunch of bikers will be a breeze to manage.. when Zoe has any spare seconds she dabbles with playing saxophone in a swing band and loves a good pot of tea, with a book in the sun.

 Support crew for Tour Aotearoa and Cape to Cape  Tour leader of family cycle tours

Kerry Gentleman

Kerry and husband Fraser have been long time supporters of Escape, joining us on multiple adventures overseas! We are SO excited to now have Kerry along as part of the crew!

 Home is Golden Bay (that is top of South Island… not the Stewart Island version). They have spent most of their working lives in primary production. The last 20 years of this as owner/ operator beekeepers!

Kerry is embracing the freedom of quitting permanent work and being able to say ‘yes’ to whatever takes her fancy, like running tours with us! The outdoors is where Kerry finds peace – mainly tramping, biking and gardening. The most recent project being a bare lifestyle block, lots of garden to enjoy creating! The house build starts in a couple of months…fingers crossed!

Kier Etherington

This is Kier, the youngest member of the Escape Crew. He has been cycle touring since ages ago and was the chief consultant back in the day for the family cycle tours in FijiCambodia and Kenya & Tanzania

Nowadays Kier’s focus has shifted. A technical wiz when we need IT assistance, but only if he’s not busy reading, drumming, making pottery, sailing or studying for math and science competitions. As for bikes … he occasionally heads out for a pedal, especially if it’s a mission to the nearest jump filled MTB track.