I have been a loyal cycling customer since 1991 and have had numerous tour guides during many bicycle tours.
We just completed the Natchez-Trace Parkway tour with Dennis Hughes and Elli Sias, who provided excellent guide and support services throughout. Few guides could step in and step up seamlessly at the last minute to cover for guides who were scheduled, but unable to guide this tour.
These are just a few of the significant challenges Dennis and Elli navigated safely, professionally and graciously throughout the Trace tour:
- One rider was vomiting and unable to eat but insisted on riding the first two days of the tour. Dennis was finally able to get him to the Emergency Department where they scoped the rider and re-hydrated him. The rider insisted on getting back on his bike immediately, even though he was advised against it. Dennis and Elli made sure this rider was safe throughout the tour.
- Another rider was extremely shy and anxious socially. Elli and Dennis skillfully and gently engaged him in conversation at his comfort level. This same rider read virtually every road side exhibit, took self-guided detours (without telling anyone), and even availed himself of a mid-day nap! It took great patience and persistence by both Dennis and Elli to ensure this cyclist’s comfort and safety.
- Yet another rider was terrified of unleashed dogs and screamed when they barked or chased her. EIIi’s experience with and understanding of dogs was pivotal. Elli placed the van between this rider and the dogs, then jumped out of the van to intervene with the dogs!
- Another rider mistakenly scheduled his return flight from Nashville at a very early time, which meant that Elli and Dennis had to drive the rider from Jackson to Nashville overnight to catch his flight. Incredible!
I commend the dedication, expertise, flexibility and professionalism of Dennis and Elli as exceptional Tour Guides and ask that you include my feedback above in their performance evaluations. As I know from years of bicycling tours, the guides can “make or break” the experience for
the riders, individually and collectively. And the riders’ experiences determine not only whether they will be return customers, but whether they will recommend your tours to all of their friends!