What do. Tour Leaders do. When they can't Escape?

Posted on 01/09/2020 by Mandy Richards

What do. Tour Leaders do.  When they can't Escape?

Our wonderful New Zealand based tour leaders can't Escape! But they're hanging in there! Read below to find out what they are all doing this year when their work is called off...


Dear Escape Family. After hastily altering my winter plans I relocated south into deepest darkest Canterbury. I was searching for mountains and snow, ready to learn a new skill; wobbling down mountain sides on two planks, rather than two wheels. I found my spot and have settled in to the ski bum life - pouring coffee to pay my way! Whilst I’ve been dreaming of the golden African sunsets, and spotting giraffes from my bike, I am incredibly excited to have a new adventure to look forward to... touring Aotearoa, North to South and East to West, (by bike of course) with Escape Adventures New Zealand Edition. We will be delving into the quirkiest kiwi corners via the best ‘off the beaten track routes’.. who knows what we'll discover?! I can’t wait to catch up more in October, there will be plenty of time to chat whilst we pedal around this amazing country! See ya soon, Alice.

118327077 2626292470965541 3249617088978641711 n 1 2Bruce Maunsell

Hi team. I’m keeping myself occupied with a few projects in the King Country. The Timber Trail Lodge is doing well despite Covid. I’m getting out on my bike a bit but not enjoying the wet cold weather (sigh, I wish I was in Kyrgyzstan right now!). I'm really looking forward to leading a couple of Escape's new NZ tours this spring and summer, along with some of my own bike-packing missions.

One of Bruce's current 'projects' is his new initiative producing the Pedal On Podcast - a series of wonderful podcasts interviewing biking legends. His goal.. to provide inspiration for kiwis who love adventures on bikes. We recommend having a listen!

118397982 1181946992176716 1685929991860693540 n 2Leigh

We are very sad to say that Leigh is hanging up her bike pump and allen keys, in exchange for a stethoscope and is considering returning to medical work. Leigh and Leif have recently moved from their home in Queenstown to Nelson - which is wonderful news for Nelson!! Leif has converted a van into a camper for some close to home adventures. While she's jumping through the hoops to return to practicing medicine Leigh has been volunteering for Kai Rescue (what a legend!), doing some DOC field work and lots of yoga!


Theresa and TimTheresa & Tim

Our plan for 2020 changed from cycle touring Fiji and Kenya & Tanzania with Escape Adventures very quickly due to Covid. We were lucky enough to be already working on a renovation project in North Canterbury which is keeping us really busy. The project is a 130yr old Homestead with 27 rooms so we will be here for another 18 months or more knocking it into shape - hopefully Escaping to Fiji and Africa in 2021 to keep us sane. Building full time is sure keeping us fit and we are loving the biking in nearby Hanmer and skiing at Mt Lyford.

Brucey T

Bruce Telford

Before lockdown - I was sea kayak guiding in beautiful Golden Bay. That season ended abruptly! I was then booked in to lead a bus tour through NZ in April. ...That got canned ...and of course all of my Escape Adventures tours are off for this year too. Bummer! So, I've been working Saturday mornings in our local bike shop, I've picked up some labouring work pulling out fence lines. (Hard yakka, but I loved it!). And I've been relocating cars around to the other end of the Heaphy Track then riding through to get home. And if that's not enough it's on wth the apron and G-String to get the housework done and making sure dinner is ready for wifey when she gets home from a hard day's work.... We recently squeezed in a week's holiday with my three siblings in New Plymouth. And now, I'm VERY much looking forward to leading Escape's new NZ cycle tours later this year!

Perryn in QueenstownPerryn

After lockdown I jumped over the hill from Wanaka to Queenstown. It’s bitter sweet down these parts at the moment. Its so quiet and peaceful.... but no tourists means no jobs!! My usual work teaching First Response has slowed and I've been keeping the wolf from the door being a 'lifty', de-icing and shovelling snow, teaching first aid to mountain bikers and doing some medic work and here. I have also been volunteering as a paramedic on the ambulance. Luckily I live in an epic spot! I absolutely love it here, the biking is off the hook!! I am coming to join you on sections 5 and 6 of Escape Adventures Tour Aotearoa and I am sooooo excited!! See you there!



In March, Mandy and I were in the middle of building our new home and Escape HQ on the outskirts of Nelson city. I was working almost full time on the building site and loving it! We were almost at lock-up... for lock-down, so of course - we moved in! With wires hanging out of the walls, a plastic fish bin for a sink and garden hose plumbing it was reminiscent of our early days leading tours in Africa!! Our primary focus over the winter has been on nurturing Escape Adventures and developing our new New Zealand tours. When I can't focus on office work any longer it's back on the tools working to finish our home and office. I'll be leading Tour Aotearoa sections 1 and 4 and our first Cape to Cape. Come and join me... or our wonderful crew on later sections!


If you have been following our newsletters - you will know exactly what I have been up to over the past few months! And chances are - I've been in touch with you directly! John and I have felt extremely bolstered by our wonderful Escape Adventures community, we've been having some fun coming up with some great and some 'not so great' ideas! When our new office gets too small, and I can no longer bear John's burble I've been planting trees. So far I have planted over 600 natives and edibles on our wee property so in a few years we'll be living in our own little bit of bush!! And while our wings are clipped... I'm about to start doing some contracting work for the Department of Conservation - heading out into the mountains gathering data for Nelson Threats team.