Welcome to all of our new bikers!

Posted on 02/09/2021 by Mandy Richards

Welcome to all of our new bikers!

Tena Koutou e te Escape Adventures whanau!  And a monster welcome to all you wonderful new people who have signed up to our mailing list over the past couple of months!  This blog is for you...

Escape Adventures - Who are we?

Jonathan and Sr BuffaloEscape Adventures is a small family run business based in Nelson, New Zealand.  There's John - who started it all and makes everything, Mandy - who you all get to chat to by phone and email, Alice - who is in charge of media, and we also have a fabulous bunch of NZ based tour leaders and international crew - who YOU get to spend your biking adventure with.

It all began for us in 1999.  Following his family roots in East Africa John set up our very first cycle tour in Kenya & Tanzania. Mandy joined in 2004 doubling the size Escape Adventures (and halving the debt!).  In the first few years we concentrated on Africa with Kenya & Tanzania, and later with cycle tours in Uganda and Rwanda.  The next chapter 2006-2014 Escape Adventures evolved, following what our bikers wanted.  We had bikers say "Can you make us a cycle tour in Tibet" or "Patagonia", and that's what we did!  During these years we developed our ethos and our mission of creating and leading down to earth and full immersion cycle tours in the most interesting and often hard to travel in parts of our amazing planet.

In 2019 we celebrated 20 years reaching 'as big as we want to get' and leading regular cycle tours in seven epic destinations - Kenya & Tanzania (which was still our most popular tour), Madagascar, Kyrgyzstan, Colombia, the Sichuan Province of China, Cambodia, Fijiand with the newest of our destinations Namibia due to launch in 2020.  As we have grown over the years, we have stayed true to our small business values where decisions are often made with the heart and what would be a better experience for our bikers rather than what is necessarily smart financially. 

Since the start of 2020 Escape Adventures (as we knew it) has been in hibernation and we began planning cycle tours here in New Zealand for our NZ based bikers and for YOU our NEW NZ based bikers!  It was hugely important to us that we add something to the New Zealand bicycle tour scene and not compete with existing New Zealand cycle touring companies. So our New Zealand adventures have started with fully supported versions of the Tour Aotearoa (Length of NZ) and the (Kopiko) East Cape to Cape Egmont which we now lead during our NZ summer months.  What will be next?  Well, we hope to learn that from you soon! 

After 22 years we are still driven by the reward that comes with creating and leading tours that will touch your soul and stay in your memory forever!

What we do..

Camping with Robert in KenyaThere’s sticking to the beaten track, and then there’s Escape Adventures. Our philosophy is to steer clear of mainstream tourist attractions and get into the heart of the destinations we cycle tour, whether that involves riding the whole length of New Zealand, spending an overnighter with buffalo farmers in Colombia, home and yurt stays in Kyrgyzstan, staying in a Fijian village or camping with a Maasai family in Kenya. Our mission is to get you a little out of your normal comfort zone and give you a whole heap of opportunities to have unique personal experiences.

As for the cycling - you’ll need to be comfortable spending the day on your bike or able to chug your way up a hill or two, but you won’t be banging out huge kilometres. It is the  experience of getting there that is important to us - the bike just happens to be the best way to travel!

Escape HQ - A little bit different


Escape HQ is a little bit differentWe recently built our new home and Escape HQ in sunny Nelson... our goal was to build something humble, warm and dry, and to be very low consumers of energy, water and waste ... and to NOT cost the earth (in more ways than one!).  


Our floor is heating using a giant decomposing chip pileIt is our own design with an over riding mantra 'keep it simple'.  This is what we built:


  • Two 'pods' covering just 80sq/m and separated by an internal integrated green house.
  • Passively heated by the sun onto a double-insulated concrete "heat sink" floor.
  • Additional underfloor heating using scavenged heat from a giant decomposing wood chip pile (John dreamed this up).
  • Extra thick, double insulated walls and ceiling.
  • Grid tied 5kw solar power system (with $10 power bills in the summer!)
  • 23,000 litre rainwater harvest tank so we can drink rainwater all year round.
  • Waste grey water is recycled and used to water over 600 native and fruit baring plants.
  • Waterless composting toilet which not only saves water but produces enriching soil.
  • Of course all food and garden waste is composted to soil to grow veges.
  • And a shed to "make trailers and stuff" and for Escape HQ.